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post #1 of 66 Old 05-12-2012, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought it would be fun and useful to know what folks use to audition equipment, especially speakers. I have created two disks from music I own (WAV format). As seen below, I don't do Classical or Jazz. However, I would hope those who listen to other genre's also post here. Some of what I have I listen for a specific portion (such as REM Drive at about 2 minutes in, or Kid Fears when Michael Stipe comes in) others I just like. I know I have a lot of redundancy. Here is what I have, I'd like to hear others suggestions.

Disk 1
Prologue Neil Diamond
Crunchy Granola Suite Neil Diamond
Closer To Fine Indigo Girls
Kid Fears Indigo Girls
Radio Free Europe R.E.M.
Drive R.E.M.
Everybody Hurts R.E.M.
What's Up 4 Non Blondes
Watermelon Man Herbie Hancock
Send Me on My Way Rusted Root
Drum Trip Rusted Root
So Far Away Dire Straits
Bloody Well Right Supertramp
Hide In Your Shell Supertramp
Burning Down The House Talking Heads
Slippery People Talking Heads
Flying In A Blue Dream Joe Satriani

Disk 2
Black Horse & The Cherry Tree KT Tunstall
Migra Santana
Fake It Seether
Bad Romance Lady Gaga
Alejandro Lady Gaga
Billie Jean Michael Jackson
Say It Right Nelly Furtado
Grounds For Divorce Elbow

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #2 of 66 Old 05-13-2012, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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You don't need to go overboard and post your entire list, just post a song and artist you use and why. I know from the Philharmonics thread that Fanfare for the Common Man is used, but which artist - Emerson, Lake and Palmer? Just kidding, I am sure it is an Orchestra. What do you use?


P.S. I used I-Tunes to select and organize, then Windows Media player to rip and burn for WAV format. I-Tunes provided the copy paste above for the songs and artist.

I have room to add more to disk 2.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #3 of 66 Old 05-13-2012, 08:28 PM
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Hotel California - Eagles
Superman - Five For Fighting
Time After Time - Eva Cassidy
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post #4 of 66 Old 05-13-2012, 08:58 PM
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Awaken by Yes, from the Keys to Ascension cd.

What a long, strange trip its been....
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post #5 of 66 Old 05-13-2012, 09:00 PM
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You need demanding, well recorded stuff at full quality.

Use audiophile orchestral music for checking the speakers for good dynamic range and sound-staging... massed choirs, female vocalists, music with piano and other string instruments. Those are the hardest things for speakers to reproduce. Don't make it easy for the manufacturer!

Use pop recordings sparingly, especially the newer stuff. They're usually poorly recorded and MP3 friendly... the dynamic range has been compressed to hell... with overemphasized treble and bass, and a lousy midrange.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #6 of 66 Old 05-13-2012, 09:16 PM
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Klendathu drop from starship troopers OST
Bioluminescence of the night from the avatar OST
Making of cyborg from ghost in the shell OST

I'll list more later
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post #7 of 66 Old 05-13-2012, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

You need demanding, well recorded stuff at full quality.

Use audiophile orchestral music for checking the speakers for good dynamic range and sound-staging... massed choirs, female vocalists, music with piano and other string instruments. Those are the hardest things for speakers to reproduce. Don't make it easy for the manufacturer!

Use pop recordings sparingly, especially the newer stuff. They're usually poorly recorded and MP3 friendly... the dynamic range has been compressed to hell... with overemphasized treble and bass, and a lousy midrange.

I second this.

The sad fact is that most of the pop/rap crap that is produced these days is just riddled with flaws. Some speakers hide these flaws simply because they are incapable of revealing properly all the information of the recording to start with. A good speaker will make crap sound like crap, while it will make great produced works and properly mixed work sound very good.

Unfortunately so many people listen to low rez mp3's that many record labels have stopped putting the effort into properly mastering their music. Why spend the money when people are going to get it off iTunes in mp3 quality when you don't have to.

