I have to create a third-octave spectrum from a time signal on Octave GNU.
I found some code on the net to help me but I don't have all the parts of the algorithm.

I have a .csv file which contains a simple sinus temporal signal. The specifications are:

  • Duration: 0 to 180s
  • Frequency: 32768

I calculate the octave bands from 10Hz to 10kHz :


    %Octave bands.
    fc=fMin*2.^((0:bmax)*bw);    %Center frequencies.
    fl=fc*2^(-bw/2);             %Lower frequencies.
    fu=fc*2^(+bw/2);             %Upper frequencies

After I can display all the third octave filters using Butterworth filters :

    bw = 1/3;
    numBands = length(fc);

    b = cell(numBands,1);
    a = cell(numBands,1);

    for nn=1:length(fc)
      [b{nn}, a{nn}] = butter(2,[fl(nn) fu(nn)]/(fs/2));
      [h,f] = freqz(b{nn}, a{nn}, 1024, fs);

      hold on;
      plot(f, 20*log10(abs(h)));
    set(gca, 'XScale', 'log')
    ylim([-50 0])

Which gives to me :

enter image description here

The last filters are great but the first ones have missing points.
I don't know how to fix that and, mainly, how can I use this to make my third octave spectrum.
Does someone knows how to do this ?

  • $\begingroup$ Please do not cross-post between SO sites. $\endgroup$
    – jojek
    May 17, 2018 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


Hate to answer this question, but it is a plotting issue, not the actual design problem. Basically, you don't have enough points at low frequencies cause they are spaced linearly and you are plotting on logarithmic scale. You could do:

[h,f] = freqz(b{nn}, a{nn}, logspace(log10(fMin), log10(fMax), 1000), fs);

Explicitly specifying the logarithmically spaced bins. Or you can use a very large N (something like $2^{16}$).

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, that works! But how can i use the filters on the time signal to have the third octave spectrum ? $\endgroup$
    – Pandaglas
    May 17, 2018 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ Simply filter the signal and then calculate the energy and convert to decibel scale. $\endgroup$
    – jojek
    May 17, 2018 at 15:32

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