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  • 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

    Although I am sad at the lack of annotated photo walkthrough of MWAF (cough cough) the question of what songs are good tests for speakers has gotten me thinking. If you had three songs to act as quality and torture test of speakers what would you pick and why.

    The following is my first crack at a list.

    Florence and the Machine – No Light No Light
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGH-4jQZRcc
    Rational: Strong female vocals; Big, dynamic sounding song; Good bass-line around 3 minutes; maybe a little over produced.

    Yakko Kanno – Tank!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhCDqek_HcI
    Rational: Big piece with a lot going on, good stuff going on in all the registers. Sadly, the version I have linked to sounds compressed to me.

    Caged The Elephant – Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBgp5aDH23g
    Rational: Well produced; Strong male vocal; Great soundstage test; Natural sounding instruments; spans sounds found in a variety of musical genre

    Runners up
    The XX – Islands http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PElhV8z7I60 - Both male and female vocals; fairly serious bass; also not the best produced song in the world.

    Die Antwoord – Zef Side (:39-1:20) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_pS46YRMIQ - Because…I think it would be hilarious that’s why. It is also short and beyond the bass drop has some interesting details that don’t seem to resolve on all speakers.

  • #2
    Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

    Dire Straits - Iron Hand
    Strong bass, male vocal

    Pink Floyd - Shine on you Crazy Diamond (part one)
    Just an awesome song, great dynamics, covers a wide frequency range.

    Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
    Female vocals, smooth sound

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    • #3
      Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

      I definitely agree with Shine On You Crazy Diamond for all the reasons given. That or Pink Floyd - Time.

      For good hard hitting bass and strong male vocals I'd have to go with Rammstein - Ich Tu Dir Weh (I don't recommend looking up the lyrics in English. Kinda ruined the song for me...)

      Those, and the 2nd movement of Beethoven's 7th for a wide range of frequencies, plus it's one of my just one favorites that I'm familiar with.
      RYAN N.

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      • #4
        Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

        Since Dire Straits came up, I'll say for sure Once Upon A Time In The West. Awesome all the way around!
        "The ability of any system to produce exceptional sound will be limited mainly by the capability of the speakers" Jim Salk
        "Audio is surely a journey full of revelations as you go" JasonP

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        • #5
          Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

          My full "speaker audition" list is here, but if I had to winnow it down to three, they would be the following:

          1) Excerpts from Shostakovich 7, Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the St. Petersburg Phil. Not my favorite read of DSCH 7, but one with the most breathtaking recorded dynamic range.

          2) Natalie Merchant, "Ophelia" (Ophelia)

          3) Either Radiohead, "Separator" (The King of Limbs) or Alice-in-Chains, "No Excuses" (MTV Unplugged)
          --
          "Based on my library and laboratory research, I have concluded, as have others, that the best measures of speaker quality are frequency response and dispersion pattern. I have not found any credible research showing that most of the differences we hear among loudspeakers cannot be explained by examining these two variables." -Alvin Foster, 22 BAS Speaker 2 (May, 1999)

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          • #6
            Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

            Mannheim Steamroller "Toccata" first song off of Fresh Aire III Synthesizers, Drums, wind instrument

            Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" Male vocals that really can image well due to the quietness in certain areas, guitars
            or
            "My Parties" Male vocals, guitar, horns, percussion

            Steely Dan "Hey Nineteen" Do I really need to explain?

            And I would have to add a fourth...

            Chaka Kahn "Ain't Nobody" Female vocals, synthesizers, various percussion
            HAGD,
            Marc

            Even though I try to tell everyone upfront, understand that I am still a Newb. I wish the status of Seasoned Veteran/Senior Member, etc. was earned with time not posts...

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            • #7
              Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

              ah come on, its not that kind of hurt, it the the good sado-masochistic hurt. ;) one thing to remeber about music that is using a synthisizer is that it is a created sound, so what do you compare it to for evealuation ? i agree it is great for extreme bass notes and dynamics, but as far as music goes, it is not so good. i have several cd's that use a lot of synth, m jonasz (spelling french swing) and one of my favorite cds earth city express way. the second is all synth and i listened to it for 2 years before i realized this. still very fun to listened to.
              craigk

              " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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              • #8
                Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                Originally posted by craigk View Post
                ah come on, its not that kind of hurt, it the the good sado-masochistic hurt. ;) one thing to remeber about music that is using a synthisizer is that it is a created sound, so what do you compare it to for evealuation ? i agree it is great for extreme bass notes and dynamics, but as far as music goes, it is not so good. i have several cd's that use a lot of synth, m jonasz (spelling french swing) and one of my favorite cds earth city express way. the second is all synth and i listened to it for 2 years before i realized this. still very fun to listened to.
                Agreed about synthesizers, that is why I like music that mixes synth with real instruments.
                HAGD,
                Marc

                Even though I try to tell everyone upfront, understand that I am still a Newb. I wish the status of Seasoned Veteran/Senior Member, etc. was earned with time not posts...

