Any change in the waveform or harmonic content of an original signal as it passes through a device. The result of nonlinearity within the device.

Nonlinear distortion

In a nonlinear system a sine wave generates harmonics:

If total rms level is:

Then the harmonic distortion:

Other distortion mechanisms:

Intermodulation distortion (IM)

Transient intermodulation distortion (TIM)

Quantization noise in digital signal processing

Pre-echo in audio coding

Perceptual criteria needed in digital audio instead of simple distortion and SNR measures.

See also: Intermodulation Distortion.

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Subjects: Noise & Vibration Physics