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bcarey13

3 Go To Songs for Testing Speakers

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I like Allan Parsons Project "Games people play", Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the soles of her shoes" and Bruce Spingsteen's "Tenth avenue freeze out"

 

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Am presently a/bing my Fortes & Bose 10.2 on Kahlehi Avo's Contrabassoon Concerto (Lewis Lipnick, Contrabasson; Bergen Symphony Orchestra w/Andrew Litton, Conductor).  

 

The Fortes have a much clearer high range and a better sense of presence. The strings have much better separation on the Fortes:  the horns, of course, sound best reproduced on horns so they win there as well.  (I also need to listen to the 10.2s with the volume at 12 o'clock to get what the Fortes will play in the 9:30 position).  Even the percussion, one of the 10.2's strongest points, is clearer and more distinct on the Fortes.  Symphonic classical music is definitely better on the Fortes than the 10.2 IIs.  That being said, I should note that the 10.2s did an entirely satisfactory job of reproducing Lipnick's contrabassoon solos and have an excellent dynamic range. 

 

Checked out Tori Amos' "Caught a Lite Sneeze" from Boys for Pele, and the 10.2 IIs fared much better.  The Fortes did a superior job of reproducing Tori's voice and piano accurately: through the 10.2 IIs the sound was warmer and more inviting.  The 10.2 IIs also do better with less impressive material.  The best recordings sounds veiled on the 10.2s: the Stereo Everywhere effect means you don't get the kind of razor-sharp imaging the Fortes can give you.  MP3s lose their harshness on the 10.2s while the Fortes reproduce every artifact and metallic-sounding harmonic in painful detail.  There's no question the Fortes are superior speakers, but for what they are the 10.2s are excellent.  They are also tower speakers which have a smaller footprint, though they put out a surprisingly big sound for their size.  If WAF is a factor and/or you listen to a lot of garage band recordings or compressed audio, the 10.2 IIs might suit your needs just fine.  

 

Sheesh... ask me for the time and I tell you how to build a watch. 

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We live in the midrange!  That being said, here are a FEW of my "go-to" selections for testing speakers (and the upstream components!):

 

Joni Mitchell...too many to name...concentrate on her EARLIEST stuff from her earliest albums...simply because her voice along with her guitar and/or piano skills are easier to   digest with the simplest of arrangements (her arrangements GENERALLY became more complex from the very beginning, stage-by-stage, album-by-album...she had a magical extended voice range...as she got older her chain-smoking addiction began to take its toll on her range. Selections from the following albums work best for me: Clouds (1969),  Ladies of the Canyon (1970), Blue (1971), For the Roses (1972), Court and Spark (1974), The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975).  Some people are not "into" her singing style, but I am!

 

Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina "Sittin' In" album:  Don't laugh, but..."House at Pooh Corner"....extremely CLEAN recording with a variety of musical instruments involved.

 

Maria Muldaur:(1973).  Although her biggest hit is on this album (Midnight at the Oasis), the album has quite a variety of song-types on it...to include Dixieland jazz, blues, and Classic Country selections.  Wade through it because there are some really great testing songs in there!  She is unique in the way she can belt-out almost anything, in her sultry-voiced manner.  There are also a wide variety of instrument types used throughout the album. Another clean recording!

 

Bonnie Raitt: With this gal, you get a DOUBLE WHAMMY!  She KNOWS HOW to put FEELING into her vocals...PLUS she is one of the greatest slide guitar players in the business...EVER!!  There are a number of albums to pull from...and keep in mind that she has "sessioned-with" most every bluesman alive (some are not alive ANYMORE!)...so there is a wealth of good old blues involved in her plethora of recordings!  Again, her stuff is generally recorded quite "cleanly"!

 

Lynyrd Skynard:  Second Helping album...too much on it not to be on the list!

 

Duane Allman Anthology Album...includes his work with Allman Brothers Band...and quite a lot of the session stuff he did with Motown greats, such as Aretha Franklin, and others!  DO NOT LET THIS ONE SLIP YOU BY!  By now you should have figured out that I just LOVE slide guitar!

 

Clean guitar picking??  Pink Floyd "Money" from "Dark Side of the Moon" Album;  Alvin Lee picking cleanly on "I'd Love to Change the World" from Ten Years After's  "A Space in TIme" album;  Pretty much ANYTHING by Chet Atkins! (Not many people have a guitar model named after them!);  I won't even get into Led Zep's stuff...too much there! 

 

There are literally hundreds of other ones....but this outta do for now!

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On Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 10:32 PM, M_Klipsch said:

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.

 

 

Ever hear Melanie Safka's rendition of James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind"...from her "Candles in the Rain" album (1970)?

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There's always a fine line between actually testing speakers, showing off your speakers, and just listening to your favorite songs. :)  

 

1. Metallica, "One", Through the Never version.  I want to hear the guitar seamlessly panning, James's voice should sound growly and correct, not weird, shouty, or like there's an unnatural resonance.  Double bass should sound super tight and not sloppy.  The snap of the beater on the skin of the kick drums should come through the horns nice and thick and snappy, not weak.  

 

2. Genesis, "we can't dance", various.  This album is like a midrange torture test, lots of airy effects that should sound amazing but can sound boring.  

 

3. James Taylor, Carolina in my mind.  I've heard him live, up close and personal, and it was magical.  It's a simple song but I know what it should sound like.  I always pop this one in to see if it can do my memory justice.  

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There are a lot of "special" recordings out there to WOW other people when you show off your system but if you are looking for a test recording for something you are going to try, I recommend that you simply use the music you like to listen to. You may as well use the music you are likely to play. 

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4 hours ago, russ69 said:

There are a lot of "special" recordings out there to WOW other people when you show off your system but if you are looking for a test recording for something you are going to try, I recommend that you simply use the music you like to listen to. You may as well use the music you are likely to play. 

Exactly!

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I usually go with some F Zappa:

   " G-Spot Tornado " from the Yellow Shark , played by the Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt or

 

   " Big Swifty "  from Wazoo, disc one.

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First, I have a theory... well I have lots of theories, but here's one.  Many pop/rock/country mastering engineers subconsciously attempt to make their recordings sound like good lively high efficiency horn and semi-horn systems (Klipsch, Altec, JBL, EV, etc.) when played back on typical bland direct radiating speakers, e.g. Bose.  So this tends to make a typical pop/rock/country recording sound harsh and "honky" on a horn system because the mastering exaggerates the speaker's tonality---like a caricature of itself.  Not so much so for jazz, folk, classical, and---especially---cinema, which is mastered on horns for horns.  So my demo choices tend to be from those genres.

 

Moving on, here are but three of my favorite ear-candies:

  1. Laurie Anderson - Freefall
  2. Bruno Coulais - Norbu
  3. Mark Knopfler - Speedway at Nazareth

More can be found here.  It's a work in progress; some are destined for the dustbin as I add better selections and/or transfers.

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Now  I Have a lot of music to check out.  Thankfully there's Spotify.

 

My go to song to evaluate speaker is Brubeck's Take Five from Time Out.  I know what it should sound like.  The piano, horns and percussion are excellent.  All it lacks is vocals.

 

My go to song to impress is a high resolution Pono version of MJ's Billie Jean.  The difference between the Pono version and an Amazon mp3 are immediately apparent, even on my DIY chip amp boombox.  The dynamics are palpable from a good system.

 

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On 3/21/2017 at 2:00 PM, HDBRbuilder said:

Ever hear Melanie Safka's rendition of James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind"...from her "Candles in the Rain" album (1970)?

No I haven't but I'll give it a listen.

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