Hi Fi Demo discs

Ok its alway a subjective subject so here’s my lot in no particular order:
for bass Boz Scaggs ‘Lido Shuffle’ any track from Steely Dans ‘Aja’ ‘Goucho’
Diana Kralls ‘East of the Sun’(for the string bass) and (dont laff) Stings ‘Fields of Gold’ and 'Shape of my Heart’Dire Straits ‘For your Friend’ (superb guitar) Don Henleys ‘Goodbye to a River’ Buggles ‘Astro Boy’? so many but have to say all music sounds awesome on my all Naim setup!

I only demo with music i am listening to at that time, which might include some of your music.

Everything But The Girl’s Tender Blue was my go to track for many years. Radioactivity from Kraftwerk’s Minimum Maximum was another.


Should have said the music that your hi-fi sound top notch?

I think you’ll just get the same response! There’s a slight tendency to snobbishness on the forum about not having specific ‘test tracks’, usually expressed in variations of the phrase ‘I listen to music, not my hifi’.

However, I have no time for such silliness (of course we listen to our systems - just read any post where someone’s comparing upgrades), so here are some tracks that have really made my new B&W 804D2s sing (and me smile) in the last few days:

  • Prologue from Hook by John Williams
  • The Race by Yello
  • Various tracks from Broken Arrow by Hans Zimmer (this is a particularly good sign - I’ve hardly ever listened to this for long in the past)
  • BBC Cricket theme (their latest version of Soul Limbo - great fun)

No doubt more will follow!


Hmmm… I listened to the BBC cricket theme mainly because I rather enjoyed the cricket today!


nitin sawney beyond skin album is usually first up, followed by ray lamontagne, till the suns turns black then kraftwerk live album minimum maximum

I confess to listening to my system and playing albums that sound particularly good at times. It is a useful reminder that the cash was worth forking out for it. Perhaps 10-20% of the time? I will only play music that I like though, I see little point in listening to beautifully recorded music that I don’t enjoy! The last three Talk Talk albums fit the OP from my perspective along with many others.

  1. Yello - Kiss The Cloud (Toy album)

  2. Pink Floyd - Welcome To The Machine (Wish You Were Here)

  3. Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (Rumours)


I suggest you have a look through Bert Bird’s Munich report thread. He talks about the music that different vendors were playing at the show to showcase their gear. I have played a few of them over the last few days on my system out of interest.

Avalon by Roxy for me!


God save the queen of the Sex Pistols…my downstairs neighbor’s choice :smirk:


How about Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture by Telarc?

BOOM!!! Hahaha

Beck - Sea change is a great recording, crisp, clear and spacious.

Loads of low level detail and overdubs buried in the mix, which will cost insane money to really hear the way it the way I would love to.

And introducing…

Tubular Bells.

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Yes great choice.

Snobbishness in hi fi? shock horror! try entering the wrong listening room at any hi fi show and see the frosty looks you get! one high end distributer(who shall remain nameless) anf has large areas in hi fi shows get very upset if you dont book beforehand just to listen to their overpriced rip off stuff.
Compare that with my local wine mechant who’s just happy to see me will chat all day about wine,has never sold me a bottle that he thinks is A over priced or B i wont like and of course i go back to him everytime i need a bottle or two
pity some hi fi dealers dont do the same


Such depth and detail in that track - and in the album generally!

@Stephen_Tate and @AJK - great choices. The most important points are probably to pick well-recorded songs that you know well of course, but I have a few more suggestions for when you are looking for specific things.

Find something with a delicate female vocal and listen for excessive sibilance. Perhaps The Cowboy Junkies’ Mining for Gold or whatever you know and like from Joan Baez, Nina Simone, Maria Callas or Portishead.

For realistic (not vague or exaggerated) stereo separation, try Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, Steeleye Span’s The Weaver and the Factory Maid or Miles Davies’ So What? And Tubular Bells of course, plus The Who’s Eminence Front. I also use Gryphon’s first album, but that may be too obscure/ odd for most.

For timing and punch, try Scary Monsters & Supercreeps, Sledgehammer, La Grange, Rock Lobster and Come As You Are.

To check on harshness, try The Cowboy Junkies’ Postcard Blues - if the harmonica sounds more pleasant than tortured, things are badly wrong - but it shouldn’t hurt to listen.

For proper bass control, the usual choice is Bela Fleck’s Cosmic Hippos, but the Stranglers’ cover of Downtown can be revealing too, plus any decent recording of Bach’s organ Toccata or any of the Jaco Pastorius work on Hejira. From more recent years, try Rehab or anything by Sons of Kemet.

I also try one or two great songs that are really-not-great recordings. Much of Zeppelin qualifies, but so do The Only Ones’ Another Girl Another Planet, Michelle Shocked doing 5AM in Amsterdam and the Clash’s cover on Brand New Cadillac. If an upgrade makes recordings like these less pleasing while only helping Steely Dan/ Pink Floyd/ Kind of Blue quality recordings, is it really an upgrade?


I find these tend to tell me if it sounds good to me or not. Music I listen to.

Sonic Youth - Cross the Breeze
Spiritualized - Cop Shoot Cop
Laura Marling Soothing
Television - Marquee Moon
Massive Attack - Angel
Aldous Harding - The Barrel
The XX - Dangerous
Lampchop - Up with the People
Rolling Stones - Wild Horses

Next time I audition this will be added

Cassandra Jenkins - Hard Drive