# Why sine wave leakage in FFT spectrum

The input is three sine waves with different amplitudes and frequencies. After FFT the spectrum shows the correct characteristic of each wave without leakage error. Why does the other spectrum leakage when the input is multiplied by a Hamming window function? Thanks ]1

• come on – you know this! What does multiplication with a window function in time domain do in frequency domain? – Marcus Müller Oct 5 '19 at 10:11
• Try this for fun,increase your FFT size, without changing the frequency, but sure the number of samples is not equal to a whole number of periods... – Ben Oct 5 '19 at 13:08
• This answer explains it pretty well. – bluenote10 Oct 5 '19 at 21:33

$$\mathbf{y}=\mathbf{Wx}$$ where $$\mathbf{WW^H}=c\mathbf{I}$$ where $$c$$ is a constant that depends on how you define your DFT. The point is that $$\mathbf{W}$$ is an orthogonal matrix. Your 3 original sine waves correspond to 3 rows of $$\mathbf{W}$$. Your 3 sines are perpendicular to all the other $$N-3$$ rows, so there is no leakage.
When you uses a window like a Hamming Window, it’s equivalent to multiplying each row element by element by the window. This modified matrix $$\mathbf{\tilde{W}}$$ isn’t orthogonal any more. $$\mathbf{\tilde{W}\tilde{W}^H}\ne c \mathbf{I}$$ The resulting matrix is nearly equal to a constant times $$\mathbf{I}$$ but the off diagonals are nonzero. Your 3 original sines now project on all the rows of $$\mathbf{\tilde{W}}$$. These nonzero projections are another way to say leakage.