Let's say, that I want to low-pass the norm (hence positive values) of an analytic signal (related to Hilbert transform). This allows me to perform experiments with the envelope of audio.

For low-passing, I apply a Gaussian blur. It's technically the same as applying multiple time a moving average. The advantages of a Gaussian blur are:

  • easy to implement, and enough fast.
  • good attenuation in the "stop band" (I just have to iterate more moving average to improve this).
  • all values remain positives. This is important, because I use the low-passed norm to perform divisions.

But I'd like to test a low-pass with a narrower transition band.

Could you suggest me a simple solution, for a low-pass FIR (or something "linear phase" anyways) , with a narrower transition band than a straightforward Gaussian blur, and that allows to keep all values positive. For instance, with a sinc based FIR, there are oscillations around the zero line, and I want to avoid that. Adding an offset is out of question, as I want a result that is representative of the amplitude of the audio.


You can't, at least not strictly. Low pass filters with an all positive impulse response will always have a very wide transition band.

However, if you want to do audio envelope detection both Hilbert Transform and low pass filters are the wrong tools for the job: Hilbert Transformers don't work well on broad band signals and low pass filters mess up your transients and onsets.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, you confirmed what I wanted to know: " an all positive impulse response will always have a very wide transition band". I don't see the problem with Hilbert Transform and broad band signal , at least when I look at the frequency response, it closely match real part. Yes, low pass mess-up transients, I improved a bit results by "emulating" a weighted gaussian Median filtering (I believe it works, tested with images). But if I could restrict the transition band with a plain low pass, results might be better. I want to auto-adjust level of a "pleasing" distortion effect. $\endgroup$ – Mehdi Jul 13 '19 at 16:39

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