I thought that a thread like this would be a good way to share some valuable knowledge.
Post no more than TEN tracks that you use to test/compare SQ for any given pair of headphones. Then, briefly explain why.
1. Someone Like You by Adele, Live at Royal Albert Hall - The third chorus into the song, she invites the audience to sing, and I use that to gauge what kind of soundstage I'm dealing with.
2. Common Ground by The New Gary Burton Quartet - This is one of the better mixed albums I've ever heard. Each instrument has its own space and depending on my cans, I can really get a sense of where in the room the musicians are standing.
3. Limit to Your Love by James Blake - Two words. Sub. Bass.
4. Why Me Lord by Ray Charles feat. Johnny Cash - With a quality pair of cans, there are a lot of nuances in this song to be uncovered. From Cash's raspy voice to the different articulations of the organ, it definitely has plenty to hear.
5. Money by Pink Floyd - Even though there's plenty to listen for in this track alone, I really like hearing two things: first, the left to right panning of the cash register sounds, and second, the layering of the band instruments, effect sounds, and vocals.
6. Too Close by Alex Clare - This is one I use just because of the variety of instruments used in the mix.
7. Schelomo per Lyn Harrell and Bernard Haitink - This cello concerto is ripe with emotional durm und strang. Hearing both the solo and ensemble sections rendered well is a big test for any of my cans. Not to mention soundstage.
8. Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap - Imogen recorded all of the harmonies by herself so being able to hear each breath and consequent echo/reverb takes this from a good song to a great one.
9. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, Unplugged - Besides being a powerful song, this instruments other than Clapton's guitar add a lot especially when you can hear them :)
10. Shenandoah per Bill Frisell - Frisell is one of my favorite guitarists because everything he plays is fresh. This familiar tune is no exception. Hearing every little nuance really tests detail retrieval.