Songs for speaker comparison/testing ?

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May 16, 2012
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Hi all..


I have been seeking few threads for good songs to test my speaker set and comparing it with others. I have gleamed a few, but would still like to ask about other songs which other stalwarts might be using regularly.

Pls do suggest songs which ll come in handy for my speaker test/comparison mission. (bass/treble/sats/woofer.. the works)


Thanks in advance :)
 

Copper0

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I think that is a very tricky question. I think it depends on what kind of music you like (as you said songs as opposed to spoken word clarity). The best songs are song that you know well. A good set of speakers will hopefully let you hear something that you have never heard before. My favorite example of that is not hearing the drum kit but hearing the stick hit the skin.
I used to be a DJ (playing electronic music) and have played on some very large systems, the bass and volume were mind blowing on some but it can't beat the clarity of my home system listening to Jazz.
 

jojo69

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I always use "gunsmoke" by the Coup to test bass response
 
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You do have a point Copper0 :)

But i refrained from mentioning the genre of music i like because the trained ears here might not share my interests in music. But since you asked, i avoid hard rock type songs.
Jazz/Vocal jazz is right up my alley. I also prefer the electro genre. Basically the soothing/smooth type of songs which ll lead you to audio nirvana. :)

But at the same time, if the clarity of the speaker system is defined by somebody's personal fav song/beat, which i dont have a penchant for.. i am still ready to give it a shot. The purpose will beat the preference really.
 

|Tch0rT|

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I use a mix of songs I'm familiar with that I know are recorded well. I also use this disc:
http://www.chesky.com/various-artists--ultimate-demonstration-disc.html

All the songs are recorded well and there's a track before each musical track explaining what to listen for in each song. My personal go to track on that one is "Spanish Harlem" since it has a lot of good qualities (detail, staging, imagining, nice bass, etc).
 

Cerulean

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Subscribed. Also, that "Ghost in the Shell SAC OST 1 - Inner Universe" that dragonageinquisition suggests makes me emotional :\ reminds me of the quality and emotional binding to great anime like Eureka 7, Eureka 7 Ao, Gun Sword, Area 88, Sword Art Online, Linebarrels of Iron, Full Metal Panic series, Zone of the Enders Dolores i, Guilty Crown, Claymore, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, and others
 

Copper0

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2 That I like for their range and layers are
Sheesha - Banco De Gaia
Chocolate Elvis - Tosca

Neither i think are very quick so we are not looking at response time with these.
 

John721

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Hiroshima - One Wish
Akmusique - Ocean Drive 707
For bass, check out the album Pocket Rockets by Roberto Del Burgo. 'All day every day' and 'Change' mixes have some fast, very low hitting bass.
For vocals, Poets of the Fall's 'No end, no beginning', and one older Celine Dion song 'Misled'.
 

Rational

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Telarc recording of the 1812 overture. Be warned it has been known to destroy speakers if you get stupid with the volume knob.
 

Megalith

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I thought classicial/orchestral pieces are normally used, as they tend to be full of dynamic range.
 

B00nie

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Diane Krall - Live in Paris is a standard issue in audio expos.
 

Andyk5

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Michael Jackson's Thriller for pop/rock vocals, vocal highs and mid bass.
 

Redshirt #24

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Charles Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, perhaps, if you have/can get a good recording of it. Or Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms.
 

malacoda

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Its usually best to stick with things you know very well. That being said these are some tracks I find to be quite revealing

The Stanley Clarke Trio with Hiromi & Lenny White -- Jazz In The Garden -- Global Tweak
Arne Domnerus & Gustaf Sjokvist -- Antiphone Blues -- Nobody Knows the Trouble I See
Dick Hyman -- Thinking About Bix -- Wringin' and Twistin'
Johnny Adams -- One Foot in the Blues -- Won't Pass Me By
 
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Telarc recording of the 1812 overture. Be warned it has been known to destroy speakers if you get stupid with the volume knob.

The main reason it destroys speakers is because it overloads the 5 to 20Hz frequency range during the cannon shots which can cause an AV receiver running speakers in full range to go into clipping. The song itself doesn't really test speakers beyond dynamic range and bass extension, it's actually a rather simple orchestra piece and there are far better options to test a speaker's playback accuracy.

And if you are testing computer speakers I'd be surprised if you could manage to blow them playing Overture 1812 since very few PC speakers even have usable output below 40Hz. Even flagship PC speakers like the Klipsch 5.1 Ultra and Creative Gigaworks S750 or Logitech Z5500 subs basically brick wall below 35Hz.
 
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dandragonrage

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Some:

Norah Jones - Young Blood (or really she has quite a few that'll be good choices)
Marc Cohn - Walking in Memphis
Eric Clapton - I've Got a Rock and Roll Heart
Huey Lewis and the News - When the Time Has Come
Ayreon - Amazing Flight (and many of their songs)

Lots of classical works well. To throw a few out there:

Chopin - Etudes Op. 10 No. 4
Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue


I kinda like Chemical Brothers - Setting Sun for a bass test. I end up using various movie soundtracks (like the Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean) for bass tests often too. (For subwoofer setups, and at lower levels can help find resonant frequencies that may need to be tamed)

I also like the Blue Man Group for this, especially again in finding resonant frequencies. Something like "Drumbone"

One important thing is that you need to actually be familiar with the songs before you can judge speakers based on them. Also, include some songs that you like a lot, even if they aren't considered good test songs for SQ. Why? Because you should buy speakers that sound good for what YOU want to use them for firstmost.
 
