Author Topic: AVForums reference source material  (Read 25718 times)

Offline Shonver

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AVForums reference source material
« on: February 21, 2007, 12:41:48 PM »
Can we make a list of recommended reference material, so that we can (mostly) be on the same page when describing our listening experiences? I just read a review here http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=1140186#post1140186 and it struck me that there are 2 categories of listening material: (1) for showing off how nice a system sounds and (2) for evaluating system performance.

Now, Dianna Krall is seductive even on a ghetto blaster. She can make a poor system sound good. I believe this is because of the simple, uncomplex nature of the arrangements typically found on her recordings. But these types of recordings do nothing to challenge a system...

The reviewer I linked to above used cuts that are dynamically challenging and complex. And this is where the fun starts...

So, can we make up a list (preferebly not extensive) of tracks and/or albums that are useful for testing/evaluating particular aspects of system performance? Below is a thumbsuck of possible categories. I'm sure the more informed fellow members can refine and extend the categories.

Dynamics/Dynamic range
Low frequency extension
High frequency extension
Mid-range resolution
Colouration (bass/mid/high)
High-power compression
Low frequency integration (subwoofer)

If we could compile a list of source material that presents good testing material for these categories (or whatever categories we finally decide on), I'd be persuaded to invest in those exact CD's, DVD's, vinyl, etc. But please, let it also be good music .
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skinnyfat

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 12:51:32 PM »
Sounds like a grand idea.

My proposals would be (in addition to those already mentioned)

Led Zeppelin II - specifically 'Whole lotta Love'. Jimmy page was an excellent producer and his arrangements were really carefully constructed. Definately one of the first to really exploit 'stereo'

Kraftwerk
Any Organ music
Norah Jones

....and a few more I haven't thought of yet ;D

Offline GearSlave

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2007, 01:13:54 PM »
What a great idea. I've also been looking for some 'reference' music, but I don't mix in the right circles to know what the benchmark is

But please, let it also be good music .

Hehe! The reason why I don't mix in the right circles... At the last AV show at Indaba I walked into a listening room (can't remember the vendor, but there was some Sonor stuff standing around) and the track that they put on wasn't music, but a guy talking and a hell of a racket in the background. Everybody's eyes were closed, they were totally absorbed. I almost passed out from laughter...
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Offline Shonver

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2007, 01:14:44 PM »
@Skinnyfat: OK, but what specifically do these recommendations bring to the mix? I know Nora Jones sounds good, but I'm suspicious of the excessive processing applied to her voice; this for me falls into the Dianna krall category. However, if there's something specific I should be listening for, pray tell. (I know that very few- if any- recordings are perfect all-round).

My idea is for qualified recommedations. Something along the lines of:

Artist: Nora Jones
Album: Bat from hell
Release: Polydor 1997, Germany
Tracks: 1, 3, 6
Highlights: Very wide dynamic range, minimal processing. Piano sounds very realistic. Was not evident on my Polk VG-1's, but really only noticable on the Martin Logan XR-3 ESL's. Really showed up the Polk's inability to reproduce dynamics at realistic listening levels.
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Offline DRNB

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2007, 08:47:04 AM »
Excellent idea Shaun, but may I suugest that we make this a "sticky" theat?

Well, I'm at work & when I get home in the evenings I usually forget to get some details.

But for now, I like to use Jennifer Warns track - "Way Down Deep" for testing midbass/bass masking. Its starts with Ithink a timpany, and then a Double Bass is added. If your speakers "Boom" for isntance, it would sound like one instrument producing the bass.

Also like to use Mary Black, "NoFrontiers". Good to check how your setup handels female voice. 
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skinnyfat

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2007, 09:01:07 AM »
Set sticky  :)

Offline Viagara

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2007, 09:13:06 AM »
Excellent idea Shaun, but may I suugest that we make this a "sticky" theat?

Should this now be a sticky "teat" or "thread" LOL! Sorry Norval I know we all get dyslectic from time to time ;D

Other that that I don't have much to offer at the moment. I have some favorite CDs and tracks, but offhand can't give a technical explanation as to why I like them(Dark side of the moon, Norah Jones, Patricia Barber, Katie Melua, Coldplay, etc, etc)

So all things said, I am a NOOB concerning technical quality, but I know what type of sound I like ;D
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skinnyfat

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2007, 09:25:50 AM »


So all things said, I am a NOOB concerning technical quality, but I know what type of sound I like ;D

THAT IMO is the nail on the head!!

