Need music suggestions for my final audition! [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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05-09-2008, 11:35 AM
Next Friday I am going for my final audition of the B&W 683, Monitor RS6, and the NHT Classic 4's.

My frist audition was not all that great. I was running short on time and had only the music that the store already had in the CD player so I really had a hard time telling the difference between the speakers since they were all playing different music.

Here is what I am considering bringing to play. Andrea Bocelli "O' Mare E Tu" with Dulce Pontes, Bob Marley "Waiting in Vain", Sarah Brightman "A Question of Honor" from her Las Vegas live CD.

Do you guys have any other suggestions? I think that I have the clarity, and range covered with the Andrea Bocelli and the Sarah Brightman songs. I think that Waiting in Vain will not really test how good the bass is from the speakers. What other traits do you guys think I should test the speaker for and what songs would be great for it?

Thanks in advance!!!!!

05-09-2008, 11:49 AM
I'd suggest picking 5 of your favourite songs in addition to your 'test tracks'...

Also, did you test out the Monitor Audio RS8 as well? It is the same price as the B&W 683, so it should be worth an audition....

05-09-2008, 12:04 PM
I'd suggest picking 5 of your favourite songs in addition to your 'test tracks'.
Take what you're used to listening to. That's what you'll be listeing to anyway.

But, I've found that the title song on Bela Fleck's "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" provides a fairly good test of realistic bass with several fretless bass runs. This may also show any problems with speaker placement for that matter.

05-09-2008, 03:00 PM
I don't know what your musical tastes are, but here are some of my favorites:

- Dave Brubeck's original recording of Take Five. The beginning of the track has a very distinct separation of the instruments, all coming in at separate times in their own horizontal plane. A correct presentation should have none of the instruments centered.

- Alan Hovhanness - Symphony No.2 "Mysterious Mountain" - 2nd movement: Double Fugue - Moderato Maestoso. You can't really audition speakers without a full-bodied orchestral work, and this symphony does a great job of pushing the envelope of what a speaker can do going from extremely soft passages all the way up to fast and tempestuous passages. Don't be afraid to turn up the volume either, a good pair of speakers should be able to handle the wide dynamic range without stumbling.

- Wynton Marsalis - In Gabriel's Garden - Track #32: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 In F Major, part 1. This is the music used in all kinds of movies and what was sent out into deep space to wow extraterrestrial intelligence a couple of decades back. Again, turn up the volume on this one, this is a good piece to push the tweeters and see if they are colored, if they break up at higher volumes, or if they sound etched. I've been kicked out of stores for playing this too loud.

- Massive Attack - Mezzanine - Risingson. Not only is this a great track to see how the speakers handle pounding bass, but the track also has great stereo separation and should allow you to hear which speakers provide the greatest stage depth. On several occasions the sound will seem to travel around the room and you should listen for those speakers that provide the most depth in front and behind you.

- Beethoven: Egmont (complete incidental music, with narration) - Track 2: Lied: "Die Trommel gerühret." This one is hard to find because most CDs only have the orchestral opening to the Egmont play, but if you can find it, the song that follows, sung by a female soloist, is a great track to listen for sibilance and to push the dynamic capabilities of the speakers because the singing is at very low volume, but the orchestral passages are particularly loud. A good pair of speakers should have no trouble with this.

Some other very well recorded/engineered albums you might want to bring:

- Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business - great stereo imaging, bass, and range.
- Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon - I own the LP, the SACD, and the CD - 'nuff said.
- India Arie - Voyage to India - several good tracks here, #10 is well known.
- Any good recording of Bach's Fugue in D Minor - used in lots of movies; it has great range and should give a good workout - also will test the patience of the store manager if played too loud.
- Carl Orff's Carmina Burana - O Fortuna chorus - I just threw this one in for fun. Bring a medieval looking sword with you and swing it around while jumping up and down on the seats in the store to get the full effect, LOL.

Anyhow, those are all well know tracks, so even if you don't typically listen to classical or jazz, you won't mind owning them. And they are great for auditioning other gear too, BTW.

audio amateur
05-09-2008, 03:11 PM
If your looking at Massive Attack's Mezzanine album, check the tracks Angel & Man Next Door aswell for some good bass.

05-09-2008, 07:49 PM
Thanks a ton for the suggestions. I do have the Pink Floyd CD and my friend has the Massive Attack CD so I will probably be bringing them with me!

I listened to Alan Hovhanness and it is pretty interesting except I do not have the CD nor do I know anyone who might. I would burn it from the internet, but I think the quality would be poor if I did that.

