NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM audio engineer lists Top 10 songs to test your car's stereo

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GM audio engineer lists Top 10 songs to test your car's stereo

08:33 AM

Test driving the sound system when you're car shopping can be as key to your long-term satisfaction as checking out the handling. So we thought you'd like to see this list of Top 10 songs for testing car audio quality from General Motors audio engineer Matt Kirsch, who led the sound work on the Chevrolet Cruze.

GM also posted the tracks as a mix at the iTunes store: If you want it for your own audio test driving, you can buy here for $12 (you gotta have iTunes to download it, of course).

Here are Kirsch's "10 Songs for an Audio Test Drive" and what he says to listen for in each track:

"Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones. Listen for Norah's voice to sound natural, and centered in front of you.

"Diamonds and Rust" by Joan Baez. Listen for strong vocals, and for the instruments to be set across a wide sound stage

"No One" by Alicia Keys. Listen for clarity in Alicia's vocals and spacious background sound.

"Hotel California" by the Eagles. Listen for the clarity and dynamic range during the opening guitar solo, and of course the powerful drum beat.

"Boom Boom Pow"by the Black Eyed Peas. Listen for powerful, accurate bass beats, even at full volume.

"Rock that Body"by the Black Eyed Peas. Listen clear, intelligible lyrics over the powerful, persistent bass beat.

"Hide and Seek"by Imogen Heap. Listen for the enveloping ambience of the song, building on the openness and dynamic vocals.

"He Mele No Lilo" by Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu from Lilo and Stitch.Listen for the ambience and staging as the children's chorus is offset by powerful bass.

"Bird on a Wire" by Johnny Cash. Listen for the clarity in Johnny's distinctive voice, and his guitar to sound natural and free of any coloration.

"Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box"by Radiohead. Listen for the punch from the percussive bass, and the ring of the steel drums.

link:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/09/audio-engineers-10-songs-to-test-any-car-sound-system/1

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Interesting list. Some I've used in the past--

Early Tori Amos--her vocal dynamics and breathing are a good test of a system's clarity and range.

'Block Rockin' Beats' by the Chemical Brothers. My favorite track for testing bass, loudness and clarity.

Any guitar-heavy track by Lindsey Buckingham..

'Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd and 'Eminence Front' by The Who. A pair of my all-time favorite tracks, I like to hear how they sound on a prospective system.

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Is there a pre-January 1, 1990 list......

  • Upvote 1

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too bad there are very few audio dvd players for cars, or super audio cd's. somehow i just think that downloading these in ANY lossy form, shows you're not really trying to push the system that much.

'Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd and 'Eminence Front' by The Who. A pair of my all-time favorite tracks, I like to hear how they sound on a prospective system.

i've heard pink floyd is one source to go to when testing out new formats, like fifth element was used to showcase the clarity in bluray/hddvd players because of how well it was mastered.

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I want to make a revision...

The Hotel California you want to listen to is the cut from the Hell Freezes Over live performance. Arguably the best version of Hotel California ever performed by The Eagles, and the sound quality is far better than the original cut in my opinion.

Also, The Cars - Moving in Stereo is a good listen (as is most everything else on that album).

Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven is a beautiful song with some great clarity (also My Father's Eyes is another nice one)

Santana - Any of the good old stuff. Moonflower is a fantastic album, and if you can find a good quality cut of Soul Sacrifice...oh man, eargasm.

Led Zeppelin - Anything 1,2,3,4. (honorable mention goes out to John Bonham and Moby Dick - definitely a must)

The Who - Live at Leeds - Magic Bus (Also, Quadrophenia had some great instrumentals - Reign O'er me comes to mind)

Edited by Nick

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I really like the Tiesto remix of Hide and Seek.

That's usually one I would play if I were testing an auto system

For clarity of bass, I would use Deadmau5 - Ghosts and Stuff w/ Rob Swire

For variety of vocals, bass, instrumentation - Staying Alive (Teddy Bears Remix)

For soft delicate vocals and acoustic guitar - Lilly Allen - The Fear - on a good audio system you can hear how her mouth forms the words

And then I'd just pick one of the better tracks from one of the Star Trek movies for classical intensity.

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I want to make a revision...

The Hotel California you want to listen to is the cut from the Hell Freezes Over live performance. Arguably the best version of Hotel California ever performed by The Eagles, and the sound quality is far better than the original cut in my opinion.

