What do you listen to to test you new creations?
I want some music to listen to new speakers on to test them. I want something with real detail like the fingers of the player moving on the fret board, their breath in the mic.
What do you think? What do you listen to?
After dozens of on and off-axis measurements at different horizontal, vertical, and oblique angles and distances, my first "listen" is pink noise. Then, very familiar, well recorded, hi-res female vocals.
I like Steely Dan or some Donald Fagen, Dire Straights just well recorded music.
dave matthews band before these crowded streets , jorney raised on radio 20bit super bit mapping sony label , dire straits
I use the same CD that I tuned my PA system back in the 90's
Mariah Carey MTV unplugged. Her range really let me know if I got the vocals right and she has quite a few breathy sounds.
For male voices, Dire Straits and for everything else (not PA) the Telarc version of the 1812 Overture. Throw in a little Johnny Cash to get the feel of the plucking strings and all is well.
My son uses "Bass, I Love You" so my genetic quirk was not passed down. :dunno:
Another Dire straights vote here :) specifically love over gold, private investigations.
Also "Ella and Louis" (verve remaster)
Nick Cave "the boatmans call"
Jenifer Warne "famous Blue Raincoat"
White stripes "elephant" This seems to reveal all sorts of shortcomings, I'm still trying to get this to sound good, perhaps my CD is bad ;)
I use a variety of stuff that generally mimics my musical tastes at the time I'm evaluating, but there are a few tracks that pretty much always get a listen. These tracks are not necessarily the genres I normally listen to on a day-to-day basis, but are ones that are familiar to me (very important ... so choose music you know well and have heard on a variety of systems ... feel free to audition a track I mention but you should really choose your own).
In my case these are tracks I've been listening to since the late 70's where my quest for HiFi began and have heard on hundreds if not thousands of systems.
They are not necessarily outstanding tracks for sound quality ... I like to include a track or two that are congested or with limited dynamic range, for example ... but they do tell me something about the system.
Key: Artist - Track - 'Album'
Rikkie Lee Jones - My Funny Valentine (live) - 'Girl At Her Volcano'
Rikkie Lee Jones - Last Chance Texaco - 'Rikkie Lee Jones'
Joan Armatrading - Opportunity - 'Show Some Emotion'
Stevie Wonder - Living For The City - 'Innervisions'
Tom Waits - Romeo Is Bleeding - 'Blue Valentine'
The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations - 'Endless Summer'
Todd Rungren - Good Vibrations - 'Faithful'
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Lucky Man - 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer'
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street - 'Baker Street'
Howlin' Wolf - Red Rooster - 'London Sessions'
J. Geils Band - Hard Drivin' Man - 'Live'
Joe Jackson - Fools In Love - 'Look Sharp!'
AC/DC - Hell's Bells - 'Back In Black'
Aretha Franklin - Natural Woman - 'The Big Chill [soundtrack]'
Blind Faith - Can't Find My Way Home - 'Blind Faith'
Blondie - Hangin' On The Telephone - 'Parallel Lines'
Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billy Joe - [single]
Count Baise & Joe Turner - The Honeydripper - 'The Bosses'
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Our House - 'So Far'
Eagles - Bitter Creek - 'Desperado'
Etta james - At Last - 'At Last'
Glenn Gould - One or more of the 3 Bach tracks - 'Handel: Suites for Harpsichord / Back: Well Tempered Clavier'
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky - 'Spirit In The Sky'
Patsy Cline - Crazy - [multiple albums] (this one's got a strange click track that's very revealing)
Rory Block - Terraplane Blues / Sing Good News - 'Mama's Blues'
Rory Block - Uncloudy Day - 'High Heeled Blues'
There are (many) more modern artists I'll listen to as well, but these are tracks that have been used for years, so they always get a listen.
A half-dozen or so of my fave audition recordings:
John Mellencamp - Whenever We Wanted and/or Dance Naked
Slave - Stone Jam
UFO - Walk On Water
John Hiatt - Bring The Family
Steely Dan - Aja
Erich Avinger - Poets, Misfits, Beggars And Shamans
Breath in the mic may not be a good thing: close mic'd singers, while creating an intimate-sounding environment, doesn't sound natural at all.
Has anyone listened to Bob Geldof's album Sex, Age and Death?
Some good stuff there - mainly Bob + guitar, but on some of the tracks there's some low frequency stuff too (as in sub 30Hz low - you don't always notice it playing, until you turn it up and wonder why everything's shaking).
The Supernatural album by Santana is good - listen to the last track (the Calling). It's a long track, but plenty of dynamic range when the drums get going. Nearer the start (dynamic drum bit is the second part, there's a quiet bit seperating the two), the bass should be deep, but still have "texture" (for lack of a better word), not just a thump/rumble.
While its not to everyone's taste, some well-recorded choir music is a slightly extreme test of imaging. I've heard a system once that put 8 people in their own place next to each other between the speakers. You could point directly to each one.
Paul Weller - Stanley Road
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon - last few tracks in particular get rather complex: a system's ability to seperate all the instruments to be distinguishable and easy to follow individually is a decent sign. You'll know it's set up right when he says "I can't think of anything to say" (track 8/9), and he's just behind you. Scary when done right.
Steeleye Span - (seen these guys live in a school hall) very nice, natural sounding recordings - music might not be to everyone's taste though.
I use mp3's because I only have one CD... :O
I guess I could see if the speakers can reveal the artifacts of a 320kbps file vs other speakers...The speakers that I currently listen to don't reveal much difference in quality at 160kbps or greater, either that or I myself can't tell the difference... :) Let me get my song list ready, they are just songs I like and not songs where you will be able to "hear the orchestra", "feel like the acoustic guitar is right in front of you" in most cases, as a lot are made more electronically. I'll have to look into some better test material when I start more damanding projects :)
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