Whilst all of us here know the difference between good and crap sound, not all of us are technically astute. However, my feeling is that if it sounds GOOD to you and you enjoy the music/movie as it is played back then that's good enough for me.

Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2007, 03:13:06 PM »
This is an interesting thread but a tough one.
If it is purely for academic purpose with reasonable music, I am not sure if the Chesky Ultimate Demo disk is still available, but that would be a good one to get. A good range of tunes, each introduced with a description of what to expect.

Did I hear that little red guy with the tail say "Group Burn".........
That would be illegal yes?




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Offline chipwelder

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2007, 03:24:58 PM »
Nick's test trax at the Audiofest were quite good... maybe slightly OTT...

Patricia Barber live at the something or other...

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue... newest re-issue...

Diana Krall the live to two track version one she did with GRP...

Every other audiophiles fav... Jazz at the Pawshop 1/2/3

OK! I've had it! I don't give anymore Kharma. Kharma should work in mysterious ways...

Offline Shonver

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2007, 03:27:20 PM »
I am not sure if the Chesky Ultimate Demo disk is still available, but that would be a good one to get.

From http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=UD95:

Quote
Reading about transparency or focus will only take you so far, the Ultimate Demo Disc serves as an aural dictionary by cueing the listener to specific sonic qualities of each selection. By consistently using the Disc, hearing & understanding these terms will become so much easier. The Disc can be used to evaluate speakers, receivers, preamps, power amps, CD players, digital to analog convertors, even cables. Artists on this disc include: Rebecca Pidgeon, Ana Caram, Leny Andrade, Sara K., Monty Alexander, Johnny Frigo, Fred Hersch Trio, Livingston Taylor, & more! Demo's include: High Resolution, Transparency, Holographic Imaging, Focus, Midrange Purity, Depth, Transients & many more!

Sounds kinda built for purpose. And reasonably priced. Who sells Chesky here?
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Offline Viagara

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2007, 08:46:16 AM »

Patricia Barber live at the something or other...


That is probably Patricia Barber live in Paris. Excellent recording.
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Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2007, 10:57:47 AM »
Assuming we are looking for something quite absolute, commercial recordings where one was not present at the session are merely comparisons of presentation if used to test I would say. Sure, they will show certain nuances on some rigs and not on others, bass, impact  etc etc. But how deep should that soundstage be? How far back was the drummer or is the more we exaggerate the space between performers the better?

Thus if we want an absolute one needs input on how things were recorded and placed and info about venue etc. The Chesky disk comes close and so do some of the Stereopile discs as there is typically documentation on what was done.

WRT to Mrs Costello, Ms Barber, AKUS, The Hunter etc etc, these tend to sound good on a ghetto blaster and get better as the rig gets better but are not particularly taxing imo, what is that hunter bass supposed to sound like? Where was the mike when recorded?
A typical test/show off track used by many is the good old Hotel California on Hell freezes over but have you ever heard a kick drum sound like that in real life? I have not but maybe I have not heard the right kit. (Drums or HiFi).

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« Last Edit: March 29, 2007, 11:04:19 AM by croak »
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Offline Shonver

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2007, 01:09:15 PM »
WRT to Mrs Costello, Ms Barber, AKUS, The Hunter etc etc, these tend to sound good on a ghetto blaster and get better as the rig gets better but are not particularly taxing imo, what is that hunter bass supposed to sound like? JM2c

This is exactly my problem. I have a particular Return to Forever CD that sound always sounded harsh, cacophonous. I always blamed it on a bad recording. That is, until I heard it on a friend's audio system. I believe it was the resolution capability and low colouration of his Martin Logan electrostats that finally was able to separate the instruments and reveal that it was not after all a bad recording. Now I have one torture disc. I need more... :evil grin:
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Offline Hennie

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Re: AVForums reference source material
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2007, 05:11:28 PM »
Does anybody sell Chesky locally?