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cortexodus

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Mos Def & Massive Attack - I Against I
Sigur Ros - Hjartad Hamast
Tsutchie - The Long Way of Drums
Smashing Pumpkins - Geek USA
Michiru Oshima - You Were There
Texhnolyze - Music Only Music But Music - The Edge

Stuff I usually go to when I'm trying out a new set of headphone. Can't really say if they're the kind of thing most people would pick for that sort of thing but i think Copper0's bit about picking tracks you know well and have listened to on a variety of equipment is really important.
 

Ryleh

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Joanna Newsom - Sawdust And Diamonds
Charles Mingus - Pedal Point Blues
La Dispute - King Park
This Town Needs Guns - +3 Awesomeness Repels Water
Yuring Honing Trio - Walking On The Moon
Regina Spektor - Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)
Nellie Mckay - Caribbean Time
Wretched - Exodus of Autonomy
 
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OrAnGe

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Love this, "Anarchy Online - Shadowlands Battle Music". It's on youtube.
 

Sixthsense

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Fenris_Ulf

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I personally use the soundtrack from "The Saint" . It has different music types, a good dynamic range, hits the highs and lows, has male and female voices, and differing levels of complexity and speed.
 

username00

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Primus - Greet the Sacred Cow (for cymbals)
Steve Vai - The Boy From Seattle (overall presence, clarity, and midrange focus)
Steve Vai - Tender Surrender (overall presence, clarity, and midrange focus)
Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter (overall presence, clarity, and midrange focus and bass punchiness)
KMFDM - Money (sub bass freqs)
KMFDM - Move On (sub bass freqs)
KMFDM - Sycophant (sub bass freqs, clarity, spatialiazation and transparency)
Days of the New - Now (the acoustic guitar solo, hands down some of the cleanest, most realistic I've heard recorded)

Like everyone else said, all stuff I know really well, and love the recording quality of. It's amazing how absolutely shitty some music sounds, directly off the CD. A few off the top of my head, whoever masters Mudvayne's music is completely tone deaf, the smashing pumpkins suck at mastering their music too (LOVE them, but cant stand the wickedly strong 80 - 500hz midbass, and massive dip in midrange frequency in every song.)
 
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Showbiz

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Such a tough question to answer, I find myself changing my settings depending on what type of music I'm listening to at the time.

I guess if I had to pick a few I would choose:

Tower of Power - Still be diggin on James Brown
Marilyn Manson - Dried up, Tied and Dead to the World
Infected Mushroom - Going Insane
Eagles - Hotel California (live)
 

Viper87227

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Michael Jackson's Thriller for pop/rock vocals, vocal highs and mid bass.

I'm going to second this. Thriller is actually probably my least favorite Micheal Jackson song, however this entire album is recorded impeccably well. I recall reading somewhere that he was a huge fan of tube equipment. Of the four albums of his I actually listen to (Off the Wall - Dangerous) all of them are beautifully recorded.
 

Ravix

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I work in the audio industry and test speakers often. Below is my playlist which contains a little bit of everything. Some songs are on the list simply because they are popular and represent what people are listening to. Others are on the list because they tend to produce particular flaws in speaker systems.


Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside
Cake – Strangers in the Night
ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) – Maria
Ratatat – Wildcat
Kimbra – Good Intent
Esperanza Spalding – City Of Roses
Kronos Quartet – Ekitundu Ekisooka
Jacky Terrasson – I Should Care
Guns N' Roses – Welcome To The Jungle
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Ingrid Michaelson – The Way I Am
Peter Kater – Thanksgiving
Pink Floyd – Time - 2011 - Remaster
Pink Floyd – Money - 2011 - Remaster
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean - Single Version
Jamiroquai – Runaway - Remastered for 2006
Rihanna – We Found Love
David Guetta – Titanium - feat. Sia
2nd Chapter Of Acts – Night Light
Jessie J – Price Tag
John Mayer – Gravity
Bruno Mars – Treasure
John Newman – Love Me Again
Disclosure – Latch
Jennifer Lopez – Live It Up
Carrie Underwood – Good Girl
Reel Big Fish – Good Thing - Best Of
Blaque – 808
Marcus Miller – Blast
Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are
David Chesky – Phase Test
David Chesky – Channel Balance Test
David Chesky – The Stepped Stereo Pan Test
Hollywood Sound Effects – Reference Tone 1 Khz Tone
 

PCMusicGuy

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While your favorite songs can be the best to test with, sometimes they will not have the depth to really reveal subtle differences in speakers. For that, you would need some fairly high quality recordings.

Here are my contributions: the Ultrasone CD (came with higher end headphones) and some higher quality recorded classical music.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4p0ivz830cmmoyx/B7X-3_zB_F
 
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