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I never had any chance yet to play with function generators, but I know what they. What I don't see at this moment is their practical usage in digital electronic. For audio I can see it probably for comparison of how good or bad your amp is by comparing the outputs for example, and for digital I saw that some of these function generators can record a digital signal, and later reproduce it on demand and in that case they would act as simulators (right?), but what would be some other practical scenarios?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ radar/sonar/SDR, to validate receive path (filter chain, ADC, demodulator....): gain, frequency response, SNR, etc... \$\endgroup\$ – user3528438 Feb 16 '17 at 16:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Use the triangle-wave (or ramp-wave, sawtooth-wave) to explore how comparators switch their output logic level. Use 2 function generators, one with triangle-wave, other with much faster but small sinusoid to serve as "noise", and sum the outputs; inject that summed signal into the comparator, and evaluate the "jitter"; you will find Tjitter = Vnoise/SlewRate. \$\endgroup\$ – analogsystemsrf Feb 16 '17 at 16:49
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You are right to say that they are very useful in audio applications. But function generators are also very useful for filter design, Analog-to-digital converters, switched-mode power supplies, and many more.

Here is one very useful example for a power supply unit. Half-bridge, full bridge rectifiers produce a DC output essentially from an AC signal. To raise the AC signal above 0V, you would indeed use a clamping circuit.

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Another example I can think of right now would be Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC). You could have a 10 bits ADC just like what the Arduino Uno's are. Some the analog voltage would be assigned to a bit. For example, 1024 would be 15V and 0 would be 0V. 512 would be 7.5V.

enter image description here

A third example is filters. Low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and band-stop filters are some you could design and use an AC waveform from the function generator to test it.

Finally, function generators are usually capable of generating a clock signal (square waveform) which can be useful for digital electronics and memory circuits like Flip Flop, Shift registers, and many more. Here is what a function generator can typically generate:

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