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Songs to test speakers with

  • 04-07-2007 5:43pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 7,145 DonkeyStyle \o/

    Just listening to Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D Minor again and thought to myself, "Hot-diggity-damn this is a speaker test if ever I've heard one"... I'd certainly bring it (along with a few other tracks, maybe some Muse, Altern8) with me on CD if I was shop-demo'ing some speakers I was interested in.
    I'm a bass freak... if the woofer is at all muddy it drives me nuts.

    I thought it might make an interesting thread to see what musical benchmarks you guys would use to put a new set of speakers through their paces and what you look for the most.



  • very interesting idea. unfortunatly i've got to think about it, which means im getting no work done now :)


    Amazing, always makes me go :eek:.
    Funny thing is im not a Harry Potter fan.

  • A set of speakers would have to do the following to my liking:

    Dire Straits - Telegraph Road (Live)
    Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly
    Negrocan - Aquela Esquina
    Groove Armada - At the River
    Flaming Lips - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
    Santana - Smooth

  • If I was in the market for a new set of speakers I'd be giving the following a listen:

    Nice Cave - People Just Ain't No Good
    Tom Waits - The Heart of Saturday Night
    Beck - Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime
    Pachelbel - Canon in D
    The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

  • If Bass is your thing you have to try out Horizons by LTJ Bukem. It's got some amazing sub frequencies that aren't that clear on certain speaker set ups

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  • moloko, time is now is mine...deep bass guitar at the start, then an acoustic guitar kicks in...i've used it for a few sets of speaker purchases now and it's my main test tune..

  • I was reading something recently that said that Leftfield's "Leftism" album came out on top in a poll in one of those HiFi magazines as the album most people use to test new systems.

  • Disc two of the The Brits Awards 1993. Honest. It's mainly musical muck but it has a great range of frequencies and styles and it's been a reference disk since eerrrrr 1993 it's very familiar - familiarity is extremely important as you need to know exactly what you're losing and gaining with any piece of new equipment (and not just speakers).

    Beware of using deep synthetic bass as a test, there's no way you can know it's accurately reproducing the original recording. Always include acoustic piano, bass, vocals (both male and female) guitar etc so you'll know how neutral a system is - you don't want a system that distorts or colours a recording.

  • Some might say the melody will distract you from hearing the speakers. So for me this works.

    The guy is a genius and is touring Russia shortly. He works at UCD clonskeagh.

    He does everything on a MacBook C2D and the attire he's wearing talks in MIDI !!!


  • bjork is another good one, most of her earlier songs go through the ranges from deep bass to her high pitched squeaking...

    when i bought my current speakers, i took the followiung cds to the store to listen to.

    snow patrol-final straw. first song has a really light build in,
    moloko - time is now(or whatever cd has it on it) see above post, great range of sounds on this one.
    band of brothers ost - as close to classical as i get, but a great speaker test, some speakers make this sound flat,
    saving private ryan ost. omaha beach goes from barely there low volume to deep and powerful...a good test.

    if i find speakers that play all those well, then i'm happy..

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  • The KLF!

    If your a deep bass lover you will like the 20Hz 'humm' that 'The KLF' use to put in to allot of the music they made.. but you really needed a good set of cans (or speakers) to hear it.

    All aboard all aboard whoa-oh

  • god's toy wrote:
    The KLF!

    All aboard all aboard whoa-oh
    Slaphead07 wrote:
    Disc two of the The Brits Awards 1993.

    I think that's track 3 on disc 2 of the The Brits Awards 1993.

  • god's toy wrote: »
    The KLF!

    If your a deep bass lover you will like the 20Hz 'humm' that 'The KLF' use to put in to allot of the music they made.. but you really needed a good set of cans (or speakers) to hear it.

    All aboard all aboard whoa-oh

    20Hz isn't a humm, nor can you hear the frequency. It is sub-audible bass, the kind of stuff you feel, that moves you.

    Favourite track for checking speakers with is Sade - No Ordinary Love.

  • tubular bells 2!!

  • I use this free CD to test all my headphones and speaker setups

    Its stereo lossless FLAC tracks. On a good sound system they sound simply amazing.

  • Around 6 mins 13 seconds into the original release of Delerium - Silence.
    That will test any speaker set to the core.

  • Soundman wrote: »
    20Hz isn't a humm, nor can you hear the frequency. It is sub-audible bass, the kind of stuff you feel, that moves you.
    20 Hz is certainly within the audible range of most people. I can hear it with no problem. Some can hear below 15 Hz.

