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The whole system of pre-emphasis and de-emphasis is called emphasis.
The high-frequency signal components are emphasized to produce a more equal modulation index for the transmitted frequency spectrum, and therefore a better signal-to-noise ratio for the entire frequency range.
In processing electronic audio signals, pre-emphasis refers to a system process designed to increase (within a frequency band) the magnitude of some (usually higher) frequencies with respect to the magnitude of other (usually lower) frequencies in order to improve the overall signal-to-noise ratio by minimizing the adverse effects of such phenomena as attenuation distortion or saturation of recording media in subsequent parts of the system. The mirror operation is called de-emphasis, and the system as a whole is called emphasis.
Pre-emphasis is achieved with a pre-emphasis network which is essentially a calibrated filter. The frequency response is decided by special time constants. The cutoff frequency can be calculated from that value.
In high speed digital transmission, pre-emphasis is used to improve signal quality at the output of a data transmission. In transmitting signals at high data rates, the transmission medium may introduce distortions, so pre-emphasis is used to distort the transmitted signal to correct for this distortion. When done properly this produces a received signal which more closely resembles the original or desired signal, allowing the use of higher frequencies or producing fewer bit errors.
Pre-emphasis is employed in frequency modulation or phase modulation transmitters to equalize the modulating signal drive power in terms of deviation ratio. The receiver demodulation process includes a reciprocal network, called a de-emphasis network, to restore the original signal power distribution.
In telecommunication, de-emphasis is the complement of pre-emphasis, in the antinoise system called emphasis. De-emphasis is a system process designed to decrease, (within a band of frequencies), the magnitude of some (usually higher) frequencies with respect to the magnitude of other (usually lower) frequencies in order to improve the overall signal-to-noise ratio by minimizing the adverse effects of such phenomena as attenuation differences or saturation of recording media in subsequent parts of the system.
In serial data transmission, de-emphasis has a different meaning, which is to reduce the level of all bits except the first one after a transition. That causes the high frequency content due to the transition to be emphasized compared to the low frequency content which is de-emphasized. This is a form of transmitter equalization; it compensates for losses over the channel which are larger at higher frequencies. Well known serial data standards such as PCI Express, SATA and SAS require transmitted signals to use de-emphasis.
Red Book Audio
Although rarely used, there exists the capability for standardized emphasis in Red Book CD mastering. As CD's were intended to work on 14 bit audio, a specification for 'pre-emphasis' was included to compensate for quantization noise. After production spec was set at 16 bits, quantization noise became less of a concern, but emphasis remained an option through standards revisions. The pre-emphasis curve is described as 50/15 µs at 20 dB/decade.
- "IEC 60908" 2. 1999: 37, 131.
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- This article incorporates public domain material from the General Services Administration document "Federal Standard 1037C" (in support of MIL-STD-188).