                TMWW thread

                Maurbacs DCR Tower

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                  Pink Floyd - Echoes

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                  • #10
                    Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                    Wow, two of my favorite songs have already been mentioned...

                    Dire Straits - > Money for nothing. The recording is just superb. I particularly like to listen to the electric guitars during the ending. In a good system, they sound like separate instruments... I don't know how to explain it. Poor systems just make them sound like noise. I like the JVC K2 version of the album.

                    Steely Dan - Hey Nineteen. My wife says this is my favorite song for testing speakers. I just know the way it should sound. Somehow, after hearing the entire song, I know pretty much what changes need to be done. It could be that I know the song perfectly well. I like to use the SACD version for this one.

                    The Alan Parsons Project - To One in Paradise / I Robot / The Turn of a Friendly Card Suite. I just think there's no other engineer like Alan Parsons. He made everything sound like sonic gold. Those three songs have different qualities - the first one is a terrific vocal test. I don't think I can think of a better sounding male vocal in any of my discs. I use the second one to check the drum sound; it needs to be very tight. Also, the bass line should be easily followed. The third one has some amazing vocal and instrumental performances.
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                    • #11
                      Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                      I know you asked for three songs, but if you really wanted to test speakers, I think I could narrow it down to three albums.

                      The Immortal Beloved Soundtrack. http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Belov.../dp/B000007121

                      Why? A speakers weakness is more obvious trying to reproduce good classical music and a piano. This sound track has it all, and is very good quality.

                      Next would be a great female vocalist. Norah Jones, Diana Krall. Insert personal favorite vocal artist.

                      Third. The Tron Legacy Soundtrack. Find out how tight that bass is, it's limits....

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                      • #12
                        Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                        Originally posted by generic View Post
                        I know you asked for three songs, but if you really wanted to test speakers, I think I could narrow it down to three albums.

                        The Immortal Beloved Soundtrack. http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Belov.../dp/B000007121

                        Why? A speakers weakness is more obvious trying to reproduce good classical music and a piano. This sound track has it all, and is very good quality.

                        Next would be a great female vocalist. Norah Jones, Diana Krall. Insert personal favorite vocal artist.

                        Third. The Tron Legacy Soundtrack. Find out how tight that bass is, it's limits....
                        You're very right about the Tron legacy soundtrack, it's a good test. I believe there are also instrumental versions of a few of the song on the soundtrack as well, in addition to the synthesized versions.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                          Not much unanimity here as I would have expected. This is exactly why there won't be total agreement on track lists for any speaker shootouts. I just last week spent 2+ hrs with a friend putting together 20 tracks for the CT Audio Society Aug. mini-monitor shoot out and it wasn't easy. I fully expect some negative comments on the music from those who attend.
                          Live in Southern N.E.? check out the CT Audio Society web site.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                            Originally posted by NickJ View Post
                            Yakko Kanno – Tank!
                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhCDqek_HcI
                            Rational: Big piece with a lot going on, good stuff going on in all the registers. Sadly, the version I have linked to sounds compressed to me.
                            that doesnt surprise as youtube compresses everything into an mp4 container default settings. and thats 'yoko kanno' ;p


                            my 3 typically are:

                            Suite Madam Blue - Styx.... the acoustic intro dynamics and the rock dynamic, along with the synth key solo in the middle, and the balanced recording of the bass guitar let me test multiple things at once.

                            this one's kind of a cheat, but.... The Launch - Boston .... considering this track was made using NO analog or digital synthesis effects, and the demands it places on speakers, I use this as kind of a torture test.

                            and everyone should give this a chance... Midnight Motion (live) - Kenny G .... yes, i know its Kenny G, but this dude's live records are so much better than the lifeless studio work he puts out, its hard to explain. and in this particular track, the bassist gets a !$#!$!@ hot solo at the end ^_^//

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                            • #15
                              Re: 3 songs you would choose to test speakers

                              Originally posted by carlspeak View Post
                              Not much unanimity here as I would have expected. This is exactly why there won't be total agreement on track lists for any speaker shootouts. I just last week spent 2+ hrs with a friend putting together 20 tracks for the CT Audio Society Aug. mini-monitor shoot out and it wasn't easy. I fully expect some negative comments on the music from those who attend.
                              20 tracks? - how long will it take to audition each speaker?
                              (I'm trying to fit 5 or 6 into a reasonable timeframe, where we expect about 10 entries for the IronDriver contest.)

                              Whatcha got so far - or is it a secret?
                              (By the rules of IronDriver contest, I can't publish mine so that the participants have advanced knowledge)
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