Joan Osborne - Relish
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If you're not "squeamish", a disc by a band called "Master" entitled "Faith is in Season". This is hard metal with "shocking" pictures and lyrics. Other than completely rocking you to the bone, the kick drums will have your woofers flailing about at a rapid pace the entire length of the disc. As a side note, this is very fast and tight bass that allows you to check transient response of the woofers themselves along with verifying the amount of control that your amplifier has over them. This is NOTHING like the slow, bloated, ill-defined mud that many other "bass heavy" recordings demonstrate. Due to the high average power levels, this WILL get your woofers and amplifier "warmed up" rather rapidly when playing at volume.
Another good disc for reference purposes is the Burmester CD Volume III. Not only does this have a pipe organ track, there is another track of very potent highly percussive large diameter drums. As such, the surge power required on demand at such a low frequency can be VERY high, causing both amplifier clipping and potential woofer damage due to the resultant "instantaneous thrust" that results.
Either of these discs can hurt your system. Proceed with caution and start off with the volume at a reasonable level. Sean
Any GOOD recording of a large pipe organ will definitely wring out your new subwoofer. The pipe organ produces the lowest recorded frequencies on CD or LP (down to 16 Hz), and good recordings of the pipe organ will provide a prodigious test of a subwoofer (both its low-frequency response, and its ability to play at realistic volume levels).
There are many good pipe organ recordings, but three that I particularly enjoy feature a group of the largest pipe organs in the United States:
1. "Magic" (Dorian xCD-90308), featuring the Wanamaker Grand Court organ in the Lord & Taylor department store in Philadelphia. This huge organ has more than 28,000 pipes, and was designed to reproduce the sounds of a full symphony orchestra.
2. "Ocean Grove: French Spectaculars" (Dorian xCD-90267), featuring the Ocean Grove (New Jersey) Auditorium organ, which has over 9,000 pipes in 152 ranks.
(Note: both of these Dorian recordings used a 24-bit digital recording process.)
3. "Tongues of Fire" (Pro Organo CD 7063), which features the 20,000+ pipe organ in the Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.
For fans of pipe organs who might find themselves reading this post, there is an organization called the Organ Historical Society that has a huge catalog of pipe organ recordings from around the world. Check out their web site at: http://www.organsociety.org/
I agree with Sdcampbell about well-recorded organ music. I'll add two more suggestions:
James Carter "Chasin' the Gypsy." On this album, Carter plays bass saxophone as a lead instrument on a number of tracks. On the first track (Nuages), in particular, he really plumbs the depths of what the bass saxophone is capable of. This is a great test of the bass response of speakers/subs.
Rusted Root "When I Woke," especially the first track (Drum Trip)
Jbatlanta, Sdcampbell offered some great reference recordings. Especially "Ocean Grove". Also, Sean makes some valid comments regarding "slow, bloated bass". I also like his terminology regarding "instantaneous thrust". That's a good one Sean.
Of course, if you want to go to extremes and you enjoy classical:
Tchaikovsky "1812 Overture". Erich Kunzel conducting the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Telarc #CD-80541.
Many an amplifier have been put into the "protect mode" due to this recording.
The WARNING LABEL on the cover reads as follows:
"WARNING! The cannons of the Telarc digital "1812" are recorded at a very high level. Lower levels are recommended for initial playback until a safe level can be determined for your equipment."
I think that says it all.
My favourites for bass are:
Metallica - and justice for all...especially one
Gladiator OST - the battle
Crystal Method - Vegas
David Bowie - Earthling
Blue Man Group - any track with the "big drum"
Tchaikovsky's 1812 on telarc
Madonna - Immaculate Collection - Vogue (fun track for imaging too)
I'll also second pretty much anything by vic wooten
Another vote for "Ondekoza"
Respighi - "Church Windows" Reference Recordings 45 RPM LP. The pipe organ, Tam Tam, and Bass drum whacks on this LP are legendary.
Mickey Hart/Airto - "Dafos" Reference Recordings 45 RPM LP and CD
Ray Brown Trio - "Soular Energy" 200g LP reissue. Great not only for quantity but quality.
Bill Evans Tro - "Waltz for Debbie" and "Sunday at the Village Vangard" 200g LP reissues. Great tests for bass quality.
For more organ recordings with REAL deep bass, none of that wimpy 32 hz stuff, check out the thread by Texasdave "Organ CDs with Really Deep Bass". Or for bass drums giving you somewhere only in the 35-40 hz bass but the "instantaneous thrust" Sean mentions (I do like that term!), try the Mahler 6 recording (preferably the SACD layer) by Tilson-Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony on the SFO's own label, the fourth movement's "hammers of fate" will knock your socks off.