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post #1 of 53 Old 06-12-2020, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Suggested Music tracks for Demo?

Hello all,

Just wondering what music tracks you all listen to when it's time to demo speakers?

I really like Vocals and instruments.

Vocals like Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston, Andrd Bocelli..etc..

I also like classical music and like to hear details for instruments.

But honestly I listen to a wide variety of music and basically I like songs from almost any Genre.

Also any thoughts on bookshelves within the $800 to $1400 range? I just recently invested in dual subwoofers to handle the bottom end.

Thank you.

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post #2 of 53 Old 06-12-2020, 11:55 AM
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Steely Dan-Aja,Babylon Sisters, Gaucho
Dire Straits- Ride Across the River, The Man's to Strong
Doug MacLEOD-The Long Black Train
Buena Vista Social Club- Any track
Blood Sweat and Tears- And when I die, More and More
Liszt- Hungarian Rhapsodies
Beethoven Symphony- #3 and #9

Just a few ideas hope this helps
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post #3 of 53 Old 06-12-2020, 12:19 PM
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NEVER ENOUGH - Loren Allred
Williams Avenue - Quarterflash
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post #4 of 53 Old 06-12-2020, 03:01 PM
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I'd suggest sticking to stuff you like the most, because that's what's going to be most relevant to you and you know what it should sound like to your ears. Do try to get a variety, though.

My personal do-it-all track is the long version of The Box by Orbital but that's because it's like 5 songs in one. I also usually have some stuff that wasn't recorded super well (punk, classic hip hop with 12 bit samples), stuff that can get harsh/sibilant (late '90s drum & bass), something with a lot of stereo panning (I'd guess this is why people recommend Aja so much) and something with too much bass just to find the limits of the speaker.
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post #5 of 53 Old 06-12-2020, 03:47 PM
 
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Best is to bring your favorite CD or whatever media to test the speakers you are looking. Songs that you are familiar and know what to look for. Like for me, I'd bring a Diana Krall, I am familiar with her voice, and I look for the subtleties of the song. Don't just get advice from someone, take your favorite one there to test. You are buying, not me or others.
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post #6 of 53 Old 06-14-2020, 08:30 AM
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Think about what you want to test in the Speakers, then find music that has those characteristics. Likely you want Detail, Good Separation, low to no Compression, etc.... Yes, sometimes that can be your favorite music, but not always.

The list and hint of music and music types by the Original Poster sounds pretty good. But the point I'm making, which is a generalization, is that sometime your favorites music is not the music that best reveals the characteristics of the equipment.

So, when choosing music, choose it not because you like it, but rather because of what it will reveal in the equipment.

Detail
allows you to hear things clearly, something you are less likely to find in Pop music or in music that has been repeatedly remixed and re-released. For example, Drum Strikes are not a dull thud, but crisp clear snaps.

The opposite of Detail is Compression which mushes the various aspect in to an indistinct blur. Common in Pop Music. So, you want No or Low Compression music. Compression makes the music a mush of indistinct sound in the background.

This is also tied in with Separation, that is distinct separation of instruments. This allows each instrument to be picked out an evaluated separately.

You've been given some good suggestions, and your own list is pretty good too. But remember to choose music that will bring out the aspects in the music and by extension the equipment you are concerned with.

Just a few general thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #7 of 53 Old 06-14-2020, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2000 View Post
I really like Vocals and instruments.

Vocals like Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston, Andrd Bocelli..etc..

I also like classical music and like to hear details for instruments.
Sounds like you've already picked them. But in case there's some nagging feeling that you're missing other choices, here are some I use as demos.


EDM to test the range ...

Tiger Prowl - Cualli


My favorite for acoustic instrument demo is ...

Steamer Lane Breakdown - Doobie Brothers


My favorite demos for vocals are ...

