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3 Go To Songs for Testing Speakers


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Mark Henniger of AVS Forums has a playlist on Spotify he used to use to test new speakers and review. Search for "AVS Speaker Playlist". Not so much songs I like, but I read he has these on there due to the changes and twists in the songs and how the speaker responds to these changes.


Its interesting running your speakers thru this playlist.


PS- I also like running Steely Dan thru my speakers.....awesome.

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On 1/28/2017 at 5:51 PM, bcarey13 said:

Trying to get some ideas for what others use test new setups/speakers...


These aren't meant to be  "Critical Listening" Test Songs...Just fun songs that you know well

I dont know about "songs," but to audibly test for linearity and eveness of tone quality through the audio range, I like pipe organ, such as the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor played by E. Power Biggs.  That particular work opens with a descent to 32 Hz, to test your deep bass.


For very fine detail in a wide range of instruments, I'd suggest a good recording of The Planets, composed by Gustav Holst.  You'll get a good sense of how accurately each of those instruments are reproduced, if you're familiar with them.  The work features a great variety of brass, woodwinds, and percussion.


Carmina Burana is good for the same array of instruments, plus solo voice in some of the movements.


Strings are the toughest to reproduce, so I'd suggest a good recording of, say, the Dvorak cello concerto, or the Beethoven Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano.


I can post links with good examples of each if you'd like. -- Larry

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A modern hi-res digital recording of Mahler Symphony 2 will place far greater demand on a hi-fi system than most pop/rock music, which typically has little dynamic range relative to large-scale classical music.  Set the volume level so that you can hear the opening of the fourth movement (the beautiful "Urlicht"), and then see if your hi-fi system can handle the opening of the fifth movement.

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Here are my old standbys:

The Healer by John Lee Hooker w/ Santana. Great vocals by JLH with a searing solo by Carlos. His band is on point with sweeping percussion & Timbales, effective for chrecking soundstage.

 Fever by Peggy Lee. close your eyes & envision the setup.

 Baby, Now That I found You by Alison Krauss & Union Station. Female vocals are the true measure by which to judge your speakers & Ms. Krauss's angelic vocals prove a strong test for most systems.

 A bonus tune for bass. "Autour Du Rocher" by Jimmy Buffett off of his "Far Side of The World" cd. Want to check out your low end & monster Sub? Crank that tune.

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I'm glad someone mentioned the planets. Mars always stuck out as a favorite when I played the clarinet. Follow Me by Muse as well as some of their earlier work and B-sides (House of the rising sun is a great cover). Feel good, feel better, feel wonderful by Prince is always a winner. The shredding solos from Dragonforce are always exceptional as well.

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On 1/29/2017 at 6:27 AM, BlessedPrince said:

I'm probably a little younger than most folks(no pun intendedemoji23.png) but I'll throw in a few. I listen to everything but I have a preference for Dance/electronic for the most part.

Alan Walker: has some nice songs and remixes of "Faded" and "Alone". Some of them are piano versions too.

Knife party: "Bonfire's" has some serious bass and dynamics.

Adele: "when we were young" is one of my favorite vocal songs.

Lindsey Stirling: "Crystallize" she mixes violin with electronic beats.

Just a few for the thought.

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Beat me to it. I came here to mention Lindsey Stirling. Nothing tests your speaker's dynamics like screaming violin over dubstep beats at 100db.:emotion-21:


Saeed by Infected Mushroom is unreal on my LaScalas too, its so tactile you can almost taste it.


Have you heard of Illenium? His production is really good and the vocals are spot on:



Any excuse I can use to throw on some Angus and Julia Stone is good too:



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  • 1 month later...

If all goes well tomorrow, I hope to be evaluating my "new" 1980 La Scalas. I'll likely use these as my go to three. 

1. Carolina In My Mind - James Taylor:  With my Heresys, it can almost bring tears. 

2. John Barleycorn Must Die - Traffic

3. Can't You Hear Me Knocking - Rolling Stones: Mick Taylor's guitar solo is        nothing short of genius.


I hope the La Scalas are as good as I remember them. I heard a pair 35 years ago, I was never quite the same after that. 



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One of my favorites is Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana. Popping bass, screaming guitars and like all Jackson discs, produced very well.


Another fine sounding disc is the late 80's Heart self titled album, it sounds fantastic.. All digital recording with crisp clear vocals, great mix of vocals, guitars and drums.


Toss up for the third one.


Dire Straits - Brothers in arms.

Disturbed - The sound of silence.

Pink Floyd - Comfortably numb.

Eagles - Hotel California

Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime



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Third Ear Audio - Intro followed without gap by -- Third Ear Audio - Ethereality

Guy Klucevsek -The Gunks

King Crimson - Bolero remastered



Miles Davis & Gil Evans - Summertime (master)

Bazaar - Xaleas


Thing is I have over 30 tracks in special order and my collection is very eclectic

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For classical I like to use Requiem (John Rutter), with the Turtle Creek Chorale and Women's Chorus of Dallas, on Keith Johnson's Reference Recordings label. If the sorely over-used word "awesome" ever accurately applied to any recording, it is "Agnus Dei" from this CD, the dynamic range of which reveals the full emotive power of massed human voices (more than 200 of them, accompanied by a few winds, harp and pipe organ). Keith Johnson's magical recording places you within the first few rows, and is absolutely dazzling on a well set-up surround system. And of course, the organ pedals will test a system's ability below 30Hz.


For jazz I use More Splutie, Please, by Harry James, from The King James Version. This 2-mic recording produces a wonderfully realistic 3-D soundstage when played on properly set up systems. The string bass solo will quickly expose a system's problems in the bass, especially if said system's bass is, shall we say, "overstated". On a system with accurate tonal balance James's trumpet solo should have plenty of "bite" without being overly strident (surprisingly few systems get this right).


I'll also throw in songs from kd lang's Ingenue album, which contains a wide variety of well-recorded acoustic instruments and voices, solo drumset recordings I made in my home studio (great for dynamic impact) and if the system is supposed to have real slam, I'll feed it the last part of the drum solo in Tank from ELP's first album.


For home theater evaluation, in addition to the above the helicopter attack and mango search scenes from Apocalypse Now will tell me everything I need to know.

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Diana Krall - "The Boy from Ipanema". luscious strings, brushes on percussion, her voice and breathing for detail, hammer impacts from the piano

Loreena McKennitt - "The Mummer's Dance" (or "Marco Polo").  Complex, you should be able to hear all of the instruments, drums you should be able to id the head material, THAT voice.

Chicago "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is"  Dynamics and Horns.  If your speakers are hot, you'll hate it.  And I just love the song.


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