Songs you use when auditioning gear

What are some of your favorite songs to play when auditioning gear?  I often listen to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac.  Just about anything off of Gaucho or Aja by Steely Dan or Joni Mitchell’s Hejira or Hissing of Summer Lawns usually gets spun up too.  Dreams, in particular, is such a great song and is recorded with the balance I really like as well as a full and wide soundstage.  Wondering what some of yours are to see what I’m missing.


Whatever I’m most familiar with or have lately been listening to so I can hear what is different or improved from what I usually hear.

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—Clarity, Female voice: Gravity (Alison Krauss/Union Station)

— Human voice: Gjeilo: Ubi Caritas (Voces8)

— Bass/Slam: Sing, Sang, Sung (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Fat Band)

— Bass Drum: March from Suite 1 (Holst) (Cleveland Symphonic Winds, Frederick Fennell (Telarc))

— Pipe Organ: Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Bach) (Michael Murray (Telarc))

— Large Orchestra:  Mahler Symphony 5 (Benjamin Zander, Philharmonia Orchestra (Telarc))

— Big Everything: First minute of Mahler Symphony 8 (Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Telarc))


@hilde45 @jastralfu @soix 

Yesterday I listened to LPs of Aja and Gaucho back to back.  I wouldn't say Gaucho  was that much brighter than Aja.  Maybe the horn sections were a little bright on Gaucho, but that LP was one that received better treatment.

More generally, I would rely more on well-recorded classical orchestral pieces and jazz for auditioning components.  They can inform about both timbral accuracy and soundstaging better than pop/rock records, which are generally multimic'ed with artificial reverberation and often EQ added.  When auditioning gear, I did use a few rock records because I was very familiar with them and wanted to be sure they would sound good, since I listened to rock as much as classical and jazz.

Yesterday I listened to LPs of Aja and Gaucho back to back.  I wouldn't say Gaucho  was that much brighter than Aja.

@drmuso I was referring to the CD version of Gaucho, which sounds like a lot of early 80s CD recordings in that it’s thin and glassy sounding. Personally I use Patricia Barber’s live Companion CD and Keb’ Mo’s Slow Down CD among many others as well-recorded reference material. As for rock “Tin Pan Alley” from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather CD is always a good go to.