One of the best parts about the holiday rush of speaker orders is reading the feedback on our message boards, Facebook page, Twitter Account or emails from new owners. The descriptions are sometimes an echo of exactly what we've felt but never been able to articulate.
When Message Board Member SocketMan got his M80s installed, he made a great post entitled "My Condolences", and posted "I have to say i truly feel bad for anyone who has not had the opportunity to hear the M80's. I have only listened a little bit,but i can say i have never heard Pink Floyd , the wall like this before. Dont even get me started on metallica,im hearing things i didn't know where there."
His talk of the first songs he listened to made me curious: what songs do you immediately use when testing loudspeakers?
At Axiom, it's hard to drop in for even a minute without being plopped down in the listening room and being handed a switching box and a clipboard. I always go for what I know: a little Holly Cole with beautiful high notes and the satisfying thwang of a stand-up double bass in "I Can See Clearly Now", some Bob Seger with soaring nostalgic notes, and if I've had notice that I'm going to be listening, the soundtrack for Master and Commander featuring Yo-Yo Man's incredible cello playing.
When Alan Lofft tests loudspeakers, he also starts with Holly Cole:
"I usually start with the Holly Cole CD in the listening room, Don't Smoke in Bed, and use "I Can See Clearly Now" and "Every Day Seems Like a Holiday" tracks.
Then I switch to a big orchestra/choral work, "Sea Symphony" by Vaughan Williams, a great test of choral and orchestral detail and spatial presentation.
I follow up with a one or two tracks of Harry Connick Jr trio, soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally, "Love is Here to Stay" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". Great neutral male vocal and jazz trio recording.
Sometimes I play Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms, "Ride Across the River", an excellent rock recording with very deep bass."
For Brent Tombari, testing loudspeakers means cueing up "Ascent/Also Sprach Zarathustra" from Time Warp- Cincinnati Pops Orchestra; "The Panther from The Well" - Jennifer Warnes, and "Cha Cha Loco" from Focal 3 - Joe Jackson.
And for engineer Andrew Welker, it's "Hello City" from Barenaked Ladies Gordon, "Dont Let the Teardrops Rust your Shining Heart" from Holly Coles Dont Smoke in Bed and "Isnt It a Little Late?" from Eleanor McEvoys Yola.
What are your go-to tracks when you're testing loudspeakers? Any surprise notes in a song you'd listened to hundreds of times before?