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Critical Listening Playlist - what song for what attribute

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello fellow Head-Fiers

 

I would be interested to read about your choice of songs/tracks when it comes to critical listening....when testing new gear, reviewing, or simply listening critically :)

What are the songs/tracks you listen to in order to check out capabilities of an headphone...what are you listening to and paying attention to for specific attributes in a song..

Maybe there is even a specific time in a song you listen again and again for checking this special characteristic.

 

I'm asking because I want to improve my understanding. In order to listen to the songs you're listening to, and trying to understand and differentiate the different characteristics in sound. I'm a beginner and although the WIKI helped a bit, there is still a lot of understanding missing. And this hole will only be filled by listening, not by reading.

 

 

 

For example:

 

For bass texture I listen to Song "XXX" by Artist "XXX". In time 2:35 is a moment where the texture is shining at its best...

 

For soundstage ...

For imaging...

Bass Extention, Transparency, detail, texture...there are a lot more attributes

 

I always read about these attributes, but sometimes it's just hard to understand what is meant.

So by pointing to a specific song, and maybe also to a specific part of a song, and what you are paying attention to, I think this would help me and many other to better understand reviews, and maybe also our gear.

 

I know that there's a HeadFi "Open your Ears" Disc, but this is still not very precise. 

 

thank a lot :)


Edited by BaTou069 - 12/18/13 at 1:53pm
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Come on, no one?

 

I know that there's already a thread about a critical listening playlist, but in my opinion these make no sense if it's just a playlist.

 

There should be mentioned why you choose this particular song and what you're exactly listening to in this song.

 

Or do you just listen to this song, because you know it so good?

post #3 of 8

I use Fiedler's Gaetie Parisienne for frequency response overall. The newest remasters of Joni Mitchell and Ry Cooder are good for midrange. Does that help?

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaTou069 View Post
 

Hello fellow Head-Fiers

 

I would be interested to read about your choice of songs/tracks when it comes to critical listening....when testing new gear, reviewing, or simply listening critically :)

What are the songs/tracks you listen to in order to check out capabilities of an headphone...what are you listening to and paying attention to for specific attributes in a song..

Maybe there is even a specific time in a song you listen again and again for checking this special characteristic.

 

I'm asking because I want to improve my understanding. In order to listen to the songs you're listening to, and trying to understand and differentiate the different characteristics in sound. I'm a beginner and although the WIKI helped a bit, there is still a lot of understanding missing. And this hole will only be filled by listening, not by reading.

 

 

 

For example:

 

For bass texture I listen to Song "XXX" by Artist "XXX". In time 2:35 is a moment where the texture is shining at its best...

 

For soundstage ...

For imaging...

Bass Extention, Transparency, detail, texture...there are a lot more attributes

 

I always read about these attributes, but sometimes it's just hard to understand what is meant.

So by pointing to a specific song, and maybe also to a specific part of a song, and what you are paying attention to, I think this would help me and many other to better understand reviews, and maybe also our gear.

 

I know that there's a HeadFi "Open your Ears" Disc, but this is still not very precise. 

 

thank a lot :)

I like to listen to Massive Attack - Heligioland. Any song at any time can bring bass, treble, staccato or crazy vocals that test your headphones as a whole. 

post #5 of 8

Usually, I use Blue Moon Station by Solar Fields, or Distances by H.U.V.A. Network to judge overall sound. There are a lot of different sounds and the mastering has been done well enough that they're distinguishable, so separation can be tested. The sounds in the albums also cover the whole frequency spectrum (almost, at least). To test quickness of response (mainly for mids and highs), I use Amber by Autechre, or equivalent IDM albums. Lots of stabbing notes and glitchy chord changes. Any album by Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree for how physical instruments sound.

post #6 of 8

http://www.allmusic.com/album/leahkastin-mw0000341066

Marie Boine,

http://www.mariboine.no/

singer from Norway (sings in native language of Sami)

Track #6 Mielahisvuohta

a couple of years back killed my Stax Lambda Pro. Guess I was a little too generous with the volume. (I got the drivers replaced at no cost ...)

There was no distortion what so ever until the a big natural reindeer skin drum was hit.

The sound of this kind of drum has obviously a particular ability to test the maximum stroke capacity of the bass driver of a speaker. It is a very deep and powerful but at the same time very slow, elastic sound. In case of the single driver Stax membrane it got ripped or dislodged, not sure. Afterwards it was clearly not able to reproduce sound properly, it sounded damaged.

 

So careful with that volume knob there ;-)).

post #7 of 8
I mostly use classical music (prokofiev and beethoven mostly); huge dynamic range, many instruments, so high and low altogether, many details. (speaking of details, there's always someone in the orchestra who makes a noise, you could pay attention to it)
post #8 of 8

Tried to start a thread like this a while back. There weren't many takers.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/682898/new-cans-playlist

 

My list:

 

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.

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