Daft Punk - Pentatonix (an acapella vocal range tour de force)
The Banished Heart - Oceans of Slumber
The Sounds of Silence - Disturbed
Dream of the Archer - Heart


One to test drums ...
Sad But True - Metallica



I would also pick a song that has a lot of congestion (lots of stuff going on at the same time). I'm sure there are some classical pieces like that. I've found that some speakers can't handle congested metal, like some technical death metal.
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post #8 of 53 Old 06-14-2020, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2000 View Post
Celine Dion,
It's unusual for this genre to be used for subwoofer demos but there's a cut of her's, perhaps her biggest hit (I don't follow her so I wouldn't know), which will give subs a real workout all the way down to 27.5 Hz, which is unusually low for a female vocalist track:
https://worldradiohistory.com/hd2/ID...-Page-0034.pdf

There are bass enhanced versions too.


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post #9 of 53 Old 06-17-2020, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
*snip* The opposite of Detail is Compression which mushes the various aspect in to an indistinct blur. Common in Pop Music. So, you want No or Low Compression music. Compression makes the music a mush of indistinct sound in the background. *snip*
Y'all love to bash pop music, lol. I can rattle off pop track after pop track that I play regularly on my M2s and "mush of indistinct sound" is the last thing I would call any of it! Hell, there are so many layers just in the bass lines alone that impress me. Indeed, I often just grab something off Tidal's "new songs" list, generally pop, and find it sounds amazing -- stems galore! Every little detail in its own little sonic bubble in the sound-stage. Maybe some folks just need to find their way into this decade, .
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post #10 of 53 Old 06-17-2020, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Y'all love to bash pop music,... .
It is not a matter of Pop or No Pop, the subject under discussion is Compression or No Compress. And for the most detail and separation, you want as little compression as possible.

Still a person can audition with any music they want. But the best results are going to come from music that has Detail, Separation, and Clarity.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #11 of 53 Old 06-17-2020, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by s2000 View Post
Also any thoughts on bookshelves within the $800 to $1400 range?
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post #12 of 53 Old 06-17-2020, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2
Yes, the Sierra 2EX is a pretty nice idea as well.

The bass is very fast and refined and controlled if I had to describe it. The tweeter also pretty sweet.

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post #13 of 53 Old 06-17-2020, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smc79 View Post
Steely Dan-Aja,Babylon Sisters, Gaucho

Dire Straits- Ride Across the River, The Man's to Strong

Doug MacLEOD-The Long Black Train

Buena Vista Social Club- Any track

Blood Sweat and Tears- And when I die, More and More

Liszt- Hungarian Rhapsodies

Beethoven Symphony- #3 and #9



Just a few ideas hope this helps
Thank you, all songs I will test out for sure.

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post #14 of 53 Old 06-17-2020, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falonious View Post
NEVER ENOUGH - Loren Allred
Williams Avenue - Quarterflash
Never enough by Loren Allred is one of my favorites for vocals.

In assenza dinte or it's not goodbye by Laura Pausini is also really nice.
The Italian version is just unbelievable. I hope it is Italian I'm quoting...lol. it just sounds great.



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post #15 of 53 Old 06-17-2020, 06:31 PM
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Holly Cole Trio - "I Can See Clearly Now"
Rebecca Pidgeon - "Spanish Harlem"
AC/DC - "Hell's Bells"
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My experience is use human voice like vocals. Musical instrument particular electronic instruments are the worst as there is no standard sound. I found the hardest is to nail the voice in stereo. Any defect will show up and will sound strange. In my experience, if you can nail the voice, other things will fall in line. I even use news station, talk shows to judge the sound. I can assure you if you get the voice clear, solid, round and easy to understand, you have gone a long way already. I have many occasion that the musical instrumental song sounded good just to find out the voice is wrong, never having the voice right and sound bad with instrumental songs.

I know it sounds crazy, but that's my finding. That's the reason use a vocal song of someone you are very familiar with to test, you know how the person should sound to judge. Make sure you take your time to listen the whole song, don't jump around to find one specific sound etc. Relax and listen the whole song, take the time to get used to the sound of the system.

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post #17 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
It is not a matter of Pop or No Pop, the subject under discussion is Compression or No Compress. And for the most detail and separation, you want as little compression as possible.

Still a person can audition with any music they want. But the best results are going to come from music that has Detail, Separation, and Clarity.

