Ultimate Test CD's

pensacolapensacola Posts: 269
edited March 2002 in Music & Movies
I would be interested in knowing what everyone's favorite CD's are for putting a system through its paces (either in an audio store, or when you just want to "tweak" your neighbors).


For sheer power and SPL:

1. Pomp & Pipes, music for organ, winds, brass & percussion—
Powerful bass drum whacks and deep bass from the organ.

2. Holst: The Planets, Royal Phil. Orch.—
Probably the most well-recorded bass drum around (I swear they put a mic inside of it). Huge soundstage, thanks to Telarc's "three spaced-omni's" minimalist mic'ing philosophy.

3. Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Chicago S.O.—
Great full orchestra climax in "The Great Gate at Kiev".


For female vocal:

Linda Ronstadt: Cry Like A Rainstorm-Howl Like The Wind—
Heavily orchestrated and over-produced, perhaps, but well-mastered.


For male vocal:

Dire Straits: Brothers In Arms—
One of the first digital pop/rock albums—a classic. Good vocals, great drums and cymbals.


For acoustic jazz/small ensemble:

After Hours—
3-piece jazz combo recorded in an auditorium. Great hall ambience. Natural sounding piano, upright bass, and guitar—no sound processing.


For bass extension:

1. Pictures at an Exhibition (trans. for organ)—
Mega bass energy in the 16-32 Hz octave. Puts speakers and amps to the ultimate test in the final minute of this 35-minute work.

2. Saint-Saëns: Sym. No. 3, "Organ Symphony"—
The last measures of the finale contain a decending octave scale in the 32' pipes of the pedal—starting at 32 Hz and ending up at 16 Hz. A challenge for any speaker, at any price.

3. Bach: The Great Organ At Methuen (Michael Murray)—
Particularly the Passacaglia & Fugue in C minor, ending with full organ with the low "C" (16 Hz) in the pedal.


Stereophile also makes a couple of good test CD's, containing both music and test tones, but I think they're better for checking room acoustics and speaker placement at home.

Give War A Chance
Post edited by pensacola on


  • goingganzogoingganzo Posts: 2,797
    edited March 2002
    i would say is put on some enigma and crank it up it has a wide range of music and it is a good relaxing cd put it on turn down the lights and just relax
  • Steve@3dai[email protected] Posts: 983
    edited March 2002
    Originally posted by goingganzo
    i would say is put on some enigma and crank it up it has a wide range of music and it is a good relaxing cd put it on turn down the lights and just relax

    You sir, are so correct :) I have listened to MCMXC a.D. so many times I know EXACTLY what it is supposed to sound like! Also, The Screen Behind the Mirror has lots of depth and variety of instruments, it gives quite a workout.

    I have all the Enigma limited edition albums (except for the holographic MCMXC a.D (have green one)) including the 24k gold Enigma 2. I am an addict!!

    - Steve
    LSi 9/C/FX
    Arcam AVR-200
  • bkfkbkfk Posts: 44
    edited March 2002
    Two questions;
    1.on your ORGAN SYMPHONY which conductor/performer version
    do you have?
    2.on your feedback someone mentioned ENIGMA albums.For a
    first time listener which cd would they recommend?
  • pensacolapensacola Posts: 269
    edited March 2002
    >>1.on your ORGAN SYMPHONY which conductor/performer >>version do you have?

    I have two, actually:
    San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, cond., Jean Guillou, organ

    Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Eduardo Mata, cond., Jean Guillou, organ

    [The Dorian recording has the Saint-Saens paired with the Jongen Symphony Concertante.]

    Of the two, I prefer the Philips recording. The organ in Davies Symphony Hall (San Fran.) just seems to come through better. While the Fisk organ in Dallas is an 84-rank instrument, the Ruffatti in San Fransisco weighs in at 132 ranks—possibly explaining why it comes through a little more! I know the Ruffatti has more 32' ranks in it—some of them electronic (would love to see THOSE cabinets & drivers). So, it's just a weightier instrument.

    Give War A Chance
  • ntculenuffntculenuff Posts: 1,155
    edited March 2002
    Originally posted by bkfk
    Two questions;
    2.on your feedback someone mentioned ENIGMA albums.For a
    first time listener which cd would they recommend?
    there 1st one.. Mcmxc A.D.
    Definitive BP7001sc mains
    Definitive C/L/R 3000 center
    Polk RT800i's rears
    Definitive supercube I Sub
    Onkyo TX-NR3010
    Emotiva XPA five Gen 3
    Panasonic TC-P65ZT60
    OPPO BDP-103 Bluray
    Directv x's 2
  • joe logstonjoe logston Posts: 882
    edited March 2002
    they are all real good, but on male vocal; try,

    steve tyrell, standrad time,
    columbia lable
    ck 86006

    the performance is awesome
    the sound is awesome

    sacd & dvd audio will have a hard time to better this one
    . rt-7 mains
    rt-20p surounds
    cs-400i front center
    cs-350 ls rear center
    2 energy take 5, efects
    2- psw-650 , subs
    1- 15" audiosource sub

    lets all go to the next ces.
  • shackshack Posts: 11,289
    edited March 2002
    1 - My original test tape BC (before CDs) was Steely Dan, Can't Buy A Thrill. I still use it some today.

    2 - I like to use Peter Gabriel, So. Gabriel always uses a lot of musical styles so this CD has a lot of range. There are good vocals including female (Kate Bush is on one track). Sledghammer gives the bass a really good workout.

    3 - I agree with Pensacola. Dire Straits, Brothers In Arms is a CD I have used before.

    4 - A single that I use (the rest of the album is not very good) is Lily Was Here by Candy Dufler. She is a Sax player from the Netherlands. This is a instrumental with sax and accoustic guitar. Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics plays guitar and arranged this one. It has a really good bass and drum track to give a system a good test.

    I have several good classical CDs but I have never thought to use them as demos. I have a Bach pipe organ Preludes and Fugues CD that would really be a good one.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

    "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." - Stuart Chase

    "Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." - Bernard Berenson
  • The Old GafferThe Old Gaffer Posts: 35
    edited March 2002
    Now bear in mind that I am the semi-deaf guy. but the CD that gives me goosebumps is "Missouri Sky" Jazz/guitar/bass. Pat Matheny and a great bass player whos name eludes me.
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