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Insights Modulation vs. Beating Confusion - Comments

  1. Sep 17, 2015 #1

    rude man

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  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2015 #2

    nsaspook

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    The heterodyne process is non-linear (mixing) but modulation can be both.
    http://www.comlab.hut.fi/opetus/333/2004_2005_slides/modulation_methods.pdf
    Non-linear Ring Rodulator.
    300px-Ring_Modulator.PNG

    or linear as with a AM modulator where we have a bandwidth amplitude that's equal to the modulation signal that obeys the principle of superposition.

    Yes, I agree that an audio 'beat' like when using a BFO on a Morse code receiver is not the same as a 'mixed' signal but 'modulation' in general is not restricted to superposition (or the lack of superposition) of signals.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
  4. Sep 17, 2015 #3
    My understanding is that you are correct. Beating is linear, mixing is non-linear.
     
  5. Sep 18, 2015 #4
    The ear responds in a non linear way, so that's where modulation must occur.
    I am familiar with both superhet's and piano tuning.
    See also http://www.indiana.edu/~audres/Publications/humes/papers/18_Humes.pdf
     
  6. Sep 18, 2015 #5

    meBigGuy

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    Look at the trig identities. Mixing is multiplication, beating is addition.

    sum%20to%20product%20identities%20sin%20plus%20sin.gif

    product%20to%20sum%20identities%20cos%20cos.gif
     
  7. Sep 18, 2015 #6

    Averagesupernova

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    This subject has been beat to death with disagreement in each related thread here on PF. meBigGuy pretty much hit the nail on the head. Mixing and modulation are both multiplication. Depending on who you ask they are linear or non-linear. A true linear amplifier can have many signal input to it and will not generate new frequencies. So this implies to me that mixing and modulation are non-linear processes.
    -
    I think that the word beat was originally used interchangeably with mixing. A BFO used in a SSB or CW (morse) receiver is in fact mixed with the IF in order to generate an audio signal. It is NOT linear. The ear is in fact non-linear but we don't beat a couple of MHz signals together in our ear to get an audible signal. The non-linear process has to occur in the radio, not the ear.
     
  8. Sep 18, 2015 #7

    nsaspook

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    The signal AM demodulation process (envelope detector diode in this circuit) is non-linear but the actual BFO injection circuit is usually a simple linear signal injection (added to the antenna signal here) like in this simple crystal radio circuit.
    image005.gif
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  9. Sep 18, 2015 #8

    meBigGuy

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    Let's talk about beating from the frequency domain perspective. If beating is like modulation, then there must be a carrier (real or suppressed) and sidebands. (and it turns out there are such, in a crazy sort of way)

    sum%20to%20product%20identities%20sin%20plus%20sin.gif

    If you look at the trig function for adding two sinewaves (of equal amplitude), the right side represents a carrier of frequency (x+y)/2 being multiplied by a modulation function at (x-y)/2.

    If you look at the summed signals (x and y) in the frequency domain, there has to be those two signals at x and y, and nothing else (because I am just linearly adding two sine waves). So, where are the carrier and sidebands?

    Well, it turns out the two signals, x and y, ARE the sidebands, and the suppressed carrier (x+y/2) is halfway between them. It's strange to think about it that way, but it is an accurate portrayal of what is actually happening.

    That illustrates that beating causes no new frequencies, and is therefor totally useless as (and is totally distinct from) a mixing function. It does cause modulation. Beating is analogous to what happens when you create standing waves. When the waves are 180 out, they cancel, but no new frequencies are created. Think of what is happening as you walk through a room with a tone playing. (and think dopplar)

    Therefor, any conclusion that beating caused by linearly adding two sinewaves is the same as, or even similar to, hetrodyning is totally incorrect.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  10. Sep 18, 2015 #9
    This seems to be a semantic argument. It has far more to do with how we define terms than any actual disagreement.
     
  11. Sep 19, 2015 #10

    meBigGuy

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    I disagree. I am in total support of rude man. Everything I am saying is in his paper.

    When you linearly add two sine waves, as described in the OP paper, no new frequencies are created, so there is no way to create the equivalent of a IF frequency. The beats experienced during the tuning of a piano in no way represent a prior art with regard to a superhet architecture.