BTW, I am not saying that every new recording is poorly mastered, just a great deal.
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post #8 of 66 Old 05-13-2012, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

You don't need to go overboard and post your entire list, just post a song and artist you use and why. I know from the Philharmonics thread that Fanfare for the Common Man is used, but which artist - Emerson, Lake and Palmer? Just kidding, I am sure it is an Orchestra. What do you use?


P.S. I used I-Tunes to select and organize, then Windows Media player to rip and burn for WAV format. I-Tunes provided the copy paste above for the songs and artist.

I have room to add more to disk 2.

Speaking of....

ELP's Trilogy is really good for auditioning.

You need to be familiar with whatever you use. Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb was phenomenal when I auditioned some DefTechs.


You listed Bloody Well Right. I never thought to use it, but I can see it being really good for auditioning.
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post #9 of 66 Old 05-14-2012, 02:18 AM
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Jim, especially because you're looking for speakers for rock/pop, one track you might want to consider adding to your audition list is
Track 1 from the Sheffield Labs Drum and Track disc: Jim Keltner's drum improv

This is absolutely one of my favorite tracks for testing the dynamics of a system. Most lesser systems fail. With this track played at the right volume, it should sound like there's a live drummer with a full drum set playing in front of you.

You should hear the clarity of the different strikes on the cymbals, as well as the different kinds of cymbals. A properly set up system will also reproduce uncanny imaging as he plays back and forth across the various drums and cymbals in the drum set. A system setup with really good imaging will allow you to precisely place/locate each item as it is struck.

You should clearly hear the difference between the toms, snare drum, kick drum etc. as well as the different sound when he switches from sticks to brushes to mallets. With a good system with really good dynamics, you should feel the kick drum in your chest just as you would with a real kick drum in the room.

Listen to the impacts and how precise they are, listen for overhang etc. Listen for system compression, distortion and clipping. Like I said, a good/great system should be able to play this loud enough and accurate enough that with your eyes closed, you would think there was a real drummer jamming in front of you. It should still sound like a real drummer with a drum set from outside the room.

I have specific tracks I use for auditioning vocals (Sade, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Charlotte Church, the songs 'If I Fell' and 'Let It Be' from the soundtrack of 'Across The Universe'), I also use Track 1 from Art Lande's SACD 'Piano Lullabies' as it is one of the best recordings I've yet heard that captures the sound of a Steinway Model D concert grand piano.

Even with all those other tracks though, the Keltner drum improv is THE track for me to test a speaker's dynamics and ability to accurately reproduce the sound of every piece in a drum kit (which should be important to you too given your preferred genres). If the speakers can handle this track well, they can handle the dynamics of most music.


Max
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post #10 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djbluemax1 View Post

Jim, especially because you're looking for speakers for rock/pop, one track you might want to consider adding to your audition list is
Track 1 from the Sheffield Labs Drum and Track disc: Jim Keltner's drum improv

This is absolutely one of my favorite tracks for testing the dynamics of a system. Most lesser systems fail. With this track played at the right volume, it should sound like there's a live drummer with a full drum set playing in front of you.

You should hear the clarity of the different strikes on the cymbals, as well as the different kinds of cymbals. A properly set up system will also reproduce uncanny imaging as he plays back and forth across the various drums and cymbals in the drum set. A system setup with really good imaging will allow you to precisely place/locate each item as it is struck.

You should clearly hear the difference between the toms, snare drum, kick drum etc. as well as the different sound when he switches from sticks to brushes to mallets. With a good system with really good dynamics, you should feel the kick drum in your chest just as you would with a real kick drum in the room.

Listen to the impacts and how precise they are, listen for overhang etc. Listen for system compression, distortion and clipping. Like I said, a good/great system should be able to play this loud enough and accurate enough that with your eyes closed, you would think there was a real drummer jamming in front of you. It should still sound like a real drummer with a drum set from outside the room.

I have specific tracks I use for auditioning vocals (Sade, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Charlotte Church, the songs 'If I Fell' and 'Let It Be' from the soundtrack of 'Across The Universe'), I also use Track 1 from Art Lande's SACD 'Piano Lullabies' as it is one of the best recordings I've yet heard that captures the sound of a Steinway Model D concert grand piano.

