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My good friend and fellow audiophile Gerald k and I have made a compilation of music files which we feel are perfect for testing new equipment. We wanted to use music that we not only enjoy listening to but which also has the abillity to reveal flaws in the signal chain. I listen mostly on Headphones (Sennheiser/ Audeze/ Audio Technica) while Gerald listen only on speakers (Tad, Kharma/Linn/Naim). We have spend many an evening and several bottles of Cotes de Rhone wines arguing and eventually agreeing on this list of audio equipment test music. This is what we came up with, please feel free to comment or post alternatives, if possible with a link as to where to purchase the music that you feel is ideal for this purpose. We also looked for reviews that we felt agreed with what we hear in the recordings. Sound stage and definition 1. Carmen Gomes inc; '' I'm on fire'' from Thousand Shades of Blue Sound Liaison Music Shop Placement is perfect on this young audiophile classic as well as the near perfect natural recording of the voice, but the real test for audio equipment when listening to this recording is it's ability to separate the kickdrum from the upright bass. The two instruments are playing the same pattern. On less than optimum equipment it might be difficult to separate the two, but with good setup you clearly hear the upright at 10.00 and the kick dead center with a nice decay that one generally do not hear on commercial recordings. There are lots of speakers and headphones with ''extended lows'' but low with definition is a whole different ballgame. Hifi; 2 Alban berg Quartet; Bartok String Quartet no.1 in a minor 1th movement. (LP,EMI) in the beginning of this movement the 4 instruments all play mainly in the same middle and upper register. Despite all that mid and high information the music should not sound harsh. This recording has the same perfect sound stage as the Carmen Gomes recording. We believe that this kind of sound stage with such a sense of depth and realistic placement is only attainable when you are recording the musicians in one room at the same time. Amazone Intelligible representation 3. Frank Sinatra; ''What's New'' from Only the Lonely. Frank is maybe a bit too prominent represented but one should still be able to notice all the different lines played by the various instruments in this incredible Nelson Riddle arrangement. 4. Me'Shell Ndegéocello; ''Levictus:Faggot'' from Peace beyond Passion. Here we have the opposite, the voice is a bit too soft in this optimum funk piece yet you should still be able to hear every word. easily optainable http://www.amazon.com Depth and Space When talking about depth and space we had to include a couple of Reference Recordings tracks. This label has allways done justice to it's name and consistently produced recordings of very high quality. 5. The Concord Chamber Music Society;''Danza del Soul'' from Brubeck and Gandolfi works. 6. Doug Macleod '' the Night of the Devils Road'' from There's a Time here you have two completely different pieces of music, one by The Concord Chamber Music Society and one by blues legend Doug Macleod accompanied only by guitar and kick drum. But the depth and the space of these two recordings is simply outstanding. Enjoy the music.com; Audiophilia; Reference Recordings Complete Audiophile Classical Music Orchestra and Jazz HDCD Catalog 7. Andre Heuvelman; ''Oblivion'' from After Silence 8. Joni Mitchell; ''Comes Love'' from Both Sides Now Andre Heuvelman's rendition of Astor Piazzolla's master piece have a great sense of depth. Every instrument sounds rich and full with a gorgeus natural decay. On lesser equipment the sound of each instrument can become a bit of a blur while on good equipment the sound of each instrument should be clearly defined with a clear sense of the room this recording have been recorded in. Same goes for Joni's wonderfull standards collection, it is a big hall you are listening to. Sound Stage on the Sound Liaison recordings; Sound Liaison Music Shop Both Sides Now won a Separation 9. Miles Davis; ''Stella by Starlight'' from the Complete 1964 Concert 10. John Scofield; ''Just Don't Wan't to be Lonely'' from Uberjam Deux we use these recordings to check for spill between left and right channel. The Miles recording was done on a 3 track tape machine and therefore there is this very wide sound stage and separation between the instruments; piano complete left, horns and bass dead center, drums completely right. drummer Tony Williams sometimes does not play at all and on those moments all one should hear on the right channel of the piano is a faint echo. All Music; John Scofiel's cover of the old Main Ingredient hit has a complete left right separation. The organ is audible on the left channel only and the rhythm guitar is on the right. The separation is so extreme that if you were to disconnect the right channel you would not hear any rhythm guitar at all, just like on the early Beatles stereo LP's. Jazztimes; Imaging 11. Trevor Pinnock; Mahler symphony no. 4 this delicate chamber orchestra arrangement of the great Mahler Symphony is a real beauty. the all music review said; Linn Records - Mahler: Symphonie No. 4 12. Iona Brown and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra;''the Spring'' from Grieg two Elegiac Melodies. the Grammaphone review puts it well; http://http://www.naimlabel.com/recording-grieg--tippett--beethoven.aspx Batik; '' The Bird'' from the Old Man and the Sea just about perfect imaging, left to right evenly laid out for your eyes and ears to see, piano, bass, drums, guitar and again a one room recording. Unbelieveable why sofew companies do this when it can yield so very satisfactory results. http://http://www.soundliaison.com/ Audio Stream; John Scofield;'' Never Turn Back'' from Piety Street the drum intro has a small imperfection, there is a soft ringing sound on the left channel probably coused by a sympathic resonance in the drum set or in the room. The moment the organ enters it kind of cover up the problem, although if you really listen for it you can hear it through out the track. Wonderful old fashioned sound stage. All Music;
... I got them from BitPerfect. They are computer-generated square waves which produce a beeping 688Hz tone by toggling one bit on and off while leaving the other bits all off. I'm not sure what broad use they might have, but I found it interesting that I could see which individual bits produced an audible sound and which did not. On my system (see signature line below) I could hear Bit 20 quite clearly, but Bit 21 was totally inaudible. Anyway, I thought they might be of interest.... (This is the first time I have tried the attachments tool here, so apologies if I screwed something up) Bit Test Tracks.zip