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Difference between Crystal Oscillator and Frequency Synthesizer

Difference between Crystal Oscillator and Frequency Synthesizer

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a crystal oscillator and a frequency synthesizer? Both are essential components of many electronic devices, but they serve very different purposes. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two components and discuss which one is better for your specific application. We will also discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of each component. So, let’s get started!

What is Crystal Oscillator?

A crystal oscillator is an electronic oscillator circuit that uses the mechanical resonance of a vibrating crystalline material to create an electrical signal with a very precise frequency.

  • Crystal oscillators are widely used in many electronic devices including radios, computers, TVs, mobile phones, and more. They are used to control the timing and frequency of various digital and analog circuits.
  • Crystal oscillators typically use a piezoelectric material such as quartz for their resonator. The Crystal Oscillator circuit consists of three main components: an amplifier, a feedback network, and the resonator (crystal).
  • The amplifier creates an alternating current (AC) signal which is then applied to the crystal. The crystal then starts to vibrate at its natural resonant frequency.
  • The vibrations of the crystal are amplified by the amplifier and sent back to the crystal through the feedback network. This feedback process causes the crystal to vibrate at a very precise and stable frequency which can be used to control other electronic circuits.

Crystal oscillators are very accurate and stable compared to other types of oscillators such as RC or LC oscillators. They are also less affected by changes in temperature and other external factors. Crystal oscillators are available in a wide range of frequencies from a few kHz up to several GHz.

What is Frequency Synthesizer?

A frequency synthesizer is an electronic device that generates a range of frequencies from a single reference frequency. Frequency synthesizers are used in a variety of applications, such as radio and television broadcasting, cellular telephone systems, Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, and scientific research instruments.

Frequency synthesizers typically generate frequencies with very high accuracy and stability. The output frequencies can be controlled very precisely, making frequency synthesizers an essential tool for many applications. Frequency synthesizers are also relatively easy to use, making them popular for a wide range of applications.

Difference between Crystal Oscillator and Frequency Synthesizer

Crystal oscillators and frequency synthesizers are devices that generate a signal of a specific frequency. Crystal oscillators use a crystal to create an electromagnetic field that vibrates at a certain frequency, while frequency synthesizers generate a signal by combining multiple waveforms.

Crystal oscillators are more stable and accurate than frequency synthesizers, but they are also more expensive. Crystal oscillators are typically used in applications where stability is paramount, such as in GPS receivers. In contrast, frequency synthesizers are less stable but more flexible, making them well-suited for applications like two-way radios.


The crystal oscillator is a device that creates an electrical signal by using the vibration of a quartz crystal. A frequency synthesizer, on the other hand, generates an electrical signal by combining multiple signals together. While both devices are used to create electrical signals, their methods of doing so are different. If you’re looking for a device to generate a specific frequency, then you would want to use a crystal oscillator.

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