Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Colors Of Noise

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Colors Of Noise - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

In audio engineering, electronics, physics, and many other fields, the color of noise refers to the power spectrum of a noise signal (a signal produced by a stochastic process). Different colors of noise have significantly different properties: for example, as audio signals they will sound different to human ears, and as images they will have a visibly different texture. Therefore, each application typically requires noise of a specific color. This sense of ‘color’ for noise signals is similar to the concept of timbre in music (which is also called “tone color”[citation needed]); however the latter is almost always used for sound, and may consider very detailed features of the spectrum.

The practice of naming kinds of noise after colors started with white noise, a signal whose spectrum has equal power within any equal interval of frequencies. That name was given by analogy with white light, which was (incorrectly) assumed to have such a flat power spectrum over the visible range.[citation needed] Other color names, such as pink, red, and blue were then given to noise with other spectral profiles, often (but not always) in reference to the color of light with similar spectra. Some of those names have standard definitions in certain disciplines, while others are very informal and poorly defined. Many of these definitions assume a signal with components at all frequencies, with a power spectral density per unit of bandwidth proportional to 1/f β and hence they are examples of power-law noise. For instance, the spectral density of white noise is flat (β = 0), while flicker or pink noise has β = 1, and Brownian noise has β = 2.

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