NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Field Marshall
I'm trying to ensure I've got a good range of music that I enjoy and listen to for testing speakers. I've included several of my favorite bands, a mix of male and female vocals, acoustic, electronic, rock, metal, industrial, and pop. Anyone have any suggestions for other stuff along the lines of what I have here?

 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
I like your list!

My favorite NIN tracks for testing speakers, et all are from The Fragile - "Into the Void" and "The Mark Has Been Made". They both have good dynamics and fun phasing action (if the speakers and setup are to the task, the 2-channel sounds should be coming from behind). "Closer" from The Downward Spiral is a classic track (the only song I will karaoke - invite me at your own risk) but for testing I like "Eraser" for the incredible dynamic swings (especially on SACD). Unfortunately, everything after The Fragile is just too compressed for "serious" listening (i.e., testing - I still listen for fun!). Even the "audiophile" release of Hesitation Marks is really squeezed...
 
M

mtrot

Full Audioholic
Leonard Cohen-You Want it Darker is the ultimate test of deep male voice.

Larry Carlton-Hello Tomorrow is a great test for electric bass articulation.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
I like that Leonard Cohen rec.

also, a common one to use for really exposing a speaker’s flaws would be some male vocal over piano...same with female vocal over piano.
Check out Nick cave and the bad seeds Love Letter, and something like Tori Amos Northern Lad.
I love my rock too... little black submarine should be a good test for dynamics and screaming guitar!
But also, try some other non-amplified stuff, like Buddy Guy, Done Got Old for example.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
One other thought:
Trombone is a good instrument with a lot of complex harmonics and is capable of a breadth of tone and timbre. Somebody like Curtis Fuller or JJ Johnson in a small ensemble, playing a hot cooker of a cut...
Again, these are just suggestions, but will really expose flaws in a speaker that overdriven rock won’t be guaranteed to show.
;)
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Looks to me like your choices are all studio albums. I would get some orchestral music in there. Orchestral is good for speaker evaluation because it spreads out so spectrally wide and dense. It's easier to hear resonances when an orchestra is hitting so many frequencies simultaneously. Also, the sound of orchestral instruments are pretty well known, and there won't be any effects filters to throw off their natural timbre.

If you really want to compare speakers, the thing to do is quickly switch between them in an A/B comparison. And if you REALLY want to compare speakers, make sure you don't know which speakers are playing at the time!
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
Ya I would want real instruments without synthesizers in the playlist too. Especially any instrument you play and are familiar with.

I think it makes sense to add Bach or other orchestral music. Not sure which are your favorites. Bach Brandenburg Concertos for example.

As far as the 90s vocalists in your list, maybe Soundgarden’s acoustic version of Love’s like Suicide. You had Nutshell from Alice In Chains so I immediately thought of Chris as soon as I saw a track from Layne.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
I think Cambridge audio has a good list out about test tracks for speakers, too.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
I think Cambridge audio has a good list out about test tracks for speakers, too.
Ya Ryanosaur, didn’t you bring your stack of WuTang CDs and Too $hort cassettes on your road trip? LOL :). Life is...
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Field Marshall
Thank you all so much for the recommendations! I've added a few to the list that I already have in my collection and will check out some others as well. I really don't listen to any country, classical, or jazz; I'm trying to stick with stuff I listen to and know, so I at least have a baseline.

Leonard Cohen-You Want it Darker is the ultimate test of deep male voice.

Larry Carlton-Hello Tomorrow is a great test for electric bass articulation.
I'll check them out. Thanks.

also, a common one to use for really exposing a speaker’s flaws would be some male vocal over piano...same with female vocal over piano.
Check out Nick cave and the bad seeds Love Letter, and something like Tori Amos Northern Lad.
I love my rock too... little black submarine should be a good test for dynamics and screaming guitar!
But also, try some other non-amplified stuff, like Buddy Guy, Done Got Old for example.
I've got the Sound of Silence by Disturbed for my male vocal dominant song. The trick will be not crying when I hear it. My last memory of a good friend who passed involved having them over a few years back and blasting that song for us to enjoy. Was such a great time.

I like your list!

My favorite NIN tracks for testing speakers, et all are from The Fragile - "Into the Void" and "The Mark Has Been Made". They both have good dynamics and fun phasing action (if the speakers and setup are to the task, the 2-channel sounds should be coming from behind). "Closer" from The Downward Spiral is a classic track (the only song I will karaoke - invite me at your own risk) but for testing I like "Eraser" for the incredible dynamic swings (especially on SACD). Unfortunately, everything after The Fragile is just too compressed for "serious" listening (i.e., testing - I still listen for fun!). Even the "audiophile" release of Hesitation Marks is really squeezed...
Yes, thanks for that wake up call. Those Fragile tracks are some of my favorites. Also going to add The Great Below in addition to what you suggested. All my NIN favorites are from The Fragile or earlier. I have the later albums, but don't listen to them nearly as frequently.
 
monkish54

monkish54

Audioholic General
Last edited:
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
Nice list. Lots of those are also some of my favorites to listen to.

I do agree with @shadyJ about adding some orchestral stuff. Some of those tracks are VERY demanding on a system. I always include some when doing demos.

I also include electronic music of some kind, but it's usually Pink Floyd. Sometimes some 90's techno.

Another track I really like just because of the subtlety is Tin Pan Alley by Stevie Ray Vaughan. If you have a good 2ch setup you can place the instruments easily and the effect is VERY cool with that track.

NIN and Tool will ALWAYS be on my test track list. SO many good tracks. Especially NIN as their recording quality is always excellent.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Blues Traveler "Runaround" and "But Anyway" are 2 I take with me when listening to speakers too.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Nice list. Lots of those are also some of my favorites to listen to.

I do agree with @shadyJ about adding some orchestral stuff. Some of those tracks are VERY demanding on a system. I always include some when doing demos.

I also include electronic music of some kind, but it's usually Pink Floyd. Sometimes some 90's techno.

Another track I really like just because of the subtlety is Tin Pan Alley by Stevie Ray Vaughan. If you have a good 2ch setup you can place the instruments easily and the effect is VERY cool with that track.

NIN and Tool will ALWAYS be on my test track list. SO many good tracks. Especially NIN as their recording quality is always excellent.
I'm so familiar with so much TOOL. I use a lot of their stuff too.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
Blues Traveler "Runaround" and "But Anyway" are 2 I take with me when listening to speakers too.
Yes. Blues Traveler has some excellent tracks as well. Look Around from the same album is one of my favorites.
 

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