Which tracks shows off your system best?

Hello Roonsters, I’m really interested to hear what tracks show off your system best or perhaps which track or tracks you might have on your playlist if you were going to audition some new gear.

I’m really interested in this because I was doing some research for some new speakers the other day (like you do) and was reading a thread where some bod mentioned what tunes he listened to when he was auditioning new speakers. One of them was “St Louis Blues” by Larry Coryell, and I realised I’d never even heard of him so I gave that track a listen. Anyway TLDR I thought #$&%! that sounds so good I don’t even need any new speakers!!

So please share which albums or tracks especially shine at showing off hifi prowess so we can spend more time listening and more less time spending. It’s not a competition of sorts but hopefully a useful resource for other Roonsters to refer to without thinking they have to buy new gear!

My contribution is Duke Ellington’s “Afro Bossa” album and in particular the tracks Tigress, Sempre Amore and Pyramid.


“Saeta”, from Sketches of Spain, Miles Davis. At about 2:45, Miles is playing a solo. Then the entire group enters. On the original 1960 Columbia six eye stereo LP (CS 8271), on the Mobile Fidelity SACD, and on the recent Legacy CD, there is a remarkable musical bass thump. Actually, that whole track is a favorite go-to for system checking among my equipment.

Take Five, Dave Brubeck (time out)
Give me one reason, Tracy Chapman (New Beginning)
Giorgio by Moroder, Daft Punk (Random access memories)
Nomad, Bedouin Burger (Nomad)
Walk on the wild side, Lou Reed (Transformer)
Bridge, Amon Tobin (Beautiful Boy)
Piano sonata no 17, Fazil Say (Beethoven: Complete piano sonatas)
Keith don’t go, Nils Lofgren (Acoustic live)


“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” from the SHM SACD of The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” album.

The track is simply stunning on my tube-based 2 channel system.


I heard “Kieth Don’t Go” for the first time due to @Torben_Rick playlist here:

What an amazing track!

I have lots of reference tracks.

For clean bass “scales”, I go for “Circumpsection” by Daev Martian
For proper stereo placement, I go for tracks that have phase effects, such as “Late Home Tonight, Pt. 1” by Roger Waters or “Exhale Inhale” by Aurora.
My torture track is “First Light Of Winter” by Miranda Lee Richards. There is a bass bloom exactly 8 seconds in. In a perfect location, the bloom is 3-D, but in practical room locations, you can hear the tone change but no 3-D bloom. In lesser headphones, I don’t hear a tone change at all! It is my favorite torture track. :blush:


Paul from PSAudio has listed the track in his one of his videos, he also has posted some playlists Paul’s Picks updated – PS Audio I was watching way to much of that a year ago

@Torben_Rick has a really nice list and was kind to share them.

:pray: :pray:

I listen mostly classical, and there mostly chamber so base doesn’t come in so often. I have 2 entry level subs (Yamaha sw300) but I have to do some room correction to keep that under control a bit. So to test that I use يا من حوى from Bedouin Burger. Just to check that the corrections stay only in the base area.

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Album Artist Album Track# Title
Howe Gelb/A Band of Gypsies Alegrías 1 4 Door Maverick
Feist Let It Die 1 Gatekeeper
Daft Punk Random Access Memories 8 Get Lucky
Mike Watt Ball-Hog Or Tugboat? 3 Drove up from Pedro
Amanda Palmer There Will Be No Intermission 2 The Ride
Sparklehorse It’s A Wonderful Life 7 Eyepennies
Lana Del Rey Lust For Life 1 Love
Warpaint The Fool 7 Baby
Future Brown Future Brown 1 Room 302
Françoise Hardy Ma jeunesse fout le camp (Remasterisé en 2016) 1 Ma Jeunesse Fout le Camp
Gravenhurst Fires In Distant Buildings 4 Nicole
Nico Chelsea Girl 6 Chelsea Girls
Troy von Balthazar Troy von Balthazar 5 Dogs
Ja, Panik Dmd Kiu Lidt 15 Dmd Kiu Lidt
Lou Reed & John Cale Songs For Drella 3 Style It Takes
Stan Getz / João Gilberto Getz/Gilberto (Remastered) 1 The Girl from Ipanema
Mark Lanegan Band Bubblegum 1 When Your Number Isn’t Up
Robert Wyatt EPs 6 Shipbuilding
Sonic Youth Sonic Nurse 9 I Love You Golden Blue
Melvins Houdini 4 Goin’ Blind
Gene Clark White Light 2 With Tomorrow
Billie Eilish WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? 5 all the good girls go to hell
AUF Getimed 4 Diese Stadt
Daniel Blumberg Minus 1 Minus
Gil Scott-Heron I’m New Here 2 Me and the Devil
James Blake James Blake 6 Limit to Your Love
Jessie Reyez Being Human In Public 3 Sola
Kelis Kaleidoscope 2 Good Stuff
Psychic TV Force the Hand of Chance (Expanded Edition) 1 Just Drifting
Rhye Blood 1 Waste
Neil Young Harvest 4 Heart of Gold
Rob Wasserman Duets 6 Ballad of the Runaway Horse
Lana Del Rey Born To Die 4 Video Games
Lou Reed Transformer 3 Perfect Day
The xx xx 8 Basic Space
Beck Mutations 1 Cold Brains
Tiken Jah Fakoly Coup De Gueule 1 Plus Rien Me M’Etonne
Bob Dylan Shadows In The Night 1 I’m a Fool to Want You
Giant Sand Blurry Blue Mountain 2 Chunk of Coal
Giant Sand Black Out / Stromausfall 5 Mt. of Love
Alabama Shakes Sound & Color 1 Sound & Color
Bright Eyes I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning 4 Lua
Sophie Zelmani Soul 3 All About You
Friends of Dean Martinez The Shadow of Your Smile 1 All the Pretty Horses
Giant Sand Chore of Enchantment 17 Shiver [John Parish Remix]

wow… :pray: :pray: :pray:

