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Thread: Standard equipment-change test songs

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2017

    Location: Northampton

    Posts: 177
    I'm Chris.

    Default Standard equipment-change test songs

    Hi all,

    I find that I have a few songs I always play when I change something with my set up. Do you do that too?

    Let us know which songs you use and why. I would love to have some new ones to try out.

    This is my list, which is not really thought through - it is just a habit.

    Paul Weller
    - All the Pictures on the Wall - This is a strange recording but I like it. It has a bass and a bass drum that are difficult to tell apart on some systems. So this is my "bass control" test.

    Next up: Sting - Island of Souls - This is one of of the widest soundstages I have ever heard on a recording. I swear the spanish guitar at the start is directly left from me!

    Next up: Extreme - Cupid's Dead - Lovely recording with lots of attack and speed. Guitar work has got the wow factor every time for me.

    Next up: Blof (Dutch Band) - Binnenstebuiten - floor toms across the soundstange which should not interfere with the rich bass guitar - it then gets more complex as more instruments and voices join - it needs to be nicely separated.

    Next up: Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye - Can I hear the plectrums on the strings on both guitars and and does the top end stay in control in the middle section?

    Next: Skunk Anansie - Lately - some systems I tried just got all messed up in the chorus - too muddled and a blur and Skin's harmonies can get lost in the "bridge section".

    Finally: Rush - Alien Shore - only one problem with this one: It kicks ass on most systems. The quick bass string bends and hammer-ons are total quality.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2015

    Location: Cardiff

    Posts: 51
    I'm Richard.


    Hi Chris,

    That's a very interesting question and I'm sure you will get many different suggestions.

    As far as I am concerned, I build IPL transmission line speakers as a hobby and whenever a potential buyer comes for an audition I obviously encourage them to bring their own material to listen to but I like to play a few tracks of my own chosing to show what what the speakers are capable of.

    I usually start with NINA SIMONE "Feeling Good". At the beginning of the track all that can be heard is her voice which is right in the middle and is so believable that you feel that if she were still alive you could shake her hand. After about 40 seconds the accompaniment kicks in to open out the soundstage. People who do not often listen to Hi-Fi find it difficult to believe that there is no sound coming from the centre speaker.......If time allows I go on to play "Sinnerman" which has a nice cymbal solo after about 4 minutes which sizzles and spits at you. The rest of the track shows how musical and rhythmical the speakers are.

    To demonstrate how good the soundstage is, I play any track by LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZZO. I feel that I can indentify where nearly every voice is coming from and every small intake of breath can be heard.

    As far as bass performance is concerned, a potential customer wanted to listen to "Sail" by AWOLNATION. This was new to me but it has plenty of deep punchy bass which puts the bass drivers through their paces so I tend to use that quite a lot for demo purposes.

    I think most people would agree that most speakers will play "easy" music well. As far as I am concerned the true measure of a speaker is how well they play "difficult" music. Try NILS LOFGREN'S "Bass and Drum" intro. Personally I don't think that it is music at all but any speaker that can play that track without any issues gets my vote!


  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2008

    Location: Warrington

    Posts: 3,070
    I'm Neil.


    Here's some of mine, albums not songs:

    Dead Can Dance - Toward The Within (Live) - all of it, just a stunning production, huge instrumentation, and I like using female vocals to test for sibilance.

    Massive Attack - Mezzanine - another stunningly produced album with a lot of bass to contend with

    Lamb - Lamb - more of the same, tests the 'speed' of a system, as well as the finesse and space (lots of 'hanging in space harmonics' on this one) that a system can reproduce

    Death - The Sound of Perseverance - kiss goodbye to a 'plinky plonky' system on this one! Tests the ability of a system to hold things together during an onslaught.
    Mana Acoustics Racks / Bright Star IsoNodes Decoupling >> Custom Silent Media Server >> Halide Bridge USB (with AQVOX USB power) >> Pedja Rogic's Audial Model S DAC + Pioneer PL-71 turntable / Vista Audio phono-1 mk II / Denon PCL-5 headshell / Reson Reca >> LFD DLS >> LFD PA2M (SE) >> Royd RR3s.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Sep 2017

    Location: Northampton

    Posts: 177
    I'm Chris.


    Thanks for the replies. Interesting. Am now investigating as I am not familiar with some of that material, although I know some Massive Attack - indeed, some ball-bouncing stuff there.

    I have heard the IPL kits give a great bang for your buck, not that I'm looking for a change quite yet.


  5. #5
    Join Date: Dec 2015

    Location: Alicante. Spain.

    Posts: 1,700
    I'm Adrian.


    Convergence - Malia and Boris Blank
    Technics SP10 mk2
    Jan Allaerts MC 1 Boron mk1 cart
    Miyajima Shilabe cart
    Hashimoto HM-X SUT
    Siggwan (gimballed not unipivot) Cocobola 12"
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    The Truth linestage
    Dave Slagle Autoformer Volume Controller
    Cary 805c SET amps
    Audio Note ANe-SPX speakers
    Townshend Isolda speaker cables
    Cardas Golden Presence interconnects

  6. #6
    Join Date: Dec 2016

    Location: Kent uk

    Posts: 189
    I'm Martin.


    Telegraph Road Dire Straits

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