Only two tracks to test your system, forever!

If you could only use two tracks/songs for the rest of your life whenever you wanted to test a change to your system, what would they be?


My current two, mostly based on frequency of usage for testing, are:

1) Diana Krall - Sway [96/24], Qobuz

2) Nik Bärtsch - Modul 12 [48/24], Qobuz

(Try to ignore the unrealistic aspects of this question that accompany the hypothetical nature of the proposition)

Both vinyl…

1. Porcupine Tree Harridan or Herd Culling

2. Anything Peter Gabriel

3. Bonus tracks: Roxy Music Avalon, Bryan Ferry Beté Noir

Babylon Sisters - Steely Dan

Fire and Rain - James Taylor

And a Female Singer, Amber Rubarth, Aimee Mann, Lindi Ortega, Brandi Carlile

I use the first two when I want to impress someone (older)  who doesn't understand what really good audio sounds like. I have yet to find a song that impresses someone under the age of 25 (unless they play or sing themselves), all they ever say is, "Well, it's louder...."


(TRT) Testosterone Replacement Therapy 

L.A. Guns - I’m Addicted 

The Police - Murder by Numbers 

deadhead1000, your reply caused me to find Sweet Baby James/Fire and Rain on the shelf; I had forgotten how wonderful that entire album is, thank you!

For bass, Tommy Bolin, Private Eyes album, Post Toastee.

For clarity in upper frequencies, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, Time is the key, side one.

For final overall frequencies check, Kevin Ayers, Diamon Jack and the Queen of Pain, side two.

All vinyl.

It takes more than a couple tunes to get it right.

1. Kissin - pictures At An Exhibition(piano version)

2. Pentangle - first album called The Pentangle(but only the british version not the awful Warner Brothers American remastering)

KD Lang: After the Gold Rush (Hymns of the 49th Parallel)

Jack deJohnette: Alabama (In Movement)

If its only 2,they would be:

1) The Ghetto (George Benson)

2) Thanks to You (Boz Scaggs) 


But 2 are not enough! Other aspects of the system need to be tested too. So (for those still reading) these are some ofthe rest of the tunes I need to play to test my system :-

1) You and your friend (Dire Straits)

2) I'm the fool (Mark Knopfler)

3) Giorgio Moroder (Daft Punk)

4) Even trolls love rock and roll (Tony Joe White)

5) Singing winds, crying beasts (Santana)

6) Auberge (Chris Rea)

7) I.G.Y (Donald Fagen) 

8) Veto (Sohn)

9) Time Piece 1 - Harpsichord Bugalu (The Greg Foat Group)


All digital on Roon ...

Mark Isham - That Beautiful Sadness (texture, range and ambiance)

Bela Fleck - Flight of the Cosmic Hippo (serious bass)

@dynamiclinearity ....Pentangle, +1....'Sweet Child'. +10, and vinyl (Yes, I can....;) 

....and do, sometimes...)

The 2nd varies, dependent on what I'm thinkin' on listenin' for....

After melodic, something stark, wild, insane inane....

The Tubes "Talk to You Later" shreds the webs...

In Vinyl:

Poetic Champions Compose: Van Morrison

Heart Shaped World: Chris Isaak



Led Zeppelin - Anything I grab from the shelf, it's all good

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture (1950's version with commentary & real cannon fire)

A big hell yes for Cafe Blue. 2 of my own picks would be Hugo Kant - Melancholia and Sepultura - Refuse Resist. The drumming is insane.

Flight of the cosmic hippo - bela fleck

Trio jeepy Bradford marsalis (from preamble background chat to that sharp first note right channel - which should make listener jump)

misguided angel - cowboy junkies (can sound confused and muddled on wrong system)

oops that's 3








La Villa Strangioto   Rush

Tin Tin Deo    Art Pepper


Love the Porcupine Tree cites!!  Harridan is insane ... sayin

Derrin Nauenforf, "Ghost Town" Live At The Boardwalk and JJ Grey & MoFro, "Lochloosa" Brighter Days. Those are my go-to tracks.

