DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING AND THE MICROCONTROLLER, Dale Grover
and John R. Deller, Motorola University Press - Prentice Hall Professional
Technical Reference, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1999, 561 pages, hardcover
& CD-ROM, ISBN 0-13-081348-6, $60.
Two decades after digital signal processing (DSP) became an accessible technology for audio systems more new textbooks are directed to the nonacademic population than there would appear to be a market for. What makes this book stand out? In a word: humor.
As the title suggests, one aspect of this book seems to be DSP for microcontrollers (not so much audio signals), but this is misleading. While it is true that the chips focussed on for examples are microcontrollers (MC68HC16) rather than DSPs with real-time full audio bandwidth, the concepts presented are for the most part applicable to any signal class and, indeed, audio, speech, and telephony were the classes of signal used for illustration.
The choice of processing technology was indeed unfortunate since, in our industry perhaps 90% of all audio samples will be processed in dedicated high speed DSP chips and the other 10% will be processed in general purpose CPU chips. 0% of high fidelity audio is likely to be processed by a microcontroller.
Nonetheless, nearly every introductory DSP topic of interest to an audio engineer is discussed with lucid conversation (written in first and second person, long gone are the taboos against this style of technical writing) with examples, many asides, some history, and many of the authors' personal insight that is often authentically humorous. Add this to about 17 clever cartoons drawn by Jonathan Roth (depicting a politically correct male and female engineer drawn to the woods to seek out the DSP guru) and one has about as much fun as with Dilbert. Where else can we find a table comparing different classical analog and IIR filter performances that describes the phase response of the Elliptic Filter as "Drunk fly on cross-country skis in tornado"?
This book is more than cute. It is filled with many practical insights and overview that may be given short shrift in a more formal DSP textbook (such as the venerable Oppenheim & Schafer). The standard fare is covered in an illustrative and nonrigorous fashion: analog signals and filters, sampling and quantization, Z transform, IIR, FIR, windowing, DFT, FFT, correlation.
It is no substitute for a more rigorous DSP text. This reviewer is still amazed and dismayed at yet another DSP introductory text that does not derive the Shannon/Nyquist sampling and reconstruction theorem. This is so basic that one finds it ironic that it is absent even though a chapter on sample rate conversion appears.
This book is fun to read and most persons who enjoy learning from other's insights will like it. Although not perfect, the book still has value and a place on my bookshelf.