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The Best audiophile tracks to test equipment

post #1 of 149
Thread Starter 
What are your top #5 tracks to test new audiophile toys?

Mines:

#1 - "Time" from Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd [1973]

A masterpiece of production and mastering done by Alan Parsons. You can test almost everything with this track:
detail, with the sound of the clocks at the beginning, bass, sibilance, vocals, drums, resolution, dynamics, soundstage, stereo separation, headroom...

#2 - "Sultans of Swing" from Dire Straits, Dire Straits [1978]

Classic rock at its best. Guitars, warmth, drums.

#3 - "Remember The Time", from Dangerous, Michael Jackson [1991]

Overwhelming bass, attack, punch, definition.

#4 - "Entre dos aguas" from Fuente y Caudal, Paco de Lucia [1973]

A classic flamenco instrumental masterpiece. Congas, guitar, attack, bass.

#5 - "Blue Train", from Blue Train, by John Coltrane [1957]

Jazz at its best. Brass, treble, definition, highs, soundstage.


Those are the ones that I find myself listening to most whenever I test new material, as they are examples of very well recorded works that I have heard hundreds of times and I know what to expect or how I would like them to sound like according to my personal preferences.

Anothers that I left but that are usually worth checking too are:

- "The Sidewinder" by Lee Morgan
- "Corcovado" by Stan Getz
- "Phinuphi" by Kenny Burrell
- "Savour the flavour" by Down to the bone
- "All 4 One" by Billy Cobham

What about yours?
post #2 of 149
Two tracks I always like to play are Time, like you mentioned, and Take Five, by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. I prefer the 13:44 version from the Double Live from the UK and US album.
post #3 of 149
The beginning of Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing"....the keyboards, the drums, and the crunch of Mark Knopfler's electric guitar!!
post #4 of 149
Nine Inch Nails - The Perfect Drug
post #5 of 149
New radicals - I hope i didnt just give away the ending.
post #6 of 149
I'll second Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing" but note that I use the HDCD version... adds just that extra sparkle.

Julia Fordham "concrete love" is another great test album as her voice needs decent equipment to sound "just right" to me, also great bass and treble. I also like Kraftwerk "The Mix" complex enought to test resolving power, bass impact and treble.

TonyAAA
post #7 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyTripleA
I'll second Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing" but note that I use the HDCD version... adds just that extra sparkle.

Julia Fordham "concrete love" is another great test album as her voice needs decent equipment to sound "just right" to me, also great bass and treble. I also like Kraftwerk "The Mix" complex enought to test resolving power, bass impact and treble.

TonyAAA
I concur, Kraftwerk's The Mix is well produced classic techno.
post #8 of 149
Michael Jackson makes another appearance eh? Go Binaural with "Black or White" intro - Thriller is good for stereo panning. Billie Jean is a great test track for high freq impact, and scream will give that nasty low freq rumble.
post #9 of 149
I must have said this a million times, so here's 1,000,001:

Dave Matthews: "Oh" from his album "Some Devil"

Imaging, soundstaging and a great tune to bring it home.
post #10 of 149
Anything off "Moving Pictures" by Rush
post #11 of 149
some "classical" input, hope I am not thread crapping. Not necessarily "audiophile quality" but all these tracks have shown some weakness (grainy highs, clipping, resonances), in my equipment at one time or another.
1) Vivaldi - Vespri per l' Assunzione di Maria Vergine. Concerto Italiano. Naive OP30383
Track 5 of CD 2 - "Cum dederit": I use the beautiful contralto voice of Sara Mingardo as a test of a sweet midrange. From about 3'30" to the end you may hear heaven or some nasty resonances (had to add some foam to the back of my DT880 to get rid of it).

2) Vivaldi - Le Quattro Stagioni. Concerto Italiano (again!). Naive OP30363
Track 6 - "Tempo Impetuoso D' Estate": my ultimate speed test. I have heard only one headphone (the AKG K501) that makes justice to the violins (solo and tutti) from 43" to 1'17"

3) Beethoven - Die 5 Klavierkonzerte - Pollini, Abbado/BPO. DG 439770-2
Track 3 of CD 3 "Konzert Nr 4 Rondo. Allegro": this track dynamic range (especially between ~ 2'30" and 5') will show the guts of your amplifier. It convinced me that I needed an upgraded power supply for my Supreme and that my meta42 could not drive my cans.

4) Bartok - Concerto for Orchestra - Salonen/LAPO. Sony SK 62598
Track 1 - "Introduzione": I guess this CD qualifies as "audiophile quality". Very low noise floor, and very good balance between the various sections of the orchestra.
I use this track to see how much detail my rig can extract out of noise in the crescendos between ~ 0'30" and 0.50" and between 1'10" and 1'30".
post #12 of 149
I use Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricon cd. His cello really pushes the frequencies.
post #13 of 149
how about Mercury Living Presence Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture?

It is good for testing dynamic range at least.
post #14 of 149
Heh, I remember the last time a thread like this came up:

1) The Crystal Method - Murder
Bass response and upper-frequency detail/clarity/response testing. One of TCM's premier tracks on which they truly display their signature detailing prowess, just pure awesomeness. I have yet to properly experience this track on REAL hi-fi equipment even.

2) Orbital - Spare Parts Express
My personal favorite test for high frequency detail & clarity, and speed response.

3) Massive Attack - Teardrop
Lush female vocals (who can resist the sweet sexy sexy voice of Liz Fraser?), bass response, and warmth testing.

4) Massive Attack - Inertia Creeps
All-range frequency response, dynamics, layer separation, male vocal, and SQ/distortion testing. (The syncopated "pop" drum that forms the theme distorts on low-end equipment at anything above moderate volume, I've noticed.)

5) Thievery Corporation - Mirror Conspiracy (entire CD)
My new favorite for testing acoustics and faithful rendering of real instruments, as well as soundstage and dynamics.
post #15 of 149
I like Albums

Radiohead- OK Computer
(Does it need an introduction?)

The Avalanches- Since I Left You
(SOOOO MANY SAMPLES!)

Broken Social Scene- You Forgot It In People
(SOOO MANY BAND MEMBERS!)

Pavement- Slanted and Enchanted
(I have to test the bounds of my headphones with some shod recordings, see what the headphones make of it.)

Xiu Xiu- Fabulous Muscles
(Suchh odd frequencies, and ranging from such different edges of the spectrum, its fantastic!)
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