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Twenty Testing Tracks

Twenty Testing Tracks: Ok we all do it sometimes, but we shouldn’t….that’s listening to the HiFi first and not the music – not following the ubiquitously coined ‘music first’ approach. You should listen to the music first, not use the music to listen to the HiFi, GOD DAMN IT!!!??!! But it’s fine because we have the excuse to do so with a new piece of hardware, leaving to appeal our music finding senses for a short while, until faced with the new normal, we are back à la ‘music first’…Or at least we should be.

This all means that possibly momentarily, we are utilising behaviours like the fictional character Blur used in their track, Ernold Same – “he sits on the same seat, with the same nasty stain, next to same old what’s his name?” But this is all just dandy because it enables us to enjoy all those pleasurable testing tracks, whilst the smile stays on the face to the new purchase. It bloody well should, considering we have spent a chunk. In fact I was doing all this a few days ago when a very friendly follower and subscriber brought some gear around. You do the listening session and at the end swap music tastes; a great way of finding new music, forcing ourselves to sit through the unknown, much like a concert, going to a HiFi show and listening to HiFi systems for hours, and, yabba yabba, visiting a record store.

Hopefully a trigger to using the experience to find new music, not do more listening to old tracks. Hence the purpose here, and I’ve tried to pick some unknowns, at the same time there will be the knowns. Skip to the Playlists on Tidal and Qobuz at the end or go through the tracks here…they all have the purpose to gauge how well your HiFi copes with different aspects of music. The Twenty Testing Tracks are in two categories – slow and relaxing, and faster electronic/dance.

START ME SLOW….

1. Richard Hawley – Coles Corner – Darlin’ Wait for Me

(for testing tone, richness and soundstage – assessing midrange prowess)

2. Empire of the Sun – Suo Gan (Welsh Cradle Song)

(for assessing tone, naturalness and how does a HiFi move you?)

3. Patrick Cassidy – Hannibal Soundtrack – Vide Cor Meum

(for hearing quality of midrange and tone)

4. Hidden Orchestra – Archipelago – Hushed

(Musical layering and instrument seperation)

5. Mike Oldfield – Songs of Distant Earth – Magellan

(for testing scale, soundstage and slam)

6. Vangelis – Antarctica – Theme from Antarctica

(a test of soundstage and soundscapes)

7. Juanita Stein – America – Not Paradise

(midrange/female vocal)

8. Agnes Obel – Citizen of Glass – Familiar

(for testing female vocal / midrange & soundstage)

9. Rhapsody in Blue – Ravel/Saint-Saens/Gerswin

(dynamics in initial note)

10. Gabriel Fauré – Requiem – ‘In Paradisum’

(test of soundstage and how HiFi conveys delicate classical musical)

SPEEDING IT UP….

11. Tosca – Going Going Going – Export Import

(for testing bass definition)

12. Orbital – Snivilisation – Attached

(for testing searing treble and how well balanced the HiFi is)

13. Yello – Oh Yeah!

(sorry there had to be one from Yello…..for testing attack, stereo imaging and shifting, and all out dynamic capability)

14. Sabres of Paradise – Sabresonic II – Smokebelch II

(for testing decay and transients, and at 4:20 reverb and imaging – On Qobuz, not Tidal)

15. Four Tet – Morning/Evening – Morning Side

(rhythm and bass)

16. Mixmag Live – Volume 19 – Laurent Garnier

(Bass depth and definition)

17. Neu! – Hallogallo – Neu!

(for speed and dynamics)

18. React Test Two – Ha! – Elevator

(Techno to test bass dynamics and speed – Not on Tidal or Qobuz)

19. Todd Terje – Preben goes to Acapulco – It’s Album Time

(testing speed of fast arpeggiated synths)

20. Underworld – dubnobasswithmyheadman – River of Bass

(for testing bass dynamics)

Tidal Playlist

Qobuz Playlist

Some other playlists on my website here. What do you use to test your HiFi?

One Comment

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  1. Interesting choice of music, thank god for your Spotify list as your youtube music does not seem to work. I notice there seems to be a common denominator of a sorts in your choice of test tracks like all music came from the same studio with same sound engineer. Anyway thanks for the above…

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Written by Simon Price

I'm an audio lover who likes sharing experiences of faithfully reproduced audio in a CREDIBLE, BALANCED and ENGAGING way. I’m interested in products; their looks, functionality and features, and most importantly how they sound! My reviews keep technicalities easy, as I believe great audio is non exclusive and to be enjoyed by all! It's all about the music!

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José Padilla (1955 – 2020)

José Padilla (1955 – 2020)