• 04-12-2008, 11:26 PM
    aevans
    The tracks that you use as a reference
    Name one track that you can toss into any system to determine it's abilities, one for each type of characteristic is acceptable, but I'm not looking for an entire catalog of music for checking stuff out.

    I'll toss a couple out to start:

    Imaging/soundstage:
    Chemical Brothers, Come With Us: this track is like pink noise for imaging with tons of different things happening it can really get screwed up and sound like a wall of noise. while some may thing the track is crap you can hear at least 10-12 different moving/cycling sound fields that fly around the room in unique patterns in a good system.

    Dynamic Range / Detail:
    Beetoven's 7th Allegretto
    DVD Audio recording starts out so soft you can hear the performers breathing and blows up into a bliss of emotion and volume.
  • 04-13-2008, 09:25 AM
    filecat13
    Conjure One's track Redemption from, you guessed it, the disc Conjure One.

    It will settle the "Does it have any bass?" question once and for all, plus it will test vocal reproduction, midrange attack, and percussive energy, especially HF. Finally, it will let you hear if a speaker/system can handle sonic saturation without distortion or break up.
  • 04-13-2008, 10:57 AM
    Bigmoney
    I think "ON THE RUN" FROM DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is a good track for imaging and can really highlight your systems capabilities at all frequencies. Each track from dark side of the moon I believe can be a good reference track. I use the intro to "TIME" in evaluating high frequencies and bass extension. Any colour you like, I find to be a good track in evaluating a system as well. I have had good luck with AJA by Steely Dan and "Run Around" from Blues Traveler. The whole AJA disc as many of you know is extremely well mastered, therefore should be a pretty good reference disc for most.
  • 04-13-2008, 03:01 PM
    OzzieAudiophile
    Something to really test the bass and percussion performace :


    1. Sarah Brightman - Live From Las Vegas: The Harem World Tour CD
    Track 15. A Question Of Honour

    The start of the track she sings a classical piece, then you hear the audience go
    mad as the drums beat down with a vengence. Definately a track to crank up
    the speakers to.

    2. Andrea Bocelli - Andrea.

    Track 1. Dell'Amore Non Si Sa

    There is a SACD/Hybrid version of this CD. Andrea's voice is just absolutely
    fantastic. If your system is good enough, it will demonstrate just how
    wonderful a human being's voice can be. There are many subtle moments
    from the instruments played, a good system should be able to pick them up without
    sounding too harsh or obvious.

    3. Seal
    Track - Kiss from a Rose

    If you know the track, you know I am right, his voice is just amazing on this track.
    If you are not familiar with this track, it's a type of a love-song, there's a part where
    there are samples of his voice, over other samples of his voice. I found out from a
    documenatary that there are 16 samples of Seal, played over each other at the
    same time, during those 10 seconds. It's just incredible, I can hear that bit for ages.
    Listen to it on CD because if it's not from the original, it's just not the same.
    Listen to it on your system first, then go out and compare that song on CD to other
    systems. On a really nice setup you will hear the additional Seal voices.

    A true test as to how much a system can pick up from a CD disc.

    4. Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (SACD)

    Track 1. The Eve of the War

    Anyone who's older than a teenager would of heard of this track. It sounds
    exceptional on SACD. The concert itself will show you just how many instruments
    are played, lots of violins, string instruments. Everything in this track just sounds
    like it belongs.

    5. Hayley Westernra - Odyssey
    Track 8 - Quanta Qualia
    Ever Dreamt about what it would like like in heaven ? Perhaps this track.
    She is really able to hit the high pitched notes, she's done duets with Andrea Bocelli,
    she sounds incredible, yet unlikely to have hit her peak in her career yet.

    This track really tests the high frequency range in your system. If it struggles, this
    track will show that. It's a soothing track, if the system performs well playing this,
    you'll want to hear this track again and again.

    Ave Maria also is a worthwile track to listen on this same CD.

    That's it for now, more to come.
  • 04-14-2008, 01:12 AM
    pixelthis
    For "imaging" the process known as "recorded live in studio" is key.
    SHEFFIELD labs and a few others do this.
    Steps by pat coil is good, Kinda blue also, and Norah jones stuff is pretty good also.
    A good dynamic range is also key, and being well recorded, with little "crush"
    doesnt hurt.
    I tend to use older recordings, like Getz and Gilberto an amazing album.
    But the most important requirement for a "listening" disc is that its a favorite,
    one you know inside out.
    Riki lee jones self titled album is one of my all time favorites, as is Edie Brikels
    Picture perfect morning
    ONCE for a laugh I auditioned a pair of Bose (302.s I beleive ) playing picture perfect morning.
    About half of the music was missing, a very bad experience, beleive me:1:
  • 04-14-2008, 05:45 AM
    GMichael
    Norah Jones, "Come away with me" for voices. If you have any distortion of any kind, it will show here. Not bad for piano either.

    Rush, "La Villa Strangiato" from Hemispheres for guitars, percussions and dynamic range. It will push most systems to their limits.
  • 04-14-2008, 06:43 AM
    Jim Clark
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by filecat13
    Conjure One's track Redemption from, you guessed it, the disc Conjure One.

