We’ve all been there: you get a brand-new set of speakers, and the first thing you want to do is blast your favorite song.
But is that track really showcasing your speakers’ full potential?
The right song can be the difference between hearing a simple tune and experiencing an auditory masterpiece.
It’s not just about bass or treble; it’s about the blend of vocals, instruments, and those subtle nuances that make music come alive.
Let’s dive into the world of speaker testing and discover the tracks that will make your speakers sing!
Criteria For a Good Song to Test Speakers
Choosing the best song to test speakers is like picking the perfect wine for a meal. It needs to complement and challenge. Here’s what to look for:
Balance: Ever noticed how some songs feel just right? That’s the equilibrium between treble, mid, and bass. It’s like a well-prepared dish, where no flavor overpowers the other.
Space: Close your eyes and imagine being at a live concert. A good test song paints a vivid picture of where each instrument is placed, giving you a front-row experience.
Attack and Decay: Sounds fancy, right? It’s all about how swiftly a note hits and how gradually it fades. A good test track will have sharp, sudden notes followed by lingering ones, testing your speaker’s responsiveness.
Rhythm and Timing: Music is as much about the silence between the notes as the notes themselves. A song with a complex rhythm or varying pace can help you determine if your speakers can keep up without missing a beat.
🎤 Best Vocal Songs to Test Speakers
🎵 "Hotel California" by Eagles 🎵
The Everlasting Intro:
If you’re anything like me, the first time you heard “Hotel California,” you were hooked by the intro. Those intertwining guitars, the electric hum – it’s pure sonic magic. When looking for the best songs to test speakers, this track often comes to mind.
Here’s first tip: when testing speakers, start with the low volume. Gradually increase it. Can you still pick out the individual notes as the sound gets louder? A quality speaker should let each guitar string sing, even at higher volumes.
The Vocals – A Litmus Test:
Ah, the unmistakable voice of Don Henley! The beauty of his voice in this track is how it weaves in and out of the instrumentals.
Tip number two: Listen closely when the vocals begin. They should sound as if they’re floating on top of the guitar, not getting buried beneath it.
If you can distinguish every word clearly without straining your ears, that’s the hallmark of a good speaker.
Percussions and Bass – The Unsung Heroes:
While the guitars and vocals are front and center in “Hotel California,” don’t ignore the underlying beats.
The drum beats, the subtle thud of the bass guitar – these are your benchmarks for the speaker’s lower frequency response. Focus on how pronounced they are. Too subdued? Your speaker might struggle with bass. Overwhelming the track? The balance might be off.
The Grand Finale – The Guitar Solo:
Now, let’s not forget that iconic guitar solo towards the end. This part is a wild ride of highs and lows.
Tip for this: pay attention to the crispness. Does the solo pierce through beautifully without sounding shrill? If yes, your treble’s on point.
Ambiance and Echoes:
Remember the line, “Welcome to the Hotel California”? The echoing “such a lovely place” creates an atmospheric depth.
A great speaker will give you a sense of space, making you feel as if you’re right there in a vast echoing hall. If your setup can reproduce this spaciousness, you’re onto something special.
🎵 "Someone Like You" by Adele 🎵
The Heartfelt Opening:
When testing speakers, play the song’s beginning softly. As you turn up the volume, Adele’s voice should remain just as poignant and clear, without any distortion. A quality speaker will maintain the emotive undertones in her voice, even at higher decibels.
Vocals – Front and Center:
Good songs to test speakers often emphasize vocals, and I think this song ranks among the best vocal songs for that purpose. Let’s face it, the essence of this song is Adele’s powerful voice.
As you play, focus on the clarity and warmth of her vocals. They should never sound shrill or distant. Every inflection, every slight quiver – you should be able to feel it. If your speakers can capture the heart and soul of her voice, you’re in for a treat.
Piano – The Gentle Backbone:
While Adele’s voice steals the show, the piano accompanying her is crucial. It’s the backbone of the track. The keys should sound distinct, each chord resonating clearly. Too muddy? The speaker might struggle with mid-tones. If they sound tinny or too sharp, the balance could be off.
As the song progresses, Adele’s voice builds in intensity. When she hits those powerful notes in the chorus, especially the line “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you”, your speaker should be able to handle it without any crackling or strain. This crescendo is your test for a speaker’s dynamic range.
🎸 Strumming the Strings: Testing Treble
🎵 Blackbird" by The Beatles🎵
The Opening Notes:
There’s something achingly intimate about the first few plucks of the guitar strings in “Blackbird.” If you’ve ever sat around a campfire, watching someone strum a guitar, you’ll know the feeling I’m talking about.
Tip: Start with these opening moments. On a superior speaker, the notes should sound close and personal, as if McCartney’s right there, playing for you. Each pluck should resonate with clarity and depth. This is one of the best songs to test speakers.
McCartney’s Voice – A Study in Raw Emotion:
One of the standout features of “Blackbird” is the sheer emotion in Paul McCartney’s voice. When testing speakers, really hone in on his vocals.
