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Old 10th May 2013, 05:12 PM   #1
redjr is offline redjr  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Danbury, CT
Default A great CD!

So, you've just completed that new amp, or DAC and you want something really musical to test it. Years ago it was suggested to me that if you really want to test an in-store audio system, or speakers you were considering take your favorite country music CD (LP at the time) along. Reason being, good country music generally has great dynamic range. From a solid bass line to a steel guitar it has it all and can really test your equipment and bring to life a range of audio you may be missing. Whether you're a fan of country music or not grab your favorite CD/LP and have a second listen.

With my renewed interest over the past couple of years of building audio projects and having completed several new amps, a DAC, and the new 2012 Doug Self preamp, I was anxious to find something that would really test them. I recently re-discovered a CD in my collection that offers a good (no great) range of sound that should make your system come alive. I know it did mine. If you've got a sub hooked into your system, then it will sound even better.

The CD is Alan Jackson's, A Lot About Livin'. IMO this has got to be one of the very best recordings for that genre. It is clean, crisp and the instruments are executed with aplomb. The CD has a range of tracks that cover lively music and the typical country ballads. I've always been a sucker for the slow, smooth easy listening ballads and this CD does not disappoint. But I have to say, what I've been focusing on is just how clear, concise and musical the CD sounds on my new class d amps and DAC. It's just a wonderful CD to listen to. It's one of those rare CD's where I can sit and listen to the whole things without skipping tracks. Alan's baritone voice is just as smooth and effortless as usual and seems to flow right out of my speakers. There's even a little bit of Jerry Lee Lewis famous piano style on a couple of the tracks. Not over the top, but enough to hear the clarity in every note!

If you've got this in your CD collection, dust it off, play it again and have a listen. You'll be pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is to listen to. Maybe you'll be drawn right into the overall music experience, and let the music flow right over you.

I found it to be a perfect test CD for my new system(s), and it has not disappointed yet, and let's me hear each and every time, the nuances of this very musical CD with tremendous dynamic range. Enjoy.


Last edited by redjr; 10th May 2013 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 19th May 2013, 10:54 PM   #2
admc007 is offline admc007  Scotland
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: falling off the south coast!
I usually "test" my HiFi with Tom Wait's Blue Valentine.

I think when it comes to singers, you either connect with the voice or you don't!
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Old 20th May 2013, 12:15 AM   #3
redjr is offline redjr  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Danbury, CT
I agree. Whether you like country or not, I think it offers a wide range of dynamics that would easily test a new amp or speakers. I was simply amazed at how well my latest projects sound with that CD. I'm sure there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of other CD's that offer as broad range of sonics - from lowest lows, to nice crisp highs and everything in between. This particular one of mine seemed to jump right out of speakers though.


BTW, another CD that adds a country twist to rock is the 1993 CD - Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. There are numerous great country artists featured on many of the eagles most notable hits, and Alan J. does not disappoint with his rendition of Tequila Sunrise.

Last edited by redjr; 20th May 2013 at 12:31 AM.
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