Best Five Demo Pieces for your System

What five pieces of music would you turn to in order to evaluate or demonstrate the fidelity of your system? Or, to critically listen to a new "challenger" component which is being demoed? I listen solely to cd:

Al Jarreau, from the disc Tenderness, track 2 "Try a Little Tenderness" - live recording, can catch great detail and nuances in his voice

Herbie Hancock from disc Possibilites, track 3 "A Song for You" with Christina Agulera - again, wonderful inflection, shows off the female vocals in a system

(Don't Laugh!) Usher speaker demo disc entitled, "Compass Dancer series II" track 2 which is a drum solo improv. by Jim Keltner This is seven minutes of pure percussion workout for the rig! One of the absolute best demo cuts I've ever used.

Lesiem's cd "Auracle" tracks 1 "Humilitas" or 10 "Invidia"
gives a sample of orchestrated, choral, synthsized and vocals all in one!

Joss Stone's The Soul Sessions, track 1 "The Choking Kind"
What a voice! and excellent demo for bass.

There are so many others...I used to listen quite a bit to a disc entitled "Begin Sweet World" which has wonderful lead clarinet!

These selections say as much about a person as the system. It should be interesting to see the selections our illustrious audiophiles use to "put their system through the paces." Then, if assertainable, one can glance at the components in the "system" link and try to gain an appreciation for the sytle of music enjoyed and the rig it's played on!
Hi Doug. Remember this used-to-be-fellow-ET8 owner from the Planar Speaker Asylum? I still have and love mine; see my system.

I have one track that I always use to evaluate audio systems. It's Classical, but it's short so you can probably stand it. :-) Gustav Holst, The Planets, Suite for Large Orchestra. Adrian Boult conducting the LPO, on EMI. For you LPists, it's ASD 3649. The preferred CD is CDM 7 64748 2 which is also numbered 0777 7 64743 2 3 on the spine; a current reissue is 7243 5 67749 2 6, but I don't like this one as much because it has the Enigma Variations 1st.

This is one of the Bishop/Parker team's very best recordings, done in EMI's large Abbey Rd. studio. It's wide and deep but also a little bright. The most-revealing track for me is 6, Uranus. It includes a pair of oboes didling about, a slightly multimonomiced tymp set at about 12:15, and a HUGE bassdrum at about 2 minutes. The bassdrum's fundamental is in the 40Hz third-octave while its reverb is in the 25Hz third-octave. This cut will tell you how a system presents intrumental images, how it reproduces a huge soundstage, how it colors (or doesn't) the sound of not-closely-miced orchestral instuments, and how it reproduces the entire bottom octave.

The 4th movement starts with a very quick melody played by the 3 high-string sections. The 1st starts at about 1:30 o'clock, the 2nd at about 11:30 and the third, the 1st violins, at about 11 o'clock.

Try it; you may love it.
Well, I lean towards vocals, jazz, blues & rock at modest levels. Here's what I've been using to test and tweak my Martin Logan Aerius i's and EQ with a Behringer DSP8024:

Lyle Lovett's "I Love Everybody" - some of the best drum recording I've ever heard. Not fat and heavy or loud, just beautifully articulate.

Manhattan Transfer's "Offbeat of Avenues" - very subtle and complex delineation of the tone and placement of their four voices. Tests imaging and resolution.

Manu Dibango's "Wakafrika" - groups of up to a dozen singers over very rhythmic and moderately complex instrumental tracks with some very nice, full and deep drum work. A rich, warm and energetic mix.

Boz Scaggs' "But Beautiful" - absolutely gorgeous recording of jazz vocals with a quartet. Black velvet backdrop.

Little Feat's "Waiting for Columbus" - the best live rock concert recording I've ever heard. I can count every one of the thousands of people in the audience right outside my window. Very live and huge sound. I don't know why all live rock isn't recorded this well.

Paul Simon's "Rythm of the Saints" - 'nuff said.

Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" - huge atmospherics on the title track. Deep, deep soundstage.

Oh, I almost forgot,

Joe Jackson's "Body and Soul" - not my favorite music, but it's a technical showcase of how good digital can be and what painstaking engineering can do in a big brick-walled hall. Dynamics and space acoustics are truly impressive.

Sorry, five's not enough.
Let me add my list then.

James Blunt's "Goodbye my Lover" has an incredible piano and just a voice (not my favourite voice but..) Simplicity.

Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold" from her live at blues alley album.. one of the best female vocalists there ever was (:()

Jennifer Warnes' entire "the Hunter" CD.. check out "Way down deep" for an incredible bass drum, or "Lights of Lousianne" for the total audiophile soundstage.

Blue man group with "Persona" for some modern electronica.

Damien Rice's "Cheers Darlin'" for a very intimate setting, yet with some very nice situational sounds (a wedding party).

Tchaikovsky - Violin Concertos - Vadim Repin Valery Gergiev are very nice and full orchestral classical pieces.. pick any spot and sit back.