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Original Title: Comparison of Characteristicsof FIR and IIR Filter

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A

T

E

X CLASS FILES, VOL. 6, NO. 1, JANUARY 2007 1

Comparison of Characteristics

of FIR and IIR Filter

Johannes Innerbichler, TU Graz, Achim Schweighofer, TU Graz

AbstractIn the following sections this paper deals with the

study of two classes of lter and lists the main advantages and

disadvantages of each type. At rst the characteristics of the FIR

lter are discussed followed by the properties of the IIR lter.

In the the last part these two tyes of lters are compared and

the appropriate eld of work is assigned.

Index TermsFIR, IIR, Finite Impuls Response, Innite Im-

pulse Response, DSP, lter designs

I. INTRODUCTION

I

N the eld of digital signal processing (short DSP) each

discrete time signal is represented as a sequence of numbers

or symbols. Most of the time mathematical operations have to

be performed to an analog signal to enhance certain parts (or

frequencies). To accomplish such a modication the analog

signal is most times sampled, modied in the digital domain

by a digital lter and transformed back into the continuous

domain. In contrast to an analog lter where the signal is

manipulated directly, a digital lter offers much more op-

pertunities and advantages. To describe such a digital lter

two techniques are applied. A lter can be specied by its

impulse response and/or its difference equation. Typically two

categories of digital lters are distinguished by there impulse

response: lters with an inntite impulse response (short IIR

lter) and with an nite impulse response (short FIR lter).

Of course each categorie has its own advantages and aws. In

the following section these two categories are discussed and

compared with each other.

jin

November 23, 2011

II. TECHNIQUES FOR ANALYSING A FILTER

T

WO techniques are commonly used two describe the

behaviour of a digital lter. Each technique is described

more thourough in the next subsections.

A. Impulse Response

The impulse response describes the response of a digital

lter to the Kronecker delta function (see appendix A).

1) FIR: In the case of a linear time-invariant FIR lters

the output of the lter can be determined by convoluting the

input vector (equals digital signal) with the coefcients of the

impulse response h[k]:

y[n] =

n

k=0

x[n k] h[k] = (x h)[n] (1)

2) IIR: Because of the feedback the computation of the

output is more complicated because, the current value of the

outputsequence depends on the previous and current input as

well as previous outputs. The corresponding formula can be

seen in equation 2.

M

m=0

a[m] y[n m] =

n

k=0

x[n k] h[k] (2)

The sequences a[k] and b[k] depend on the feedback of the

lter.

B. Difference Equation

Another method to dene a lter is the difference equation

using the z-transformation. The typical structure is seen in

equation 3.

H(z) =

M

i=0

(z + b

i

)

eMi

N

i=0

(z + a

i

)

eNi

(3)

Whereas the denominator is a result of the feedback.

III. FIR FILTER

I

N nite impulse response lter the impulse response con-

sists of a sequence with limited therms.

A. Linear Delay

In our research we validated our assumption that linearity of

the phase is connected to an symmetric FIR lter. This means

the phase of the frequency response (also called delay) is the

same at all frequencies (wraps of the phase at +/- 180 degrees

are ingnored). Therefore the lter does not cause any phase or

delay distortion, which could be an important advantage. If the

coefcients of the impulse response are symmetric around the

center coefcient, a linear phase results. An example impulse

response can be found in [1] and is dened in equation 4. The

corresponding plot shown in gure 1

h

FIR

[n] = 2[n 1] + 2[n 2] 2[n 3] (4)

In the plot below the symmetric property is depicted. The

center coefcient is h[2] = 2.

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X CLASS FILES, VOL. 6, NO. 1, JANUARY 2007 2

n

h[n]

1

2

1

2

1 2 3 4

Fig. 1. Example impulse response h

FIR

[n]

The corresponding frequency response is calculated in ap-

pendix B and the result presented in equation 5.

H(e

j

) = e

2j

_

2 4cos()

_

(5)

The phase alters according to the linear function 2 and is

therefore linear. With this knowledge a lter with linear delay

can be simply implemented on digital signal microprocessors

and can be calculated by looping a single instruction.

Another big advantage of this lter is the suitability to muli-

rate applications. This means the sampling rate can be reduced

(decimation) and/or increased (interpolation). With this two

properties more efcient implementations can be realised.

B. No Feedback needed

Implementations of FIR lter do not require a feedback and

therefore avoid rounding errors due summed iterations. Due

the fact that each error occurs just once in each calculation

the implementation very easy.

