I've seen a little discussion on this topic inside of other threads intended for other topics, but I figured I'd start a dedicated thread.
Please post your favorite songs to demo new equipment, and possibly a few words on why or what you listen for (keep it short). I'll start.
Eva Cassidy, "What a wonderful world", Live at Blues Alley (for sub tonality and low end EQ)
Dr. John, "Janko Partner", Definitive Pop Collection (for detail)
James Taylor, "Steamroller Blues", The Best of James Taylor (for detail and sound stage)
Dave Brubeck, "This Masquerade is Over", Back Home (for overall integration and bass tonality)
Nate Dogg, "Lay Low" (for bass tightness/control)
Outkast, "The way you move", Speakerboxx (for bass extension)
Norah Jones, Come away with me (SACD) - Female vocals, piano clarity
Counting Crows, Round Here (August and Everything After- Live From Town Hall) - Male vocals & I was there, I know what it should sound like
John Coltrane, Giant Steps - Sax, clarity and separation of the band
Metallica, Hero of the Day (S&M) - complex track w/ symphony plus Metallica.
Led Zepplin, Stairway to Heaven (SACD) - Guitar solo, the song has to 'feel' right don't know how else to put it
Sheffield Lab, Dum & Track Disk - Bass, drum reproduction
Usually mix in a few more, but that's my standard playlist. The CC song is a new release, before that I used the cd version of the same song.
+1 Norah Jones - come away with me
Also Norah Jones - don't know why (vocals)
Kem - heaven ( vocals and electric keyboard)
Fourplay - 101 eastbound (piano guitar and bass guitar)
Dave Brubeck - take 5
George benson - breezin
a few songs that usually go with when demoing stuff at dealers:
Bill Evans Trio - Some Other Time (personal favorite, ambient crowd noise)
Bill Evans Trio - Solar (upright bass solo)
Iron & Wine - Big Burned Hand (awesome song in general)
Beck - Hotwax/Derelict/Jackass/Readymade (any of those. good SQ and lots of detail)
Gaslight Anthem - Great Expectations/59 Sound (rock) EDIT: anything from 59 Sound album
Dave Brubek Quartet - Koto Song (personal favorite)
James Blake - Wilhelm Scream
Avett Brothers - January Wedding
Trentemoller - While the Cold Winter Waiting
Adele - (anything from '19')
Radiohead - Everything in it's right place
Radiohead - Paranoid Android
Radiohead - Nude
Radiohead - Reckoner
Most things by Little Feat, but particularly "Representing the Mambo" or "let it Roll" (the albums.
A dirty shame they are not on SACD
shine on you crazy diamond-pink floyd
when the levee breaks-zeppelin
Cold Brains from Mutations-Beck is a great demo track, and one of the best-sounding redbook CDs around.
I bring a variety of genres (just did this exercise last month when shopping for new speakers).
Lark Ascending (Hilary Hahn on violin) SACD--I use this track to focus on how well the tweeter deals with high frequencies.
Cuckoo Cocoon (Rewiring Genesis) CD--acoustic guitar and some good vocal harmonies. Useful to determine how wide a soundstage appears to be when the setting is rather minimalist with instrumentation.
A few tracks from Ella and Louis CD--tests how well the tweeters will forgive (or not) less than ideal recordings from over half a century ago (I have a lot of that kind of stuff, so the speakers cannot be too harsh with it, even if that means I'm sacrificing detail/accuracy elsewhere).
YYZ (Rush)--CD or DVD-A (depending on available playback device in store)--opening sequence tests the clarity of tweeters, rest of it gives a good idea if the speakers can rock out with some decency
These were my initial "go-to" tunes for speaker selection. If a speaker did well with all the above (a few did, many did not), then I have a lengthier list of other material I use to make the final call--some big band jazz, classical orchestral music (Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Elgar and Shostakovich), some Miles Davis and John Coltrane, more Ella, 70's era Genesis (especially tracks from Selling England by the Pound), some solo piano (jazz and classical).
A variety of musical genres and extreme familiarity with the material are two essential elements of good "demo music" when shopping for speakers.
Originally Posted by CDLehner
Cold Brains from Mutations-Beck
people need to remember Beck has done more than Sea Change. the entire Odelay and Mutations albums are worth using for demo
Bump ... any more you'd like to share?
I recently discovered "The Essential Bob Dylan" set, and these remasters are fantastic. Songs with harmonica are particularly good for teasing out treble detail and judging "airiness" (although you really need to hear the tracks on a reference system first to know what less capable equipment is missing). You'll also find out real quickly if your speakers are too bright.
I was going thru my CDs this weekend and pulled out Watershed.K.D Lang. I had forgotten what a great album this is. The recording quality is excellent as is the music.
Her voice is incredible. I strongly suggest "Jealous Dog". The recorded version is better than the concert version but oh well. Dang my speakers love the female voice.