    The summed signals only have the appearance of a modulated signal.
    They were not created by modulation. They could be created by a true modulator that started with an (x+y)/2 carrier, but in that case the x and y frequencies would be newly created by the modulator.

    Remember, the disagreement here is with regard to this sentence in an article discussing the history of the superheterodyne receiver:
    "in it the author remarked that the modulation (or mixing) principle was really nothing new, being already known to piano tuners who traditionally used a tuning fork to beat against the piano string’s vibrations."

    The summed time domain waveform ONLY APPEARS as a modulated signal. Its method of creation is of no value in a superhet architecture since no new frequencies are created in the frequency domain. That is a key point, and cannot be ignored. In any truly modulated or mixed signal, new frequencies are actually created.

    The beating of linearly summed sinewaves is in no way (either practically or mathematically) similar in principle to mixing or modulating to produce true new frequencies.

    Fell free to write up the terms as you want, such that one could consider piano tuning beating in any way similar to superhet mixing or true modulation.

    Just because the beating signal looks like a signal created by modulation does not mean the process to create it in any way involved modulation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  12. Sep 19, 2015 #11
    I agree with the idea. But I could understand someone including beating in their definition of modulation, basically using modulation as a catch all term for any signal "mixing".

    I don't think that's the way the definition should go. Modulation should not include beating, IMO. Words have meanings and meanings are particularly important in technical fields. But words are also defined by use, and I don't hold myself up as an arbiter of use.

    I do agree beating is not an example of prior art for non-linear mixing.
     
  13. Sep 19, 2015 #12

    Averagesupernova

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    It IS in fact about semantics. You can define the word beat to mean whatever you want. The perception of the difference signal commonly referred to as a beat means that it actually is *there*. Now the nitpicking can start concerning where the *there* actually is. In the case of a couple of notes played on a synthesizer keyboard or piano, the new note is created in our ears due the nature of our hearing being logarithmic. I am sure I have seen in text books that frequency mixing and beating are the same thing. I am not really one to pick sides on semantics so I won't make an argument either way. My nitpicking is as I preciously stated in this thread as well as other threads here on PF about frequency mixing and AM modulation being the same thing. If no new frequencies are created then it is neither.
    -
    Incidentally, the quote:
    may have a little more validity than would appear. When was it determined that it is the non-linearity of our ears that create the perception of a new signal with signals that are simply summed together and listened to? Was this knowledge responsible for the idea of superhet? Who was the first person to understand that non-linearity is required?
     
  14. Sep 19, 2015 #13

    nsaspook

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  15. Sep 19, 2015 #14

    meBigGuy

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    That ear thing may be a real phenomenon, but is not the cause of the beat we hear. The beat we hear is the same as what we hear when we walk through a reflective room with a 1KHz tone playing. It is caused by actual increases and decreases in amplitude (wavelength of 1KHz = 1 foot). THERE IS NO NEW FREQUENCY. (well, not exactly, because dopplar from moving effectively changes the single tone to 2 tones)

    There is no non linearity of any kind involved (needed?) in the beating we hear when we sum two tones. PERIOD! It is detectable by a fully linear system.

    I repeat from my previous post: You can create the two tones (x and y) by modulating an (x+y)/2 carrier with an (x-y)/2 signal. That action will produce two new tones, x, and y. If piano tuners were doing that then I would agree.

    Saying two tones in ANY way represents a modulated signal is the same as saying 1 tone represents an SSB signal. Is whistling a precursor to ssb modulation? After all, the signals happen to look the same, just as in the piano tuner case.
     
  16. Sep 19, 2015 #15

    Averagesupernova

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    You can claim to be rapidly and changing the volume of a tone with a volume control but this is not all that is happening. You ARE generating new frequencies at the rate you are moving the volume control. The same thing when you walk through the room in your example. But in the walk through example it is happening in the ear.
    Except the human each which is not linear.
    Are you claiming that I have said the following? Because I have not.
    They are not modulated for the same reason the carrier and the audio are not modulated until after the modulator/mixer stage. When the ear is involved, that is the modulator/mixer stage.
    -
    The problem with this is that you are making a comparison between a system where all the signals are measurable such as a mixer or modulator stage in radio equipment and a system where the products (new frequencies) are not measurable because they are generated in the ear. Yes there are similarities but I would hoped I have made it clear what happens where. Maybe I have failed in that.
     
