What are your standard "show-off" tracks?
What albums do you use to show off/break in/test your system(s)?
- Bob James: Obsession
- Bruce Springsteen: Live in New York 2000
- Yellowjackets: Four Corners
- Eric Kunzel: Time Warp
- Blue Man Group: The Complex
By far and away, for me, it's Nohra Jones "Painter Song".
When played at the right volume, it sounds as if she and the instruments are right in the room. The imaging is holograhic. People are amazed at the realism and are convinced they are listening to the best system they have ever heard.
Gives me a buzz! :D
Vangelis, Bladerunner soundtrack, track 1. Tests: midrange transients, bottom end. Decker's voice should be right there, and at 1:07 there's an arpeggio in the tops with a close to subsonic bottom end swell which should bring to mind the aircar rising past the tall buildings. The whole record has huge ambience, and a system with good off-axis power response will show the soundstage extending well past the speakers.
Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes, title track. Tests: even midrange frequency response. The chorus is overdubbed and panpotted L/R, which collapses to a solo voice for the verse. The change should almost suck you into the image. Doing this properly means getting female vocals right.
Harry Connick Jr, When Harry Met Sally, It Had To Be You w/big band (track 1). Tests: dynamic range, imaging. The band starts off quietly with clarinet, builds up with brass, until an enormous crescendo which drops right into Connick's vocal. Set up right, the intro will knock people flat. Systems with good imaging will show everything placed precisely on the soundstage; even the piano should have a decent width on solo tracks like WInter Wonderland.
Thomas Dolby, Aliens Ate My Buick, Airhead. Tests: upper bass/lower midrange coherency. Lots of drums & bouncy synth in this one. Systems with the right amount of tautness (not thick, not thin) should make you want to get up & dance. The next couple of tracks (Hot Sauce, Pulp) aren't slouches, either.
Danny Elfman, Edward Scissorhands. Tests: upper midrange transients, dynamic range, imaging. It's a movie soundtrack in the lush romantic style, with lots of 1940s Disney "ooooo" choruses and strings, along with some trademark Elfman chimes and pizzicatos. This is another soundstage-past-the-speakers disc, and a transparent system should distinguish the various orchestral sections. If you can close your eyes and think of a splendid old movie house, great!
I have more, but I tend to use movie soundtracks because they seem to provide that dramatic experience I like to have for showing off my system. No immaculately presented happy little dulcimers for me, thanks, I prefer a presentation in the grand manner!
What a bunch of Sissies :-)
Forget the theatrical advertisements for THX crap, and the 'any system sounds good' Elevator music Dross
Try a something actually 'challenging' for your system to reproduce... something overcompressed with massive content.
Try something Like PJ Harvey .. that will take the wind out of yr average Audio Sails
No mistake it Sounds just awfull on midfi systems.. BUT.. the higher the resolving power the better it sounds.. on a Genuinely "good' system the woman's Cat screeching becomes ..very ..enticing Vocals.. the Voice is surprisingly v damned good. The recordings are v well done by the way.
I use these tracks for demo-ing new gear always.
Bella fleck - Flight of ths Cosmic Hippo. that first Dropping Bass note and then the massive attack of the banjo plucks tell me right away if a speaker has "it".
Sass Jordan - Racine - Track: You Don't Have to Remind Me. Sass's voice falls right into a range that tells you if the midrange is right. I use this track for setting up P.A. systems mostly as her voice is right in the horn range and most horns tend to sound really honky sounding. a good P.A. box will be smooth through her voice range.
Dallas Wind Symphony - Tritico. Lots of dynamic range here. huge kettle drums in the back ground should make the room go "WOOOOOOM". wind instruments can sound harsh on some systems but should be very clean and very very detailed.
Milla Jovovich - The Divine Comedy. Extremly well recorded and clean. lots of very good image placment. Very 3D album.
Grace Jones - Slave To The Rythm. very clean triangle transients. tend to sound musshy on lesser systems, or ringy on some amps. track 7 has subsonic's in two spots. about 5hz or so. gets missed on most systems. also digital stereo tricks really tell of the mid/highs are right.
The Crystal Method - Vegas - Played at high volume level. Test's for power handling. and visceral impact. if you are exauhsted by the end of this story CD. your there.
and the gold. The first Crown audio SASS-P demo CD. two Tracks. Street Harley and fireworks in the mountains. the harley should rattle your privates and the fireworks well. IF your system survives with any sort of volume level at all......be carefull with this track.
"I do believe you're right, Percy. It sounds as though someone's replaced a Sylvania with a Svetlana."
"Quite, quite. Without swapping the other thermionic valves, eh? Well, one must make do with the exigencies of the studio. Right. Who do you favour for the mud wrestling match this evening?"
Robbie Robertson, Somewhere down the crazy river
Dire Straits, Private investigation
Bruce Cockburn, Wondering where the lions are
Herbie Hancock, "Gershwin's World, " specifically the first two tracks, "Overture" and "It Ain't Necessarily So."
I use many of the ones posted above. Here are a few more I use as well:
(Artist - Album - Song)
Billy Cobham - Warning - Mozaik
Barry White - Staying Power - Low Rider (This has some of the lowest frequency content of any CD I own. It will really show the bass extension and control limits of your subwoofer/room setup.)
Eddie Daniels - Blackwood - Blackwood
fiona apple - extraordinary machine
jeff buckley - hallelujah
dj shadow - midnight in a perfect world
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