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best song to discern differences for systems

1079 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  hahns
I have been building an arsenal of music to test certain aspects of speakers for some time. Below is a list of what I use and why. I am interested to find out what others use and what they listen for in each selection.

Jennifer Warnes "Way down deep" off the cd "the Hunter". This is a great song and the lower bass is an african drum that is actually squeezed in order to get a unique sound. It is very tough for a subwoofer (the one note only kind) to reproduce this.

Vital Tech tones "VTT" this is a fantastic example of musical bass not just earth shattering low notes. Victor Wooten plays amazingly, even though this track is just to introduce the band it is one of my favorites.

Nine Inch Nails "into the void" I have heard this sound incredibly convincing on a pair of revel ultima studios. I use this track once I have found a system that has great imaging and soundstaging to test to make sure the kick drum sounds like a skin being struck and not a speaker.

Greg Brown "who killed **** Robin" great male vocals. The breathieness of the track is very lifelike on the correct system.

Diana Krall "Frim Fram Sauce" I use this track to see how liquid the system is. To determine if the instruments sound smooth and fluid from top to bottom.

Patricia Barber "Touch of trash" Mobile fidelity original master version. This is a great track to here image and sound stage of a small band and vocals.

The Eagles "Hotel California" from the JVC XRCD reissue. Great guitar to test the smoothness of the midrange.

The Sheffield Lab Drum and track Disc (JVC XRCD2 reissue). I try not to listen to test tracks even when auditioning new speakers, but tracks 1 and 2 speak volumes to how a good system can recreate a drum kit in your room.

Please let me know what you use. Thanks.
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Have you tried Showcase 2005 from Opus 3 ? It is a very nice hybrid multi-channel SACD with a wide range of acustical music. For each song on the CD there is a note on what to listen for.

Edit: Yeah, there is organ music to test your subwoofer.
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I'll have to scour the web for small audio clips from it. Does anyone else have anything that they would recommend? Maybe I should post this question in a different part of the forum?
Picked up this disc during CES at the Chesky booth. Has great tracks and explanations on what to listen for:


Originally Posted by hahns /forum/post/0

I'll have to scour the web for small audio clips from it.

The Showcase 2005 consists of songs from CDs released by Opus 3, and most of those CDs have sample audio clips on the Opes 3 site.
I arm myself with these.

Al Di Meola / Kiss My Axe

Chris Isaak / Baja Sessions

Brian Culbertson / It's On Tonight

Roger Water's / Amused To Death

Keiko Matsui / Deep Blue

Diana Krall / Love Scenes

Andreas Vollenweider / White Winds

Stanley Clark / 1,2, To The Bass

These cover it all for me... dynamics, bass, soundstage, male & female voice, piano, acoustic & electric guitar.
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Originally Posted by max190 /forum/post/0

Roger Water's / Amused To Death


Yes this Roger Waters disk is a great one. I heard it through a pair of Wilson Max 2s and the sound staging wrapped around the room. There is one track, I think the first where there is a dog running and a cougar comes out of no where. This particular system was only stereo but the dog ran right down the room behind me where it met the cougar on my rear left. Amazing to hear that without surround speakers.

Great picks.
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