What is the right way to use sinc interpolation for a given discrete signal $x[n]$? Following is the sinc interpolation formula:

$$x(t) = \sum_{n=-\infty}^\infty x[n] \mathrm{sinc}\left(\frac{t-nT}{T}\right)$$

A simple explanation with a real world example of how and when to use a sinc interpolator will be very helpful.

  • $\begingroup$ use case of an interpolator is: going from a low sampling rate to a high one, because your target signal processing system works at that rate, but your sourcing signal processing system didn't need the high rate due to the signal being low enough in bandwidth. This question really isn't a question with a sensible authorative answer, so not a great fit for a Q&A site like this, to be honest. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2021 at 9:03

1 Answer 1


I remember being asked to do something like this in a DSP course and it was confusing because I wasn't sure how to model the continuous variable $t$ in MATLAB where everything is digital. You can still make a nice demonstration of sinc interpolation by choosing a low sample rate and use interpolation to create the interpolated signal which is at a higher rate.

Here is a simple MATLAB script that does what I'm talking about. Hopefully it at least helps you see how to use $x[n]$ to create the interpolated signal.

% Create "continuous time" signal, Fc >> f
Fc = 1e6; % very high sample rate to simulate "continuous time"
Tc = 1/Fc; % sampling period
t = (-0.1:Tc:0.1)'; % time axis
f = 10; % signal frequency
xc = sin(2*pi*f*t); % "continuous time" signal

% Create sampled signal
Fs = 100; % sampling rate
Ts = 1/Fs; % sampling period
ratio = round(Ts/Tc);
tn = t(1:ratio:end); % sampled time axis
xn = xc(1:ratio:end); % sampled signal

% Plot the CT signal and sampled signal
hold on
grid on
plot(t, xc)
stem(tn, xn, 'o')
legend('"Continuous time signal"', 'Sampled signal')

% Create and plot sinc train
sincTrain = zeros(length(t), length(xn));
nind = 1;
cmap = colormap(jet(length(-floor(length(xn)/2):floor(length(xn)/2))));
ax = axes('colororder', cmap);
hold on
grid on

plot(t, xc, 'k', 'LineWidth', 3)
for n = -floor(length(xn)/2):floor(length(xn)/2)
   sincTrain(:, nind) = xn(nind)*sinc((t - n*Ts)/Ts);
   p = plot(t, sincTrain(:, nind), 'LineWidth', 2);
   stem(tn(nind), xn(nind), 'Color', p.Color, 'LineWidth', 2)
   nind = nind + 1;
set(gca, 'FontSize', 20, 'LineWidth', 3, 'FontWeight', 'bold')

xr = sum(sincTrain, 2); % sum(sincTrain, 2) is the interpolated/reconstructed signal, should be equal to xc

hold on
grid on
plot(t, xc)
plot(t, xr) 

error = mean(abs(xc - xr).^2);

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ thank you so much! I am going to look over this. My have more questions. $\endgroup$
    – level2fast
    Jan 23, 2021 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ Hi. I do have one question. Why did you choose to measure the MSE vs the RMSE? $\endgroup$
    – level2fast
    Jan 23, 2021 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ @level2fast no reason, that part didn’t need to be in the answer, just a sanity check! $\endgroup$
    – Engineer
    Jan 23, 2021 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ Oh okay great! Thanks again. You're awesome! $\endgroup$
    – level2fast
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you divide by the sampling period in the sinc kernel? $\endgroup$
    – level2fast
    Jul 24, 2021 at 18:40

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