Any other great suggestions!!??

audio amateur
05-10-2008, 03:13 AM
I'll second the Bach, but I'd use the Toccata (for organ in D minor, BWV 565), as it's shorter than the Fugue, and equally as testing. Try and get familiar with these tracks before you go and audition. Good luck

audio amateur
05-10-2008, 03:17 AM
- Any good recording of Bach's Fugue in D Minor - used in lots of movies; it has great range and should give a good workout - also will test the patience of the store manager if played too loud.

HAHA! very true! but any self respecting store manager will know it AND enjoy it, even if played loud, 'cause that's the way it's supposed to be played:D

05-10-2008, 04:03 AM
Rodrigo y Gabriela (no album name..., cover is a snake eye...)

great for testing your speaker's speed & detail...
great music, consisting out of 2 guitars (one in the left channel, one in the right channel) + tapping, beautifully engineered, well worth a listen. :thumbsup:

Keep them spinning,

05-14-2008, 10:42 AM
I'll second the Bach, but I'd use the Toccata (for organ in D minor, BWV 565), as it's shorter than the Fugue, and equally as testing. Try and get familiar with these tracks before you go and audition. Good luck

Yes, I meant the Toccata. Nice frequency range in a short piece that even rockers won't mind owning. Heck, use it for Halloween, if you have to.

05-14-2008, 07:14 PM

When listening and deciding you should be clear on your goals for the speakers. If your goal is to find a speaker that you "like" then bring your favorite music and choose the speakers that present your music the way you like it. There is nothing wrong with buying a system this way.

Alternatively you can try and compare a system to what you hear live. so you could get piano recordings fro example - I recommend Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata because it is a simpler piece on piano and you can get a general idea of which speaker is better able to reproduce the body, tone, timber, and dynamics etc of the instrument. Start with solo instruments because if the stereo can't do that it certainly won't do complex music any better but some speaker may be louder or throw bigger soundstage and trick the ear on shorter auditions when in reality they may actually be less good over the long run because they don't have the low level resolution which is critical for recreating, believably, instruments. I would suggest not limiting yourself to the mainstream speaker brands on your list so far as you'll find that the stuff not heavily advertised tends to often sound a lot lot better than the mainstream well marketed brands.

I like the third route by bring as many recordings of music you like but albums you have not yet heard and listening to which stereo is better able to reveal the most number of differences - as all recordings are different the speaker/stereo that allows you to hear the most differences is providing you the most information. It's important not to be familiar with these directly because your preferences get in the way of objectivity. This article has been very helpful for auditioning for a lot of people for a long time.

05-20-2008, 10:55 AM
These days I'm really into techno and techno/rock and stuff like that -- try searching for these songs::arf:

Thomas Falke "Revolution On The Dance Floor"
Groove Cutter "My Shooter"
Control One "Just A Little Bit"
Ian Carey "Redlight"
Kevin Weg "Dead Radio"

I don't usually go for techno but these are sort of like a wierd crossover between rock and techno/trance.
Here are also some downloads with some other cool stuff too --

Alex at SVS
05-20-2008, 01:09 PM
The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over, Hotel California is an excellent track for hearing dynamics.

I'm also a fan of auditioning speakers with Radiohead for the complexity and layers, but generally not good for testing if a speaker sounds natural as most of their music has distortion designed into it.

05-20-2008, 01:48 PM
Cyrus Chestnut has an album called "Revelation" and the first track on it, "Blues for Nina," is a wonderful test of a number of different things, in my opinion: It's a piano, bass, and drums arrangement, so you get a lot of midrange from the piano, a lot of bass from the bass, and a lot of opportunity for your speakers to reveal their ability to handle inner detail resolution when the symbols start crashing. There's a drum "solo" at about 4:40 that runs for a minute or so and gives a great indication of a speaker's ability to soundstage.

Other than that, Enzo-Enzo has a tune called "Elaldermarda Tikitkia," which is available on the Starbuck's "French Cafe" album, which does a nice job of showing off female vocals, closely-miked. If you can't hear when she takes her breaths, it's time to switch speakers.

Also, Patricia Barber's rendition of "Bye Bye Blackbird" (available on several different albums) is an amazing test of piano, three-d soundstage, female vocals, and high treble resolution on the sibilant consonants. She's wet but not hissy; if she sounds hissy, it's time to gong that choice.

For male vocals I'd go with "Iron Hand" off the same Dure Straits album that featured "Heavy Fuel" (I forget the title), for gimmicky soundstage on highly technical material I'd go with the opening track from Radiohead's "Amnesiac," and for acoustic stuff you can hardly do better than Bela Fleck and/or Leo Kotke, depending on whether you prefer Banjo or Guitar.

Hope that's not too much info to be useful....