Test Tracks

JstasJstas Posts: 13,821
I know there's been a few discussions around this before but nothing seems to have stuck.

With the Legend L200 demo going around, I thought it prudent to start this again.

Intending here to collect a bunch of test track suggestions for folks to not only find new music but to also find some reference stuff that is not only pleasant to listen to but will showcase a speaker's faults as well as it's strengths.

Preferably, give a sample of the music in some sort of media being a video from YouTube, Vimeo or what have you to a streaming service like SoundCloud or something. The sample doesn't have to be lossless or anything like that, just a reference so people can hear the track so if they go try to find it, they will recognize it.

My first track is from an album called "American River" from an artist named Jonathan Elias. He's a composer that's done quite a few arrangements for artists and movies and this album is one of his forays into making his own mark on the industry. I have an original print CD that I got from Japan before a Valspar Paints commercial made his work famous. The CD isn't an SACD or anything but it was printed in Japan and is decidedly higher quality than the re-release after the paint commercial. I like this track because of it's dynamics, complexity and range of instruments. That and it's just real nice to listen to.

The track is called "Towards Home"

You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!


  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 23,454
    just one?


    Track 9

    (sorry, I don't stream)
  • JstasJstas Posts: 13,821
    No, post as many as you want. I have others I use, just didn't want to hog the spotlight.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,603
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • JstasJstas Posts: 13,821
    Yeah, well, that's in 2 Channel Audio and called "reference tracks". Not exactly intuitive to find.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,216
    joecoulson wrote: »

    To be fair, I view Reference and Test tracks are two different things. I play reference tracks for demoing, but I use test tracks to ensure a system is operating at my expectations (or at least as close as I can get it).


    This track list is all about testing different aspects of a system. Most systems will fail on at least one or more of these.
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,603
    edited October 23
    The guy mentioned “reference”
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,216
    joecoulson wrote: »
    The guy mentioned “reference”

    Lol. Good point. No offense intended by that response.
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,603
    None taken Skipper
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • JstasJstas Posts: 13,821
    You're taking reference out of context and assigning a different meaning.

    I used reference in both instances to mean that someone looking for a decent test track could use your post as a reference for finding one. They may not even like the one you chose but maybe they reference that artist and find something different from the same artist that showcases what they are looking for in gear.

    You are taking reference to mean a de facto, agreed upon standard by which all others are judged. That's not the intent here.

    What I find as a good test track may not be what others find to be a good test track. But having a single place to reference a bunch of different ones from a bunch of different people/perspectives seems like a good resource to me.

    So if y'all are gonna be smug about it, then don't participate. But don't sit here mocking my post because you think it's something it isn't.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,216
    Smug? Mocking? My apologies for offering up a thread with tracks used to do EXACTLY what you are suggesting.

    My discernment was not really directed at anyone but reference tracks generally sound good on every system because of their quality of recording - whether it be personal reference or a universal one as you suggest. Test tracks don't have to sound 'good' - they just have to do things that are unique or showcase some aspect of stereophonic qualities that many songs do not.
  • JstasJstas Posts: 13,821
    ANYHOO, back on topic.

    "Thunder Undeground" from Ozzy Osbourne's "Ozzmosis" album.

    I like this track for a few reasons. "Ozzmosis" is very well produced so quality is top notch. The track itself, though, has a very bass and drum heavy melody with the lead guitar playing "second fiddle" of sorts with a heavy dose of feedback for that metal growl. That playing over a bass line accentuated by a 1 and 3 bass beat gives almost a hellacious locomotive feel to it. But that can really show the short-comings on the low end performance of a speaker, especially bookshelf speakers.

    But Ozzy's unique vocals from his voice in general to his styling laced with reverb makes his natural vibrato seem other worldly. It often spans crossover curves because of his natural vocal harmonics. It can expose short comings in the mid range and high range crossover curves and response.

    All of that makes for a complex and busy track that seems like it would be a train wreck of a song but it's the opposite. There's a dynamic range here that goes from a screaming metal guitar to gritty vocals to thunderous bass and drums all on the same track, at the same time. It's particularly useful for seeing how well a crossover network is laid out. It's a wall of sound that if something is missing because of a poorly cross response curve set, it's obvious because it sounds dull and/or muted. If the speaker gets it right, this track just shines.

