Originally Posted by jima4a
What Blu-Ray movie disks should you bring to verify their HT capabilities? Avatar, Battlefield Las Angeles, and Book of Ellie (when the house blows up) are the only three that come to mind. Would like to own a couple for audition material.
What do you suggest? Also, if you have music audition recommendations, share these also.
It will obviously depending on your auditioning criteria. That said though, here are a few of my audition BDs, which segments specifically and why.
1) War Of The Worlds (the more recent remake with Tom Cruise): the scene where the Alien pod first emerges from under the street.
This is still one of the all-time scenes for testing the LFE of a HT setup because it goes low and loud. The thing is though, there are also high pitched sounds like glass breaking and falling on the ground. In a really capable system you will feel the deep bass and also clearly hear all the other effects.
2) Tron Legacy: The chapters are titled 'Lightcycle Battle' and 'Zuse'.
- The thunderous drumming at the beginning of the Lightcycle Battle chapter is a great test, as is the electronic music by Daft Punk (track titled Derezz) as the fighting begins in the bar in the chapter 'Zuse'.
3) Across The Universe: Chapters/songs 'If I Fell', 'Let It Be', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'.
This is a movie written around a bunch of songs (30+) by the Beatles and has IMO, some amazing covers of Beatles songs.
- 'If I Fell'. Listen for the breathy vocals in this song. Evan Rachel Wood's voice should sound warm, breathy and intimate. Also, pay attention to near the end of the song right after she kisses Jude (Jim Sturgess) and sings the last, "If I Fell In Love With You...". They mic'ed many of the songs live (as opposed to overdubbing them on a soundstage). You should be able to hear the difference as the first words after the kiss, "If I Fell" were sung into his shoulder, vs. the rest of the line as she raises her head so the mic can better capture the upper registers in her voice, but the difference should not be glaring.
- 'Let It Be'. The song starts of with a young boy singing (during the Watts riots). The part I use for auditioning is the section beginning with the line of cars for his funeral. The (female) lead gospel singer in this song has a very powerful voice and this is a GREAT track for auditioning the midrange in speakers. First off, on a good system, you should be able to hear that she's singing in a reverberant space (it's not glaringly obvious, but should be audible). Parts I pay particular attention to, as the camera looks at the line of people entering the church just before the scene cuts to inside the church, she powerfully delivers the line, "There will BE an answer, Let it be...yeah...", as she sings the word "answer" in that line, I've heard it sound oddly muffled and boxy on some systems. It shouldn't. When the choir begins to back her up, you should still be able to hear the lead singer's voice clearly.
- 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. Good track to hear male vocals.
Obviously, you should always get very, very familiar with any material you'll be auditioning with, otherwise, how would you know what you're listening for? An interesting thought occurred to me when using this movie though, i.e. especially if you're auditioning systems, how do you know what the material is actually supposed to sound like? Is an anomaly you noticed part of the recording? Or a deficiency in the playback chain? Well, to me the solution was simple. Really good headphones. They remove the influence of the room, and you can get headphones that have a very flat frequency response. Unlike speakers with a flat frequency response that may end up being anything but flat once they're in a room due to the speakers positioning and interaction with the room, good headphones with a good FR will reproduce that FR in your ears. I have a pair of Etymotics and Denon AH-D5000's, and there are many more great headphones like Audeze, Stax, Sennheisers and AKG. Here's a good place with headphone FR measurements http://www.headphone.com/headphones/
Familiarizing yourself with your audition material will let you pick up on any anomalies in the way they reproduce the frequency range (and really good speakers will sound like really good headphones, except that they're better at reproducing a more realistic audio environment since the sound isn't 'in your head').
4) 'The Phantom Of The Opera' 2004 movie: 'Music Of The Night'
- A decent movie although the actors/singers aren't classically trained, but Gerard Butler's voice in 'Music Of The Night' is a decent test for male vocals. It easily identified an improperly setup Goldenear Triton II/HT system at a dealership as the Triton II's have a built-in sub with its own volume knob. If the volume knob is turned up too much, deeper male vocals become boomy (listened to the Triton II/HT Cinema setup at 2 different dealers. Wasn't very impressed, and their lower frequency response specs are ridiculously optimistic/exaggerated).
5) Any 'Transformers' movie
- Use Optimus Prime's voice to see if a center channel with lesser low octave performance is noticeable/acceptable to you. Some folks won't mind in a properly setup system with bass management and a subwoofer. Some folks will hear a difference between a center channel that has to be crossed over at 120Hz vs. one that can play flat down to 30-40Hz (these are usually BIG center channels). See if it's noticeable to you and/or objectionable.