Good music for auditioning or testing out speakers

BryanMM

Grip
Joined
Jul 4, 2004
Messages
18
I would like to get some good material for listening to my new speaker system once I get it to see exactly how good it is as well as auditioning speakers in the future. I'm looking for CDs, of no particular genre as long as it shows off the sound well.

(Mods: Please move if this is in the wrong forum, wasn't sure if it should go in Music Area)
 

Garrett Lundy

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
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I like the soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian. Its not as 'tinkered with' like most pop music. Its heavy on the drums which will demonstarte the gamut of bassiness, and its got alot of brass in it (24 french horns, tubas, etc). Those'll drive your tweeters bonkers if they aren't upto snuff.

Some of my other favorites:

David Bowie. Space Oddity and Man Who Sold The World. Bowie was big on loopy sounds back in the day. Both of these songs have some odd stageing going on. So you'll get a real good demonstration of a loudspeakers soundstage from these.

Wolfpak. Gangsta Bounce. This is the song to audtion speakers if you want to check deep bass response. If you can't hear anything...you're gonna need a subwoofer that can play some deep tones to go with your new speakers.

Min Xiao-Fen. Stone Forest Nocturne. Chances are pretty good nobody else on the forum is going to suggest this one. But its a good track for precise imaging, and the strings on the pipa will quickly let you know if the speakers will have a harsh metallic tone to them.

Rolling Stones. Paint It Black. The new SACD's with this track kick serious ass. I mean how can you not want the single greatest rock song on hand when you're testing some new speakers?

Nirvana. Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam. This is a pretty good acoustic cover. I use it, along with the next pick for checking male vocals.

Leonard Cohen. Waiting For The Miracle. So Mr. Cohen has a voice that makes you think he spent his childhood gargling with razor blades and smoking unfiltered Camels. Thats cool. He's a great contrast for the tenor of Kobain.

Billy Joel. Piano Man. Yeah I'm a fanboy. I like to use this song because it is probably the the one I'm most familiar with. Its also a good tune to know to sing at bars.

Judas Priest. Under Blood Red Skies. Speaker salesmen hate this song. I like to use it because Rob's screams can be heard by dogs four counties away.


Yeah.... Now I wanna go use my stereo. See ya later.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
23
I tried "Gangsta Bounce" with my newly built 12" Shiva in a 95L vented box. Any idea how far down it goes. I was reading 108db on the sound meter at 10 ft. in a 40'x25' room with 10 ft. ceilings.
 

Jon W.

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Messages
121
Sarah McLachlan's song titled "Angel" is the very first song I play when demoing my speakers to friends. That song sounds so clean to me and I generally don't like that sappy stuff.
I just wish I had a SACD or DVD-A version of it.
 

John Garcia

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 24, 1999
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11,571
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NorCal
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John
Patricia Barber - Cafe Blue CD or SACD Music is OK, but I have not heard many recordings this good (MoFi).

Dave Mathews Band - Crash

Fiona Apple - Tidal

Loreena McKennit - Live in Toronto & Paris
 

MichealC

Auditioning
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
1
Sheffield Lab's "Drum and Track Record". The drum improv by Jim Keltner is one of the coolest things I've ever heard on a good system. INCREDIBLE recording. Tough to find in a store, but I have seen a few copies on eBay. Well worth tracking down, though.
 

Dennis Heller

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
Messages
288
I can't vouch for the quality of the recordings, but I use:

k.d.lang - Constant Craving (Ingenue)
Dave Matthews Band - The Last Stop, Crush (Before These Crowded Streets)
Soggy Bottom Boys - I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack (Track 5))
Alison Krauss - Down in the River to Pray (ditto (Track 3))
Greg Brown - Where's My Everything (Labour of Love - The Music of Nick Lowe)
 

dany

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
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693
Real Name
D
What about for a first timer for DVD-A and SACD. Good first ones to buy?
 

Brian Fellmeth

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
789
I'll second the kd lang Inguine suggestion, particularly the first track "save me". Whoever engineered that CD just nailed it.
 

PaulDA

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Feb 9, 2004
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St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
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Paul
When speaker shopping, I use Genesis' Firth of Fifth from Selling England by the Pound (track 3). It is 9 mins long and contains acoustic and electric guitar, a classically inspired grand piano opening, reasonably deep synth bass, flutes and cymbals to test tweeters, complex layers of instruments to test imaging and separation and, most importantly, I have memorized every note, chord progression and sound that emanates from this track. Always audition speakers with music you know extremely well. If a speaker can do well with this track, then I move on to some (familiar to me) acoustic material, jazz and classical, vocal and instrumental, to test for accuracy.

Whatever you choose, choose something you know. It's the only way to judge speakers properly.
 

NickSo

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2000
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4,260
Real Name
Nick So
Go with stuff you yourself is very familiar with... that way you can tell more from memory specifics of audio...

I bring along:
Sarah Mclachlan - Surfacing - Track 3. Forget the name, lots of bass in the intro, tests out the low end...

Jewel - Foolish Games

Norah Jones - Come Away With Me - Cold Cold Heart... Again with the bass, but also tests the tweeters, make sure they're not too bright/harsh for my tastes, as theres a lot of "SSS's" in the lyrics that sound really harsh with certain combinations of speakers/amps.

Maroon 5 - Songs about jane

Porcupine Tree - In Absentia

thats all i can think of thus far...
 

Elinor

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
Messages
559
Or, in a more general vein, always have at least one well-engineered disc of a female solo vocalist. A speaker that can do that well, has a lot going for it.
 

MikeGee

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Messages
292
I think just about any score from a movie would be good.
I have the score from the movie The Crow. Its what i play constantly on my Athena's to help break them in.
Also Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall has so many diverse sounds and IMO would be perfect for testing out speakers with.
 

Mark Danner

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 13, 2003
Messages
67
I second John's Loreena McKennit choice. From what I have heard a great female voice is the toughest for speakers to reproduce accurately. Loreena has an incredible voice....this comming from a guy who listens to mostly punk/hard core.

I would also recommend to anyone The Chieftains. Try Foggy Dew off of their Long Black Veil CD. Its got Sinead on vocals. Simply awesome. I get goose bumps listening to it. Or their Tears of Stone CD. Its all females on the vocals. Sinead and Loreena both have tracks on it.
 

eddieZEN

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
411
I like using Santana's "Supernatural" CD, many of the songs on it are very full range---you get the Latin drums but also guitar, lots of vocals, bass guitar, cymbals...good test to see if a speaker can handle treble without distorting or sounding harsh.

Also, Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms" is good for deep bass and midrange on the lesser-known songs like "Ride Across The River" and "The Man's Too Strong" and the title track.

I'd second Norah Jones' first CD, didn't like her second one much.
 

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