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How to Test the Mettle of Your High-End Audio Speakers


These 6 Songs Can Give any System a Sonic Workout

Those of you with an audio obsession – often referred to as audiophiles – you are always on a quest for the perfect sound quality. Of course, you probably know it, but it's more of a journey than a destination. There's always some new amplifier, speaker, turntable, or piece of equipment that takes things up another notch, right?

There’s nothing wrong with your obsession. It’s what makes audiophilia a fun, if sometimes expensive, hobby. And isn’t it fun to hear your favorite music reproduced with the kind of impact and presence as if the artist or band is right there in the room playing just for you?

Most likely, when you audition new speakers you might want to buy, you have some go-to music that you know well that helps you evaluate how that new component will perform. That’s an excellent way to see if the new equipment will move the needle for you. Along that line, we’d like to suggest some songs that can help you evaluate your next high-end audio upgrade for your Chicago home. These were chosen for the way they push the envelope of a speaker and system’s capabilities. Ready to test these out? Let’s go!

SEE ALSO: Elevate the Listening Experience on Your High-End Audio System


The Line on Bass

Bass is important. We know, so much of today's pop and rock music tends to be "all about that bass." We won't even mention rap and hip-hop; it couldn't exist without bass. Nevertheless, even if you love listening to classical music all day long, you still need good bass as an underpinning. Great bass is the foundation which gives your audio system gravitas, presence, and makes all the rest of the music shine, no matter your music preference.

Want to test your bass? Try The Weekend’s The Hills. This one goes low. You may know the drill, but look for boominess in the bass. It should be tight, punchy, and fast. For a different kind of bass test, the bass guitar on Beck’s Morning will help you recover from the previous song's pounding. They're both a great test and workout for your system, just like yoga and weightlifting are tremendous and entirely different workouts for you.


The Dynamics of Range

If you're an audiophile, you know about dynamic range. You listen for a system that can go low and go high quickly and cleanly. Excellent dynamic range makes for a full and deep soundstage, one that lets you feel like you're right there in the performance. The late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan's Tin Pan Alley is one song that can wring the range out of your setup. Want another? Radiohead’s National Anthem has a lot going on in it. From the different instruments to the vocals, both of these can test a system’s ability to flesh out all the nuance and sense of excitement from the track.


Vocals and Midrange

Voices live in the midrange of the audio spectrum. Many great singers can exercise that spectrum very well. Tom Waits' gravelly rendition of  I Hope I Don't Fall in Love with You is a good one. Next,  listen to a song from one of these female singers with an expansive vocal range, whether your taste runs to Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Linda Ronstadt, or Nina Simone. When the voice is simply mesmerizing, you'll know you've hit upon something that sounds right.


Songs that You Survive

Some songs just have a lot going on in them. The sound engineers may have mixed them just to see how much your audio system – and your ears – can handle. Try listening to the Foo Fighters’ These Days with the volume turned up through all five minutes. If you managed to survive and perhaps even enjoy it, the speaker has passed another test. If you’re still game, try AC/DC’s Long Way to the Top while you’re at it. The bagpipes will test the compatibility between the tweeters and your ears!


If you’re looking for a high-end audio upgrade, Barrett’s Technology Solutions can be your partner on the path to audio nirvana. Serving Chicago since 1966, we’ve been around since before Nirvana. Call us at (630) 898-2850 or contact us here to get started – we look forward to working with you!

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