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Best tracks to test soundstage

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LakeMountain, Apr 2, 2021.

  1. DonNylon

    DonNylon Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    As an avid listener and producer as well I find myself testing between a flat response with my production gear and more crisp detailed playback in my listening soundstages. I Love the width that the strings and vintage sounding orchestra provide in both systems (especially on my HiFi setup) on Henry Mancini's classic Lujon...Anyone know what that means in English? Anyone else like this tune?

    Lujon - YouTube
     
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  2. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Interesting instrument, apparently!
    Lujon (musical instrument) - Wikipedia
     
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  3. DonNylon

    DonNylon Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Dang! "Lujo" is Luxury in Spanish, so I was thinking it'd be something like that. Thanks for the correction. Listen to the intro and you'll notice it's like a more metallic, deep sounding marimba. Beautiful tune!
     
  4. MattyF

    MattyF Well-Known Member

    Location:
    England
    I use
    Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin and Paco DeLucia - Friday night in San Francisco
    Side 2 track 2 Fantasia Suite with Paco left channel, John middle channel and Al Right channel
    Side 2 track 3 Guardian Angel with Paco left channel, John middle channel and Al Right channel

    If i can hear the 3 guitars where they are meant to be job done.
     
  5. Interesting. I just downloaded it from Tidal and I’ll check it out later. Thanks.
     
  6. MattyF

    MattyF Well-Known Member

    Location:
    England
    Khorn - I would be interested in hearing what you think of the soundstage. The guitar playing isn't too shabby either!
     
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  7. For sure I’ll report back.
     
  8. jhm

    jhm Forum Resident

    On the same album, you also have the long form "Voodoo Chile".
     
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  9. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    If you are trying to test your system's ability to resolve and properly present spatial cues, I would suggest Roger Waters' "Amused to Death" album. The spatial cues are artificial (signal is manipulated to use cross cancellation of channels), but, your system has to get them right for you to hear all of the special effects on the disc--a good system will have apparent images WAY outside of the speakers, images at different height, and sound appearing behind the listening position and moving away from the listener (receding further behind the listener).

    The same sort of manipulation is used on a Nouvelle Vague album (self titled) to good effect.

    For natural recordings, Chesky Records does a good job of delivering recordings with terrific, and natural spatial effects. While I don't like her singing, Rebecca Pidgeon's "Spanish Harlem" on Chesky delivers a fantastic soundstage on a good system. Chesky's Jazz Sampler 1, which also has special audiophile test signals, is a good CD to check out your system. They have a set of signals that are intended to sound like they are travelling from well outside your speakers, across the room to well outside the speakers in the opposite channel; another signal sounds like it is rising up out of the speaker to a position practically over the listener's head.

    The Natalie Merchant/Fairfield Four/Hazmat Modine version of "Peppery Man" is another great imaging track, provided that the system is up to the task.
     
  10. I just spent some time listening to this and other live material so as to even the playing field somewhat.

    I can only report what I heard.

    As far as the Al DiMeola recording I get a rather restricted “between the speakers” perspective with more emphasis on centre and left stage. The audience seems at times to extend slightly beyond stage left and right.

    The next recording for comparison was Herbie Mann’s Live “At The Village Gate” the track “It Ain’t Necessarily So”. Fantastic stage presentation and delineation and immediately drew me in.

    Next something a bit different. Alison Krauss + Union Station “Live”. The first few tracks. Again excellent stage presentation with everyone in their proper positions. Great recording.

    I next played a bit of “Belafonte: At Carnegie Hall”. Another great “you are there” recording.

    I’ve saved the best for last:

    This is from the recording compilation “Impulse 60: The Best of Impulse Records 2021. This track “kicked my ass around the block and emotionally mesmerized me:

    John Coltrane “Spiritual” (Live At The Village Vanguard, New York/1961). This almost brought me to tears. I can’t even try and explain why. Fantastically Superb. The instruments were perfectly presented.

    Anyway that was my listening experience.

    One thing though. In most of the recordings the audience seems to be presented as if hearing from the musician’s on stage perspective and not from being situated in the audience itself. Also in some cases the music itself as if from on stage feedback monitors.

    Anyway I digressed musically but I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
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  11. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I have both the Belafonte at Carnegie Hall and the return to Carnegie Hall recordings on original vinyl--both sound spectacular, as far as recording quality/soundstage.

