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What is your go-to music for auditioning new equipment?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I'm relatively new here even though I've had an account for ages biggrin.gif

Usually when I try out some new equipment, I've got a couple of "Reference" or "Test" CDs from Chesky, Marantz, Ultrasone etc. that are supposed to demonstrate various qualitative (sometimes quantitative) aspects of the headphones and speakers; but I'm always left wondering what the combined effect is, like when each of these qualities are being tested together - in a real song for example.

 

So, the question is:

What music do you use to audition new equipment (headphones mainly), and why?

 

If you can, please follow the format [Music Genre] Artist - Title and definitely feel free to explain why! redface.gif

 

I'll definitely check your suggestions out! always happy to get more music smily_headphones1.gif

 

Cheers,

A

post #2 of 14

I comment in every one of these threads. Love 'em.

 

[Dub] Puscifer - Indigo Children (JLE Dub Mix) - Bass test. Amazing depth. Also has a fairly sharp snare if you're worried about brightness.

 

[Drum n Bass] Pendulum - Crush - Brightness test. The cymbals sound terrible on something I'd consider 'too bright'. 

 

[Ambient] BT - Morceau Subrosa - Positioning test, tremendous detail and excellent layering. If the cans can't keep up you lose a lot.

 

[Opera] Bocelli & Brightman - Con Te Partiro - Great test for both male and female vocals. 

 

[Pop] Katy Perry - Firework - Forgiveness test. Poorly recorded/mastered. Sounds like butts on revealing systems.

 

[Rock] Beatles - Hey Jude - Realism test. Best drums I've ever heard recording/mastering wise (I have the 1997 Blue Box master). Closest to the real thing I've ever heard on cans.

 

Just to name a few, I guess.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

I comment in every one of these threads. Love 'em.

[Dub] Puscifer - Indigo Children (JLE Dub Mix) - Bass test. Amazing depth. Also has a fairly sharp snare if you're worried about brightness.

[Drum n Bass] Pendulum - Crush - Brightness test. The cymbals sound terrible on something I'd consider 'too bright'. 

[Ambient] BT - Morceau Subrosa - Positioning test, tremendous detail and excellent layering. If the cans can't keep up you lose a lot.

[Opera] Bocelli & Brightman - Con Te Partiro - Great test for both male and female vocals. 

[Pop] Katy Perry - Firework - Forgiveness test. Poorly recorded/mastered. Sounds like butts on revealing systems.

[Rock] Beatles - Hey Jude - Realism test. Best drums I've ever heard recording/mastering wise (I have the 1997 Blue Box master). Closest to the real thing I've ever heard on cans.

Just to name a few, I guess.

Thanks MorbidToaster! Will definitely check these out when I get home smily_headphones1.gifsmily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 14

[Techno] Kagami - Elefunts' Disco (Original Mix)
 Awesome bass, that extends a lot, with impact


[Techno] Chester Beatty - Levanon B1
Track with delicate bass impact, not easy to make it sound right


[Dark Ambient] Lustmord - Heresy (full album)
If it's the bass extends enough low, there  should be an unexplainable
feeling of fear


[Psytrance] Skazy - Anarchy
Very fast track, that should put your brain under high voltage.
Unless the headphones I  use  are not that fast


[Industrial] Rammstein - Mein Teil
A "symphony of noise" effect. Headphones must be enough revealing.


[French Female Vocalist] Émilie Simon  - Le vieil amant
Subtle sounds in background. If headphone are revealing and
have good imaging, it's a delight.


[Pop] Micheal Jackson - In the closet
There's a breaking glass at begin, I  like it when it sounds realistic and crystalline.


[Kind of Ambient] Hammock - Always Wishing You Were Somewhere Else
Very euphonic track, less enjoyable if your headphone is too much analytical

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

[Techno] Kagami - Elefunts' Disco (Original Mix)
 Awesome bass, that extends a lot, with impact

[Techno] Chester Beatty - Levanon B1
Track with delicate bass impact, not easy to make it sound right

[Dark Ambient] Lustmord - Heresy (full album)
If it's the bass extends enough low, there  should be an unexplainable
feeling of fear

[Psytrance] Skazy - Anarchy
Very fast track, that should put your brain under high voltage.
Unless the headphones I  use  are not that fast

[Industrial] Rammstein - Mein Teil
A "symphony of noise" effect. Headphones must be enough revealing.

[French Female Vocalist] Émilie Simon  - Le vieil amant
Subtle sounds in background. If headphone are revealing and
have good imaging, it's a delight.

[Pop] Micheal Jackson - In the closet
There's a breaking glass at begin, I  like it when it sounds realistic and crystalline.

[Kind of Ambient] Hammock - Always Wishing You Were Somewhere Else
Very euphonic track, less enjoyable if your headphone is too much analytical

Thanks! Will give that a try. Always love new music to listen to smily_headphones1.gif
post #6 of 14

Great stuff.

post #7 of 14

[Pop] Birdy - "Skinny Love" and "People Help the People" (and the acoustic version of it).

Jasmine's (Birdy) voice is very unique and the piano is great. 

 

[Pop/Rock] NCIS - The Official TV Soundtrack - "Temptation" and "NCIS Theme." 

"Temptation" has a good drums section in the middle.  "NCIS Theme" has lots of instruments going on at the same time so it lets you see how good the equipment is at separating them. 

 

[Jazz] Diana Krall - Live in Paris - "A Case of You." 

Very well recorded.  I use it to test center image.  

