When specifying the properties of a moving average filter, is it possible to specify the number of taps and the cutoff frequency?

My guess is no since taps (the number of samples in a moving average filter) is what determines the cutoff frequency according to the frequency response equation.

If I'm wrong, how is it possible to specify the two?

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking if you can independently specify the number of taps and the frequency response of, specifically, a moving average filter? Or are you asking about the more general case of whether you have some freedom in the taps vs. cutoff frequency of a general FIR filter? $\endgroup$
    – TimWescott
    Jan 2, 2021 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, whether they can be specified independently. Eg can you say a moving average filter has a cut-off frequency of 100Hz and 5taps? My understanding is that one will affect the other so you can't specify both (unless they match by coincidence). $\endgroup$
    – Eind997
    Jan 2, 2021 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


If you talk about a moving average filter then you only have a single degree of freedom, namely the filter length (i.e., the number of taps). Consequently, given the number of taps, the magnitude of the frequency response is fixed and the cut-off frequency is given.

Note that you could also define the delay of the moving average filter as another degree of freedom, but that wouldn't change the filter's magnitude response and its cut-off frequency.

For general FIR filters with $N$ taps you have $N$ degrees of freedom, so you can clearly choose the cut-off frequency independently of the number of taps. But this is not the case for a moving average filter.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.