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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've all gone through the speaker demo phase...hitting every stereo store within a reasonable driving distance to hear what is out there...and carry a CD that you've burned with songs to test bass, high end (cymbals for example), sound stage, etc. Some we know just from our own collection and some we were introduced to by the speaker dealers themselves. What are your top 5?

I'll throw these out there...

Stanley Clarke - East River Drive - Justice's Groove (huge bass)
Pat Metheny - Letter From Home - Have you Heard (has everything...but make sure the bass level fits)
Dire Straits - On Every Street - Fade to Black (covers a lot of bases...at least 2 speaker dealers I've been to have this in their shop to listen to ).
Talking Heads - Sand in the Vaseline (disc 2) - Sax and Violins (again, covers many bases, soundwise)
U2 - Best of 1990 - 2000 - Until the end of the World

I could add more...like Tears for Fears...pretty much all of "The Seeds of Love". (Lot's of air and depth).

And side note...if you are into "electronic" music, I've found pretty much anything by "Depeche Mode" or "Orbital" will make your speakers sing.

I was "born into" the 60's/70's. but there is a lot of good stuff outside of those decades...don't limit yourself to what you grew up with!
 

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1. Anything off Jellyfish's "Spilt Milk" album.
2. "Dorina" by Dada - fantastic imaging, guitar and percussion.
3. "That's Not Love" by Keb' Mo - great kick drum & bass guitar with beautiful slide acoustic.
4. "Aja" by Steely Dan - cliche, yes, but there's a reason.
5. "One World" by Freddy Jones Band - fantastic dynamics, an openness you find often in acoustic performances, but not so much in full-band pop/rock performance.

And if I can squeak in one more, the drum solo in "Never Gonna See Me Again" by Sonia Dada from Lay Down & Love It Live is amazing, and it's on a 4-piece drum kit to boot. That's another full album, though, of great sound, great performances.
 

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Great topic. I'm sure we'll see a huge variety of tastes here. Back when I was auditioning (before I knew enough to bring my own music), everywhere I went they seemed to play the live version of The Eagles' Hotel California. I think I got a little tired of it but it's definitely a great song and an excellent demo.

It's hard to pick a top five for me. I'll throw out a few past and current favorites. In no particular order:

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
No explanation needed

Foo Fighters - Home
Vocals, warmth, piano

Genesis - Fading Lights
Dynamics, bass, drums

Fleetwood Mac - Never Going Back
Dynamics, imaging, acoustic guitar, male and female vocals

Peter Richard Conte - Wotan's Farewell & Magic Fire Music
Pipe Organ, bass, dynamics, soundstage

Bonus
Snarky Puppy - Sleeper
Dynamics, warmth, drums
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thrillcat/Peter...I'm already seeing familiar music from your posts that I'd agree on. I'm also seeing that I'm gonna have to pony up a few bucks to get the stuff I'm not familiar with, which is just fine. I can't stand to listen to mainstream radio so am not getting introduced to anything new so much anymore, so this will help with that as well. Thanks guys...and to any other upcoming replies.
 

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Stanley Clarke, now there's a name I haven't heard in quite some time. Might have the longest fingers of any human on the planet. He could reach 5 frets without moving his hand!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stanley Clarke, now there's a name I haven't heard in quite some time. Might have the longest fingers of any human on the planet. He could reach 5 frets without moving his hand!
Speaking of hands...and a person that has worked with bassist Stanley Clarke as well as being known in his own right, drummer Billy Cobham comes to mind. I met him after a show in a small club back in the mid 90's. I went to shake his hand and...whoa...biggest hands I have ever seen on anyone in my life. And of course strong too as you can imagine. Both a couple of great musicians.
 

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Great topic. I'm sure we'll see a huge variety of tastes here. Back when I was auditioning (before I knew enough to bring my own music), everywhere I went they seemed to play the live version of The Eagles' Hotel California. I think I got a little tired of it but it's definitely a great song and an excellent demo.

It's hard to pick a top five for me. I'll throw out a few past and current favorites. In no particular order
Agree on many counts: great topics, difficult choices, tastes. I'm amazed someone else would use the live version of The Eagle's Hotel California. It's not a particularly dynamic recording; but then again, what live recording is (heh, heh, what a good idea for a new thread! :devil: ). It does, however, showcase SS&I; especially during the acoustic intro and beginning crowd noise. Cabale speakers properly set up will portray one whistle and two female shouts from various distances and heights in the stands.
 

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So many choices, so few finalists.

1. George Benson & Al Jarreau - Breezin'
Startle-factor; Dynamics; Female Vocals

2. Alanis Morissette - Uninvited
Beginning: subtlety, piano, strings, vast soundscape; Ending: stay uncongested

3. Sarah McLachlan - Angel
Venue ambience; dynamics; female vocal; piano

4. B Tribe - Adagio in G-Minor
Deep bass; bass articulation; vast soundstage; venue ambience

5. The Crystal Method - High Roller
Deep bass; bass articulation
 

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So many to choose from I can't possibly make just a list of 5 but here are a few:
Lee Ritenour, Maybe tomorrow
Flim & the B , Funhouse
David Foster, Winter games
Phil Keaggy, Tennessee morning
Kirk Franklin, September
 

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2. Alanis Morissette - Uninvited Beginning: subtlety, piano, strings, vast soundscape; Ending: stay uncongested
Funny you should mention this track. It wouldn't have come to my mind as a top choice for speaker audition, although it's one of my favorite Alanis songs. A few years back a buddy and I stumbled upon a very high end audio dealer with a showroom near downtown Houston. We couldn't leave without a demo of the B&W 800d powered by tens of thousands of dollars worth of McIntosh gear. The sales rep chose this song for the demo and I gained a new respect for the recording. And, well yeah, the McIntosh B&W combo sounded heavenly.
 

