HI everyone!

Im confused, is it a proper practice to insert a test tone like pink noise -18db before the soundtrack when delivering final sound design wav to the director? Also couldnt find the information about inserting count-off beeps for synchronisation. Could you shed some light on it please?


3 Answers 3


Have you not received any Delivery Specs? Ask for them if you have not. They should clue you in on whether or not a test tone is required. If it's just for the Mixer to import into his session then you may not need any. I work in TV and I know that all of our deliverables (Mix Stems) go out to the networks/production companies with either 1 full minute of 1k tone at -20db (00:58:30:00 - 00:59:30:00), half a minute of the same (00:59:00:00 - 00:59:30:00), or occasionally no tones at all. It's all dependent on the project or network specs and I can only assume film specs would vary in the same manner. Get the specs and clear any confusion.

As far as count-off beeps go, there is usually only one, the 2-Pop. Another 1K tone for 1 full frame exactly 2 seconds before the hour mark (00:59:58:00 - 00:59:58:01) or whatever time your project starts. There's typically a visual countdown on the film/tape, as well, so make sure your 2-Pop is synced with the 2.

Good Luck

  • 1
    Spot on answer. I'd add that it is a sine wave, and not pink noise. Also, in the film world at least, a tail-pop is also included 2 seconds after the last frame of a reel.
    – Justin P
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 23:28
  • Justin, do you mean 2 seconds of 2 beeps at the end? I dunno much about this but I ve been told pink noise -18 (EBU) is a common practice. So its not needed at all if it wasnt requested by the director right? Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 11:24
  • Frankly, I mostly gets annoyed when I get a project delivered with only one pop in the counter. Having all eight bleeps makes it easy to see if the tempo is drifting, and by also adding a so called tail-pop, ie one beep with a flashing frame after the definite ending of the movie, it's much easier to backtrack if (when) something screws up. Though this is from the editor to me, keeping the same precautions all the way makes any possible problems when passing it over to the masterer MUCH easier to deal with in time before release. Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 2:41
  • A one frame beep, identical to a two-pop, 2 seconds after the last frame of a reel. It is essential in order to check whether the audio is drifting against picture.
    – Justin P
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 22:34

A dub stage here in town that mixed a short I designed delivered the stems and printmaster with vocal idents at the head of each track, these idents specified the stem and speaker assignment, that was then followed by 30 seconds of 1k tone at -20dbfs, 30 seconds of pink noise @ -20dbfs, and then a sine sweep from 20-20k at -20 dbfs, then I believe at 00:59:58:01 was the 2 pop which was sample accurate, FFOP starting right at 01:00:00:00, a tail pop on the immediate frame after LFOP That how he delivered it and I assume is how all of the films from his stage end up. I started doing that if no delivery specs have been passed on.


Interesting thread. A 1K test tone is more the norm than pink noise though I suspect. Also, depending on where you live it may vary, being either -18 or -20dbfs. Definitely cool to read other people's ideas on this whole thing and what different network requirements are.

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