Steve/bluewizard
How about you give me a track that you think is terribly compressed and muddled and I'll listen to it and tell you (as best I can verbalize) all the detail I can hear and where each detail lands on my sound-stage, then we can compare notes?
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post #18 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
How about you give me a track that you think is terribly compressed and muddled and I'll listen to it and tell you (as best I can verbalize) all the detail I can hear and where each detail lands on my sound-stage, then we can compare notes?
No, it is a pointless and unrelated discussion. I'll let my statements stand, and the Original Poster can judge for himself.

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post #19 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate that. Thank you

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post #20 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 11:02 AM
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A few tracks that I use -

Roy Buchanan
- various albums - squeaky blues guitar with very good separation of instrument.

Carlos Santana
- Greatest Guitar Hits - While My Guitar Gently Weeps - Yoyo Ma Cello intro, Fantastic Guitar soles with female vocalist.

Pretty much anything, especially original releases, by Carlos Santana are good.

Believe it or not, if you get one of the earlier release of Black Sabbath, they are recorded very cleanly. Though I'm not sure that holds for newer re-releases.

In a recent Demo I used BB King/Eric Clapton - Riding with the King - not all tracks are ideal, but some work well.

Other things -

Piano - not sure why, but if there is a flaw in the system, it will stand out with piano music. If the notes are irritating or smeared, then the system is lacking. The Piano should be crisp and life-like in a good system.

Female Vocals
- Much like piano, female vocal can bring out the worst in a system.

Snare Drums - worth paying attention to drums. They should have crisp detailed snaps not dull thuds.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard

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post #21 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
No, it is a pointless and unrelated discussion. I'll let my statements stand, and the Original Poster can judge for himself.

Steve/bluewizard
Disagree completely.

I would pick many of these "compressed and muddy" tracks for a demo because if a set of speakers can make them sound fantastic then they are likely free of colorations.

Similarly, very compressed metal with lots of detail can be difficult for speakers that add too much of their own signature to the sound. They can't get out of the way of the music, so their distortions negatively impact the piece as a whole. But, the same speakers may sound great if you strip the recording down to a voice or more simplistic acoustic arrangement.
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post #22 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 11:22 AM
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Disagree completely.

I would pick many of these "compressed and muddy" tracks for a demo because if a set of speakers can make them sound fantastic then they are likely free of colorations.

...
I'm not standing on the side of a mountain with Stone Tablets in my hands. You can do anything you want. I simply gave my opinion of what would work best for auditioning audio equipment and revealing the system. And I stand by what I said. But my word is not law.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #23 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 11:27 AM
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Personally, most any Steely Dan album works for me.
Also Diane Schuur & The Count Basie Orchestra is a pretty darned good recording.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #24 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
I'm not standing on the side of a mountain with Stone Tablets in my hands. You can do anything you want. I simply gave my opinion of what would work best for auditioning audio equipment and revealing the system. And I stand by what I said. But my word is not law.

Steve/bluewizard
Thou shall not Judge! I got a real chuckle out of this. Thank you

I've learned that in audio you either like something or not. Revealing speakers will shell out really good content and really highlight poorly recorded music in my opinion. Some speakers can tune this down but again personally preference.

It's all a matter of preference at the end of the day. Agree to agree to or disagree.

I like imagine dragons for instance and Demons can be a tough listen on a detailed speaker.

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post #25 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
I'm not standing on the side of a mountain with Stone Tablets in my hands. You can do anything you want. I simply gave my opinion of what would work best for auditioning audio equipment and revealing the system. And I stand by what I said. But my word is not law.

Steve/bluewizard
Awww, well thanks for the permission . Alas, I would say picking complex tracks with lots of material (which tend to be measurably less dynamic for "some reason") better "reveal the system" than music that is trivial (e.g., acoustic stuff, IMO). People often pick speakers that add "richness" because a certain genre they enjoy "sounds better" to them under those conditions. However, those speakers often fall apart playing back highly complex music because all their "warmth" combats the wealth of information in the "less dynamic" recording. Then they whine it sounds like crap and blame it on the music and its dynamic range. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy it like crazy and can switch to classical or jazz and have just as big a smile on my face.

