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The Best audiophile tracks to test equipment

Discussion in 'Music' started by deafmutelame, Mar 9, 2005.
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  1. musikevan
    golov17 likes this.
  2. musikevan
    Some nature tracks are better than others. I recently discovered this one-- those fly-bys are intense! It either sounds real or it doesn't... excellent high frequency test, sense of space
  3. musikevan
    Early music enthusiasts will like this one...from a recording standpoint, instruments sound fleshed out and valid. Check out that growl on the low string of the gamba!  Harpsichord twang is evident. This type of music is not easy to capture accurately.
  4. damienPOWER
    Nice ones evan.
    For a good test of soundstage, try this one:
  5. edulov
    Soundstage is delicate theme actually. Too many people become confused when the track uses different panning effects, like this one.
    So I checked the track in 3 fine headphones (1 closed&2 open) and 2 amps. If we talk about width (from left to right) - it has some, but quite narrow. But what was much more surprising - some parts of the composition offer clear depth, in this case - from behind (nothing comes from the front).
    So I'll include it in my list.
    But! All other tracks from the album have 0% value for testing, in any sense.
  6. mikemercer
    I LOVE using Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You" - off A Donny Hathaway Collection, or his album (self-titled) - if the systems dialed-in, and you don't feel this song, well, I dunno what to tell ya!!
    It was Produced by Arif Mardin. Jerry Wexler, and Tom Dowd
    and it's got this holographic-like presence.  My brotha @warrenpchi's heard it:
  7. musikevan
    Excellent track for testing low-volume resolution and high frequency reproduction. The clavichord is a soft (quiet) acoustic predecessor to the harpsichord, so your volume level should be low, like a classical guitar a room away. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WFuy-9zAzsU[/URL
  8. edulov
    About Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You". I found it in 24/192, remastered; as a part of 2012 "The Best Of Donny Hathaway" album. Not just this track, all other also show this"holographic" effect. I more practical words they are mastered with a small stage but with width and depth to it.
    Due to they nature they are good to test resolution and detail. With the sensational feeling of the positioning of instruments sometimes. In "You've Got A Friend" positioning of singers and back vocals are outstanding.
  9. discape
    Thanks for these tracks. Something strange I noticed on the frequency cut off analysis of youtube audio (full size: https://i.sli.mg/ADQzC2.jpg). No difference between 1080p/720p/480p, however 360p shows degradation IMO, possibly not though as it was different part.. All Youtube cuts off around the 16k mark. Apart from, wait for it
    144p! Which had a much higher cut off point than all others, right up to the 22khz mark!
    144p audio (!!??):
    ( https://i.sli.mg/rRVeoh.png )
    So it seems like we should all be streaming our youtube audio at 144p.  I wouldn't though, I'm sure it sounds worse. :wink:
    bbfoto likes this.
  10. musikevan
    One of the better nature tracks. Distant dog barks, real birds surround you, water. Too many naturescapes are poorly edited, manipulated and artificial sounding but not this one https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DfbpOfBoewY
  11. Orestes1984
    Massive Attack - Unfinished Symphony has hidden thunder in the bass track if your headphones are good enough to spot it. It's a good way to test flubbery, distorted and muffled bass vs. decent headphones that will pick up the difference. If you play this with a set of Beats you most likely be able to hear that the bass throughout is actually supposed to be the rumbling of thunder. This will give your speakers a tune up and tell you whether you're getting enough reflex in your bass vs. bass for the sake of "LOUD NOISES!" There is clearly four kicks in the sub bass that are audible on higher quality phones.
    If you're really sensitive to it you will notice actual crashes of thunder in the intro as well as the count in they left in the track where they clearly say the numbers, "one," "two," "three."

    If I'm testing for good hip-hop qualities, I listen to this, I don't know of a single better mix of a hip-hop track then Ice Cube's - Gangsta Rap Made Me do it. It has everything in it that will fully test every aspect of your sound stage to perfection.

    If you want a dance anthem to test:

    If you got that far in my audio test switch over to Rolling Stones - Riders on the storm to catch your mids and highs, if you can here the rain in the background of the track and it doesn't sound just like siblance and you have clear mids and highs in the intro you're doing well.

