# Distortionmeter

Distortionmeter (or more precisely distortion factor meter) is an electronic measuring instrument which displays the amount of distortion added to the original signal by an electronic circuit.

## Harmonic distortion

Harmonic distortion is equivalent to adding harmonics to a signal. When a purely sinusoidal signal is in this way, a series of harmonics is superimposed on the original signal, and can be detected with suitable equipment.

If the input is

${f_{i}}=a_{1}\cdot sin(\omega t)$ The normalized output is

${f_{o}}=a_{1}\cdot sin(\omega t)+a_{2}\cdot sin(2\omega t)+a_{3}\cdot sin(3\omega t)+..$ The value of Total Harmonics Distortion (THD) is defined as the ratio of the harmonics to the fundamental;  i.e.,

$THD={\frac {\sqrt {{a_{2}}^{2}+{a_{3}}^{2}+..}}{a_{1}}}$ This ratio can be given in dB or in percentage.

## The instrument

A distortionmeter is actually a levelmeter with two switchable parallel circuits at the input. The first circuit measures the total signal at the output of a system. (For low distortion levels this will be almost equal to fundamental). That value is adjusted to read 100% or, equivalently, to 0 dB. The second circuit is a filter which removes (as much as practical) the fundamental frequency. This can be a notch filter, one which passes all but the fundamental, with negligible attenuation at other frequencies (including whatever harmonics might be present). Alternatively, if the distortion products are at higher frequencies, a highpass filter can be used if its cutoff rate is sufficiently steep to not affect the expected distortion products. The output of the filter is measured as a percentage of the fundamental, and the reported value will be the distortion value.