Didn't know it existed. It's one of my friend's favorite all-time songs and when she hears this version (just downloaded it, it's awesome), she's going to explode.

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Hell Freezes Over is a CD an audiophile buddy of mine has used to judge home audio and car audio for over a decade...great sound.

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Hell Freezes Over is a CD an audiophile buddy of mine has used to judge home audio and car audio for over a decade...great sound.

Ugh... I can't believe that CD is already 15+ years old.

I remember when I used to consider Led Zep to be "ancient"... they had been on the scene for 6~7 years.

Jeez, soon Kid Rock, Buck Cherry and The Darkness will be considered "classics". Feeling old.

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Ugh... I can't believe that CD is already 15+ years old.

Yeah, but the music on it is all over 30 years old, some almost 40!

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Yeah, but the music on it is all over 30 years old, some almost 40!

True... but "Get over it" was new. And in my mindset, it all "just" happened.

If you caught me off-guard and asked me when it came out, I would have said "a few years ago"... its clearly not.

I can see this being mixed properly... all the technology of the '90s without the Loudness War. And a budget to get the right people.

Edited by SAmadei

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All I know is the music I enjoy listening to is typically a helluva lot older than I am.

On that note, (heh) I think I'll slip on the Grados and get to studying. I don't typically study with music, but I have hotel california stuck in my head, and I could easily listen to that all night long. That HFO version is easily one of my favorite tracks, and it sounds beautiful through my tube-amped rs-1's.

Edited by Nick

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Showoff. :P

Hey, I spent a lot of money on these things (worth every penny...I'd do it again, too!) I think I am entitled to show off every now and then. :P

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too bad there are very few audio dvd players for cars, or super audio cd's. somehow i just think that downloading these in ANY lossy form, shows you're not really trying to push the system that much.

i've heard pink floyd is one source to go to when testing out new formats, like fifth element was used to showcase the clarity in bluray/hddvd players because of how well it was mastered.

I've got some SACD and DVD-A discs and would love to have a car system to play them in in their full 6.1 discrete some day.

+2 on the Lindsey Buckingham and is there a pre Jan 1990 list.

To me the list is bunk, there is no hair band music.

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hair band music is known for clarity?

Some of the best. Especially if Mutt Lange or Beau Hill were working the dials. Def Leppard's 'Hysteria' is production perfection, that rewards listeners boasting good equipment with inflections of either guitar or drum fills that can only be picked out with critical listening.

But yeah, this test is pretty lacking in the hard rock department. Needs Van Halen's 'Women and Children First' because any system worth its subwoofer should be able to take on Romeo Delight without cracking.

  • Upvote 1

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Some of the best. Especially if Mutt Lange or Beau Hill were working the dials. Def Leppard's 'Hysteria' is production perfection, that rewards listeners boasting good equipment with inflections of either guitar or drum fills that can only be picked out with critical listening.

But yeah, this test is pretty lacking in the hard rock department. Needs Van Halen's 'Women and Children First' because any system worth its subwoofer should be able to take on Romeo Delight without cracking.

MUTT LANGE AND BEAU HILL exactly!

Winger in the heart of the young is a good cd for testing bass. i like warrant cherry pie also.

whoever produced poison flesh and blood that is a great one too.

I was going to say Hysteria, but you beat me to it.

lots of great sounding hair band cd's

the beginning of the Firehouse CD would be great for testing bass too.

why isn't dire straits brothers in arms one of the test cd's? when i was at BBY that cd was beat to death in the high end room.

"If i hear YAH MO BE THERE ONE MORE TIME"....

funny thing is we used to have some bad michael mcdonald playing in one of the high end rooms too.....lol

Edited by regfootball

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MUTT LANGE AND BEAU HILL exactly!

Winger in the heart of the young is a good cd for testing bass. i like warrant cherry pie also.

whoever produced poison flesh and blood that is a great one too.

I was going to say Hysteria, but you beat me to it.

+1 on Hysteria...one my favorite albums from high school, along w/ Van Halen's 1984. Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Guns N Roses were the only hair bands I really got into back in my youf, though I did certainly hear plenty of Ratt, Warrant, Dokken, etc around my buddies along w/ hard rock bands like AC/DC, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath..

(Though I was overall more into Brit synth-pop in the '80s (New Order, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, Bauhaus, etc)...didn't get into classic rock in a big way until college, when I also got into alternative rock and electronica and ambient0...

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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