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,603
    edited October 23
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • daddyjtdaddyjt Posts: 1,082
    When You Say Nothing At All, by Allison Krauss -

    The real magic in this track is in the first minute or so. The opening guitar should sound very crisp and smooth, with superb detail. When she starts singing, you should hear every detail, right down to the intake of breath. In the second sentence she sings, "…. You can light up the dark, listen for the "k" in dark. It should be a very subtle "kiss" of a sound, but very well defined. On some systems, it ranges from inaudible, to a muddy, incoherent sound. When the drums kick in, and she really opens up with her voice, the system/component in question should be able to handle the dynamic increase in volume without making you want to turn it down. It should be a powerful, slightly scary moment, as the overall system output jumps significantly. On MANY systems, this moment will come across as shrill, and very unpleasant. The bass should also be solid and deep, but not boomy. This is my number one track for judging equipment.

    Too much stuff to keep track of.

    Currently enjoying: Legacy Focus 20/20, McCormack DNA 225, Bill D C1, Oppo 105
  • westmassguywestmassguy Posts: 6,448
    edited October 24
    Jack Savoretti "Home" from Written in Scars.
    Excellent bass. Jack's acoustic guitar and gravelly voice remind me of early Bryan Adams.

    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/143984/my-2as-finally-finished-almost/p1
    Center: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/150760/my-center-channel-project/p1
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/151647/my-surround-project/p1
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, Hurricane Nuts, Blackhole5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-600, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer
    Cables: Speaker: Furez 10/2 with GLS Locking Banana Plugs
    Interconnect: Furez 10/2 with SpeakONs
    ICs: Custom Furez by Douglas Connections
    Bose 901 Series II Continentals Restored, Re-Built Equalizer with Elna Silmic IIs, Sonicaps, and Silver Mica Caps
    Carver CT-3 Pre, Carver C-500

    Exclusive Distributor of Gimpod's Custom SDA Circuit Boards

    "And keep her under 70, would you, huh? Betty likes a slow ride"
  • mpitogompitogo Posts: 356
    With the L800 demo I attended I could only remember two. If anyone knows more let me know.

    Living Room Music-2.0 Polk L800 | McIntosh C47 | Macintosh MC452 | Denon DP-2500A | Oppo BDP-103 | MacMini
    Family Room Home Theater-7.2.2 (Atmos) Polk LSiM 707, Martin Logan Motion 50xt, Dual DSW microPRO 3000, fx500, T15, RC65i | Marantz SR7009 | Rotel RB-1590 [FL/FR] | Sony UBP-X800 4K | Xbox One S 4K | AppleTV | HTPC | Sony 75” XBR X850D 4K
    Office Home Theater-5.1 Polk RT55, CS400, PSW450, T15 | Onkyo TX-SR705 | Xbox 360 MCE | AppleTV | Samsung 55”
    Office Music-2.0 KEF Q100 | Sansui AU-6900 | Topping DX7s | Sansui FR-1080
    Master Bedroom Music-2.0 Totem Hawk | McIntosh MA-5200
    Patio Music-2.0 Polk Atrium8 | AMC 2445 bridged
    Airplay zones: Family Room (HDMI), Master Bedroom (Optical), Office (HDMI), Living Room (Optical), SR7009 (AVR direct) and Patio (analog). MacMini iTunes multi-stream to any, combo or all.
    Spares: Polk LSi25, LSiC, CS300, T15, Martin Logan Motion 40, Klipsch RP-600M, Dynamo 500, Rotel RA-1570, Denon AVR-4802R, Onkyo DX-C540, DVP-S500D, PS HX-500, PASS ACA (kit) Class A balanced monoblocks
    Maintenance: Pro-Ject VC-S Record Cleaning Machine
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,015
    Civil Wars "My Father's Father":

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator

    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • headrottheadrott Posts: 5,453
    Jonathan Elias is a great writer/producer. He has produced some great sounding songs for YES (on the Union album).

    I would recommend some Ryuchi Sakamoto songs from Left Handed Dream, and all of the YMO (Yellow Magic Orchestra) albums.

    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:
    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion." :\
    My response is: If you need 60 seconds to respond in one sentence, you probably should't be evaluating Polk speakers.....

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee
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