Herbie Hancock: "Future Shock" (dynamics, fluidity, drive, air)
Magma: "Udu Wudu" JVC 20bit (dynamics, transients, tone)
those are the first two I always go for.
Lisa Loeb "Firecracker" - binkie music but extrememly natural recording. Also, has several "tasteful" 360 degree sound effects, as well as a well-recorded door slamming.
Wagner/Solti Ring on latest Decca CD - great music, best recording of strings esp. basses, anvil striking great test of amplifier clipping even at low levels.
SACD - the SONY sampler
I've used Jakob Dylan's "Bringing Down the Horse" because until recently, every upgrade removed some hash but still sounded noisy and distorted unnaturally at some places. To be specific, there are times when a highly distorted electric guitar is playing LOUD, and in the background, at very low levels, are a chorus 'oohing', coupled with high frequency synth, coupled with sticks on the rim, coupled with a high hat. The problem is all those faint high frequency parts can and will mush together with a low resolution system. To discern these different parts, I use a Monarchy DIP balanced connection to a Nelson MSB DAC with 24/132 upsampling and Power Base, as well as Monster Power HTS 2000 and numerous Quietline filters.
I took a lot of my favorite tracks and compiled them on one CDR, with a bit of everything from solo piano to some heavy electronic, it's really useful especially if you go to a dealer to listen. I can just pop in one CD and get an idea of what a system sounds like with a big variety of music.
When I am interested solely in evaluating an audio component, or doing an A-B comparison, I frequently use the Burmester CD#2. Otherwise, I have a group of jazz and symphonic LP recordings that I have listened to for years and know all of their nuances.
Here's a couple:
Rickie Lee Jones, "Pop Pop"
Rosanne Cash "Ten Song Demo"
The Sea and Cake "Fawn"
Marc Ribot "Los Cubanos Postivos"
Recently, Wilco "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"
All have electric and acoustic instruments, good soundstaging and great engineering.
For enjoyment of a great recording, I also like to listen to my Burmester discs. However, this is not what I put on first when I upgrade. The first thing I do when I make a change in my system is get my wife, put her in the primary listening position and put on our wedding song. It's my way of saying thank you for tolerating my obsession. This is not an inexpensive hobby. While my wife certainly appreciates good sound much more than she had previously, I recognize that this is my hobby not hers. So maybe it's a bit corny, but I do appreciate the fact that she does not give me grief when I indulge myself.
I've been meaning to do what Ejlif has done, that is to burn a "compilation test disc" of my own. This disc may not even contain entire songs as there are small portions of songs that can tell you a WHOLE bunch of info very quickly. Using this approach, one could literally pick and choose "snippets" and compose one helluva disc that could assess an entire system in less than just a few minutes.
Obviously, this is another one of those "projects" on my things to do list... Sean
George Strait Greatest Hits Vol. 2
Barry White Greatest Hits
Motorhead Ace of Spades
If a high-end stereo can't be enjoyable on the "fun" music you like too, then what's the point? A stereo that sounds great only a handful of anal-retentive audiophile discs is a big bore. IMO of course...
Trich727 , what is yours? I like Boston, Eagals, kenny G,
Counting Crows Story tellers live...
or some various Dave Matthews tracks....David Grey..
Followed by some Godsmack to test the bottom end...
and annoy the neighbors...
...no particular one. Every time it changes since there is always a new music comming. The very last point of my interest is 30hzrecords CDs that is a studio of Jah Wobble.
Judy At Carnegie Hall, the Gold DCS-remastered edition. It's a double-disk set, so I can test for lots of different vocal and instrumental dynamics with various tracks.
Madonna- "Ray Of Light" Seriously folks, I wasn't a real Madonna fan until this album came out (in '98 I believe), but it's a great recording that I have used for experimentation on everything from speakers to interconnects, and it never disapoints. Highs, lows, voice, acoustic, dance, techno, all on one disk. Check it out.
Loreena Mckennitt..the book of secrets.
..track..The Mummers' Dance followed by ..The Highwayman.
Soundtrack to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" - seems to be about the best recording I have - I play track #9 to evaluate changes.
Two favorites are Lucinda William's HDCD disc "Car Wheels On a Gravel Road"-- great soundstaging on a few tracks and excellent female vocals; and JJ Cale's CD "Guitar Man" for PRT, dynamics and natural male vocals. I also agree with Thefalls re: Loreena McKennitt's "Book of Secrets"-- excellent female vocals, and tremendous percussion. Cheers. Craig
Lawrence Juber *Collection* First track is the best rendition of Little Wing I've ever heard.
Sting *Dream Of The Blue Turtles* I usually start with Be Still My Beating Heart.
Then I try some Jazz, New Age and Classical
Natalie Merchant/Tiger Lilly, Patricia Barber/cafe blue HDCD, Jacintha/Autumn Leaves XRCD2, Eagles/Hell Freezes Over XRCD2, Dire Straits/Brothers In Arms XRCD2 and Fleetwood Mac/The Dance.
Correction, Sting- Nothing Like The Sun. Derrick where do you buy your XRCDII's?
Glen, I've gotten most of my XRCD2's from Elusive Disc. The Jacintha is by FIM, the Eagles and Dire Straits are by JVC.