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Convolution Example 2: ADSR Envelope

Figure 7.4: Illustration of the convolution of two rectangular pulses with a truncated exponential impulse response.

\includegraphics{eps/adsr-x}
Filter input signal $ x(n)$ .


\includegraphics{eps/adsr-h}
Filter impulse response $ h(n)$ .


\includegraphics{eps/adsr-y}
Filter output signal $ y(n)$ .


In this example, the input signal is a sequence of two rectangular pulses, creating a piecewise constant function, depicted in Fig.7.4(a). The filter impulse response, shown in Fig.7.4(b), is a truncated exponential.7.6

In this example, $ h$ is again a causal smoothing-filter impulse response, and we could call it a ``moving weighted average'', in which the weighting is exponential into the past. The discontinuous steps in the input become exponential ``asymptotes'' in the output which are approached exponentially. The overall appearance of the output signal resembles what is called an attack, decay, sustain, and release envelope, or ADSR envelope for short. In a practical ADSR envelope, the time-constants for attack, decay, and release may be set independently. In this example, there is only one time constant, that of $ h$ . The two constant levels in the input signal may be called the attack level and the sustain level, respectively. Thus, the envelope approaches the attack level at the attack rate (where the ``rate'' may be defined as the reciprocal of the time constant), it next approaches the sustain level at the ``decay rate'', and finally, it approaches zero at the ``release rate''. These envelope parameters are commonly used in analog synthesizers and their digital descendants, so-called virtual analog synthesizers. Such an ADSR envelope is typically used to multiply the output of a waveform oscillator such as a sawtooth or pulse-train oscillator. For more on virtual analog synthesis, see, for example, [80,79].


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``Mathematics of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT), with Audio Applications --- Second Edition'', by Julius O. Smith III, W3K Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9745607-4-8.
Copyright © 2014-04-21 by Julius O. Smith III
Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA),   Stanford University
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