How can you evaluate a system with highly processed music?

Each to their own.

But can you really evaluate a system by listening to highly processed, electric/electronic music? How do you know what that sounds like?

I like to listen to voices and acoustic music that is little processed. 

Instruments like piano, violin, etc. 

And the human voice. And the joy of hearing back up singers clearly, etc.

Even if full instrumentation backing a natural sounding voice.

(eg.: singer/songwriters like Lyle Lovett or Leonard Cohen)

There is a standard and a point of reference that can be gauged.



If you are looking to evaluate a system you can do it quicker with test tones.  Dynamics, room interactions, frequency response/balance, stereo imagining and depth reproduction can be determined without listening to actual music.  Of course, follow up with a few music selections to confirm your initial findings.  The music can be anything you know well.


Taking a step back, how can we know the level of processing applied to music?   I often wonder when listening to a passage or song the amount of post processing and the source of the sound:  Voice, manipulated voice, computer, synth, instrument . . . 


If you are looking to evaluate a system you can do it quicker with test tones.


That sounds incredibly nerdy but it might just be the most practical way of testing.

A guaranteed point of reference.

Are there any recommended test discs/recordings?



I think more or less everything electronically recorded is highly processed, some of it ludicrously so.

Straight recordings seemed to be abandoned as soon as recording on tape was adopted in the 1950s.

Every single voice on TV and Radio is manipulated electronically. I remember the huge banks of compressors they used in the radio station where I used to volunteer some 25 years ago.

Not a single person there cared whether their voice sounded life-like, they all wanted it to sound ’better’.

Compression has been routinely used in recording since it's birth, and moving to the digital domain has only allowed it to be used to even greater levels.

@12many even the most purists of recordings should still be considered processed.  The recordist could select from 200 different microphones when making a recording.  Now couple that with the near countless options at microphone positioning.  The recording engineer can dramatically control the sound with just these two variables.  The idea of a purist recording with no manipulation is more of a myth than reality for even highly prized, pure analog records will have some measure of dynamic manipulation and possibly digital reverb.

@cd318 & @onhwy61 

Thanks.  That is helpful.  I am not a musician nor do I create or music - I am a consumer - and I often wonder - what is that instrument or is it a computer/synth or even does their voice really sound like that ?!.   Your comments are helpful.