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  1. #1

    Recommend me something to show off my system!

    With my new SB3, amp and speakers, I'm now in a position to tell good recordings from bad and want to explore how amazing my system can sound. So I would be so grateful to receive suggestions of recordings that really sparkle.

    I'm looking for key examples of vocals that sound uncannily 'in the room', or those that showcase a big soundstage. I'm putting my actual taste to one side for this: I feel my usual diet of often lo-fi folky, alternative stuff won't bring out the very best in potential sound quality.

    I'd just like to hear something that can stand as a benchmark for my system.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005

    My all time best audition piece for my system is Mary Black - Columbus from the rather excellent 'No Frontiers' album (it's also around on some compilations as well. She can often be found in lots of libraries CD sections if you're UK based.

    Somewhat easier to find Private Investigations by Dire Straits - I don't listen to it much, but it does show off my system


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    North Carolina, USA
    I use "Brothers In Arms" by Dire Straits as an audition CD. Great trumpet and sizzling hihat on "Your Latest Trick" and room-shaking lows on "The Man's Too Strong," not to mention the drum solo on "I Want My MTV." It's been digitally remastered, which is strange because IIRC, it was one of the first CD's I bought that was digitally recorded and mastered. I haven't heard the remastered version. If you're looking for a live recording, try Eva Cassidy's "Live at Blues Alley." If you've got surround speakers, you'll feel like you're in the club. A great small-venue live recording.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Skunk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Kurt Vonnegut's Neighborhood
    Since you mentioned folky, I'll recommend Jerry Garcia and David Grisman self titled. It's absolutely timeless and near perfectly recorded.

    Others I like to impress people with are:
    Mickey Hart- 'Supralingua' (low end extension)
    Tom Waits- 'Swordfishtrombones' (male voice)
    Wilco- 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' (excellent uncompressed rock, or 'A Ghost is Born' if you like more low end)
    Patricia Barbera- 'Modern Cool' (female voice)
    Beck- 'Mutations/Sea Change' (fun effects+acoustic guitar)
    Buena Vista Social Club-'' (acoustic instruments)
    Brian Eno/David Byrne- 'My life in the Bush of Ghosts' (remastered version coming soon, but sounds fabulous in standard form)
    Nine Inch Nails- 'The Fragile' (great sounding Industrial Rock)
    Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention- 'We're Only In It For The Money'- MFSL release (complete lack of low end- but amazing studio sound effects)
    Erykah Badu- 'Worldwide Underground' (best hip hop (SQ wise)I've heard)

    On my 'wish list':
    Jazz at the Pawnshop

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Strangely I am not a huge fan of this album but it is most assuredly a "reference" recording: Norah Jones' "Come Away with Me"

    It is absolutely stunning in quality.

  6. #6
    Junior Member gbreit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Diego, CA

    Thumbs up Daniel Lanois productions

    I have always loved the way these albums recorded or produced by Daniel Lanois *sound*:

    Emmylou Harris -- Wrecking Ball
    Bob Dylan -- Time Out of Mind
    Daniel Lanois -- For The Beauty of Wynona

    The Emmylou album is truly a masterpiece. The vocals put chills up my spine every time I hear it and benefit greatly from a superior audio setup.

    Lanois is more well known for his production work with U2 and Peter Gabriel. However, those albums don't quite match the ethereal sonic quality of the three mentioned above.


  7. #7
    Senior Member Patrick Dixon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    If you like blues, 'Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place in Town)' by 'Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble' from the Album 'Couldn't Stand the Weather' is a fabulous track, fabulously recorded. And if you don't - it still is!

    Three more well recorded CDs to check out:

    Tears For Fears / The Seeds Of Love
    Rickie Lee Jones / Rickie Lee Jones
    Gomez / Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline

  8. #8
    Senior Member nelamvr6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    New London, CT USA
    Joe Jackson - Night and Day.

    Especially the MFSL Gold CD. The Deluxe edition is nice as well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ezkcdude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    I keep going back to the new Fiona Apple album, "Extraordinary Machine". It's really well-recorded. Another one I like for its audiophile qualities is the David Benoit "Charlie Brown" album.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    I use "The Diggers" from Songlines by Karan Casey for making comparisons between hi-fi systems. It's got a great mix of voice, and low and high frequency drums and instruments. It might even suit your folky tastes!

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