What's your favourite system test track?

What’s your favourite system test track?

…mine’s Song 2 by blur as it can sound really messy on a poorly matched system

For staging: the Duettino Figaro/Susanna: „Cinque… dieci… venti… trenta…" in Figaro as recorded by London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis. When Figaro measures the room you “see” him move every so precise. And for clarity take the Duettino Marcellina/Susanna: „Via resti servita, Madama brillante“ of the same recording. Unbelievable how clear (high) female voices can sound with a clearly staged orchestra.


I have a few, Robbie Robertson’s Fallen Angel 12" is usually one of my go to’s for rock. Sibelius’ Four Legends Charles Groves cond. for classical (the tympani in the first piece, a foreboding presence way back in the orchestra). Jazz - loads. Quite like Air, the baboon’s bottom album - can’t think of the name offhand. But there are so many great sounding jazz albums…
For voice, acoustic guitar and cello: Thurston Moore Demolished Thoughts.
For pure vocal power, Meredith Monk Dolmen Music

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Black Light Syndrome, B.L.S.
Bozzio, Levin, Stevens.
Tracks “Book of Hours”


Prologue from the (dreadful) 1991 film Hook by John Williams. A busy orchestra with lots of lines to keep track of, wide dynamic range and the bass drum thumps in the last section are inaudible unless your system can handle deep bass, in which case they’re sofa-rattling.

And it’s only 90 seconds so perfect for those of us with short attention spans when demoing kit.


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It does change but one that I do turn to regularly to try and challenge a system is Judie Tzuke Chinatown from her Sportscar album as well as the title track.

It is a good recording and mix of instruments but on a poorly balanced system, it can sound harsh with her voice very bright. There is a combination of bass guitar and drum that should sound controlled and pack a punch but if the bottom end is a bit flabby it will not handle this well.

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There was a similar thread not so long ago called Single track to best assess/demonstrate a hi fi system (Sorry, the system won’t let me post a link).


This has it all…

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