Can you hear the subtle cracks, the gentle ebb and flow of his tone? It shouldn’t just be about hearing the words; it should be about feeling them. If your speakers can capture that rawness, you know they’re delivering. It’s the best song to show off speakers in terms of vocal emotion.
The Sound of Footsteps:
An often overlooked element in “Blackbird” is the faint sound of footsteps and chirping birds. This is where we dive into ambiance.
Quality speakers will not drown these sounds out but instead will present them as subtle layers in the background. It adds depth and gives you a sense of place, as if you’re walking alongside McCartney during a serene early morning.
The Gentle Harmonies:
Throughout the song, McCartney’s main vocals are complemented by harmonies. These harmonies are your test for mid-range. They should complement, not overpower. If your speakers can strike this delicate balance, giving each vocal layer its own space, you’re on the right track.
🎵 "Cliffs of Dover" by Eric Johnson 🎵
That Electric Start:
If you’re looking for the best rock songs to test speakers with, you’ve just discovered one. You know that thrilling sensation when “Cliffs of Dover” begins?
That initial burst of electric guitar that makes you feel as though you’ve embarked on a soaring journey? When testing speakers, replay this part. Begin softly, and then crank it up. If each note still sparkles without distorting, even at high volumes, you’re hearing the hallmark of a robust speaker.
Melodic Guitar – A Symphony in Strings:
Eric Johnson’s magic lies in his ability to make a guitar sing, making “Cliffs of Dover” one of the best sounding songs out there.
Tip: Pay attention to the fluidity of the melodic transitions. The cascading notes should flow smoothly, like water over cliffs. If your speaker reproduces this liquid elegance without any hiccups or breaks, you’ve got a winner.
While the guitar is the shining star, the drum work in “Cliffs of Dover” provides a steady, grounding rhythm. During testing, tune your ears to the beat. It shouldn’t overpower, but it shouldn’t be a mere whisper either. It’s about balance. If you find yourself unconsciously tapping along, your speakers are probably striking the right chord.
The Tonal Journey:
This track traverses a range of tones, from high-pitched guitar solos to mellowed-out chords. An ideal speaker will keep up with this rollercoaster, letting you distinguish between the highs and lows seamlessly.
Tip: Listen for any moments where one tone overshadows another. Balance is key here.
🔊 Elevating Your Speaker Test: Exploring Bass Drops and Deep Dives
🎵 "Animals" by Martin Garrix🎵
“Animals” thrives on its dominant electronic synths and a bass that’s both haunting and exhilarating. The track’s pulsing beats and synthesized rhythms are a hallmark of Garrix’s signature style. It stands out as one of the best bass test songs and is often included in playlists for subwoofer bass test songs.
What to Listen For:
Pay attention to the moment right before the bass drops — there’s an anticipatory silence. When the bass finally hits, it should feel like a wave, deep and encompassing.
Why it’s a Good Test:
“Animals” has varied bass frequencies that challenge a speaker’s ability to reproduce bass without distortion. Its dynamic range from softer synths to the pounding bass drop tests the speaker’s versatility.
Speaker Attributes to Evaluate:
Look for bass depth, clarity during the drop, and the speaker’s ability to handle rapid transitions between frequencies without muddling the sound.
🎵 "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish 🎵
The Pulse-Pounding Beginning:
If you’re looking for the best music to test speakers, this is a great pick. From the get-go, “Bad Guy” assaults you with a deep, thumping bass line. It’s a heartbeat, an irresistible force pulling you into the song.
Testing tip: Play the intro. Feel that bass in your chest? That’s the mark of a speaker with solid bass performance. If it feels flat or lacks that palpable punch, it might be time to reconsider your sound setup.
Billie’s Whispers to Shouts:
Billie Eilish has this uncanny ability to shift from an intimate whisper to a commanding voice, all within the same breath.
Focus on the transitions in her vocal range throughout the song. Her softer moments should sound intimate, almost as if she’s whispering in your ear. And when she belts out? The speaker should handle the power without distortion.This track is also among the best audiophile songs to gauge such nuances.
“Bad Guy” isn’t just about bass and vocals. There’s a lot going on in the background. The claps, the clicks, the subtle electronic sounds — they add depth to the track.
When testing, see if you can pinpoint each element. A good speaker will delineate these layers, offering clarity amidst the complexity.
The Unsettling Shift:
About three-quarters into the song, there’s a dramatic shift. The tempo slows, the mood changes, and it feels like you’re in a different soundscape altogether.
This is a great segment to test the dynamic range of your speakers. Can they smoothly transition from the high-energy chorus to this languid, eerie outro?
🎻 Best Classical Music to Test Speakers
🎵 "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 🎵
A Whirlwind Start:
There’s a frantic energy to “Flight of the Bumblebee” that never fails to grip me. It’s like the very air is abuzz with excitement!
For our first speaker test, focus on that initial rush. Even in its rapid pace, each note should be clear, distinct, and not muddled. Good speakers will allow those hurried notes to maintain their individuality.