    It will settle the "Does it have any bass?" question once and for all, plus it will test vocal reproduction, midrange attack, and percussive energy, especially HF. Finally, it will let you hear if a speaker/system can handle sonic saturation without distortion or break up.


    I have to say that it's been too long since I pulled that album out, most excellent choice. I don't use any of the tracks for reference but Center Of The Sun is a killer track and one I haven't listened to for far too long.

    That's the one problem with having thousands of titles to chose from, something gets left behind eventually. I'm streaming it now at work, can't wait to get home and hearing it for real. I'll focus on Redemption too : )

    I never did get Extraordinary Ways, did you and what did you think?


    jc
  • 04-14-2008, 08:26 AM
    Feanor
    In my case ...
    I use the following recordings ...
    I find choral works to be especially useful for evaluation.
  • 04-14-2008, 11:22 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aevans
    Name one track that you can toss into any system to determine it's abilities...

    Indeed, I use numerous examples. One current favorite is the extremely wide dynamics found in the Hall of Prophesy cut off the Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix sountrack. Also, The Room of Requirement band has some beautiful sounding bell trees that really show off the top.

    rw
  • 04-14-2008, 04:13 PM
    filecat13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    I'll focus on Redemption too : )

    I never did get Extraordinary Ways, did you and what did you think?


    jc

    I did get Extraordinary Ways, and it's got some good work. On average, I'd call it equal to Conjure One, but it lacks the stunning tracks like Center of the Sun or Tears From the Moon. Tracks like Endless Dream, Extraordinary Way, and Forever Lost are pretty hot, though.

    I got the Conjure One EPs off iTunes: three different mixes of Center of the Sun, four of Tears From the Moon, five of Sleep, and an 11 minute monster of Redemption known as "Max Graham's Dead Sea Mix." (It doesn't sound much like Redemption, trust me.) They're very cool, but it takes more dedication than I have to listen to all of them at once.
  • 04-14-2008, 04:22 PM
    filecat13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by OzzieAudiophile
    Something to really test the bass and percussion performace :


    1. Sarah Brightman - Live From Las Vegas: The Harem World Tour CD
    Track 15. A Question Of Honour


    2. Andrea Bocelli - Andrea.
    Track 1. Dell'Amore Non Si Sa

    3. Seal
    Track - Kiss from a Rose

    If you know the track, you know I am right, his voice is just amazing on this track.
    If you are not familiar with this track, it's a type of a love-song, there's a part where
    there are samples of his voice, over other samples of his voice. I found out from a
    documenatary that there are 16 samples of Seal, played over each other at the
    same time, during those 10 seconds. It's just incredible, I can hear that bit for ages.
    Listen to it on CD because if it's not from the original, it's just not the same.
    Listen to it on your system first, then go out and compare that song on CD to other
    systems. On a really nice setup you will hear the additional Seal voices.

    A true test as to how much a system can pick up from a CD disc.

    4. Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (SACD)
    Track 1. The Eve of the War

    5. Hayley Westernra - Odyssey
    Track 8 - Quanta Qualia

    All worthy tracks to be sure, but I want to comment on Kiss From a Rose. This is the track I use for auditioning multichannel systems for some of the same reasons you mention. The DVD-A mastering of this song is phenomenal, and it really shows the qualities of a system. If this sounds bad on a multi-channel system, then the system has a problem. Even on average systems it will sound good, but a great system will bring the samples to life and immerse you in an amazing world of sound.
  • 04-15-2008, 06:09 AM
    Jim Clark
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by filecat13
    I did get Extraordinary Ways, and it's got some good work. On average, I'd call it equal to Conjure One, but it lacks the stunning tracks like Center of the Sun or Tears From the Moon. Tracks like Endless Dream, Extraordinary Way, and Forever Lost are pretty hot, though.

    I got the Conjure One EPs off iTunes: three different mixes of Center of the Sun, four of Tears From the Moon, five of Sleep, and an 11 minute monster of Redemption known as "Max Graham's Dead Sea Mix." (It doesn't sound much like Redemption, trust me.) They're very cool, but it takes more dedication than I have to listen to all of them at once.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll see if the record store has a used copy on hand, if not I'll order it online tonight. Rhys can make some quality music but so far, Conjure One is my fave by far.

    jc
  • 04-15-2008, 07:43 AM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    Norah Jones, "Come away with me" for voices. If you have any distortion of any kind, it will show here. Not bad for piano either.

    I use the same trck but, apparently, for opposite reasons. Norah's got a bit of a sibilant thang going on and on some of the cuts the mic is mixed a bit hot. If one can't hear that the speaker isn't reproducing faithfully. As an aside the SACD is mixed a bit down, and while not perfect, is much improved in this. Maybe we're saying the same thing two different ways G.

    I'll usually take along a copy of "Kind of Blue". If a speaker can't convey that midrange magic I don't want it in my house.

