Whats a good track too challenge your setup ?

Page 5 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.


Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
A good test for accuracy is well recorded speech (best when it's someone you know well).
If it's not doing that accurately, it's not doing anything accurately.
"I don't want accuracy" you say.
"Well you should want it" I say.

High Fidelity sound should be true to the original.
Open baffle or semi-open baffle loudspeakers are best for speech and vocals.

Since low fidelity is old radio / gramophone quality, hi-if is all that lo-if isn’t.

If something should be true to the original, the monitors of the studio it was produced in can be key reference.

But also the way it sounded it in the studio can be key. But that sound is far more 3D than what the microphone can capture. So if that is key a 360 degrees speaker system could be ‘it’ according to some. Although I think at the same time, they produce something the original never was since the properties per instrument change. The bottleneck here is any form of traditional recording. Or to freely quote Paul McGowan.. to get things right, every instrument player should be it’s own loudspeaker on stage.

In my opinion the only thing necessary for anyone who is a bit serious into audio is to get a loudspeaker with monitor qualities in some way. That means detail and reasonable balance between the drivers.

I once owned B&W DM603/s3’s and despite I liked them, they were not having monitor qualities out of the box. The bass driver was huge compare to most loudspeakers these days and there was a bump in that frequency area. A review described them as having bloated bass. Not by any means a bad speaker. Great for a punch in rock, hip hop, trip hop etc but way too exaggerated for four on the floor Dance music.

Monitors or monitor-like systems don’t do that. :)
Last edited:


Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
A track can not really challenge a system. But there are some good benchmarks around for various properties

Dire Straits - you and your friend : Good one to instantly know if your speakers are well connected to your amp. Left channel starts, right channel answers.

Grace Maya - Kiss of Life (Live at Dug): Upright bass from A to Z. In my opinion the Upright bass is a good overall loudspeaker testing instrument. The Upright bass can dig pretty deep into the frequencies, but it also has ‘twangs’, ‘finger slides’ and ‘clicks’ in the upper bass and midrange, perhaps slightly in the treble. The track also has piano, drums and female vocals. Kind of a benchmark for credibility. Loudspeakers with a larger cabinet, decent drivers and crossovers will get this right in a sense of providing slightly more realism besides reproduction.

Francioso - Suspire
Bit more piano centered from the beginning, which is good to test the soundstage for a piano recording. Later on upright bass and drums follow. Good loudpeakers give the illusion of a grand piano in the room.

Yosi Horikawa - bubbles
I once came across this track watching a loudspeaker review. It was named for testing the soundstage. The problem I have with fully engineered music like this, is that the references to the real world are not there. It is impossible to relate to how sounds of instruments you can witness someone play really sound. Yes the soundstage is broad, but I couldn’t really find elements in that, that highlight differences between loudspeakers. But… it might be part the immersion. It is a fun track to play, pets like cats and dogs might also find it quite interesting to hear ping pong balls etc bouncing up and down in panorama.

Massive Attack - Angel: Electronic. A track that will stand out on loudspeakers with slightly bloated / exaggerated bass meant to provide hip hop and rock tracks with more body by default. It was the review test track for the B&W dm602/s3 which contained a relatively big woofer and was quite rarely, front ported. Giving it a bit of a slight slam. It doesn’t sound as ‘dope’ on more neutral speakers. I wonder if there are more examples of tracks that kind of just fall into place with some almost dedicated loudspeakers.

R.E.M. - half a world away
One on the lighter side for treble and midrange testing. Quite sparkly with guitar and mandolin in treble with the organ and Stipe’s vocals covering the midrange. Later on a violin joins the games as it comes to a close.


Well-known member
Feb 18, 2022
An album rather than a track, but 'Weather Systems' by Anathema is a real system workout, from simple and atmospheric to large scale and complex. I've heard it sound awful and I've heard it sound amazing.


Latest posts