Comparing DC offset and impedance readings in the assessment of electrode connection quality

  • Mark Sibley Jones University of Texas at San Antonio
Keywords: EEG, electrode, interference, impedance, DC offset, QEEG


EEG electrode impedance measurements of 5,000 ohms or less are required by common standards of practice to minimize artifacts due to electro-magnetic interference (EMI). Some manufacturers of amplifiers geared toward the neurofeedback market do not provide on-board impedance monitoring, but provide DC offset measurements. To discover if DC offset is a reliable measure of connection quality, measurements of DC offset and impedance, each independently taken by students in a university graduate level course in neurofeedback over a one year period were analyzed retrospectively. DC offset was not found to have predictive value of a standard impedance level. Additionally, 19 channel EEGs collected within manufacturer recommended parameters of DC offset using a high-impedance amplifier were analyzed to assess the level of EMI pollution of QEEG data. Visible peaks of EMI in the spectra in at least one channel in each of these recordings were identified. A sample of EMI pollution of QEEG results is presented. Together, these findings suggest that DC offset is not a reliable measure of electrode connection quality.

Author Biography

Mark Sibley Jones, University of Texas at San Antonio
Adjunct profession in the Department of Counseling, UTSA, and in private practice at Mark S. Jones, PLLC.


American Association of Sleep Technologists, Technical Guidelines: Standard Polysomnography (2012). Retrieved from

American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, Guideline One: Mininum Technical Requirements for Performing Clinical Electroencephalography (2008). Retrieved from

Ferree, T. C., Luu, P., Russell, G. S., Tucker, D.M. (2001). Scalp electrode impedance, infection risk, and EEG data quality, Clinical Neurophysiology, 112 536-544.

Kappenman, E. S., & Luck, S. J. (2010). The effects of electrode impedance on data quality and statistical significance in ERP recordings, Psychophysiology, 47, 888-904.

Kamp, A., Pfurtscheller, G., Edlinger, G., & Lopes da Silva, F. (2005). Technological Basis of EEG Recording. In Niedermeyer, E., & Lopes da Silva, F. H. (Eds.), Electroencephalography: Basic principles, clinical applications, and related fields (pp. 127-138). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Tatum, William (2014). Handbook of EEG Interpretation. New York, NY: Demos Medical Publishing.

Tyner, Fay S. (1983). Fundamentals of EEG Technology. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Research Papers