I just learned that exporting the playlist from Roon as Excel and then copying the Excel cell range (though I did that in Numbers on the Mac) and pasting it into the forum automatically creates this pretty format. :+1:


I just learned that copy paste into a google sheet and export as csv while not working ok with soundiz the tunemymusic gave me only 4 errors :slight_smile: Now I’m just waiting for roon to sync to tidal

The last Giant Sand one on the list is my high point. Also interesting because the same album has the original mix of Shiver as track #7. They worked with John Parish on some parts of the album and he had also been one of the engineers on the original recording of that song, but eventually he found that mix and thought he could do better. And boy he did. In case anyone has doubts whether the mix/master has the greatest influence on SQ :wink:

It’s a wonderful album generally, as are most Giant Sand. As is their / Howe Gelb’s usual MO, some tracks were made up on the spot during recording based on vague ideas. E.g., Howe says that #12, No Reply, and #10, Dirty from the Rain, didn’t exist at all before these moments in the studio. In some spots particularly on #12 you can hear the band searching for what to do next, it’s amazing. On #10, the engineers had expected a louder song, so when they suddenly played this quiet one instead they had tape hiss, as you can hear in the first second. Jim Dickinson, who was also one of the engineers, turned on the water fountain in the studio to cover it.
(Sadly the default metadata in Roon for this leaves much to be desired)

I used this playlist during the system rebuild 2020/21 and listened to it countless times. It checks all I need to like the sound and best of all I love the music and am still not tired of it. As for pure SQ moments on the playlist, I love the flutist on the right in Nico’s track licking his lips and quickly pressing some keys before starting to play. Or the presence of Nick Talbot in the Gravenhurst track being felt by his body sounds before he starts singing.

The first one on the list is Giant Sand’s main man, Howe Gelb, with a Spanish flamenco band, the album being recorded on a roof in Córdoba. Mostly older Giant Sand / Howe songs. (Howe recorded about 60 albums with GS, alone, and in various projects, and some songs appear many times in different versions. Sadly, Roon’s composition metadata for showing cover versions is not always great there. Took me a lot of editing and still cannot be made perfect)

Yes I love this list :heart: :smiley:

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The cover photo of the Chore of Enchantment album is actually the wedding of John Parish and wife. OK I will stop now :slight_smile:
Can’t wait:

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Back from groceries, roon synced with tidal, now slowly playing the playlist… Thank you again, if not for this thread, moment and you, probably hardly I would had a chance to play them… so it is “a perfect day” :slight_smile:
Nothing beats concerts


I tend to play Why? By Discharge, there’s a huge variety of tracks on that EP.

It’s always been my go to test record since buying my first proper Hifi back in 1983!

I get your love. The “Mt. of Love” now is at favourites. I’ll het on the discography after I finish play repeat Mt. of Love :slight_smile:

:heart: An amazing album. They recorded that Blackout album (originally released only in Germany as Stromausfall (= Blackout in German)) in-between actually recording the Purge & Slouch album, and one day decided to record an impromptu set of acoustic versions of older tracks, which became Blackout.

Mt. of Love was originally released as Mountain of Love on one of their very best albums, The Love Songs, an early one with blisteringly hot southern rock. Robes of Bible Black from Blackout is also first on that one.

When you are done with GS, you may also want check out Howe’s solo work (although there are several on streaming, there are actually many more (Bandcamp)), as well as OP8 and Arizona Amp and Alternator. The HG bible fansite with a somewhat official full discography and a huge live archive: http://www.sa-wa-ro.com

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Banks of the Nile by Fotheringay
Black Snake by Atomic Rooster

my two “go to” tracks for evaluating systems.

Love this thread. Here’s my 2 cents… Firth of Fifth on Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound. Have always used this track when testing potential new audio gear.


Just about any record on the ACT Label is a no brainer. If you like Jazz, they have great recording quality and the mixes art more up front than most for a more intimate listening session. Qobuz is the only service that allows you to search by Label, so you have to favorite them in Qobuz and they will show up in Roon or you could find the ones you like and do an Artist search in Roon. A few of the artists I really like are: Lars Danielsson, Dieter Ilg, Iiro Rantala, Wolfgang Hafner, and Caecilie Norby. Check them out!

How do tot do this? I went to the label page for ACT Music (where they list the catalogue) and don’t see a way of marking it.

BTW they don’t make it easy to find the label. I searched “ACT Music” and got a bunch of artists listings that have nothing to do with the label. Then I picked some album from the ACT webpage and picked it in A o by Qobuz and clicked on the record label. Is there a better way to get to the label?