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My all time favorite demo tracks!

Here is a list of demo tracks I use for trying out new equipment. Not only am I going to list them but I will also tell you WHY I use them.

Most of my friends complain that I use too many "unique" or custom mastered songs so I will list tracks you can find and use off the regular CD. Might be expensive to track down each track if you don't own each CD but hopefully, you'll own a few of these. If not, at least you'll be buying some great sounding music. Here we go!

1. Francesco Durante - Magnificat in B flat major

This is, in my honest opinion, some of the most beautiful music ever written and recorded. If that isn't enough reason why to have this work, here are some more. This particular work consists of 8 tracks as presented on the CD. Each track could be used individually as a demo track. The voices and instruments are very well recorded and there is many a nuance to pick out in the recording. In general, I use them in demo purposes to see how well a system performs with multiple voices in a choir setting. Often times choir voices seem mushed together. Not on this recording when played back on a high end rig.

Where to find it:
Durante et al. - Magnificat in B, Stabat Mater, Confitebor


2. Rebecca Pidgeon - Spanish Harlem

This is a rather well known demo track. In the off chance you haven't heard it, then here is why. It is extremely well recorded and the performance justs breathes life out of your speakers. It's the best demo track out there for female vocals.

Where to find it: Rebecca Pidgeon - The Raven


3. John Williams - The Raiders March

A well recorded and mastered version of a famous theme we all know and love. I love to use it an orchestra demo recording. There is some low bass on this that doesn't translate well to most systems and thus, helps eliminate the entry level gear from the big boys. The best version of this track is on the Raiders of The Lost Ark DCC disc catalog number DZS-090. However, it's expensive and getting hard to find. The version down below is a nice compromise.

Where to find it: John Williams - Indian Jones and The Last Crusade


4. Danny Elfman - This Is Holloween

This has got to be one of the most lush and complicated recordings I have ever heard. It's all hear - brass, winds, strings, voices, sound effects, charm - you name it - it's in this recording. A lot of speakers and headphones have trouble separating everything clearly. Find a system where every voice sounds different and where every sound has it's own individual space and you'll have a winner.

Where to find it:
Danny Elfman - Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas



5. Holst - March

This is THE bass track to own. The track is either no 3 or 4. I can't remember exactly as I don't have the CD handy but this track is a bass killer. Out of all the headphones out there, only the HD-650 can handle it properly. The PS-1 fails this track misserably. This track causes amps to clip and speakers to blow, so be carefull. The bass should be very low and tight. Not fat or warbly. It should have a quick transient impact you can hear and feel. If you can't feel it - they system isn't resolving the low frequencies right.

Where to find it:

Holst et al. - Suites 1&2, Music for Royal Fireworks and more

So there you go - 5 tracks to demo stuff with. If you want another 5 more then stay tuned!