  17. Sep 19, 2015 #16

    Averagesupernova

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    Had a look in a couple of text books after I got home. Malvino's Electronic Principles 3rd Edition page 700 under a short paragraph about diode mixers states: "Incidentally, heterodyning is another word for mix, and beat frequency is synonymous with difference frequency. In Fig. 23-8 we are heterodyning two input signals to get a beat frequency of Fx - Fy." Fig. 23.8 shows a transistor mixer.
    -
    Bernard Grob's Basic Television Principles and Servicing Fourth Edition page 287 talks about detecting the 4.5 MHz sound carrier. "The heterodyning action of the 45.75 MHz picture carrier beating with the 41.25 MHz center frequency of the sound signal results in the lower center frequency of the 4.5 MHz." Right or wrong it is not uncommon to use the word BEAT when dealing with frequency mixing. Grobs TV book also talks about interference page 415: "As one example, the rf interference can beat with the local oscillator in the rf tuner to produce difference frequencies that are the the IF passband of the receiver." There are other sections talking about various signals 'beating' together to form interference in the picture. Co-channel picture and sound carriers that 'beat' with the LO to cause interference. The word is thrown around pretty loosely.
    -
    Those were the first two books I picked up out of the many I still have. Didn't look at the amateur radio books I have, but I am sure it has been mentioned there as well.
     
  18. Sep 19, 2015 #17

    meBigGuy

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    There is nothing non linear happening in the ear that is required to hear beating. If you used a perfectly linear microphone you would see the same thing. The envelope varies between 0 and 2A. That is what you hear. You can see it in a scope.

    If you look at a spectrum, there are no new frequencies created by the summation. The two sine waves are the frequencies created by the modulation of a (x+y)/2 carrier. When you look at them in the time domain they look exactly like a modulated (x+y)/2 carrier. Those two frequencies are ALL THAT EXISTS. There is no energy at any other frequency, and the envelope effect is detectable with a linear microphone.

    Just the fact that you sum the two frequencies creates the appearance of the results of modulation of a (x+y)/2 carrier. But, there is no spectral energy at (x+y)/2 (unless you want to venture into instantaneous frequency land)

    In a room, when you move a microphone through it (forget the ear), you see peaks and valleys cause by summing of different phases. If you move through those at some rate v, then dopplar creates the equivalent of two tones (since there a different relative velocities to the reflective sources). Now, don't tell me dopplar is modulation, because it creates the appearance of 2 tones in a microphone, and they also appear in the spectrum analysis of the microphone output.

    You are not going to like this next paragraph at first. Your comments about a volume control are an interesting phenomenon. That is 1 frequency varying in amplitude. What does it look like in a spectrum analyzer. It appears as two sine waves (sidebands of the modulation). The original sine wave is the equivalent of the (x+y)/2 carrier in the original example, and the volume control is the (x-y)/2 modulating signal.

    This is really simple if you abandon preconceptions. Look at the trig identity and think about what it means:
    sum%20to%20product%20identities%20sin%20plus%20sin.gif

    The left side is 2 sine waves summed, which are EXACTLY IDENTICAL to the right side product, which represents an (x+y)/2 carrier modulated by an (x-y)/2 signal. You can think of your volume control being varied at an (x-y)/2 rate as the modulator (which it actually is). The hard part is "what happened to the (x+y)/2 carrier when I modulated it"

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/beat.html (replace the ear with a linear microphone and the effect is the same)
     
  19. Sep 19, 2015 #18

    meBigGuy

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    Forget the meaning of beat. I agree that it gets thrown around in a way that confuses the issues. The question is whether the wah-wah effect of two sine waves is in anyway related to hetrodyning. It is absolutely not related. Two sine waves happen to also be the output of a certain modulation function. But they are not created by, nor do they represent, modulation.
     
  20. Sep 19, 2015 #19

    Averagesupernova

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    You can't actually say that since no one I know of has ears that hear in a linear manner. I am not saying a person would not hear any effect at all if hearing was linear but it likely would not be perceived as the same thing it is now.
    Where have I said that if you look at the spectrum we would see more than 2 signals after said 2 signals have been summed?
    Why would I not like that paragraph? That is exactly what I would expect.
     
  21. Sep 19, 2015 #20

    Averagesupernova

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    Again, you can't say that until someone has linear hearing. Good luck with that.
     
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