I came across this paper entitled "Design of Efficient Digital Interpolation Filters and Sigma-Delta Modulator for Audio DAC" where the author oversamples an input frequency, fsig = 1kHz with ratio L = 128 and update frequency, fsi = 64kHz. The interpolation filter specification is given by:

  • passband ripple = 0.001dB for frequency <0.45*fsi and
  • stopband attenuation = 174dB for frequency > 0.55*fsi.

For two-stage system using IIR Butterworth:

  • L1 = 2 and L2 = 64, how to get filter order of N1 = 77 and N2 = 21 respectively?
  • L1 = 16 and L2 = 8, how to get filter order of N1 = 120 and N2 = 7 respectively?
  • $\begingroup$ ah thanks Olli, I was blind. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 9:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ is it this paper? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


Butterworth low-pass filters are not going to work for this, as demonstrated in the following. You'd need to use other types of filters, for example linear-phase finite impulse response (FIR).

The magnitude frequency response of an order $N$ discrete-time Butterworth low-pass filter can be approximated by that of an analog prototype (from Wikipedia, with a small notation change):

$$G(\omega) = {\frac{1}{\sqrt{1+{\omega}^{2N}}}},$$

with normalized frequency $\omega$. The Butterworth filter magnitude frequency response is strictly decreasing. For a pass-band edge gain of $a = 10^{-0.001/20}$, that is, -0.001 dB, we'd employ a further gain factor of 0.001 dB to have a gain of 0.001 dB, that is, $\frac{1}{a}$ at 0 Hz. With this gain factor the magnitude frequency response is $\frac{1}{a}G(\omega)$. Then the transition band begins at the frequency $\omega_0$ found by solving:

$$\frac{1}{a}G(\omega_0) = a$$ $$\Rightarrow \omega_0 = \left(\frac{1 - a^4}{a^4}\right)^{\textstyle\frac{1}{2N}}$$

Then we plot the magnitude frequency response at the beginning of the stop band (the end of the transition band) at frequency $\omega_1 = \frac{0.55}{0.45}\omega_0$ as function of filter order $N$:

enter image description here
Figure 1. $\frac{1}{a}G(\omega_1)$ as function of $N$.

Based on the graph, -174 dB of stop band corner gain would require a filter order of about 120. I don't think such a high order is feasible for a recursive filter as it will lead to numerical problems. Filter types other than Butterworth will be able to meet the specification with a lower filter order.

  • $\begingroup$ FIY 120 dB is feasible for an IIR filter provided you split it in second-order-sections. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ I meant 174 dB is feasible. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Ben: "x dB is feasible" doesn't really mean much if you don't specify the width of the transition band. A first order IIR low pass can have $\infty$ dB attenuation at Nyquist. $\endgroup$
    – Matt L.
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I misread, you're right. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 23:58

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