    There are a lot of quite old stereo recordings that have not been surpassed by modern recordings as far as sound quality is concerned. Some of the old Columbia recordings, such as Ellington's "Blues in Orbit" will beat out just about anything recorded these days; that stereo recording was done in the late 1950's. Armstrong's "Satchmo Plays King Oliver" is another 1950's recording that is simply amazing.

    The one area where I am pleased with modern recordings is classical. I have not heard too many recent recordings that have been a disappointment in terms of sound. Modern Jazz recordings are also pretty good. What is truly terrible these days are the majority of popular music and reissues of older recordings.
     
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  12. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    I have used Rebecca Pidgeon's "spanish harlem" both for subwoofer setting and speaker positioning! Nice album overall as well.

    About Chesky records, they have a great recording of Macy Gray with 1 microphone in a church, the album is called "Stripped". Way better 'soundstage' recording than the usual Cowboy Junkies imho.
     
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  13. exoendria

    exoendria Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    In the Reference Recordings XLO Burn-in CD,
    besides the technicals tracks, there is musical tracks for specifics tests. Very useful that CD.
    Thanks to the forum for make me bought it
     
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  14. geezin'

    geezin' Forum Resident

    Location:
    Keyser WV
    Wow. Thanks for that. Confirmed I'm done with speaker position (need to mark with tape) for now. That was a joy to listen to.
     
  15. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    As mentioned above, I like modern classical recordings when it comes to engineering. A recent example that sounds quite good is "Trachea" by the Schola Cantorum (modern Scandinavian choral music).

    I know it is hard to consider mono recordings for soundstaging champs, but, when recorded well, mono recordings can have a "big" sound--it sounds like the music fills the room, yet when you locate the instruments, they are all located in one spot; an example of this is the fantastic Sonny Rollins "Saxophone Colossus."
     
  16. DonNylon

    DonNylon Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Paco and John!?!? Searching album right now...what a duo of legendary players, my gosh! Haven't heard of DiMeola though.
     
  17. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Glad you enjoyed it! Her cover of Metallica's Nothing Else Matters is quite good.
    It's one of those recordings I get back to whenever I make some changes in the system or recently when I added some absorber/diffuser panels. It's amazing to hear that big soundstage get even bigger with some changes.

    From the Chesky website:
    Part of the Chesky Binaural + Series, all recorded with a single microphone, the band appears right before you with this spacious, lush and multi-dimensional recording. Now headphone users will hear the same three-dimensional sound and imaging as audiophiles have for the past 25 years with Chesky Recordings. Also these new Binaural+ Series albums capture even more spatial realism for the home audiophile market, bringing you one step closer to the actual event. You will hear some of the most natural and pure cool music ever recorded.
     
  18. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Try their "3 guitars", I prefer it over the Live in San Francisco album.
     
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  19. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek I’m a ray of sunshine & bastion of positivity

    DiMeola is one of the most legendary guitarists to ever walk the planet.
     
  20. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Got to see them live when I was a young guitar nerd. Guess who opened and came on for an encore—Steve Morse. It was all too much for me.
     
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  21. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I like the playing on the "Friday Night in San Francisco" album, but, I never thought of it as an album either demonstrating good imaging or useful for testing imaging of a system--the imaging was fairly explicit and basic--one guitar on the left, one on the right, etc. I don't recall who was where, but I knew that for the dazzling opening cut, "Mediterranean Sundance," Al DiMeola was the guitarist with the steel strings and Paco DeLucia had the nylon strings and the difference can easily be heard.
     
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  22. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    I like those songs where they layer in something that was recorded in a totally different space.



    IDK if it is tap, or maybe a tap routine with claps/snaps; but whatever they bring in around the middle of this song is like a switch being turned on. The song goes from an intimate piano tune to a much larger space really quickly. Have not listened to this digital version, but my Sterling pressing is obvious.
     
  23. Danny Bezak

    Danny Bezak Active Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    Obviously I am not Khorn, but I had to reply to your suggestions.

    Amazing soundstage, exactly as you described and the album and music is fantastic!
     
    Khorn likes this.
  24. I got my impressions listening to this album on Tidal and it was MQA. Everything else I played in the same listening session sounded really fantastic as I described above. I’m curious as to why this one didn’t.
     

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