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Pulse-amplifier count-rate tests described in IEEE Std 301-1976 give ambiguous results. Data is given to show that at low count-rates, modern amplifiers of different manufacture perform nearly alike if the shaping constants are normalized to pulse-width-at-half-height (T0.5). At high rates performance depends upon T0.001 and baseline-restorer action. It is proposed that the standard test be based on the use of an 8-step staircase generator (StCG) in conjunction with anoscilloscope. An example is given in which the StCG was used to uncover a defect in a preamplifier feedback resistor that would have been over-looked in tests with a random-signal source.