Whether it’s a classic Hi-Fi test track, or the song you recognise in the first millisecond it’s as familiar to you as your own heartbeat, everyone’s got an opinion on which tracks help you check the quality of any audio equipment. And quite simply, no one is wrong. The best test will always be a song you are familiar with and have heard in as high a resolution format as possible so you’ll hear where the performance excels and/or misses a trick.
The pressure builds somewhat, when the reputation of a 47 year old Hi-Fi company rests on your shoulders, or more accurately – your ears. So what tracks are spinning on the Cambridge Audio engineering floor and why?
So, let’s start with the easy stuff – pristine, well recorded tracks. Simply put - if this doesn’t sound good, nothing will. These tracks have been recorded to such a high standard that, excuse the blasphemy, playing them through some Apple Ear pods would verge on acceptable, so pass it through some decent Hi-Fi and they’ll knock your socks off.
Steely Dan – Jack Of Speed
Daft Punk – Get Lucky
Crooked Still – Little Sadie
Up next, tracks with wide dynamic range and excellent sound stages. Listen out for spatial separation between individual instruments and vocals and feeling like your living room just turned into the Royal Albert Hall and you’re on the right track.
Radiohead/Noordpool Orchestra – Weird Fishes
English Chamber Orchestra - Dido & Aeneas, Act 3: But Death, Alas!
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
The Rolling Stones - Melody