Even with all those other tracks though, the Keltner drum improv is THE track for me to test a speaker's dynamics and ability to accurately reproduce the sound of every piece in a drum kit (which should be important to you too given your preferred genres). If the speakers can handle this track well, they can handle the dynamics of most music.

Max

Have you listened to Drum Trip, Rusted Root, and if so, how does it compare to the drum track you recommend? I am guessing more information on cymbals, for one.

Thanks for sharing, I will look into these.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #11 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 04:25 PM
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I created a demo disc which I used to audition speakers. My philosophy wasn't to have nothing but great sounding recordings. I wanted the disc to contain a good cross section which was representative of the music I would really be listening to. Unfortunately, I listen mostly to rock music and a large percentage isn't that great sounding.

I wanted a variety of different styles of rock (hard rock, folk, progressive...etc). I wanted some songs that would test the ability of the speakers to reproduce bass as well.

Here is my disc:

1) Yes - Long Distance Runaround/The Fish - Nice bass on this track
2) Collective Soul - Heavy - This track should really rock
3) 10cc - Good Morning Judge - a great sounding track.
4) Simon & Garfunkel - Mrs Robinson - a great acoustic track
5) Brand X - Nuclear Burn - another great sounding track
6) ELP - Tank
7) Rush - Tom Sawyer
8) Pentangle - Bells - another great acoustic track
9) Chevelle - Comfortable Liar - another hard rock track with deep bass
10) King Crimson - Eyes Wide Open - very deep bass. Many speakers cannot reproduce
11) Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
12) ELP - Fugue
13) Grand Funk Railroad - Got This Thing on the Move - another bass heavy track
14) Steeleye Span - Jigs: Paddy Clancey's Jig / Willie Clancy's Fancy
15) Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
16) Primus - John the Fisherman

Mark

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post #12 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 04:43 PM
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That's a nice list, makes me want to hear some of those tracks I haven't heard on a nice system in a long time - and a few tracks that I'm not sure I've heard before that, based on the rest of the list, I might need to check out.

A few I've used recently:

King Crimson - Three Of a Perfect Pair
Jethro Tull - By Dun Ringill (kind of a bad recording unfortunately, but I still like it)
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - New South Africa (live)Chaka Khan - Through the Fire
Disturbed - Indestructible

p.s. "We find the defendant not gillcup, case dismissed." (couldn't help but thinking of that Monty Python skit when I saw your name)


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post #13 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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gillcup,

Excellent! Thanks for sharing. :-)

20/20 hindsight I should have added album as there can be different versions.

Only question, I have several Rolling Stones CDs and none are recorded particularly well. How about Gimme Shelter

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #14 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 04:55 PM
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Hi to all, a great thread indeed. Lots of goodies I'm gonna try myself later on.

In the meantime, here's my contribution with a song from the Danish group called Bliss, title: Song for Olabi.

This number will make your speakers and sub(s) shine to the brim.

Pump up the volume for best enjoyment!

Cheers, Feri


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post #15 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

Have you listened to Drum Trip, Rusted Root, and if so, how does it compare to the drum track you recommend? I am guessing more information on cymbals, for one.

Thanks for sharing, I will look into these.

Yup, I love Rusted Root and Drum Trip is definitely a fun track. But as an audition track, to me, the Sheffield Labs track is in a different league. It's much more revealing of a system's shortcomings, or on the other hand, its full capabilities.

I believe you can download the mp3 format of that track on Amazon for 99 cents. Although it's not the quality you would get on the DXD remastered disc, it'll give you an idea of the track itself before you pop the $3x.xx for the DXD disc(plays in normal CD players). Definitely worth the full price to me when it comes to auditioning speakers (and amps to pair the speakers with to see if they have enough headroom for the transients).


Max
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post #16 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 07:33 PM
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Pink Floyd has always been one of my favorites. The "Wish You Were Here" album is always the first one in when my friends and I hook up a new set of speaks. The Dark Side SACD is pretty incredible too.