C. Stablility

Another result of the non-existing feedback is the location

of the poles in the z-plane. Each poles is placed in the origin

and therefore within the unit circle. According to [2] lter

with poles inside the unit circle are stable. Another fact is

that due the limited size of the lter sequence FIR lter are

BIBO (bounded-input bounded-output) stabil.

D. Memory Consumption

One major draw back of FIR lter is the high memory

consumption. Every single coefcient has to be stored on its

own register. This huge amount of needed memory requires a

lot of space. Therefore this class of lter is not suitable for

realisations on small chips.

E. Design Methods

Some certain lter types can be calculated directly. Exam-

ples would be the raised cosine lter or the windowed sinc

lter. Another method is windowing. The impulse response

is derived using the inverse fast fourier transformation (short

IDFT) of the needed frequency response. The resulting IIR

lter is rened by windowing and a FIR lter is computed.

IV. IIR-FILTER

A

S the name implies, IIR lters are systems with an

innite impulse response (IIR). This means that the

impulse response could have a sequence of an innite number

of therms.

A. Feedback

Commonly IIR lters have a feedback. Earlier output values

are used to calculate the current one.

Figure 2 shows a block diagram of a simple IIR lter.

Fig. 2. A simple block diagram of an IIR lter

The difference equation for this system of rst order can be

written as in equation 6.

y[n] = b

0

x[n] + b

1

x[n 1] + a

1

y[n 1] (6)

y[n] is calculated by adding an FIR looking lter and also

the previous value y[n-1]. This means y[n] is fed back.

Generally we dene the difference equation for an IIR lter

in equation 7.

y[n] =

N

l=1

a

l

y[n l]

. .

feedback

+

M

k=1

b

k

y[n k]

. .

input

(7)

The number of feedback terms N denes the order of the

system.

B. Stability

If we consider the system from gure 2 from above the

difference equation 6 can be used to calculate the transfer-

function by z-transform. In equation 8 the transfer-function is

presented, which is calculated in appendix D.

H(z) =

Y (z)

X(z)

=

b

0

+ b

1

z

1

1 a

1

z

1

(8)

A lter is stable, if each pole is placed inside the unit circle.

[2] For our example

|z

| = |a

1

| < 1 (9)

We determined that an IIR lter is stable, if all poles of

transfer-function are placed inside the unit circle. This is in

contrast to the FIR lter where all poles are located at the

origin, and is therefore always stable.

An IIR lter is also stable, if the impulse response of the

system is absolutly summable.

JOURNAL OF L

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X CLASS FILES, VOL. 6, NO. 1, JANUARY 2007 3

C. Minimum phase

In comparison to FIR lters the phase of an IIR lter might

be non-linear.

In an stable IIR lter, all poles are located inside the unit

circle, where the zeroes are located anywhere. Sometimes the

inverse of such a system is needed. If there are zeroes, which

are located outside the unit circle, it results in an unstable

inverse. To avoid this problem, we created a minimum-phase

system.

In control theory and signal processing, a linear, time-

invariant system is said to be minimum-phase if the system

and its inverse are causal and stable. [4]

For example the IIR lter with transfer-function in equation

10.

H(z) =

(1 + 4z

1

)(1 + 0.8z

1

)

(1 0.5z

1

)(1 0.1z

1

)

=

(z + 2)(z + 0.8)

(z + 0.5)(z + 0.1)

(10)

This system has a zero outside the unit circle in

z

0

= 4 (11)

So the inverse of this system is not causal and stable. But it

can be divided into a miminum-phase, which has an stable

and causal inverse, and an allpass system.

H(z) = H

min

(z)H

all

(z) (12)

In equation 13 the resulting mimimum-phase system, calcu-

lated in appendix E is presented. The zero outside the unit

circle has been mirrored among the unit circle.

H

min

(z) =

(z + 0.25)(z + 0.8)

(z + 0.5)(z + 0.1)

(13)

The mangitude of the minimum-phase system is equal to the

total system.

|H

min

(z)| = |H(z)| (14)

Due the allpass system an phase error occurs. So the phase of

H

min

is different from H.

We determine, that the resulting IIR minimum-phase lter

with transfer-function H

min

has now a stable and causal

inverse.

D. Comparison to analog lters

The result of our research was, that IIR lters can either be

implemented as analog or digital lters. In the design phase

of an digital IIR lter it is possible to design an analog lter

rst, and then convert this lter to an digital lter by applying

discretization techniques such as Bilinear transform or Impulse

invariance. This is one of the biggest advantages of IIR lters.

