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Best songs to test speakers and headphones

Updated on July 31, 2016

Everyone has their "lists" as to which songs to test speakers with. The most important thing to remember when auditioning speakers is to listen to music that you are very familiar with so you know what the sound is supposed to sound like. What matters is what sounds good to your ears and nobody else. You, ultimately, will be the one listening to the speakers more than anyone else. This list not only goes for speakers for your home or home theatre but also headphones and earphones. You'll want to have a great pair of speakers that sound good with a variety of different music. The first rule is to choose music that you like and are familiar with. Then, try a few of the tracks listed below to see if your speakers can perform well. Note, this list is always a work in progress and more will always be added.

The Eagles - "Hotel California (Live)": Excellent drum beat along with the guitar. Look for this in the very beginning. It should sound crisp. The live audience adds depth to the track. A good speaker will bring realism to this live recording.

Enya - "Orinoco Flow": I like this track because a good speaker will wrap you up in this song. Enya's voice should sound subtle but around 1:50 you should know if the speaker can handle with the low bass. If you do not hear this, it's not a speaker that can accurately produce this tone. You should move on to the next speaker.

Foreigner - "Urgent": Great rock track. Check how clear the vocals are and the horns playing.

Fun. - "Some Nights": Amazing vocals through :34. After that, deep kick drum. Listen for the mid to low bass note at 1:13. Great way to check the range of the system. Excellent speakers should be able to keep up with all notes in this track.

Glen Frey - "You belong to the city": Intro horns and the drumming and thundering bass hook lead in the beginning of the song. Should compliment vocals. Frey's voice should echo a bit. Horn should be clear & prominent.

Harold Faltermeyer - "Axel F": There is so much going on in this track. There's always a sound in the background. It's like something is always moving from speaker to speaker. Listen for the clicking sound that moves from the left to right through the track.

Hiroshima- "Go": Test how good the speakers are by trying this instrumental track. You should hear clear separation between the left and right speakers.

Jason Mraz (featuring Colbie Cailat) - "Lucky": Look for how natural the vocals sound with both artists.

Katy Perry -"Wide Awake": Look for Perry's vocal clarity along with the mid bass on this track.

Bond - "Lullaby": Listen for the clarity of the violin instrumentals and other instruments in this track.

Bruce Hornsby - "Mandolin Rain": Listen to the clarity of the mandolin along with the piano. Also note crisp vocals along with drum beat.

LMFAO - "Best Night": Try this techno beat surround with vocals.

Mariah Carey - "I'll be there": Great live track to test vocals and realism.

Owl City - "Vanilla twilight": This song is great because vocals should sound clear and the synthesizer should add to the realism of the track.

Rick Ross - "Aston Martin music": Many may not like rap music, but with this track, you need to test and look for Ross' vocal clarity along with deep bass beats.

Snap! - "The Power": Classic track to test surround and spatial quality of the speakers. Should sound airy with hints of re-verb and echo effects.

Queensryche - "Silent Lucidity". This rock track has a nice variety of elements that will test speakers. The beginning vocals should sound nice and crisp. The guitar picking should sound crisp. The guitar should sound crisp and should never get lost in the track. Around the 2:00 minute mark you'll want to hear the chorus of voices sound clear. What I like about this track is that it tests all levels of the speakers. It'll go from quiet to a full blown roar of sound.

Bruce Hornsby - "Every Little Kiss". This track should sound crisp with the piano, guitar and Bruce Hornsby's vocals. The midbass should sound smooth. Towards the end of the track, you should hear some separations of left and right with the instruments.

Wham! - "Careless Whisper". Great clear vocals on this track. The introduction horn should be very clear.

Poison - "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" - This is one of my favorite semi-acoustical rock tracks. Brett MIchaels should sound crisp and clear. The guitar should sound clear. The bass guitar should sound smooth and not over powering.

Jan Hammer - "Miami Vice Theme" - This track has a lot going on. Ticking, drums, guitars, synthesized chords...it's all there. Should sound clear and have clarity. It's easy for this song to sound muddy. Resist the inferior speakers that do not produce this track with liveliness.

© 2012 jaydawg808

What's in your arsenal of songs you use to audition speakers with?

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