    Large scale symphonic like Kleiber's Beethovens or Orff are good for dynamics, as is some heavy metal. I generally take as broad a selection as possible. The seven dollar an hour kids usually look at you strange but the seasoned guys stop treating you like an idiot.
  • 04-15-2008, 10:43 PM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks
    I use the same trck but, apparently, for opposite reasons. Norah's got a bit of a sibilant thang going on and on some of the cuts the mic is mixed a bit hot. If one can't hear that the speaker isn't reproducing faithfully. As an aside the SACD is mixed a bit down, and while not perfect, is much improved in this. Maybe we're saying the same thing two different ways G.

    I'll usually take along a copy of "Kind of Blue". If a speaker can't convey that midrange magic I don't want it in my house.

    Large scale symphonic like Kleiber's Beethovens or Orff are good for dynamics, as is some heavy metal. I generally take as broad a selection as possible. The seven dollar an hour kids usually look at you strange but the seasoned guys stop treating you like an idiot.


    thats a powerfull horn on kinda blue(of course)

    And a lot are forgetting the question (including me)
    What is good for auditioning purposes.
    SOME MUSIC CAN MAKE ANY CRAP SYSTEM SOUND GOOD.
    Very dynamic, powerfull music will help cover up the shortcomings of bad gear, IMHO :1:
  • 04-16-2008, 06:40 AM
    OzzieAudiophile
    Bigmoney : If you have not heard Dark Side of the Moon on SACD, you probably should.
    It's pretty much one of the best seller SACDs in the market. It's on all top 50 SACDs
    sales list.

    Feanor : A majority of all SACDs, DVD-A, and other improved formats happen to be
    of the classical/opera genres. It makes sense as the instruments are performed
    directly from the real instruments. Whereas trance, dance, are produced often
    using mixers, samplers, computers instead. Some of those type of artists, couldn't
    play a real guitar, keyboard, if their life depended on it. I personally have no problem
    with trance/dance music, as there are many tracks I like. I have a greater appreciation
    for talents where musicians have taken years with music lessons and/or performed
    using real instruments. Classic example, anyone hear Lang Lang ? Now that is a
    piano player !! He looks arrogant and cocky when he is playing, but you'd be too when
    you earn yourself arthritus playing like that :)

    filecat13 : I've added that Seal DVD-Audio to my wish list. I'll see later if I end up
    getting it.

    By the way, I sort of liked the Star Wars track - Duel of the Fates. How does that
    sound on your incredible setups guys ? A worthy CD to get ?
  • 04-16-2008, 07:15 AM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    thats a powerfull horn on kinda blue(of course)

    And a lot are forgetting the question (including me)
    What is good for auditioning purposes.
    SOME MUSIC CAN MAKE ANY CRAP SYSTEM SOUND GOOD.
    Very dynamic, powerfull music will help cover up the shortcomings of bad gear, IMHO :1:

    Absolutely. That was my point about the Norah thing. You take music in which you are familiar with the faults, the miscues, the mistakes and the errors. Yes, I want KOB to sound like heaven but also I wanna know the potential resolving issues of a new speak. Good point.
  • 04-16-2008, 07:39 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by OzzieAudiophile
    By the way, I sort of liked the Star Wars track - Duel of the Fates. How does that sound on your incredible setups guys ? A worthy CD to get ?

    Ah yes, Episode One. I happen to be a big fan of John Williams' work. He is a master of evoking emotion. Duel of the Fates is excellent along with The Sixth Spacecraft and Droid Invasion. I have a well worn thirty year old vinyl copy of Episode Four (the original movie).

    Other more current favorite works by Williams are Harry Potter - Prisoner of Azkaban and Memoirs of a Geisha. The Whomping Willow cut from Azkaban will knock your socks off. The masterful work of Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman are found on Geisha. The recording has great dynamics, bass impact, and sweet sounding upper percussion. There's a great preview site found here.

    rw
  • 04-16-2008, 07:48 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks
    II'll usually take along a copy of "Kind of Blue". If a speaker can't convey that midrange magic I don't want it in my house.

    Speaking of "blue", I got a freebie CD years ago from AT&T called "Stormy Weather" with performances by Paula Cole, Trisha Yearwood (sung "twang-free"), Sheryl Crow, Bjork, Stevie Nicks, Gwen Stefani and a couple others. While I confess I'm not a big Stefani fan, she does a most expressive rendition of Almost Blue. You can hear every intonation and breath she takes. While you won't get CD resolution, here's a YouTube sample (ignore the video): Gwen's Almost Blue

    Another expressive cut from that album is Bjork's Gloomy Sunday. Here's a YT copy of that: Gloomy Sunday

    rw
  • 04-16-2008, 08:34 AM
    OzzieAudiophile
    Coolness E-Stat regarding the Star Wars. I simply cannot believe how much of a
    Star Wars fan I was. I still have my original figurines I brought back in 1977, with
    some of the guns. I can't believe you can still get a Darth Vader original 1977
    from Kenner, unopened with the cardboard hole on the top still intact.

    (yes on the top there's a hole you can make for shops to display the cartons on hooks,
    I think it can be 3 to 10 times the value if that hole hasn't been made).

    I was mad enough as a kid to buy Star Wars (ep IV) back in 1980 on VHS tape for $80.
    It's still in mint condition today, like I'd play it again :P