Something that has always shown the good or bad speakers are IMO is solo piano recordings. Should give the crossover(s) a pretty good workout

here's a personal favorite:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Favo...7135561&sr=8-1

The whole 8th sonata is fantastic as is the 3rd movement of the 14th.
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post #17 of 66 Old 05-15-2012, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Where can you get 2 channel SACDs of rock/alternative artists? I have an XQ50c center but rather not use it for music with the XQ40s if I can do 2 vs multichannel. Did a brief internet search but except for some classics (e.g.Pink Floyd) most was classical and mulichannel. I only own one SACD and it is a multichannel demo with some good artists.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #18 of 66 Old 05-16-2012, 08:29 AM
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I had a friend over last night and showed off my Multichannel system with the DVD-A versions of:

Burning Down the House & Houses in Motion by Talking Heads

Prairie Wedding & Speedway at Nazareth by Mark Knopfler

Gaucho by Steely Dan & Bang a Gong by T-Rex

Amazing!
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post #19 of 66 Old 05-16-2012, 11:09 AM
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Opeth - Blackwater Park, Watershed
Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes
In Flames - The Jesters Race
Covenant - Nexus Polaris
Type O Negative - October rust
Amon Amarth - WOOOS and TOTTG
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post #20 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post


p.s. "We find the defendant not gillcup, case dismissed." (couldn't help but thinking of that Monty Python skit when I saw your name)

You nailed it!! That's exactly where it came from. I also love the sketch where they use the word "splunge". I considered that as my username.

Mark

There is a very thin line between "hobby" and "mental illness". - Dave Barry
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post #21 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

gillcup,

Excellent! Thanks for sharing. :-)

20/20 hindsight I should have added album as there can be different versions.

Only question, I have several Rolling Stones CDs and none are recorded particularly well. How about Gimme Shelter

I took Gimme Shelter from the 2002 DSD/SACD hybrid. And I agree with you that it isn't a great recording, which is why I included it. I love the song, quite possibly my favorite Rolling Stone song, and wanted to see which speaker made it sound the best. Interestingly, this was one of the songs that served as a tie-breaker. Songs like Mrs Robinson sounded great on all speakers I auditioned. But Gimme Shelter sounded smeared on some speakers but on the Aerial Acoustic 7t's which I ended up buying, had the best clarity. the vocals and instruments had the best separation.

Mark

There is a very thin line between "hobby" and "mental illness". - Dave Barry
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post #22 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gillcup View Post

You nailed it!! That's exactly where it came from. I also love the sketch where they use the word "splunge". I considered that as my username.

Lol, that was a good one too - and this one gets to me for some strange reason: "Oh Mr. Belpit, your legs are so swollen."


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post #23 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 05:20 PM
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My old standby is the Cowboy Junkies "Lay it Down" CD. Vocals are amazing, just the right amount of bass, and some awesome musicality. I've been using it for years.
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post #24 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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This is great to hear what others use, I hope others will share. So cool.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #25 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 07:00 PM
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Sympathy for the Devil (Beggars Banquet) is my Rolling Stones audition song.

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post #26 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

Hi to all, a great thread indeed. Lots of goodies I'm gonna try myself later on.

In the meantime, here's my contribution with a song from the Danish group called Bliss, title: Song for Olabi.

This number will make your speakers and sub(s) shine to the brim.

Pump up the volume for best enjoyment!

I listened to about a third of it on my phone, now I absolutely got to hear it on my system. I could not get it to play when you first posted. It is so great to find new music. Thanks for adding this!

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #27 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 07:52 PM
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post #28 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

I listened to about a third of it on my phone, now I absolutely got to hear it on my system. I could not get it to play when you first posted. It is so great to find new music. Thanks for adding this!

I was the same way! I want to hear it on an actual CD to get the best sound possible.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:
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  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #29 of 66 Old 05-17-2012, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Macstatic View Post

I was the same way! I want to hear it on an actual CD to get the best sound possible.

Glad to hear you Guys like this kinda music. I think its not just good for simply auditioning our systems, but a real bliss for our ears. Look for more here.

Enjoy!

Cheers, Feri


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post #30 of 66 Old 05-18-2012, 03:11 AM
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