There are many analyzers available in the market today. Some are very specialized, while others offer more generic radio measurement capability; some are called spectrum analyzers, while others are called signal analyzers. All measure and display frequency vs. amplitude. In our cost-conscious industry, you need to get the best value for the company’s investment. This paper will help you to ask the relevant questions when looking at the broad selection of tools available in the market and help you make a well-informed decision when purchasing an instrument.

Understanding Price vs. Performance
The price of an analyzer is in part derived from its cost. If the analyzer is designed using low cost components, its price will look very attractive; however, usually its performance will be limited. What is meant by performance? The choice of mixers, LOs amplifiers, A/D converters, IF FPGA/ASIC, and microprocessor all contribute to cost and performance. For example, a single loop local oscillator design may be very cost-effective; however, it may introduce enough phase noise distortion to render the measurements useless. Or a low cost microprocessor may seem attractive from a cost perspective;however, if the analyzer uses this microprocessor for any type of DSP to perform demodulation, then the spectrum analyzer will execute at a very slow pace.


Buying a Signal Analyzer: Keithley White Paper
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