Cd test discs

Are they any use? i have an HMV test disc and one track is a polarity check to see ifyour’speakers are ‘faze’ if not one 'speaker will push and the other will pull degrading music to echo or drop off.
Snake oil.gobbledook or what?

You should hear if your speakers are out of phase without a test disc.
Also, your cables should be a clue.

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I think that I may have somewhere a 40 year-old ‘HiFi News’ CD Test Disc. It has test tones, left/right channel checks and some moron banging on a metal garage door very loudly which scared the cr*p out of me first time I played it!

It also has some high fidelity music tracks.

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I have the XLO test and burn in disc. Interesting factoid, with the in Phase out of Phase track the more out of Phase one can get it to sound, the more In Phase it will be hence better imagining and focus.

Definitely not snake oil - if your speakers are out of phase, they will sound immediately, obviously and consistently awful until you put it right. There’s a reason manufacturers colour code speaker terminals!

As for test discs, I’ve acquired a few which I use from time to time:

  • Sound Check 2 is as impressive and as useful as you would expect from Alan Parsons. The minute of ‘digital black’ (all bits at zero) is good for checking noise levels
  • The B&W one was a freebie, I think. It has phase checks for different frequency ranges so you can separately check the phase all of your drive units
  • The Equipment Refresher is interesting and does stuff that others don’t. The ‘author’/narrator voices more opinions than you might expect!
  • I think the Tellurium Q one is still available - it’s not a test disc, really, more a shakedown for your kit.

I’m not aware of any test discs currently being available and all the above are either commanding stupid prices or are just not available, even s/h. If anyone wanted something similar, Philips released a High Tech [sic] compilation series in 1990 which paired existing recordings with test tones/tracks at the end. I’ve got the Guitar one:

Since they were widely available and not as niche as releases which consisted solely of test tones, it should be possible to pick them up for sensible money.


I once saw an interesting Technics test CD.

It had a row of “holes” in the data layer, inline and increasing in size, from center to outer (“blank” circles or dots, not physical holes in the disc!).
The idea, as far as I understood, was to test the players capability to read through them without issue.

I’m sorry I cannot elaborate on this, due to my lack of understanding!
Perhaps someone else can elaborate?

I have a Stereophile test disc 3 and used it when setting up my CEC CD5. Very effective tool, probably dates from 2005 or so?

True Stereo

Not quite a test CD - but… It was free, from Naim, on a factory visit…!

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I have two, a RCA red seal one and one from Isotek that was attached to a copy of Hi-Fi+

My 'speaker/ 'speaker cable setup my backup’s are Atlas Hyper 2.0
only really use the test CD for laser cleaning.
The only change in sounds is when i swap cables around not a big difference
between the cables.

“I’m not aware of any test discs currently being available…”

The only one I can think of is by Nordost

With CD not having the popularity it once did, I suspect new test discs will not happen in the foreseeable future. It’s a shame prices are so high (the Nordost one is £30, Sound Check 2 is currently similar on Discogs), which is why I recommended the Philips High Tech series if anyone wants some test tracks.

Is anyone producing new vinyl test discs or are they largely a thing of the past too?

I’m not a streamer, but I suppose there must be test tracks available to stream on the usual outlets. Or are there?


Still got this test disc from a once owned(regretfully sold on) Meridian CD player.

Also far to old skool to change my listening habits will keep playing my red book CDs!

Left channel, right channel and woofer tracks only - now that’s bare bones!

By comparison, my Sound Check 2 has 99 tracks:

There’s probably a happy medium somewhere between the two.


I previously had a free Isotek disc from a Hi Fi magazine, recently bought a Nordost 2 disc set up, cost about £30 as quoted above. I found this to have been of particular use when integrating my REL Sub as specific tracks were repetitive on low end so helped alot when adjusting volume and phase. They are also really good for burn in of components and speakers.

I also have the Isotek / HiFi Choice disc.
Play it occasionally, whether it achieves what it says I don’t know - can tone sweeps remove residual magnetism???

I have (or had) a HiFi News test CD.

It includes a lunatic banging on a metal garage door - which almost caused me to sh*t myself when I first played it, it was so loud and unexpected!

I will play it as and when I can get my CDS II transport mech serviced.

Sounds like a setup disc - many years ago I used a similar disc (also Technics) which had virtual scratches and black strips as well as blanks.

It allowed fine tuning of the servos in professional CD players after replacing the laser or doing other work on the transport.


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That’s intersting…

I shouldn’t have called them “holes”, previously.
These were like little blank circles in the data layer, in a single line, progressing in size outwards.
I think the guy mentioned error correction.

Thanks for your reply!