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Are Digital Signal Processors (DSP’s) Obsolete?

In audio production today, we are more privileged than ever because technology that was built years ago to facilitate this industry has become more and more advanced.

This allows us to explore new realms of creativity as well as be able to enjoy better hardware and software.

This post will discuss a very specific technology which is known as the DSP or Digital Signal Processor because most people think this technology has become obsolete.

So, let’s start with the definitions first and then figure out whether DSPs have actually become obsolete or not.

A DSP or Digital Signal Processor is simply a computer chip that manipulates incoming signals based on mathematical equations and then outputs or provides a result in real-time.

So, Are DSPs obsolete?

Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) are NOT obsolete, they are still very relevant today. They are a widely integrated feature in most modern Signal processing units because of their ability to perform various mathematical functions at high speed with minimal energy consumption. They’re mostly used to speed up the execution of audio-related algorithms while consuming less power than a typical CPU.

DSPs have been improved over the years making them an indispensable tool to this day.

Now that we understand why DSPs are still an important piece of technology today, let’s verify our claims by calling upon the various uses and application of Digital Signal Processors.

Telecommunication systems

Telecommunications is basically about transferring information from one location to another.

This generally includes different forms of information such as telephone conversations, television signals, computer files, and other types of data.

In order to transfer the information, you need a channel between the two locations to mediate.

This may be a wire pair, radio signal, optical fiber, etc.

Telecommunication companies basically receive payment for transferring their customer’s information, while they must pay by making certain that they establish and maintain the channel.

Financially, the simple truth is that, the more information they can pass through a single channel, the more money they make.

Digital Signal Processors have simply improved and continue to improve the telecommunications industry in many areas such signaling tone generation and detection, frequency band shifting, filtering to remove power line hum, compression, echo control. etc.

Control systems

High performance DSPs with increased levels of integration or functional modules have become the best solution for low cost, real-time digital control systems;

The use of DSPs in control system applications has grown exponentially over the years making this technology more important than ever.

Modeling, system identification, analysis, design, and development of modern control systems depend more and more on the use of powerful DSPs.

They are basically used in a broad range of applications from Consumer to Industrial, Robotics, Automotive, Military. Medical, and Aerospace products.

Another reason why DSPs are not obsolete but relevant.

High-performance hard-disk drives

As we can tell digital signal processors are used for a wide range of applications, from communications and control to speech and image processing.

Applications embedded DSPs are often used in products like mobile phones, fax/modems, high performance hard disk drives, radio, printers, medical and health care devices, MP3 players, HDTV and digital cameras.

These processors have become a very key solution for a wide range of consumer applications, because they are very cost effective.

Digital signal processors provide the advantages of microprocessors, while being easy to use, flexible, and of lower cost.

Noise cancellation systems

In the noise cancellation application, the DSP examines the characteristics of the input noise waveform.

The DSP then generates the anti-noise waveform which effectively negates and cancels out the input noise waveform.

The human ear then hears less “white” noise as the cancellation occurs in real, or near-real time.

This application is uniquely important in the audio production world because noise is something that is avoided at all costs.

Radar systems

Application of the signal processing technology in the radar signals monitoring is to increase the effects of radars in the target detection.

Advanced radar signal processing involves the use of DSPs. Which makes it important for application in military and airplane technologies.


DSP technology involves the use of digital processing systems by computers or more specialized digital signal processors to perform a variety of signal processing operations.

There are various specific examples such as speech coding and transmission on digital mobile phones, room audio correction in hi-fi and amplification applications, weather forecasting, data processing, industrial process analysis and control, medical imaging Such as CAT and MRI scans, MP3 compression, computer graphics, image manipulation, sound interference and equalizer, and sound effects units.

Furthermore, The use of digital computing in signal processing has a lot more advantages over analog processing in areas such as error detection and correction in communication as well as data compression.

DSP can be used on both streaming and static data this is part of the reason why they are relevant in today’s world.

Are Digital Signal Processors (DSP’s) Obsolete?
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