The Art of Mastering

How to Calculate Intermodulation Distortion in Your Audio System

Have you ever experienced unwanted distortion in your audio system? Maybe you’ve noticed an annoying buzz or hum during playback. If so, you may be dealing with intermodulation distortion. But what exactly is intermodulation distortion, and how can you calculate it? In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of using an intermodulation calculator to identify and eliminate this unwanted audio artifact.

Understanding Intermodulation Distortion

Before we dive into the calculations, let’s first understand what intermodulation distortion is. Intermodulation distortion occurs when two or more frequencies combine in a non-linear device, such as an amplifier or a speaker. These combined frequencies create additional frequencies, known as intermodulation products, that were not present in the original audio signal.

The result is a distorted sound that can manifest as unwanted tones, harmonics, or noise. Intermodulation distortion is particularly noticeable in complex audio systems, such as those used in concert halls or recording studios. If left unchecked, it can significantly degrade the overall audio quality and listener experience.

Using an Intermodulation Calculator

Calculating intermodulation distortion may sound complex, but with the help of an intermodulation calculator, it becomes a straightforward process. An intermodulation calculator is a tool that takes the input frequencies and provides you with information about the generated intermodulation products. Here’s how you can use it to assess and reduce intermodulation distortion in your audio system:

1. Determine the Input Frequencies: The first step is to identify the frequencies that will be present in your audio system. This can include microphone signals, instrument outputs, or any other audio sources you’re using. Write down these frequencies for reference.

2. Open the Intermodulation Calculator: Search for an intermodulation calculator online. There are several free tools available that can help you with this. Once you have found a suitable calculator, open it in your browser.

3. Enter the Input Frequencies: In the intermodulation calculator, you will find fields where you can enter the frequencies you previously identified. Enter the frequencies one by one, ensuring their accuracy.

4. Run the Calculation: After entering the input frequencies, click on the Calculate button or its equivalent. The calculator will process the data and provide you with a list of intermodulation products.

5. Identify Intermodulation Products: The intermodulation calculator will present you with a list of intermodulation products, indicating their frequencies and relative amplitudes. Pay close attention to the high-amplitude intermodulation products, as they are more likely to cause audible distortion.

6. Take Action: Now that you have identified the intermodulation products, it’s time to take action. Start by examining your audio system’s components, such as amplifiers and speakers, to ensure they are functioning properly. Look for any signs of damage or wear that may contribute to the distortion.

7. Troubleshoot and Improve: If you notice any components that are causing interference, you can try to isolate and replace them. Additionally, make sure that the cables connecting your equipment are of high quality and properly shielded to reduce the chances of intermodulation.

By following these steps and using an intermodulation calculator, you can effectively measure and mitigate intermodulation distortion in your audio system. Regularly performing these calculations and taking necessary actions will ensure that your audio setup maintains optimal sound quality.


Intermodulation distortion can be a frustrating problem for audio enthusiasts and professionals alike. However, with the help of an intermodulation calculator, you can easily identify and rectify this issue. By calculating the generated intermodulation products and troubleshooting your system accordingly, you can enjoy distortion-free audio playback. So, the next time you encounter unwanted buzzing or humming in your audio system, remember to turn to an intermodulation calculator to bring back the clarity and fidelity you deserve.

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