Signal generators are electronic devices that generate repeating or non-repeating electronic signals (in either the analog or digital domains). They are generally used in designing, testing, troubleshooting, and repairing electronic or electroacoustic devices; though they often have artistic uses as well.
There are many different types of signal generators, with different purposes and applications (and at varying levels of expense); in general, no device is suitable for all possible applications.
Traditionally, signal generators have been embedded hardware units, but since the age of multimedia-PCs, flexible, programmable software tone generators have also been available.
Known variously as function generators, RF and microwave signal generators, pitch generators, arbitrary waveform generators, digital pattern generators or frequency generators; these are not universally interchangeable terms. For instance, all function generators are signal generators, but not all signal generators are function generators, which are limited to a simple set of waveforms,