Honorable Mention: David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust "Soul Love"


Not everyday someone is in tune with my musical choices. I am pretty much off mainstream and on the fringe with most of my music so it comes as a nice surprise I am not alone :) Thanks Greg.

I love this thread so I can get inspired to dig thru my music collection! Thank you to all. 

Only 2??  Waahhh!   OK.

“Walking On The Moon” by Yuri Honig Trio…open and dynamic

Mahler 6th by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra on CD or Tidal…live.  I was there and the recording nails it.

Runners Up: “Kit Carson” by Bruce Cockburn on Nothing But A Burning Light

”Pathway To Glory” Loggins and Messina from Full Sail

“Blue Motel Room” Joni Mitchell Hejira

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Kansas City Monarch

The Beatles - Martha My Dear

Steely Dan - Aja

Diana Krall - The Girl in the Other Room

That's just today though...could change at any moment.




Thanks to all. Found a couple of new adds for my playlist. Great new (for me) stuff to enjoy.

Joe Henderson-“Isfahan”, from the cd “Lush Life”

Diane Schuur- any song from the cd “Blues for Schuur” esp. “These Blues”.

James Taylor - Carolina - Later Version from Greatest Hits

Led Zeppelin - Lemon Song

What an interesting, thought provoking question. With live music as the standard for me, here are my two:

Lyn Stanley - Pink Cadillac and Route 66 on 15ips RtR tape (London With A Twist, Live At Bernie’s). Stupidly expensive, but, SQ second to none IMHO.

Eric Clapton - Unplugged on MFSL Ultradisc One-Step, especially the Before You Accuse Me track. OK, there is some controversy about using a DSD file to make the lacquers. But, who cares when SQ is this good, outstanding.

I intend to work my way through the list of suggested tracks, thanks gladmo.

101 eastbound (2020 remastered version) by Fourplay. 

Hey Now by London Grammer


Lights by Ellie Goulding 

@dinov I'm loving these answers too!  It's getting me to dig into albums I haven't listened to for a couple decades.

There are some good tracks here.

My favourite for sorting out a big system is The Comedown from Bring Me The Horizon’s Suicide Season album: nice sub-bass synth notes under the general mathrock drum/riffage chaos and too much sonic layering for most systems to sort out at realistic/satisfying SPL. Also, sudden silences mid-track.

For a not-quite-so-big system I often go with Figure 8 from FKA twigs M3LL55X which has similar sub-bass range and sonic complexity but not the same extreme SPL requirement to really work.

Logically we want a natural/acoustic track to see how the micro-dynamics and instrumental/vocal timbres play out. I don’t really listen to that kind of thing much so lack expertise to make a good selection. But I sometimes go with The Dandy Warhols Welcome to the Monkey House (any track really) for a more laid-back feeling.

@emrofsemanon is on to something with the LEDR test though. Especially if ’test a change’ is the key criteria.

Oh, people suggesting entire symphonies are cheating. Their punishment is listening to them of course, so that’s ok with me. If we are going for length because of the ’rest of your life’ criteria, then yeule’s 4:44 (named for the track duration in hours:minutes) or one of Autechre’s n-hour extravaganzas. But neither are really good as test tracks.




I really wanted people to be restricted to only two songs, as that was the whole point of the idea here. But, seeing how many already flubbed that rule, I’m gonna add another one too 😂. This one might be better for testing across the FR range than either song I started the thread with:

Marcus Miller - Preacher’s Kid

Check it out

Turning point album by John Mayall, the song California. And hell yea, IGY,  Fagen.

"Telegraph Road" -- Dire Straits

"Anesthetize" -- Porcupine Tree

"Blackest Eyes" -- Porcupine Tree

(I get chills everything I hear Steven Wilson’s whispered backtrack in the first verse, "It’s so erotic when your makeup runs.")

"Coil" and "Heir Apparent" -- Opeth


More than two songs, I know....sorry!