Reference tone


Reference tone

A reference tone is a pure tone corresponding to a known frequency, and produced at a stable sound pressure level (volume), usually by specialized equipment.

In media

The most common reference tone in audio engineering is a Audio|1000Hz.ogg|1000 Hz tone at 0dB. It is meant to be used by audio engineers in order to adjust the playback equipment so that the accompanying media is at a comfortable volume for the audience. In video production, this tone is usually accompanied by a test card so the video signal may be calibrated as well. This is also the tone commonly used to censor obscene or sensitive audio content.

Some audio engineering equipment offer an alternative tone at a different frequency for comfort, since the standard reference tone is jarring if heard continuously. In its place, a different signal level can be specified (i.e. -20dB).

In music

Many electronic tuners used by musicians emit a tone of 440Hz, corresponding to a pitch of A above Middle C (A4). More sophisticated tuners offer a choice of other frequencies, alternative A tones to account for differences in temperament. Some specialized tuners offer pitches used commonly on a particular instrument (standard guitar tuning, fifth intervals for string instruments, the open tones for various brass instruments).


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