Heading out to my favorite Hi fi shop next week. Gonna be demoing speakers and I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a song that would be a good test. I’m think Sinead O’connor’s You Cause As Much Sorrow.
If I’m looking for something with female vocals, Madeleine Peyroux’s “Blue Alert” works really well. If I want to hear how it goes will bass, Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” is a regular go to. Lots of overlapping bass I’ll head for Scorn’s “Trondheim Gavle” and for Rock it’ll usually be Tool’s “7empest” or Killing Joke’s “Walking with Gods”
I used Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’ when I bought my Naim system from Grahams HiFi in London over thirty years ago. Grahams were so impressed that they promptly ordered several copies for their (small) selection of records sold in the shop.
But you should just take along an LP or CD that you know very well, so that you can hear what the loudspeakers are doing.
The two discs I use to evaluate a system are these:
Both are very naturally recorded and the first is also a very good live concert. The second I use for sonic purposes only, because although the players are excellent (Robben Ford, Dino Saluzzi, Charlie Haden) her voice is like a pin stuck into a nerve to me.
And of course, acoustic instruments only.
Just use songs you like and are very familiar with.
Familiar musical tracks are like a familiar walk…a journey with viewpoints and beauty…and maybe an improvement it’s like cleaning your glasses…and seeing something new.
I tend to use songs I like and know well mostly. I will sometimes choose something in the store selection that I don’t know well to see how a song I have heard on the radio grabs me on a good system.
I suppose we all have our favourites; but for me I enjoy listening to something new that the dealer has discovered. Having said that, the last time I auditioned some hifi I took along a flash drive with some of my old favourites: Roy Goodman singing Allegri’s misere, some Bach partitas, Blue Nile’s tinsel town, and David Lindsey’s win this record.
I read once that Roy Goodman had just come from playing a football or rugby game, and had muddy knees when he made that famous recording of Allegri!
Thank you for your recommendation. I happen to have Madeline on CD so I’ll be listening to it before making a final decision. Who knows I might take two or three artists with me.
If I’m going to shell out a shedload of money on a new component, it makes sense, at least to me, to be sure it really is at least an improvement on what I already have and sufficiently so to be more than worth the cash. So I always take along a selection of whatever I’ve been listening to recently. The test then is: do I hear new things in the music and, in particular, does it move and thrill me more than my current system. I find that a much more reliable way to choose than focussing analytically on particular aspects of the music.
This is a perennial question, and the answer is always the same. Make sure you use music that covers the range of styles you are likely to listen to at home: if you like solo piano, notoriously difficult to reproduce realistically, include some. Female vocal? Include. Dramatic orchestral? Heavy rock? Deep bass? Chamber music? Include all. Etc. Also if you lusten to a significant amount of poorly recorded music, be surd to include some.
The approach I’ve been taking over the past few months as I’ve auditioned various speakers is to build a playlist of tracks that I know and like in Tidal, and use that as a reminder about what I want to listen to when I’m at the dealer.
Most HiFi dealers now will have a streaming source, usually with a Tidal or Qobuz subscription, which makes it easy to have a good listening session without having to cart around a stack of CDs
Alternatively take a USB stick with files on. Or something I’ve done before is take my music store and DAC. On which subject, if auditioning speakers, check if the dealer has tge same amp as you will be using, if not take yours. And similarly with speakers, and listen first to a few tracks on your speakers to give you a baseline as to how things sound in the dealer’s room, to aid assessment of improvement with new speakers.
Why didnt I think of that?
Great recommendation. Mucho Garcia’s.
R u US or UK?
New Zealand, so fewer choices and higher prices, but the music still sounds great
If you use Tidal, just put their app on your phone. Then you can use Tidal Connect to play your own playlists at the dealers.
A very good test for Bass is London Grammar - Hey Now.
Some LP ideas, most old and trusted:
James Newton Howard and Friends Direct Cut
Joe Cocker Sheffield Steel
Tommy Emmanuel Accomplice 1
Officium Jan Garbarek
Norah Jones Not too late
Coleman Hawkins & Ben Webster Blue Saxophones
Ps Merry Xmas Yorkshireman