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Yaz- Only You off the album "Upstairs at Erics"
Toni Childs- Hush off the album "Union"
Mindi Abair - It Just Happens That Way off of the album "It Just Happens That Way"
Shaggy- Strength of a Woman of off the album "Lucky Day"
Ray Lynch - Celestial Soda Pop off of the album "Deep Breakfast"
 

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I've never been anywhere near Houston! :innocent:
I live here and I try to avoid it. Too many people. Too many cars. Good economy at the moment though. We do get the benefit of having tons of artists doing shows at the many venues here. It helps that we're close to Austin too. Lots of art/music influence coming from there. And the abundance of wealth means lots of good A/V dealers around but also a good used market for high end stuff.
 

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...It helps that we're close to Austin too. Lots of art/music influence coming from there.
Ever hear of a TV series called Austin City Limits and of a concert series called Live From Austin Texas? Very good music with top artists, sound quality, and video production. I first learned of Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan through those programs.

Sorry for the diversion. Do we get to pick a different 5 every day?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Funny you should mention this track. It wouldn't have come to my mind as a top choice for speaker audition, although it's one of my favorite Alanis songs. A few years back a buddy and I stumbled upon a very high end audio dealer with a showroom near downtown Houston. We couldn't leave without a demo of the B&W 800d powered by tens of thousands of dollars worth of McIntosh gear. The sales rep chose this song for the demo and I gained a new respect for the recording. And, well yeah, the McIntosh B&W combo sounded heavenly.
Funny you should mention B&W's. In the late 90's I'd stopped at a local retailer to hear a Marantz CD player that a buddy had recommended. I don't remember the front end electronics, but the speakers were B&W 801's. So I'm listening to my demo CD and some guy comes into the listening room and after a bit asks me what I think of the B&W's. Huh? I dunno...I'm listening to the CD player, not the speakers. He didn't really know how to reply to that.

Loving the top 5 suggestions that have come in and will be adding the ones I don't already have (many of them) to my collection to give a listen. I was hoping for more participation in this thread, but am glad to get the feedback that I have. Good mix of genres/decades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I live here and I try to avoid it. Too many people. Too many cars.
Man...this is how I feel about the DC area. I can't wait to be able to retire and get far away from here. I grew up in rural NY 20 miles from the Canadian border and while I'm "rural" as the DC 'burbs go, I still have to deal with a 45 minute to an hour commute and that's without stopping to get gas or something at the grocery store (but well worth it to stop at the liquor store!). Total nightmare. At least I have a local dealer that does Maggies and some other cool stuff.
 

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Ever hear of a TV series called Austin City Limits and of a concert series called Live From Austin Texas? Very good music with top artists, sound quality, and video production. I first learned of Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan through those programs.

Sorry for the diversion. Do we get to pick a different 5 every day?
Yes, I've heard of Austin City Limits. SXSW is a big deal around here too. Never been personally, but I've heard it's fun.
 

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Man...this is how I feel about the DC area. I can't wait to be able to retire and get far away from here. I grew up in rural NY 20 miles from the Canadian border and while I'm "rural" as the DC 'burbs go, I still have to deal with a 45 minute to an hour commute and that's without stopping to get gas or something at the grocery store (but well worth it to stop at the liquor store!). Total . At least I have a local dealer that does Maggies and some other cool stuff.
We lived in rural Ohio for about 8 years before moving to Houston for a job change. While living near a big city has its perks, I still miss the pace of smalltown, Ohio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK...as the original starter of this thread I figured I should follow up. I bought EVERY song that was suggested (that I didn't already find in my collection but had never seen the potential of speaker demo material for whatever reason), on original CD or thru Amazon on MP3. I got everything for less than $40 and it was well worth it. There is not a song that any of you recommended that disappointed. I couldn't be happier to have thrown this out there and I highly suggest that anyone who shared their thoughts or just happens to be reading this, drop the $$ yourself and expand your collection/mind a bit.

But...that being said...what has made the biggest impression on me is thrillcats' suggestion of..."Anything off Jellyfish's "Spilt Milk" album". It's "old"...1993...but amazing. Amazon reviews agree. Few albums have made me sit up and take note of what I was hearing right away from an engineering/production standpoint and this is in the top 5 I've heard (and the songs stand up for themselves too). Others that come to mind are...

Supertramp: Crime of the Century (the original vinyl release)
Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Welcom to the Pleasuredome (I believe one of the first DDD CD's ever recorded)
Tears for Fears: Sowing the Seeds of Love

Do yourself a favor and look into some, if not all, the recommendations that were made. I'm sure glad I did. It's made for a pleasurable evening of dedicated listening (and speaking of which...I'll be starting a thread/poll on that subject soon).

Cheers,
Scott
 
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