Which is to say, IMO, audition a large variety of music you enjoy because if you stick to tracks that are "technically marvelous" then most speakers will sound pretty good. But, put on something that "requires" a nice neutral speaker and you may quickly become one of the complainers. Unfortunately, you'll be complaining that the content is the problem and, after purchasing what is likely to be my last ever pair of speakers, I haven't found anything yet I think they make sound bad. This includes "highly compressed pop music" which, in fact, often excels at having tons of awesome details, clarity, and (likely artificial) sound-stage / imaging effects. That is, if your speakers aren't too busy getting in the way with their own "signature sound".

Quote:
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*snip* I like imagine dragons for instance and Demons can be a tough listen on a detailed speaker. *snip*
What do you find "tough" about the listen? I haven't put this album on for a while, but I'm all game to cue it up on Tidal tonight.

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post #26 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
.... Alas, I would say picking complex tracks with lots of material (which tend to be measurably less dynamic for "some reason") better "reveal the system" than music that is trivial (e.g., acoustic stuff, IMO). ... That is, if your speakers aren't too busy getting in the way with their own "signature sound". ....
You are on to something here. Slow and easy music is ... easy.

Fast cluttered music sometimes not so easy for some speakers. I would suspect the some speakers would not do well with Heavy Metal, or perhaps very full orchestral music; just too much going on for the speaker to keep up.

But my underlying point was to make sure the music you pick reveals what you want to hear from the Speaker (mostly speakers).

But, that is why you tailor the music to reveal what is important. Yes, some speaker can falter under fast and furious music. Other speakers falter on crisp life-like detail.

But again, the underlying point is, a variety of music that will reveal what you need the Speakers to reveal.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #27 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Awww, well thanks for the permission . Alas, I would say picking complex tracks with lots of material (which tend to be measurably less dynamic for "some reason") better "reveal the system" than music that is trivial (e.g., acoustic stuff, IMO). People often pick speakers that add "richness" because a certain genre they enjoy "sounds better" to them under those conditions. However, those speakers often fall apart playing back highly complex music because all their "warmth" combats the wealth of information in the "less dynamic" recording. Then they whine it sounds like crap and blame it on the music and its dynamic range. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy it like crazy and can switch to classical or jazz and have just as big a smile on my face.



Which is to say, IMO, audition a large variety of music you enjoy because if you stick to tracks that are "technically marvelous" then most speakers will sound pretty good. But, put on something that "requires" a nice neutral speaker and you may quickly become one of the complainers. Unfortunately, you'll be complaining that the content is the problem and, after purchasing what is likely to be my last ever pair of speakers, I haven't found anything yet I think they make sound bad. This includes "highly compressed pop music" which, in fact, often excels at having tons of awesome details, clarity, and (likely artificial) sound-stage / imaging effects. That is, if your speakers aren't too busy getting in the way with their own "signature sound".





What do you find "tough" about the listen? I haven't put this album on for a while, but I'm all game to cue it up on Tidal tonight.
On a warmer and less bright speaker the track sounds fine.

A really detailed speaker where the treble is showcased can make this song sound almost unlistenable. I love the song however and this was an observation.

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post #28 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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What do you find "tough" about the listen? I haven't put this album on for a while, but I'm all game to cue it up on Tidal tonight.[/QUOTE]


after purchasing what is likely to be my last ever pair of speakers, I haven't found anything yet I think they make sound bad....

DreamWarrior...
..would you mind sharing the speakers, amp and preamp you are using? A dac if you are using one?

I'm curious as I'm in the process of testing out bookshelves and maybe a tower. Always get a lot of ideas from these forums which is cool.






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post #29 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 01:21 PM
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I find that well-recorded classical music provides the best test of a speaker's capabilities. To me, the highest dynamics come from recent DSD recordings of large orchestras playing Bruckner (6th & 7th), Mahler (6th), Wagner, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, etc.
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post #30 of 53 Old 06-18-2020, 01:25 PM
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I'm a metal head but I'd be damned to not suggest the first Duran Duran album. Every single element of the music can be clearly heard in the recording. An underappreciated yet masterfully produced recording with the essence of the 80's. I love Taylor's bass playing on that. Also worth mentioning is the DSD of Michael Jackson's Thriller, Daft Punk's Random Access Memories or even the old Robert Plant album Now and Zen. People are so hung up on the esoteric stuff or established demo material they overlook all the classic pop and rock that really defined music for it's time.
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