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Top 10 Speaker Testing Songs

Cool sound that will definitely make your speakers rattle...

A selection of strong tracks to test the speakers

Everyone has their own carefully curated list of songs that are ideal for testing stereo speakers. As a rule, these tracks cover all genres and any musical tastes. And this is very important if you really want to know what the speakers are capable of... But what's wrong with adding a couple more songs?

We've compiled a list of ten powerful songs that can be safely used to test every aspect of a pair of speakers, from the quality of the highs and lows to how they handle rhythm and dynamics. And what awaits you below is far from a complete list! Otherwise it took several days to list every song!

Radiohead - The national anthem (to check the overall balance) (2000)

Radiohead's "The national anthem" is a dense, tiered "musical" cake, with acoustic and electronic instruments firing in all directions (not to mention a brass ensemble that seems to be in the wrong place). Everything is tuned to eleven, from Thom Yorke's vocal treatment and overdriven bass guitar to the howling of the theremin in the background...

Speakers must strike the perfect balance between organization and attack, between dynamism and poise, and most importantly, between control and failure across the entire frequency range… If done right, it's just a breathtaking cacophony.

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Turn Your Lights Down Low (for a sense of space)

Bob Marley is credited with bringing reggae to a global audience. But Island Records' insistence on high-gloss sound quality has made this traditionally raw genre more accessible. “Turn Your Lights Down Low” demonstrates this perfectly: a spacious recording with each instrument anchored in its own area of the soundstage… Just space…

Speakers should describe each player's position on stage and, most importantly, the space between them so that the slow simmer and intensity of the melody has its full effect. Few songs use space as a tool as effectively as this one.

Chemical Brothers - Das Spiegel (for testing attack and decay)

You can hardly find a larger, truncated and completely abridged collection of electronically produced sounds... That's why "Das Spiegel" is a great test of your speakers' discipline in terms of attack and decay. Aside from the drum rhythm guitar and blown melody, every sound here seemed to be designed to appear out of nowhere and just as suddenly disappear...

From the four-sided sweep of the drum pattern to the squeaks, hisses and squeaks in the background as the melody builds up, control must be military. And the booming, almost uninterrupted bass just makes the ordeal worse.

Can - Spoon (for checking the rhythm)

Drummer Yaki Liebezeit sets up a tricky cage for his bandmates to work on, and the result is a surprisingly thorough test of your speakers' ability to bring together a devilishly unorthodox and disparate collection of instrument strings into a compelling and cohesive whole...

At about 2:23 a volley of knocks and pads come in that your speakers will have a hard time dealing with, rhythmically, on their own. Bubbling bass phrases, guitar playing and keyboard explosions are also taken into account, which are even more confusing ...

Anne Sofie von Otter - Baby Plays Around (to check the quality of the mids)

"Baby Plays Around" is a relentless test of your speakers' ability to communicate in the midrange. This open and incredibly spacious recording is filled with the smallest details - von Otter's phrasing, the sounds of the sky ... It also reveals some of the secrets of the singer's breath control ...

If the speakers are up to it, it will sound like she's right here in the room, singing with equal amounts of emotion and control...

Max Roach - Lonesome Lover (for checking the quality of high frequencies)

Jazz stuntman Roach is the bandleader here, and his impeccable hi-hat and ride cymbal playing is a worthy test of treble fidelity in itself. But it's saxophonist Clifford Jordan's weeping, shrill, and edgy playing that really separates the high-pitched "men" from the "boys."

His screech and flurry of notes in the upper register should shine, but not turn into harshness ...

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue (for range testing)

The ability to switch from "very quiet" to "really very loud" whether it's a voice, a single instrument, or a large symphony orchestra in full attack mode is an important "talent" for a loudspeaker. And few pieces of music are as useful for demonstrating the dynamic power of an orchestra as Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue!

Within the first two minutes, it switches from plaintive piano to overdriven strings/brass/percussion and back several times… And each time your speakers should switch instantly and without undue strain. It's not as simple as it might seem...

Thundercat - Uh Uh (to test bass control)

Californian bassist Thundercat delivered one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2017, featuring "Uh Uh", a brief but grueling exploration of the six-string electric bass guitar. He plays with such insane virtuosity that your speakers have nowhere to hide...

Bass extension, speed, tonal variation, and attack and release are all put to the test that acoustic engineers fear so much. What is required here is a well-defined, well-described variation in the key and intensity of the notes. In the right hands, it's a remarkably athletic game, but in less skillful play, it's just a low-frequency mess.

Sergei Prokofiev - Montagues and Capulets (to check details)

Apparently, the devil is in the details... Indeed, it is in them that the complete enjoyment of a piece of music lies. And in a big symphonic setting like this, your speakers have plenty of chances to demonstrate how capable they are of capturing nuance.

The sound of a flutist's ear cushion, the rumble of a snare drum under the drum casing, the roar of a trumpet at the sound of a charge, even the creak of a timpani foot pedal - such tiny details make a piece of music truly alive.

Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant (for checking focus stereo)

Though considered dangerous to British civilization at the time, the Sex Pistols didn't seem like a threat at all. And here they really sound great!

Considering what they had to work with (guitar, bass and drums of a rather primitive type, as well as vocals, which, although irresistible, are hardly a melodic paradigm), Chris Thomas' production of "Pretty Vacant" is almost a miracle! With an absolutely clear shape and placement of the drum kit, he carefully tests the speakers' ability to form a coherent image of the entire stage.

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