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THE T E R M FILTER DESCRIBES A ters in greater detail.

The big simple RC, low-pass filter that

wide variety of frequency-selec- advantage of active filters is that passes low-frequency signals
tive circuits. Certain frequen- they do not require inductors, b u t rejects those with higher
cies pass through a given filter which can be large and heavy at frequencies. Resistor R1 is i n
while others are attenuated. low frequencies. Active filters series with the load, and capaci-
T h e r e a r e f o u r b a s i c filter need only R and C components, tor C1, the reactive element,
types:low-pass, h i g h - p a s s , but they require some kind of shunts the load. This filter ex-
bandpass, and b a n d rejection power supply. hibits a gradual rolloff begin-
or notch. Filters composed of re- A capacitor by itself has inher- n i n g a t t h e upper cutoff
sistive (R),inductive (L),and ca- ent filtering capability for alter- frequency where capacitive re-
pacitive (C) elements are called nating current because capaci- actance equals the value of re-
passiveJlters. ActiveBlters in- tive reactance, &, is inversely sistor R. Because it is a low-pass
clude high-gain operational am- proportional to frequency filter, there is only one cutoff fre-
plifiers with passive filter feed- f, = 112xRC quency, a n d it can be deter-
back networks. It blocks direct current com- mined by the formula:
Filter circuits t h a t contain pletely and opposes the passage f, = 112xRC = 116.28RC =
only resistors and capacitors of low-frequency signals al- 0.159/RG
are called resistive-capacitive though signal passage becomes The cutoff frequency Cf,) is
(RC);those that contain only in- progressively easier as frequen- that frequency at which the sig-
d u c t o r s a n d capacitors a r e cy increases. nal output voltage is 6 decibels
called inductive-capacitive (LC). (dB)below its peak level.
Filter circuits generally com- Low-pass and high-pass Bble 1 lists the formulas for
2 bine inductive and capacitive Filters contribute to the oper- determininu,, R, and C for the
components because inductive ation of many different circuits schematics in this article that
reactance increases with fre- by screening out unwanted fre- do not include component val-
$ quency, a n d capacitive reac- quencies and allowing only the ues. In these formulas 2n has
tance decreases with frequency. wanted ones to pass. Resistive- been converted to the number
z The two opposing effects permit capacitive filters are better suit- 6.28.
.-8 many possibilities i n all filter ed for low-frequency filtering The cutoff-frequency can also
-g design.
However, t h i s article will
(up to 100 kHz),whereas induc-
tive-capacitive filters are better
be measured at the haZJpower
points a s shown in Fig. 1-b.
focus on RC filters and applica- suited for high-frequency filter- These are at 70.7% of the peak
tions. Later articles will review ing (above 100 kHz). power with the real power dissi-
58 LC filters and look at active fil- Figure 1-a is the circuit of a pated at 50% of maximum. The
half-power point is the upper that a band of frequencies not
cutoff frequency of a low-pass
A typical bandpass filter re-
High-pass filter sponse curve, a s shown in Fig.
The high-pass filter passes
high frequencies and opposes
or blocks the passage of low fre- thelow-frequency (left) end in-
quencies. As shown in Fig. 2a, dicating the limit of the high-
the simplest high-pass filter pass stopband and a negative
consists a single capacitor in se- slope on the high-frequency
ries with the load and a resistor (right) e n d defining t h e low-
that shunts the load. Capacitor pass stopband. The flat top of
C1 opposes current flow that the curve (0 dB) indicates con-
varies inversely with frequency. stant signal gain.
The higher the frequency, the The bandwidth of the filter is
smaller the opposition, mea- the frequency difference be-
sured in ohms. The filter com- tween the half-power, or - 3dB
pletely or partially blocks sig- and frequency response curve (b). points. These are the points
nals a t low frequencies, b u t
permits their passage a s fre-
quency increases.
Figure 2-b shows the positive
slope at the high-frequency end
of the frequency vs. gain re-
sponse curve for a high-pass f%-
ter. The pass b a n d is defined as
the area under the curve and
the stop band is the area to the
left of the curve.
The high-pass filter cuts off or
blocks all frequencies below the
cutoff frequency, f,, permiting
all those above that frequency to
pass. The half-power (-3dB)
point of a high-pass filter is the
lower cutoff frequency. Both
high-pass and low-pass filters
have just one cutoff point, but
a s will be explained later, both
bandpass and band-reject (or about 1/14 of the product of R and
notch) filters have two cutoff fre- 6 . Thus the complete circuit
quencies. has a loop shift of 360", and it
Both of t h e filter circuits will oscillate at this frequency if
shown in Figs. l-a and 2-a have the op-amp has sufficient gain.
a single RC stage and are known An op-amp with a gain of about
a s a first-order filters. If a X 29 will compensate for filter
number (n) of these filters are losses a n d yield a loop gain
cascaded, they will form what is greater than one. f,
OdB L-- ---'--- - -- - - - - - - -
I -
known a s an nth-order filter. Figure 4 is a schematic for a n I
800-Hz phase-shift oscillator.' -3dB - - -1- -- -- - - - - - - -
Phase-shift oscillator Potentiometer R4 must be ad- V,, I
Filters can b." effectively cas- justed to give 2 clean output "IN SLOPE
caded by including them in the sinewave and potentiometer R6 I 6d B/OCTAVE
feedback networks of opera- will vary the output gain.
tional amplifiers. Figure 3 is a
circuit for a third-order, high- Bandpass filter W

