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What does a dB reference in voltage in LTSpice

Category: Software
Product Number: LTSpice
Software Version: XVII

I am used to the dB of a signal referencing the rms value of that signal, whether it be for power (50 ohm referenced) or voltage. However, it appears that LTSpice references the peak value.? For a transient analysis, I set the sinewave amplitude to 1V. When I plot this, I get a 1V peak waveform. If I switch to measure an AC analysis and set the AC amplitude to 1V, I see 0dB. That would seem to indicate that 0dB is referenced to a 1V peak signal instead of the rms or .707V. Is this correct for LTSpice?

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  • AC_1V.asc

    This should make it clear, I hope.  To get a 1V rms sinewave for transient analysis (.tran), you would have to set the SINE voltage source amplitude to 1.414V.  The reason why the amplitude to…

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  • AC_1V.asc

    This should make it clear, I hope.  To get a 1V rms sinewave for transient analysis (.tran), you would have to set the SINE voltage source amplitude to 1.414V.  The reason why the amplitude to define the voltage source is the peak voltage is that not everything is a sinewave.  RMS makes no sense for a PULSE waveform or PWL source.  For a small signal AC analysis (.ac), the AC=1 is just there to help you show gain and phase of Vout instead of having to type in Vout/Vin each time.  The two analyses are not connected at all.  You can prove this by changing the SINE voltage to an arbitrary value - it won't change the AC analysis.  Just comment out the .tran and uncomment the .ac to see the difference.

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  • AC_1V.asc

    This should make it clear, I hope.  To get a 1V rms sinewave for transient analysis (.tran), you would have to set the SINE voltage source amplitude to 1.414V.  The reason why the amplitude to define the voltage source is the peak voltage is that not everything is a sinewave.  RMS makes no sense for a PULSE waveform or PWL source.  For a small signal AC analysis (.ac), the AC=1 is just there to help you show gain and phase of Vout instead of having to type in Vout/Vin each time.  The two analyses are not connected at all.  You can prove this by changing the SINE voltage to an arbitrary value - it won't change the AC analysis.  Just comment out the .tran and uncomment the .ac to see the difference.

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