What CD is your System Reference

My system sounds good with a wide variety of music, but if I want to show off the soundstaging, I use Lucinda Williams HDCD recording of "Car Wheels On a Gravel Road". BTW, we recently had a thread that covered this topic, you might look for it. Cheers. Craig.
I'm just stunned by: Ravel - Volume one (Cala CACD1004 An English import).
After pondering a bunch of my usual references, I gotta laugh and tell you the best jaw-drops I get from most folks follow playing cuts 5 and 8 (Ladysmith) of Paul Simon's Graceland! Most people have never heard/seen the soundstage produced, and the fact that it's familiar work seems to double the revelatory response. Obscure? Jean Danton's "American Dreamers" with piano reveals an astonishing soprano in a tremendously-real acoustic space (Jordan Hall) with great Steinway D comping. You won't bother with Krall/Warnes/Barber any more! (Just kidding) !
Ye old faithful. Jazz at the pawnshop
Alana Davis-"Blame It On Me"...and she's cute too:)..great cd in every aspect. Everthing But The Girl- "Greatest Hits" Nelly Furtado- "Whooo Nelly" Eagle Eye Cherry and believe it or not, Jimi Hendrix...yes its old and hissy, but great imaging and sound field. Jimi is god!!! Good Question!!!!!
Dire straights love over gold
subaruguru - I also think Graceland makes a great demo disk (cool music as well). I like it some much that I keep buying spare copies on vinyl when I see it at Half Price books. My personal demo disc is the Neri Per Caso (an Italian group) X-mas CD. The a cappella version of God Rest Ye Merry... and Happy Day let my system strut its stuff in the areas of midrange purity and soundstaging. Belafonte at Carnegie Hall ain't too shabby either
Kiss My Axe, Al Dimeola is my personal favorite.
Same choice Jerie, Kiss My Axe.
Dire Straits "sultans of swing" is a HDCD best of collection from 1998, this about as good as any main stream rock album I have ever heard! Lucinda Williams is very good, I agree with Craig. The Sade "best of sade" contains 1994 mastering of her great early work, as well early albums are now available with brand new remasters.....yes I know her new album is a bomb, but her early work is superb.
I agree the dire straits hdcd is awsome for rock. for jazz try christy barons steppin 24/96. the sound stage is there you are there,the best on my set up. patrica barber cafe blue on the gold recording also. i like sade as well but the sound is not that good. i was looking for that yesterday on a good remaster and founf none hoping for a new 24/96 of sades best of.
What CD I would use for a system reference?? Well, that depends on what I am trying to listen for. For soundstaging and vocals, I use Bob James (The Obsession -- WB/1986), soundstaging only, I use George Benson and Earl Klugh (Collaboration -- WB/1987) and Chuck Mangione (Feels So Good -- A&M/1977..... but you have to listen past the hiss, as this was originally an analog recording and not a digital one). For bass response and a variety of vocals (both male and female and singing and rap), I use Quincy Jones (Back On The Block -- Quest - WB/1989...... to me, this was one of Jones' best work ever....... to me, it's even better than 1994's "Jook Joint". I use a number of cuts off of this CD). For female voice, I use Karen Carpenter (of the Carpenters..... I use a variety of CD's of her work...... All A&M....... late 60's/early 70's) and Toni Braxton (also great for evaluating the bass response of a given system..... Secrets -- LaFace/1996). And for system depth, I use Wynton Marsalis (a number of different CD's........ Columbia/mid-to-late 80's). So, as you all can see, there is no "one" CD that I use for all purposes. Some CD's are better some purposes and others are better for other purposes. --Charles--
Sure it depends what you are trying to accomplish and what kind of music you prefer. For equipment and cable tests I often use Joan Armatrading, The very best, A&M 1991. The recording is a bit on the bass side, but tracks 5 and 4 are excellent soundstage, midrange discrimination and bass control tests.