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.


The King's Singers:  Hard Day's Night

Fourplay: Between the Sheets

Flim and the BB's: Brekken's Farm

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Kansas City Monarch

And, popular rock hits that they've heard a gazillion times, but never experienced on a high resolution system with space, focus, and depth.


that’s an interesting perspective.  I don’t listen to much classical but I have been diving into all types of Jazz though.  Any suggestions for well recorded Jazz titles?

Even before I became a classical fan, I would still use classical recordings for evaluation purposes. Again, because I knew that the vast majority of classical recordings, are recorded with the least manipulation between the recording process, and the recording that us consumers are able to purchase. 

But, the thing that convinced me that classical recordings were superior for evaluating gear, is an experience I had in a high end store years ago, in my early days of high end gear.

They were demoing some high end gear for a customer, playing the usual stuff (Aja, Sire Straits, Fleetwood Mac, etc), and it was sounding really good. 

Then they put on some modern chamber music, Bartok I believe. And my jaw hit the floor. Not from the music itself (I was still not a classical fan at the time), but from the qualitative difference between the soundstage and imaging of the classical, and the other recordings. 

As well as the other recordings were creating a soundstage and image, it was nothing like the classical recording.

At no time during the playback of the rock recordings, did I ever get the feeling as if I could get up off the listening couch, and walk into the soundstage among the musicians. At no time could I "hear the walls" of the studio were those bands were recording. At no time could I hear the space around the musicians. 

I could go into the type of mic'ing techniques used in classical recordings as to why they have such a 3d soundstage, but this post is already getting too long.