pass filter that converts a n op- A bandpass filter passes a (D

a m p i n t o a phase-shift os- specified frequency band while 0,
cillator. The filter is inserted be- rejecting adjacent frequencies (a), 'and frequency response curve (b). $,
tween the output and the input above and below that passband. Lo

of the inverting (180" phase- A bandpass filter can be made where the filter response is 3 dB
shift) amplifier. by combining (or cascading) a dawn from the maximum point 2
The filter will provide this high-pass filter with a low-pass on the curve. The bandwidth is
phase shift a t a frequency of filter a s shown in Fig. 5-a so between fcl (high pass andfc2 59
Figure 6-a is a special band-
pass filter called the Wien-tone
filter made by cascading a low-
pass and a high-pass filter with
the same cutoff frequencies.
This permits the filter to select
tones with minimum attenua-
tion at a single frequency
Resistors R1 and 112 have the
same values and they are equal
as a component in a phase-shift os- to the capacitive reactances of
cillator. C1 and C2 at the desired cutoff
frequency The Wien-tone filter
(low pass). The formula for is called a balanced filter, a
bandwidth is: term that always means with re-
Bandwidth in herz = f,2 -f,1 spect to ground.
The passband of a filter is the Figure 6-b is the frequency-
range of frequencies that pass response curve of the balanced
through the filter. Insertion loss Wien-tone filter with a n at-
is the loss of signal strength ex- tenuation factor of 3 (-9.5dB1 at
perienced by the frequencies in f,. The circuit's principal fea-
the passband passing through ture is its ability to shift input
the filter. If the filter were ab- +
signal phase 90" and - 90°,
sent, and the source and load and set it precisely at thef, of 0"
were connected directly to each as shown in the phase-shift
other, the output signal would curve Fig. 6-c.
increase by the amount of the This filter can be combined
insertion loss. with an operational amplifier to
(a), frequency-response curve (b), and
phase-shift curve (c).

become a sinewave oscillator as

shown in Fig. 7. The outout of
the non-inverting amplifier
with a gain of about x 3 is fed
back to its input through 111
and C l to give a unity loop gain.

Bad-reject filter
A band-reject or notch filter
has a function that is the inver-
se of the passband filter. It is
able to reject one specific fre-
quency, the stopband, but pass
all others. Figure 8-a shows a
band-reject filter that is a modi-
fication of the circuit shown in
Fig. 7.
In this circuit resistors R2
and R4 divide the voltage with a
nominal attenuation factor of 3.
As a result, the voltage divider
and Wien filter outputs are iden-
tical a t f,,a n d the o u t p u t ,
which equals the difference be-
tween the two signals, becomes
6d BIOCTAVE zero.
The Wien-bridge band-reject
6d BIOCTAVE filter network can close a loop

- around a high-gain operational
amplifier to form an oscillator as
shown in Fig. 9-a. It might ap-
pear that the Wien filter's output
FIG. 5-HIGH-PASS AND LOW-PASS FILTERS cascaded to make a bandpassfilter (a), is fed to the input of the high-
and frequency response curve (b). gain amplifier that has its out-
ganged switch SL permit fine tions above and belowf,.
tuning and decade switching. Both the balanced twin-T and
and trimmer potentiometer R6 the Wien-bridge filter have very
performs null trimming. low effective Q's. The value Q is
calculated by dividing the value
Tvcvin-T ater off, by the bandwidth between
Figure 11-a is a schematic for the filter's two - 3 dB points. A
a twin-T notch filter. A prime typical value for a twin-T filter is
advantage of the filter is that its 0.24. The filter attenuates the
input and output signals share second harmonic off,, 9 dB. By
a common-ground connection, contrast, a n ideal notch filter
oscillator. and its off-frequency attenua- would not attenuate the input
tion is less t h a n that of the signal.
Wien-bridge filter. However, it This shortcoming of the twin-
also has a drawback: To work T filter can be overcome by
effectively, the values of all three "bootstrapping" the common
resistors (and the capacitive re- terminal of the filter, as shown
actances at a specified frequen- in simplified block diagram Fig.
cy) must be varied simulta- 12. High effective Q values can
be obtained with this circuit,
and attenuation of the second
harmonic off, will be negligible.
An explanation of how a bal-
anced twin-T filter works can be
quite complicated, so the equiv-
alent diagram Fig. 13 is pre-
sented here to simplify t h a t
explanation. The filter has been
resolved into a parallel-driven,
low-pass filter lf,/2) and a high-
pass filter (Zf,) Whose outputs
are connected to a n R e voltage
divider If,). This output divider
loads the two filters and affects
their phase shifts.
As a result, the signals at
points A and B are identical in
amplitude, b u t have p h a s e
shifts of - 45" and 45" respee-


