Testing Speakers and sound equiptment, what is a good CD?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dennis_N, Oct 11, 2002.

  1. Dennis_N

    Dennis_N Agent

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    I was wondering if you guys could recommend good CD's for testing speakers and systems in general (I am looking to test a car stereo at the dealer to see if the upgrade is really worth it). I know that it is basically up to my ears, but I was looking for something that will show all aspects of music. Fast double bass, long bass extensions, crisp highs and solid mids. I was thinking something new age or techno/dance. Any ideas on where I would look? My main listening is rock and pop, but I do listen to other types so I don't want to be surprised to hear something that I wasn't expecting. Thanks in advance for listening and giving me advice.
    Dennis
     
  2. Michael Roderiques

    Michael Roderiques Stunt Coordinator

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    For Audio testing I use several CD’s Here is a list of some

    Paul Simon Graceland.
    this is a very good CD to test with. Excellent recording, is used a reference recording

    K.D.Lang Ingénue.
    A range of instruments and a great female voice. great recording too.

    Madeleine Peyroux Dreamland
    What a voice, plus some cool tracks. her only recording.

    Counting Crows August and everything after
    Mr. Jones is interesting

    Rickie Lee Jones pop pop
    not a big fan, this recording is outstanding

    Los Lobos Kiko or Colossal Head
    Hard choice, I use both top quality recordings too.

    The Mambo Kings The Mambo kings sound track
    This is a system workout at times. Well recorded
     
  3. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    anything with which you are intimately familiar with.
     
  4. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Virtually anything by Patrick O'Hearn.
     
  5. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Julie Millers Blue Pony. Not much double bass but it sure is a great recording. I've been using it for 2 years now and I'll be hard pressed to find something better (that I like).
     
  6. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Dennis:

    If you can find it, "Famous Blue Raincoat" by Jennifer Warnes is considered by many, including Stereophile, to be one of the finest DDD recordings ever made. It is no longer in domestic print, and is now available only as a German import, but your local independent record store (that's a plug) ought to be able to get it. Amazon lists it in-stock, also.

    I'm actually not a huge fan of the record (Warnes' voice just doesn't do anything for me), but the second track, "Bird on a Wire," is just about the best thing I've heard for a speaker test: well-recorded female vocal, wide range of percussion, deep bass extension, airy soundfield. A well-recorded record, for certain.

    -AM
     
  7. Mike-grouse

    Mike-grouse Stunt Coordinator

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    Get techno type music like madonna ray of light for bass and soundstaging test.

    Most important, and it may be music you don't like, but you need heavy metal to test out the crossovers. If a speakers going to distort it's going to playing the electric guitar washout of heavy metal.

    I have speaker run through the gamut of soundstaging bass and clarity test just to utterly fail with heavy metal.

    The reason: the guitar hug the frequency range of the crossover switching frequencies. Bad crossover equals distroted sound due to an inadequate crossover incorrectly routing the sound to the drivers.
     
  8. Kevin Kopish

    Kevin Kopish Auditioning

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    I have found all of Bjork's albums to be great demo material. They have a mix of electronic beats and well recorded voices and instruments. Homogenic is particularly good (I think) because it has a lot of strings as well. There are so many things to listen for in speakers, and if you can find albums with good representations of a number of those elements, all the better.
     
  9. Stephen_E

    Stephen_E Extra

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    As absurd as this may seem.

    Greenday - Warning

    The acoustic rock seems to pluck the strings right in front of you if the cd is on a quality system. The recording seems to be done at very high quality compared to most other cds i've heard. If only they would turn this into SACD or DVD-A.

    Just my 2 copper.
     
  10. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I think the best material to demo with is the material you are most familiar with. Which song have you listened to on headphones, loudspeakers, to car stereos so much that you are sick of it. It won't matter that you are sick of it because you arn't there to enjoy them but to critically listen.

    The cleaner the tracks, the easier I find it to listen. The more instruments playing and the more distortion added to the guitar I find it harder to differentiate sound. Perhaps take your favorite CDs and rip tracks that have a lot of bass, the cleanest isolated vocals, and cleanest instrumentals. Put all your "demo" tracks onto one CD and carry that around. For bass testing you could add some deep sine sweeps to get a general idea of how deep the speakers can actually play.
     
  11. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Tori Amos Under the Pink LOTS of vocals, and plenty of piano.

    Fiona Apple Tidal

    Most anything by Diana Krall, if you can, one of the best discs I've listened to is the DVD Live in Paris.

    Dave Mathews Band Crash Well recorded, kind of has everything from flute to vocals to strings to brass. I was surprised to find this at a rather high end store not too long ago, but I also understand why. The vocals on Let You Down should not sound muddy or soft.

    I agree with using Techno. See how low it really goes with some mean electronic bass and complicated synthesizer work. Jazz with plenty of strings or horns also works well for testing.
     
  13. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Dennis:

    Another thought. Emmylou Harris' "Wrecking Ball" (1997, I think) is an absolutely stunning recording, produced by Daniel Lanois and engineered by Malcolm Burn (who himself produced Harris' more recent "Red Dirt Girl"). Try the first track, "Where Will I Be," with Larry Mullen's crisp percussion, very deep bass, and wide-open soundstage, not to mention Harris' ethereal vocal. The title track is another great test for a system, with very deep bass that ought to sound smooth and not overcome the rest of the instrumentation. A great recording.

    -AM
     
  14. Jo_M

    Jo_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Are there any "rock" cd's that are recorded at reference levels. I have no problem buying some of the suggestions mentioned but I'd prefer something that I'd enjoy. Most of the CD's (rock, heavy metal) seem to have been poorly recorded. I'm looking for the best recording possible.
     
  15. Mike-grouse

    Mike-grouse Stunt Coordinator

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    Quite the contrary, there are a lot of metal CDs that have great soundstaging.

    Of course some of the best recordings come from the bigger names:

    Metallica: Master of Puppets, Black

    Joe Satriani: Flying in a Blue Dream, The Extremist, Self Titled (best of all)

    Guns and Roses: Use Your Illusion I (november rain)

    White Zombie: Astrocreep 2000, Supersexy Swinging Sounds

    Zombie is overall the best at revealing bad crossovers. I've gotten many a great speaker to die on these types of tracks in the demo. While many may not like the music, it does give a reality check on if the speaker can perform. Mainly
     
  16. Jo_M

    Jo_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I've got the metallica, the guns and roses and the white zombie cd's. I've never thought that the metallica CD's were fantastic recordings, I'll have to go back and listen again. Don't get me wrong, I love the music I was just wondering if there are any reference quality rock/metal.
     
  17. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Prodigy "Fat of the Land"
    Prodigy "Music for the Jilted Generation"
    Massive Attack "Mezzanine"

    English Hi-Fi magazines like to use these for their listening test often.

    Any of these should meet your needs, especially for car stereo.
     
  18. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Dennis:

    There is certainly some logic in using music with which you are familar, to which I would add the following suggestions: (1) acoustic music, (2) music with human voice (as that is to which our ear is the most sensitive), (3) live music, as it contains "rea;" acoustics and space, (4) well-recorded music (i.e., anything from Chesky.

    Larry
     
  19. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  20. Joe Casey

    Joe Casey Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll add to the vote of 'anything you're intimately familiar with....', with the possible side note of '........and is well-recorded and spans genres'.
     

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