  • My Bloody valentine "Only Shallow"

  • The 'and justice for all' album by metallica really tests speakers and shows up bad ones immediatly.

    CHuga CHuga CHuga

    Low quality speakers arent able for it

  • I like using pulk, pull revolving doors by Radiohead to try out the bass

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    craig armstrong, weather storm.

    great separation and depth. and then also when the bass kicks in its a good test!


  • L31mr0d wrote: »
    I use this free CD to test all my headphones and speaker setups

    Its stereo lossless FLAC tracks. On a good sound system they sound simply amazing.

    It's not a test disk though. For a test disk to work you need to know where it was recorded, a studio, a hall or a church or whatever. You need to know where the musicians were standing in relation to each other. This gives you only track numbers.

    Where it gives "sound effects" we need to know if the birdsong is in a field a cage in a room or an aviary. There's bees on that track too and they sound as if they were recorded elsewhere and overdubbed... that defeats the purpose. Was that rainfall in a field forest or city? Without knowing that we don't know what we should be hearing. Fireworks? What does that test?

    It's interesting but it's no test disk. Even a compilation of familiar tracks will give you something to compare to... you might hear more detail or deeper bass but even then you'd need to know what the original recording sounded like to call it a test disk.

  • +1 on Tubular Bells 2 - Mike's own perfect production, with plenty of stereo imaging to really give your ears a workout, For the same reason, the intro of Mike's Crises and William Orbit's Water From A Vine Leaf (from Strange Cargo III) will also give any speakers the chance to impress or disappoint.

    I'd also have to bring The Truth by Limp Bizkit - the bass player uses low B quite prominently, and the production/mix has the potential to let it ring clear.

    No Man's Land (from Hyperborea) by Tangerine Dream - great range of synth tones & stereo separation.

    The Big Blue Overture from The Big Blue soundtrack by Eric Serra - crystal production.

    Any Joe Satriani CD - power, clarity, full range of frequencies, brom synth bass & kick drum to searing high guitar notes, usually great production.

    Johnny Clegg & Savuka's Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World would also be along with me, as would Gamal by Zainal Abidin - production & musicianship on both are fantastic.

    I'd also bring along some older material, from times when production wasn't what it's become today - Dave Brubeck's Take Five & Blue Rondo A La Turk, and La Paloma Azul for the background noises in the club as it was being recorded.

    Maybe some Yes or Rush, where bass mattered to the band and engineer/producer, but the technology wasn't necessarily there to achieve perfection.

    Something by the Moody Blues too, probably - big busy arrangements & lots going on: vocal harmonies and orchestrations as well as the typical rock band stuff.

    Although technically, we can hear 20Hz, I'm not sure that it's the case that we actually "hear" 20Hz - AFAIK, it's the harmonics that make up the note that we actually hear, and it's the larger amounts of air that a speaker reproducing a 20Hz note moves that we feel in our chests and that makes our flares flap. I remember reading something along those lines on a pro sound engineer forum one time.


  • Brian Transeau's 1.618
    Rolling Stones : (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction(Studio version not this live one)
    Montserrat Caballé : La Mama Morta
    Phil Collins: Take me home (studio Version not this live one)
    Daft Punk : Tecnologic / Prodigy: Invaders Must Die
    Christie Hennessy : Sunshine on my baby


  • Around the world/ harder better faster stronger from the daft punk alive 2007 album

  • Timeless by Goldie

  • Try The Collector by Cerrone. First couple of minutes with plenty of volume will give any speakers a good workout.

  • Amateurs..... ;)

    Use Alan Parson's "Sound Check" or "Sound Check 2" if you can get your hands on it. Produced specifically for sound engineers.

    Set up a home system or a stadium rig.

    Find it, use it....wonder how you ever did without it!

    About €50 if you can find it.


    PS (No, I wont give you a copy of mine).

  • Dude above here recommended Horizons by LTJ, this track would be great for testing speaker bass. I'd prob go for another of his tracks called 'Undress your Mind', it has a wonderful bass groove that kicks in a few minutes into it.

    If you really want to put them to the limit tho try rubber chicken by caspa, see what they can really do. Europe endless by kraftwerk is another solid choice for all roundness.

    I have my eye on the B&W zeppelin, it allegedly sounds great and looks like a zeppelin, how awesome is that.

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  • would have to be breakbeat or drum and bass to test some speakers. gona try some later