One recording for system evaluation?

Gregadd

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From time to time the question is posed, what recordings should I use to evaluate a component or system? Obviously the first answer is the music you love. I suspect however that when there is often a need for quick evaluation. A sort of elimination round for the components or system under consideration. That recording imo should encompass :
1. Dynamics- Going from barely perceptible to explosive.
2. Instruhttps://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=quincy+jones+walking+in+space&&view=detail&mid=0C5F0E31E10BD569F5460C5F0E31E10BD569F546&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dquincy%2Bjones%2Bwalking%2Bin%2Bspace%26FORM%3DHDRSC3ments_-It should cover a variety of instruments both solo and in mass.
3. Bass, Treble and midrange- Drums, double bas, horns, piano, etc.
4. Voices- male and female.

Although A&M records is not for its' audiophile records they were able to hit a home record with this album. Play and you will get an immediate idea of what your system/component is capable.

Quincy Jones Walking in space. If you had to pick just one. What is your got recording for system evaluation?
 

Lee

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I have lately been using the Showbiz Kids and Trouble Man tracks from the 45rpm album It's Like This from Rickie Lee Jones. Very good and offering a present accurate bass and dynamics build on both songs.
 
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sbnx

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It is hard to get all of that in one song or album. I want to know how a system sounds on big orchestra. I Usually use Dallas wind symphony "Fiesta" from Reference Recordings for this. This is a pretty dynamic recording going from very soft to really loud. I also like to listen to how the bells resonate and trail off in this recording. For Female vocals I usually use an album by Susie Suh with the same title. For upright bass there are several to choose from. I like "Blue Bossa" by Brian Bromberg or "Midnight Sugar" by Tsuyoshi Yamamoto.

The issue with putting too much emphasis on the stand up bass is this is highly setup dependent. Once could take the same speakers in the same room and it could go from sounding like a boomy, muddy mess to super tight and dynamic.
 

Gregadd

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You make good points My runner-up choice was Telarc recording of the Firebird Suite by Stravinsky. There are obvious drawbacks to a one album approach. The upside is limiting variables is a good idea when making a comparison. Especially if you are somewhere like an audio show. A wide variety should be auditioned before any final evaluation.
 

Al M.

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You need at least 5 different recordings for different types of music. One single recording doesn't do it.
 

twitch

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CKKeung

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My favorite is the Manger Reference CD, a sampler from the Manger Audio of Germany.
All aspects of sonic performance can be tested.

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Gregadd

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You need at least 5 different recordings for different types of music. One single recording doesn't do it.
Please give us your five. Then we can pick one.
 

Daverich4

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For Female vocals I usually use an album by Susie Suh with the same title. .
I wasn’t familiar with that album so I streamed the 24/192 version from Qobuz. To my ear, both the music and the sound are very engaging. Thanks for the tip.
 

Vinyl Valet

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In Jim Smith's Get Better Sound book, he recommends The Chieftains' Tears of Stone CD. He uses different places on different tracks for use in optimizing specific parameters. A very effective system that he developed over a lifetime in the audio biz. In the back of the book he recommends about 200 other CDs for having exception sound quality, any of which could be used to help optimize parameters or evaluate components/systems.

www.getbettersound.com
 
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thedudeabides

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I don't use one album but a variety of jazz, classical, and other material for my reference. I have found that using a single source provides an incomplete picture of the overall musical synergy of your system.
 

treitz3

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Hello and good evening to you Mr. Gregadd.

There is no way that one song would present everything that a system (any system) is capable of. Others here may dispute this but I hold VERY firm in my experience that this is just not possible.

Any good recording will show off the attributes of any particular system, provided that the song is "matched" to said system. Those that listen to said song may be so impressed that reviews and praise of said system are off the charts. Almost too good to be true.


....well, because it is. One song, even an album isn't enough to properly evaluate a system. To think otherwise is...(Please allow me to stop here).

I do not like making generalized statements. I guess what I am getting at is that in my experience on a plethora of good to fine to ultra sweet systems is that one song will sound FABULOUS on one system and lacking on another.

On the other hand, take that same rig and play a song that shined like no other on another rig. Not so good sounding, eh?

There are attributes and deficiencies with recordings, masterings and formats. These characteristics can and WILL change with the attributes and deficiencies of any given system/room/circumstance.

