Songs you use when auditioning gear

What are some of your favorite songs to play when auditioning gear?  I often listen to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac.  Just about anything off of Gaucho or Aja by Steely Dan or Joni Mitchell’s Hejira or Hissing of Summer Lawns usually gets spun up too.  Dreams, in particular, is such a great song and is recorded with the balance I really like as well as a full and wide soundstage.  Wondering what some of yours are to see what I’m missing.


Rage Against the Machine's cover of Renegades of Funk.  Speakers are challenged by the high pitched whine.

Subterranean Homesick Alien by Radiohead.  Good for checking image depth, air and space.

I try not to avoid the audiophile tracks that always sound good and are the equivalent of turning brightness up on a TV in the showroom. 

@jji666 RATM Renegades of Funk reminds me that Metallica Sad But True is a great song to test bass control, the bass guitar in that song can cause all kinds of problems if the amp and speakers can’t handle it.

Symphony Fantastique by Hector Berlioz, recorded by the L.A. Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Duhamel, a DG recording.  Especially the fifth movement.  It has everything from solo woodwinds to the oversized orchestra playing full out!! Tubular bell, bass drum, big brass; full dynamic range.  And beautifully recorded. Unfortunately,  I  believe it's only available on streaming,  has not been released on CD.

Yeah Kara Bonoff,i used to listen to her back in the late 70s.Great voice and the lps were good.I picked her best of cd at a thrift store and it was great.

I don’t audition gear with great frequency, so my "auditions" are limited to specific component upgrades. In other words, I’m not cycling through components so the music I use for evaluation is the music I enjoy listening to. I don’t use any of the traditional "audiophile" tracks most will list. Just a preference. I will use The The’s Dusk album and any of Neko Case’s albums as both provide a good opportunity to see what the new equipment "reveals."

I’ll then move on to listening to select ambient, electronic, blues, jazz, funk, classical tracks or full albums by Depeche Mode, Chet Baker, the Police, Radiohead, Talking Heads, New Pornographers, Calexico, etc.

I think that my "test" music should be the music I listen to the most across a wide array of genres and not limited to specific tracks or genres. I want to enjoy all of my music not just one song or one album. Can the equipment make a mediocre vinyl repress of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters sound good? If so, then the rest of my collection will sound good. Will it reveal something on the colored vinyl pressing of Calexico’s El Mirador that is more present in the FLAC file? Then there’s a good chance everything will sound better. Rarely have I had an upgrade make a bad recording worse. It might reveal the shortcomings of certain albums but certainly not to where I would stop listening to certain albums.