Last updated: May 23, 2022
It is sensible to keep a small amount of silence right at the start of your audio track rather than having instant sound. This is less surprising to the listener but also there can be a split second of initiation time just after the listener presses the play button. This can be caused by the app, the device’s DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) or wireless headphones coming out of standby mode.
It’s important for the silence to not be too long though otherwise the listener will assume something is wrong — file didn’t download, volume is too low, headphones disconnected etc.
We use ACX as a source of reference for selecting this range. They are a large publishing platform for getting audiobooks into various stores. There weren’t any podcast-specific standards we could find. Based on this we suggest between 0.5 and 1 seconds of silence (or “room tone”). For this measurement we consider silence as anything below a threshold of -40 dB.
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