Is the noise floor lower when you listened? Was the grid overloaded during the session? Was there a.....Blah, blah, blah....kind of getting off topic here.

My point is that there are so many factors in a reproductive system that there is simply no way a single song could define what any rig could do.

I appreciate your question and respect what you are trying to do here but you (IMO) are asking the impossible.

With that said? I would simply pick a random album off the shelf and play it. Does it sound good? Bad? Relaxed? Awesome? Sublime? Try playing the Yellow Jackets "Best of" Album. That's what I did the other day when my brother stopped by. I simply pulled the album out of the selections and hit play. Didn't even go over the selections on the album....

Did it sound good? Oh, yeah. Did it sound great? Oh, yeah. Did it sound superb? Oh, yeah. Was it over the top good? Well, I don't know but I almost had to pick his jaw up off the floor when he first heard it. Is this an "audiophile" album? I think not. It was just something that I happened to pick out of my collection.

No way would I pick this as a "Reference" album, even as good as it sounds but I guess my point is....play Yoki Horisawa at 95db as he hits the 17Hz signal and see if the system is faithful. Play Little Feat, Waiting for Columbus and tell me if you hear the double set of drums clearly, as you would with a single set, LIVE. Then there is the female voice, the tone of a violin, the naturalness of a harp, the rolloff of a...

You get the point (I hope).

Music changes and can not be evaluated from one thing, one band, one album or even one song. There are WAY too many variables in the equation.

Tom
 
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Gregadd

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Hum.? Perhaps i was not clear.
As my law professor use to say don't fight the hypothetical. Less you provide the right answer to the wrong question.
Imagine if someone asked me what recordings I would take to a deserted island. Of course I would to take all the good ones. Of course that answer would neither be practical or in the spirit of the question. The question implies some limitation on your choice.
Allow if forced to chose just one what would it be?

Edit: Post #4 - "A wide variety should be auditioned before final evaluation."
gregadd
 
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Ron Resnick

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I would not want to choose just one test track. I routinely use a bare minimum of three test tracks.

But if I had to pick just one test track I would pick Thelma Houston's "I've got the Music in Me" by Sheffield Lab. It gives me a vocal, some instruments, dynamics, drive and direct-to-disc transparency.
 
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Al M.

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Derainer

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My favorite is the Manger Reference CD, a sampler from the Manger Audio of Germany.
This is really a very good CD for testing.

But it is important to know that the first track - "Gütersloher Glocken" : "volles Geläut"
is a recording that I personally made in 1990 with my digital equipment.

I wish everyone much pleasure with it.

BR Rainer
 

BruceD

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In Jim Smith's Get Better Sound book, he recommends The Chieftains' Tears of Stone CD. He uses different places on different tracks for use in optimizing specific parameters. A very effective system that he developed over a lifetime in the audio biz. In the back of the book he recommends about 200 other CDs for having exception sound quality, any of which could be used to help optimize parameters or evaluate components/systems.

www.getbettersound.com
I agree with Jim here, however I prefer the Coast of Malabar on the Chieftain's Long black Veil CD--this is one of my demo samplers.

As with other posters I would use different selections of Music to examine the parameters of any system I was evaluating.

But as the the criteria in any process requires the individuals likes / dislikes / mood/ability to discern aspects that appeal/

excite/etc really no one set

of choices I feel can fully satisfy all tastes.

In short I'd hazard 5,10,15 folks would have 5, 10,15 different lists.

Still a fairly good opportunity for one to find new music coveted by others--no?

Hopefully therefore the thread continues to grow and we can all benefit:)


BruceD
 
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Blue58

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One of my text tracks is Flood Water by Eric Bibb from his album Booker’s guitar. The guitar resonance, how low it goes, ambience retrieval and the lifelike harmonica (does it sound how a harmonica sounds in your room) and Eric’s wonderful voice tell me an awful lot about any changes I make to the system.
Available on CD or streaming platforms. I only wish it was available in DSD as that’s how it was recorded.

Otherwise any track you know ‘off by heart’ as you’ll hear differences immediately.

cheers
Blue58
 

PeterA

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One recording for system evaluation? Beethoven’s ninth Symphony would be one place to start.
 

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