(a), frequency- response curve (b), and
phase-shift curve.

put fed back to the Wien filter's

i n p u t to complete a positive
feedback loop. CILLATOR (a) is the equivalent of the
However, if the circuit is re- oscillator shown at (b).
drawn a s in Fig. 9-b, it is clear
that the op-amp actually func- neously. This filter is balanced .
tions a s a x 3 non-inverting am- when its components have the
plifier, a n d that the circuit is precise ratios shown in Fig.
similar to that shown in Fig. 7 . 11-a. For perfect nulling, the
Some form of automatic gain R112 resistor value m u s t be
control will be needed if high- carefully adjusted.
quality sinewaves are to be gen- The distinctive notched fre-
erated from this circuit. quency-response curve for the
The tuned frequency of the balanced twin-T filter is shown
Wien-bridge network c a n be in Fig. 11-b. Notice that atf, the
changed by simultaneously al- notch has a value of zero. The
tering its two resistor or capaci- a b r u p t p h a s e shift curve is
tor values. Figure 10 is the shown in Fig. 11-c.The filter has
schematic for a wideband (15 Hz zero phase shift atf,, but that
to 15 kHz) variable-notch filter. phase shift changes sharply to FIG. 10-VARIABLE-FREQUENCY,
Ganged potentiometer R 3 and + 98" or - 90" for slight varia- Wien-bridge notch filter (I5 Hz to 15 kHz). 61
tivcly atf,.. At the same time, the anced twin-'T filter has a zero
impedances of the R and C sec- output and zero phase shift at
[ions of the output divide: are f,. As shown in Fig. 11-c, if the
equal and introduce a 45'' phase frequency is slightly belowf,,
shift a1.f;. Thus the divider the output is dominated by the
effectively cancels the two phasc response of its low-pass filter,
diiferences and gives a precise and is shifted in phase by - 90";
~ 1 -~ ~ 2 output of zero. the phase-can- at frequencies above$,, the out-
a celled ciifference in ampliludes put is dominated by the re-
I~etn~een rhc two signals. sponse of its high-pass filter,
Q+ -- -- ---...----------1

Therefore, a perfectly bal- +
and is shifted in phase by 90°,
An unbalancedversion ofthe
twin-T filter can be made by
changing the value of the R1/2
resistor to one that is not ideal.
If this resistor has a value great-
er than R112, the circuit will be
positively unbalanced. I t will
act the same way as was just
described, b u t its notch will
have limited depth fit will not
reach zero). Howeve& It still of-
fers a zero phase shift atJ',.
If, by contrast, the resistor
has a value less of than R1/2, the
circuit, as shown in Fig. 14-a,
will be negatively unbalanced.
It will also give a notch of limited
FIG. 11-BALANCED TWIN-T NOTCH depth, as shbwn in Fig. 14-b,
FILTER (a), frequency-response curve but it has the useful charac-
(b),and phase shift curve (c). teristic of being able to produce
a phase-inverted output. There
will be a 480" phase shift aalf,, as
shown in Fig. 14-c.
Figure 15 is a schematic of a
negatively unbalanced twin-T
notch filter that can be a compo-
nent in either a 1 kHz oscillator
or a tuned acceptance filter. The
twin-T filter is connected be-
FIG. 14-NEGATIVELY UNBALANCED tween the input and output of
TWlN-T FILTER provides a 180" phase
shift at f, (a), its frequency-response
the high-gain inverting ampli-
curve (b),and phase-shift diagram (c). fier so that a n overall shift of
360" occurs atfc.
The circuit will oscillate if po-
FIG. 12-BOOTSTRAPPED HIGH-Q tentiometer R6 is adjusted so
ndch filter. that the twin-T notch gives
enough output so the system
has a n overall gain greater than
To convert the circuit to a tone
filter, adjust trimmer potenti-
ometer R 6 to give a loop gain
that is less than unity, and feed
an audio input signal through
C1 a n d R1. Under this con-
dition, R1 and the twin-T filter
interact to form a frequency-
sensitive circuit that gives high
negative feedback and low gain
to all frequencies exceptf,.The
circuit gives little negative feed-
back and high gain at f,.E m -
FIG. 13-EQUIVALENT ClRCUlT Dl- ACCEPTANCE FILTER based on a nega- rner potentiometer R6 can vary
AGRAM of the balanced twin-T filter. tively unbalanced twin-T network. the sharpness of the tuning. n