    Cee Lo Green, Bright Lights, Bright City - is a good test of the organisation of your stage, if your phones are all over the place and your bass is really boomy they're probably not that great. This is a real bastard of a mix that will eat poor quality speakers. You can tell when they were mixing it down little was left to will this sound good on a set of $20 headphones bought from K-Mart. I use this track because its annoying more than anything else.

    Frank Sinatra - Moon River, is a good test for audio clarity, there's also a few bars of guitar track as the outro fades out that are a good test of how good your speakers are. If your phones can pick them up, then you're doing well. If you're getting any siblance your headphones should be thrown in the bin.

    If you've reached the point where there is no siblance in the vocal track, as opposed to the musical track and can hear every breath in her voice, and you've passed the point of being able to do all of this with one set of headphones then you've reached the point of audio nirvana and spent more than most people care to on audio gear on one pair of headphones.
    loungecat likes this.
  12. TonyTripleA Contributor
    [​IMG]    best soundstage I have yet experienced... some friends actually turn their head from side to side looking for the source of some sounds...
    Highly recommend the TIDAL version I've been listening to.
    Wildcatsare1 likes this.
  13. DigMe

    Listening to it now. So far track #5 is a good one to get a feel for soundstage depth. Some of the random percussion sounds feel a good bit behind me through my AKG K7XX. Some of the earlier tracks are better for demonstrating imaging rather than stage IMO but I'm kind of a newb.

    Question: I'm occasionally hearing some sounds breaking up - like maybe clipping in the recording. One example is when the snare hits hard at 6:10 on the title track (#4). Are you hearing that?
  14. edulov

    Still listening, but supposing that the track list is the same in all editions,  some comments:
    1. I use word "width" talking about positioning to the left and right. In this terms, both #5 and #4 offer a quite narrow soundstage, but all instruments are easily located. Rare feature even fpr orchestral recordings. So thumbs up for mastering
    2. The word "depth" for me means location in the front od behind. Still in process, but in #1, #4 and #5 a lot of sound cones from behind, offering a sense of distance, quite big actually. Greater then width sometimes.
    3. #4 also offers VERY RARE feature: 3D, and easy to hear. It means that sound comes not only from imaginary plane, some instruments are placed above and below.
    4. Weird noises in #4 - none. Checked several times. If you are using CD, try to wash it in warm water with some soap, drying with usual cloth, no heat! If you are using digital files, most probably original disk had problems or was dirty also.
    Finally. Running through tracks leads to a short resume: all tracks have narrow soundstage width, but offer depth (from behind). Quite strange, but for some tracks depth is greater then width. Many also offer 2.5D, might say, since sound sometines comes from "above". Bit only #4, Daughter of Cochise has instruments "coming" from below also, that's why I called it 3D. A pity that nothing comes from the front semisphere.
    BTW, #4 has the greatest dynamic rage, so I included it to my test track list. Thanks for guiding.
  15. edulov
    An input for hardcore testers looking for something different and new. Try a Flaw's album "Divided we Fall" if you can handle such energetic power/speed metal.
    Most tracks offer FRC from low bass to highest treble (up to 23kHz), decent dynamic range, lots of details. Require fast drives and control everywhere, especially at lows.
    All tracks are very analytical, probably harsh for many.
    Why I am mentioning them?
    1. Most metal bands and albums of the past 5 years became too boring! The same riffs, vocals & etc. This album is not so different, but strangely - very refreshing
    2. In my collection I have one cans (prised by many reviewers) which actually offer too smooth sound and narrowed frequency range, so ony some types of music benefit from them.
        But this album was castrated, stripped of all details and fun in them.
    3. And the most important actually. I'll repeat it once again: the tracks from the album are forcefuly honest and analytical especially in high mids and treble, so worth to try if you actually understand the meaning of this word in hp's descriptions. So try the album in HiFi cans first before trying some regular ones. 3 examples: Tascam(Teac) TH-02 fail to deliver completely with very boring lows, but hated Grado's 80e - they do; even lacking much more lows. Senn's HD 280Pro right in the middle, but +/-correct sound w/o energy (a big negative point for such music).
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