Reference/Demo Tracks

I got an error saying Content No Longer Available… bummer!

Yeah it seems one of the ones that has regional variations… I noticed one that was (US exclusive). Try searching for it on Tidal - I found a couple of copies and one played - depending where you are in the world, it might be you need a different one :frowning:

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Shared Tidal playlist - Reference Demo Tracks

Sharing a Tidal playlist of all the tracks/albums mentioned in this thread to date.


This IS simply reference - in all respects.
I started to listen - and couldn’t stop; THANK YOU “Adamus”, thank you very much !

Yep Sjef,

And that’s what is happening right now here with my new Arendals speakers and the HAF convolution filter with x-talk reduction. I’m listening music, songs I would’t normaly listen at before. My current system is drawing me into the music. And perhaps it is not the most revealing system, but it is the most musical and foottapping systen I ever had. Man, do I have fun…


Cool on the playlist, was thinking about the same thing. it would be better if the people that recommended an Album select only 1-2 songs. Having full albums on a Reference list is too much.

Playing the list now :smile:

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Reference Recordings

Here’s a culled version, only 15 tracks, kept one track from each of the full albums on the first list, I think…I could have dropped a couple full albums, anyway.

I too usually just enjoy listening to music on random, that said, I have some junk mp3 files in my library that do truly sound bad…

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I almost completely agree, as long as some rare ugly recording blunder, slightly less rare digital transfer or compressed signal is not involved. Fair to say that via the use of almost all CD players, incorrect streaming and digital music flows, we have often made incorrect assessment of the content of CDs. It took more than 30 years to do it right…
I would like to add that sometimes, the most revealing progress is by how old noisy analog recordings get to sound right. A good example is this - from a wonderful album. Heifetz - Le violon du siècle.

The Vocalise from Rachmaninov, is a well made transfer from 78 rpm recording. Well made because it has kept the subtleties of the recording that comprises the marvelous play of Heifetz and his complicity with the pianist. That could not be done without keeping also the scratches and hiss from the recording. And that is the point. On a ‘simply resolving’ system, the recording is harsh. All that noise makes it hard to get involved and understand what this piece is about. Like many, I had to long wait for high quality digital streaming and streamers to get to fully enjoy that jewel.
Another track of audio interest is the last of the same album: “It ain’t necessarily so” by Gershwin, because it is a closeup live recording where we get to hear Heifetz’s voice and the room atmosphere as well as the enthusiastic applause at the end. If these do not move you there must be something wrong in the setting.

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Another complete rediscovery and a posteriori wonderful recording is Quincy Jones’s “What’s going on” in this album:

That recording modulates and swings. Beyond all technical considerations, getting that modulation and swing that empathetically connects the interprets to the listeners, directly or indirectly, is what matters in the end.

On the whole I’m with the ‘Random Play’ team on this. Surely in the end it’s about the music - the equipment is only a means to an end, which for me is to connect with a wide range of music - and not always within my preconceived idea of what I want to listen to now. At times I like to be surprised by music I’ve forgotten or over-looked: only playing ‘demo-quality’ music is too narrow for me. There’s lots of music where the playing is better than the recording (and vice versa) - I want a system that enables me to connect with the soul and skills of the musician/s, not the engineers.

Over the years I’ve done very well buying 6 month old equipment from the sort of people who have six figure systems and five favourite LPs/CDs that they listen to over and over again, trying to work out what’s wrong with their latest piece of bleeding edge equipment.

That said, I did enjoy almost all Chris Connaker’s Tidal playlist under ‘Computer Audiophile 100’ - and I can recommend the web-site if you’re not already aware of it. I got a lot of useful tips about maximising a computer audio set-up from it - especially when I was starting out and feeling my way around computer-based audio replay.


Here it is:

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Bill Callahan’s One Fine Morning was a demo track played for me at Music Lovers in Berkeley and it sold me on my new Peachtree Audio nova300. The fine detail was clear and compelling even at low listening volumes, and the track draws me in because of his rich voice juxtaposed to all that empty between vocals and instrumentation.

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Just listed to that track and see what you mean. I liked how the piano (not much of it tho) sounded so clear/real.

Very Nice :+1:

Funny how much of the listening is done based on over-produced recordings.
Do youurself a favour and do a little gogggle search on ‘acoustic in balance recording’.
Couple of years ago I did a workshop in a studio in Amsterdam where they did this type of recording only. Set up, do a testrun to get your settings right, then record the performance in one go. No dubs, no mixing, just mastering. Fenomenal.
It does not work for any type of band / music of course, but if you use a couple of those recordings as a reference you’ll be surpised.



Can you give us some good examples that we could try.

Sadly much of what you’ll find is ‘local produce’ only. Small record labels, no international distribution, no Tidal involvement.
Which is why I suggested searching the web so you can narrow down to ‘local’.
The one I went to for the workshop didn’t survive the recent economic crunch. Shame. I just have a couple of recordings that I bought when I was there.
To give you an idea: they had a handmade console where you would first use riders to tune the recording, then stepped attenuators to replicate the rider settings. These were not adjusted during the recording. Which means the ensemble needed to be pretty professional to play consistently enough for this method to work. Does not really work for Rock & Roll…

We host live music and film and record all the shows for archive, personal enjoyment and share some via YouTube with consent.
Very often these live performances out shine the official releases in our opinion. There is just much more life and energy. They have to create a performance with what they have; live. So gone is all the post production. We have no need for the Third 0boe or whatever.

The issue is likened to painters. When is it finished or do you add and add until the work is essentially spoilt?

So these make great test tracks. Do they recreat the energy I felt and remember from the night? Can my system deliver it? For now my system is doing very well.

This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy very well produced music but I don’t like it over produced, I like the immediacy. Can or could they do it Live is always a question I ask. Happily, plenty of artists can.

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try Seth Lakeman, Ballads of the broken few. Single mike recording in a Jacobean church

It’s on Tidal, 2 versions, don’t know what the difference is.