Knowledge Base Article

Title: How much leading and trailing silence should tracks contain?
Topic: FAQ - Track Composition and Production Issues
KB Article ID: KB3705


Q.  How much leading and trailing silence should tracks contain?

A.  There are different considerations for the leading silence and for the trailing silence that a track should contain.

Leading Silence
In general a track should have approximately 200Ms (miliseconds) of leading silence. It does not have to be exactly 200Ms, but somewhere in that vicinity. The reasons for this are as follows:
  • 200Ms allows a fraction of a second to elapse for the transition from stopped to playing to occur before any audio samples are played.  This helps to avoid an audible pop or stutter at the start of a track that can occur if audio samples are present at the very start of the track.  

  • Definitely do NOT keep 1, 2 or more full seconds of silence at the beginning, that is too much and is not necessary, and just causes a delay for the listener to hear the actual start of the music when the play is launched.  

  • Having too much silence at the beginning artificially inflates the duration of the track's total play time, which is deceptive and can be viewed negatively by clients.
Trailing Silence
At the end of the track, you should generally include one second of actual silence at the end.  The one second of silence at the end is not considered to be part of any fadeout of instrument sounds, reverb, or other general ambience at the end of the track.  Be careful to not clip the fadeout because this can cause an abrupt stop in the audio that can ruin a track's ending.  Allow any fadeout, especially for trailing reverb, to fade naturally.  After the last audio sample plays, then add up to one full second of silence.

Variation From the Guidelines
There are valid reasons to depart from the above guidelines, especially when you are trying to achieve an exact track duration, such as for a track that needs to be exactly 15, 30 or 60 seconds long, which are common lengths for tracks used in TV and radio commercials.  In such cases you can limit the leading silence to 50 or 100Ms, and the trailing silence to also 50 or 100Ms, if necessary, to keep your track from going over the required duration.

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