 

Also a bunch of other songs that I enjoy.  I try not to use audiophile recordings because most of my music that I enjoy a lot are not audiophile quality.  If a piece of equipment does not let me enjoy those music, then it is not worth my money. 

post #8 of 14
post #9 of 14

A few tracks, some everyone knows about, others not so much.

 

Hotel California - The Eagles, Hell Freezes Over

Buena, Morphine, Cure for Pain

Alley Cat Song, Holly Cole, Holly Cole

Wood is a Pleasant Thing to Think about, Patricia Barber, Cafe Blue

I Got Cash, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Make Them Like It

Paper Moon, Erin McKeown, Sing You Sinners

Oh Yeah, Johnny A, Sometime Tuesday Morning

Bustin Up A Starbucks, Mike Daughty, Haughty Melodic (very funny song)

Invaders Must Die, The Prodigy, Invaders Must Die

Cousin Dupree, Steely Day, Two Against Nature

 

These are all great songs, but even more, they really do bring out the best in a new pair of phones you want to test.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post
...

[Pop] Katy Perry - Firework - Forgiveness test. Poorly recorded/mastered. Sounds like butts on revealing systems.

...

 

You're right! That song does sound like garbage on a good setup tongue.gif

 

I guess I never heard it with a good setup before, because whenever I hear it, it's usually blasting from somebody's car radio.

post #11 of 14

It's a guilty pleasure. I like quite a few Katy Perry songs, but got they sound awful most of the time.

 

Honestly a better forgiveness test is Immortal by Clutch. It's literally the worst sounding recording I've ever heard.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anthony81212 View Post

 

You're right! That song does sound like garbage on a good setup tongue.gif

 

I guess I never heard it with a good setup before, because whenever I hear it, it's usually blasting from somebody's car radio.

post #12 of 14

I have a few songs I have heard a lot and are good tests. To name the 2 most used for testing purposes:

 

Rebecca Pidgeon - Spanish Harlem

 

Bob Dylan (and Emmylou Harris) - Oh Sister

 

These test vocals, warmth, sibilance, brightness, imaging, resolution, ...

post #13 of 14

I prefer to pull test tracks that use instruments that I play, so my test tracks tend to be more focused than my general listening.  I also tend to rotate tracks in and out of my evaluation list pretty frequently, while generally sticking to the same principles for selection.  In general, it stops me from getting distracted from the evaluation by the "oh wow, I haven't listened to this in a while" reaction.

 

I generally start with a set of tracks in which I look for specific characteristics.

 

[Classical] Avi Avital - Bach - Sonata in E Minor, BWV 1034 - IV. Allegro.  The last movement of a violin sonata played on mandolin.

 

[It's complicated] Chris Thile & Mike Marshall - Live Duets - Carpathian Mt. Breakdown.  Mandolin and mandola duet.  Good test for instrument separation and accurate timbre.

 

[Also complicated] Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer - Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer - Farmer and the Duck.  This is the closest thing to a bass test I have.  Aside from parts of the tracks dropping down into the lowest regions of the double bass's range, it's also where I'm listening for sloppiness in the bass.  Personally, I prefer the double bass to electronic stuff for my bass tests, because I have a better idea of what it should sound like.

 

[Bluegrass] Chris Thile & Michael Daves - Sleep With One Eye Open - If I Should Wander Back Tonight.  Mandolin and guitar with harmonizing male vocals.  Good test for balance and male vocals.

 

[Classical] Alan Civil - Mozart: The Horn Concertos - Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat, K. 447 - II. Romanze.  French horn concerto.  An instrument I play with a piece I've also played.

 

[Classical] Canadian Brass - Canadian Brass Takes Flight - Little Fugue in G Minor.  2 Trumpets, french horn, trombone and tuba playing a Bach fugue. Good balance test.  Tuba needs to not be overpowering and the trumpets can't sound too sharp and piercing.

 

[Classical] Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus - Verdi: Requiem - II. Dies Irae.  Test for epicness.  More specifically I'm looking for the bass drum hits.  They must rattle my brain.  This is the one instance where I will not tolerate "politeness" in my sound.

 

[Classical] San Francisco Symphony - Mahler Symphony No. 4 - IV. Sehr Behaglich -  This is both my test for female vocals (soprano soloist throughout the piece) and my general test for how symphonic pieces will sound on something.  

 

Other than this kind of stuff, I generally just try a bit of whatever has my attention at the moment to see if the headphones/speakers/whatever really grab my attention.  The stuff I listed above can knock a piece of equipment out contention, but once I feel I've cut out the options with technical limitations, I'm more comfortable sitting back, being less analytical, and just seeing what I enjoy.

 

The idea of a test for how crappy recordings of music you still enjoy seems like a good idea. However, I already own a pair of HD 650s so I think I'm set in the "forgiving of bad recordings" department.

post #14 of 14

The Glenn Gould 1981 Goldberg Variations (the analogue recording, not the digital!) is always the first cd  I try for a test. Gives great insight in detail and tone quality of the wonderful Yamaha Grand..

Took me a while to find speakers to pass this test, my Harbeth S5HL passed and then some :).. This cd, which is one of my favorites, is the reason I love my Grado GS1000 and Grace M902 combi, I never in my life heard a headphone reproduce this music so up close and intimate, the level of 'being there', the detail and richness of tone still astonishes me.. The Grado is by no means perfect, but it is for well recorded classical piano. (and the Grace does help of course)

 

1000


Edited by Quinto - 2/13/13 at 4:09pm
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