When it comes to playing various forms of music and audio files, only some speakers can deliver the most fitting sound quality. This is why it’s recommended to test sound systems before buying them.
But how do you test a sound system? The answer is pretty easy but tricky: you have to play a list of different songs.
It is easy because you can access any song or music file anywhere. It is tricky because not all kinds of songs can do the job right. That’s why you need to choose the best songs to test sound system.
- 1 Different Aspects of Sound Quality and Performance
- 2 Songs for Testing Overall Tonal Balance
- 3 Songs for Testing Midrange Quality
- 4 Songs for Testing Treble Quality
- 5 Songs for Testing Dynamic Range
- 6 Songs for Testing Bass Control and Frequency
- 7 Songs for Testing Rhythm and Timing
- 8 Songs for Testing Attack and Decay Quality
- 9 Songs for Testing Spatial Separation
- 10 Songs for Testing Mix and Detail
- 11 Last Words
Different Aspects of Sound Quality and Performance
A sound system’s performance can be measured through different sonic aspects. And each element would need a certain kind of music pattern to be thoroughly tested.
- Overall tonal balance
- Midrange quality
- Treble quality
- Dynamic range
- Bass control and frequency
- Rhythm and timing
- Attack and decay quality
- Spatial separation
- Mix and detail
Though you may freely use your favorite songs, it would be better that you try a wider variety of music for optimal testing. Try various genres, so you can hear whether the audio equipment are right for your daily (or leisurely) use.
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Here, you’ll find a list of the best songs to test your sound system.
Songs for Testing Overall Tonal Balance
Overall tonal balance refers to the sound system’s ability to organize the cacophony of the song and distribute them evenly. The goal of this test is to find out whether the audio equipment can blend the distortions in tonality so you can hear every element of the music clearly without trying hard to distinguish them.
The best songs for this test are:
Songs for Testing Midrange Quality
The midrange frequency is where you can hear the musicality in most songs - the singer’s voice and
While testing midrange quality, you should look out for (or listen out for) musical details that give you ideas on the manner of singing or playing instruments. You should also be able to make out the low instrumentals that flow in the background of the voice. For instrumentals, you should be able to make out the individual performances of the instrument players.
For testing midrange quality, you should try these:
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Songs for Testing Treble Quality
The treble is another frequency range that should be paid attention to. If the music goes “high” frequently, the audio equipment should be able to control these highs without affecting the original impact. The highs should come out as they should be, but without any ear-stabbing sharpness.
Treble quality can be tested by playing any of these:
Songs for Testing Dynamic Range
The quality of an audio system's dynamic range can be judged from its ability to keep up with the sudden shifts in a song's highs, mids and lows. The shifting should come out smoothly without any suppression in the intended impact of the change.
The best music for this includes:
“A Life in Music” – John Williams
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Songs for Testing Bass Control and Frequency
The bass control of a good audio system should be able to deliver any boom without irritating "boominess". However, boomy a track or song maybe, those booms shouldn’t dominate the whole spectacle once they occur. Though some people may like their music super bass for added texture, bass control is a key to keeping those boomy kicks under a palatable level.
Try these songs for testing bass control:
Songs for Testing Rhythm and Timing
As for rhythm and timing, a good sound system should be able to keep up with highly rhythmic instrumentals so they always blow with perfect timing.
Test rhythm and timing with these tracks:
Songs for Testing Attack and Decay Quality
Attack and decay refer to a tune's sudden start and stop. The sound system should be able to cushion the abruptness, so the tune doesn't come out shrill or sharper than it's supposed to be.
The best tracks for this test are:
Songs for Testing Spatial Separation
Spatial separation is mainly characterized by the audio equipment’s ability to deliver an “image” of the arrangement of the instruments while they’re playing. You should get a feeling of the player or singer’s position on the stage or the recording room.
Best songs to test the sound system for spatial separation:
Songs for Testing Mix and Detail
It's essential for any audio system to be able to mix the mids, lows and highs of a song harmonically. But aside from that, they should also be able to pick up the details (big or small) in the music. No matter how dense the mix is, the details like drum vibrations or subtle lip-smacking should still be discernible.
These songs are great for testing mix and detail:
Also see the songs for testing bass
Though the songs are categorized per aspect, many of them can be used for testing multiple aspects, especially those that contain the most diverse tunes and beats.
Songs like The National Anthem and Das Spiegel can be used to test several aspects, as well as A Life in Music and Spoon. If any of these songs are in your favourite list, then you can test any audio system more easily and quickly.
One last thing, though. If you are testing a sound system, your parameters should still include preference. An ideal sound system should deliver the best balance in tonality, but that kind of balance is still subject to your preference.
If your own kind of balance should be more on the low or the boom, then go with that balanced mix. After all, it’s your musical enjoyment that counts.
HI, John Andrew here. I’ve been an audiophile since I was a little kid. I’m an original member of myaudiolover . It emerged as a way for me to share my passion and knowledge for audio technology. If you’re looking for tips, techniques, and insights about audio-tech, that can enable your productions that professional edge, then MyAudioLover is the place for you!