Here is an example for the conversion of an analog low-pass

RC lter [3] to an digital lter using the Bilinear transform.

In equation 15 the analog transfer function is shown. The

corresponding Bilinear transform (digital transfer function) is

calculated in Appendix C and the result presented in equation

16.

H

a

[s] =

1

1 + RCs

(15)

H

d

[z] =

1 + z

1

(1 + 2RC/T) + (1 2RC/T)z

1

(16)

So IIR lters can be used to model a huge variety of analog

lters, such as Chebyshev lter, Butterworth lter, and the

Bessel lter in discrete domain.

V. CONCLUSION

FIR lters are much easier to implement but used a relative

high memory to store the lters specication.

IIR lters of the same order have a sharper transition from

passband to stopband and so they are more selective than FIR

lters. However the phase response of IIR lters is not linear,

therefore they are less suitable for signals whose waveform

must not be changed during ltering.

There are a few methods such as Bilinear Transform to

transform an analog lter to an digital IIR lter. IIR lters

can be used to model a huge variety of analog lters, such

as Chebyshev lter, Butterworth lter, and the Bessel lter in

discrete domain. This is one of the biggest advantages of IIR

lters.

APPENDIX A

KRONECKER DELTA FUNCTION

In the eld of digital signal processing the Kronecker delta

function is described as follows:

[n] =

_

1 : n = 0

0 : n = 1

(17)

This function is often called the unit or impulse function.

APPENDIX B

CALCULATION OF THE FREQUENCY RESPONSE

H(e

j

) =

=

+

n=

(2[n 1] + 2[n 2] 2[n 3]) e

jn

= 2e

j1

+ 2e

j2

2e

j3

= e

2j

_

2e

j

+ 2 2e

j

_

= e

2j

_

2 4cos()

_

JOURNAL OF L

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X CLASS FILES, VOL. 6, NO. 1, JANUARY 2007 4

APPENDIX C

CALCULATION OF THE BILINEAR TRANSFORM

H

d

(z) = H

a

_

2

T

z 1

z + 1

_

=

1

1 + RC

_

2

T

z1

z+1

_

=

1 + z

(1 2RC/T) + (1 + 2RC/T)z

=

1 + z

1

(1 + 2RC/T) + (1 2RC/T)z

1

APPENDIX D

CALCULATION OF THE TRANSFER-FUNCTION

(Z-TRANSFORM)

y[n] = y[n] = b

0

x[n] + b

1

x[n 1] + a

1

y[n 1] (18)

If we apply the z-transform [2], we get the following

Y (z) = b

0

X(z) + b

1

z

1

X(z) + a

1

z

1

Y (z) (19)

We obtain

H(z) =

Y (z)

X(z)

=

b

0

+ b

1

z

1

1 a

1

z

1

(20)

APPENDIX E

CALCULATION OF MINIMUM-PHASE

According to [4] to calculate the minimum-phase of an

causal system all zeroes outside of the unit circle are mirrored

into unit circle, as shown in equation 21.

z

0,k

=

_

1

z

0,k

|z

0,k

| 1

z

0,k

|z

0,k

| < 1

(21)

The transfer-function from equation 10 has zeroes in

z

0,1

= 4; z

0,2

= 0.8 (22)

According to equation 21 the new zeroes are

z

0,1

=

1

z

0,1

=

1

4

= 0.25 (23)

and

z

0,2

= z

0,2

= 0.8 (24)

The resulting transfer-function of the minimum-phase sys-

tem is presented in equation 25.

H

min

(z) =

(z + 0.25)(z + 0.8)

(z + 0.5)(z + 0.1)

(25)

REFERENCES

[1] Monson Hayes, Schaums Outline of Digital Signal Processing, 2nd ed.

USA: Schaums Outline Series, 2011.

[2] Alan V. Oppenheim and Ronald W. Schafer, Discrete-Time Signal Pro-

cessing, 3rd ed. USA: Prentice Hall Signal Processing, 2009.

[3] Ulrich Tietze and Christoph Schenk, Halbleiter-Schaltungstechnik, 3rd ed.

Germany: Springer, 2002.

[4] Babak Hassibi; Thomas Kailath; Ali H. Sayed, Linear estimation, 1st ed.

USA: Prentice Hall, 2000.

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