"Calling All Angels" from When I Was a Boy by Jane Siberry.
"She's Already Made Up Her Mind" by Lyle Lovett on Joshua Judges Ruth.
Primitives" by T-Bone Burnett on The Criminal Under My Own Hat.
"Lifes Railway To Heaven" from Will the Circle Be Unbroken II by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, lead vocal by Johnny Cash(you gotta hear this album).
"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" immediately followed by "The Carnival is Over" on Into the Labyrinth by Dead Can Dance. Two tracks but they are sequential.
These are listed in no particular order but each highlight qualities I feel are essential.
I can only think of a few, being the Mark Knopler fan. These should be reference material on any Audio "nuts" list.
1. Once upon a time in the west- 2nd cd "communique"... drums and their locale.
2. Industrial Disease- Love over Gold cd.. clean and forward.
3. Ride across the river-- Brothers in Arms cd, clean, deep and yes crickets on the river
4. Baloney again- Sailing to Philadelphia cd- see if your rig will go down to 25 hz.
"Perfect Sense" from Amused to Death..Roger Waters
Beethooven's Ninth Symphony...Solti Chicago Symphony
Shakti w/John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussein....recent CD live recordings in the past few years..one titled The Believer is exceptional
I like to use some Rickie Lee Jones tracks when checking out my system's performance.
Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking, on the RLJ "Pirates" album is a good one. A real fun song.
Also, most all of the cuts on the RLJ first(self-titled) album are good for testing, and just plain listening too.
The Willie Nelson album "Stardust" is great for checking out male vocals, and detail too.
Beethoven's 9th by Karajan (1961-62) (Tone, male voice, imaging, congestion)
Brahms' Violin Concerto by Szeryng (Violin tone, separation of woodwinds)
Train Song by Holly Cole (Low-mid frequency balance, imaging and ambient detail)
Something by Eva Cassidy (Female voice, clarity)
Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto by Michelangeli (Piano detail)
Respighi's Pines of Rome, Reference Recording (Very low frequency organ notes)
Distingue by Billy Holiday (Tone, imaging, ambience and dynamics)
Show Biz Kids by Rickie Lee Jones (High frequency triangle, dynamics, articulation and detail)
In no particular order, I like:
"Moonlight Seranade" LP, Laurindo Almeida/Ray Brown. Almeida plays Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" on the guitar while Ray Brown weaves "Around Midnight" in and out on the bowed bass. (Detail, dynamics, low frequency articulation and information)
"Yulunga" Dead Can Dance CD (Percussion, vocals, image placement)
"Savitri" Gustav Holst/Purcell Singers LP (Remarkable LP on the Argo lable. Great test of the ability of your system to reproduce the female voice of Janet Baker, as well as soundstage. The male voice starts way in the rear and moves forward and to the right, then across the front of the soundstage as the piece progresses)
"Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave)" Mendelssohn. Maag/LSO 45rpm Speakers Corner reissue of the original Decca LP(Full orchestral work with a wide, deep soundstage)
"Firebird" Stravinsky. Leinsdorf/Los Angeles LP from Sheffield. (Enormous dynamic swings, subtle inner details, large loud percussive sections.) Performance is not quite a forward and well executed as the famous Dorati/London mercury release, but still a mighty fine test of a systems overall dynamic capabilities.
Hats off to Twl. I've been using Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking, on the RLJ "Pirates" album since it's release. Some others are the first song on Terence Trent D'Arby's "Introducing..." album and "Human Nature" off Michael Jackson's "Thriller". My ultimate test is Joni Mitchells "Court and Spark" album. The target pattern pressing. It's far better then anything else I own. Including the vinyl, SACD, DVD-A, and DTS pressing I have of other contenders.
The original Chesky Demo disk is great, except that it seems to be recorded at an unusually low volume, so if the power is marginal in the system, this demo disk will exacerbate the power problem.
What's great about this disk is the wide range of music, it seems to test just about everything I seek to test, all in one disk so I can shake out a component or system fairly quickly.
Uncle Tupelo, Moonshiner on March 16th - 20th
Uncle Tupelo, Sandusky on March 16th - 20th
Wilco, I'm trying to break your heart on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The new Nine Inch Nails album
Mark Knoplfer 5:15AM on Shangri La
and some Norah Jones to check out female vocals.
Seems like many of you are using early, digitally sourced, recordings as tests. I suppose that familiarity with the material on different systems, and a love of the music, is more important than the inherent recorded quality. This vindicates my use of older mono recordings as well.
The "O Brother where art thou" movie soundtrack cd is handy for its wide the range of very different tracks that give you a feel for different things.
If I have to pick a particular test track it is maybe "Down to the river to pray".
While you've got the Dire Straits out, I'd also have to hear "The Man's Too strong".