The Pace – A Test of Precision:
One of the hallmarks of this piece is its relentless pace. Here’s your next tip: As you let the piece play, try to pick out any instances where the notes might bleed into each other.
Great songs to test speakers maintain precision, ensuring each note retains its identity, even as they flutter by at lightning speed.
Amidst the flurry, there are moments of softness, delicate dips in volume that serve as a brief respite. Listen for these changes.
Does your speaker transition smoothly between loud and soft, or are there abrupt drops? You’re aiming for a gentle ebb and flow that mirrors the flight of a real bumblebee.
The Strings and Woodwinds – Delicate Yet Demanding:
These instruments drive “Flight of the Bumblebee,” giving it its characteristic sound. For our next test, hone in on them. Are the violins crisp? Do the woodwinds come through cleanly? Their tones should sound natural, not tinny or synthetic.
Depth and Acoustics:
While it’s a frenzied piece, there’s depth to “Flight of the Bumblebee.” It’s like standing in the center of a swirling tornado of sound.
A top-notch speaker will offer this three-dimensional experience, allowing you to almost “feel” the bumblebee circling around you.
Also Read: Best Speakers for Classical Music
🎵 "Time" by Hans Zimmer🎵
Building Momentum – The Soft Beginnings:
“Time” starts off gently, almost like a soft whisper. Your first task? Check for the clarity of those initial soft chords.
Can your speakers capture the subtlety without making it sound muffled? A good speaker will let you hear the delicate nuances, setting the stage for what’s to come.
Rising Intensity – The Crescendo:
As the track progresses, the intensity magnifies. Layers upon layers are added, creating a rich tapestry of sound.
Tip: As you journey from the gentle beginnings to the soaring middle, can you distinctly hear each instrument? The violins, the cellos, the soft thuds of percussion? If everything has its distinct voice without getting muddled, your speakers are showcasing their dynamic range.
Depth and Reverberation:
There’s a depth to “Time” that gives it an almost 3D quality. The echoing, the reverberations – they all add to the atmospheric feel.
When listening, do you feel engulfed by the sound? A great speaker will recreate the ambiance, making you feel you’re inside a vast cathedral of sound.
The Emotional Climax:
As “Time” reaches its climax, the music swells with profound emotion. It’s almost overwhelming.
Here’s a tip: focus on how the highs and lows interact during the peak moments. The lows should be resonant without being boomy, and the highs should shimmer without becoming piercing.
🌍 World Music and Unique Sounds
🎵 "Baba Yetu" by Christopher Tin 🎵
A Choir Like No Other:
If you’ve ever felt goosebumps listening to a choir, “Baba Yetu” intensifies that experience tenfold. Begin with the choral intro. Their voices should come across as harmonious yet distinct.
Tip one: As you play, check if you can distinguish the different vocal ranges – from the powerful basses to the soaring sopranos. Your speakers should present these layered voices with clarity, allowing each one its moment to shine.
The Rhythmic Pulse:
“Baba Yetu” isn’t just a choral piece. Its percussive elements provide a rhythmic backbone that drives the song forward.
This is where your speaker’s ability to handle punchy mid-bass comes into play. When the beats kick in, they shouldn’t sound muddy or subdued. Instead, they should resonate with a lively energy, without overshadowing the vocals.
Now, the symphony behind the voices is what adds depth and emotion to the song. Can you hear the gentle caress of the violins? The rich undertones of the cellos?
As the orchestration builds, ensure that your speakers maintain a balance between the strings, woodwinds, and brass. If a violin solo sounds as hauntingly beautiful as the horn section is robust, you’re in a good auditory space.
🎵 "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" by Shakira 🎵
An Infectious Beginning:
You know that feeling when the first few beats of a song make you want to dance? “Waka Waka” has that in spades. Those initial rhythmic drum beats are your first test.
Start with a soft volume and gradually crank it up. Your speakers should maintain the integrity of those beats without distortion. Can you feel the energy without any muddiness? That’s a good sign.
Shakira’s Vocals – A Vocal Gymnastics Session:
Shakira has this unique voice that’s both sultry and clear. When she begins, her voice should cut through the background rhythm with clarity.
Here’s a pro-tip: Close your eyes and imagine her singing in the same room. If her voice seems present and tangible, your speakers are delivering on mid-range frequencies.
Backing Chorus – The Test of Layering:
The beauty of “Waka Waka” lies in its layers. The backing vocals provide a rich texture that complements Shakira’s lead.
Focus on the harmonies. Can you distinguish the chorus’s voices, or do they just meld into an indistinct sound? A quality speaker should make you feel like you’re in the middle of a lively group singing session.
The Bass – The Heartbeat of the Song:
The underlying bass in “Waka Waka” is like the song’s heartbeat. It shouldn’t be overwhelming, but it should be felt. As you groove to the song, see if the bass feels punchy and tight, rather than a vague rumble in the background.
Instruments & Soundstage:
From guitars to trumpets, the song boasts a variety of instruments. Listen closely. Can you place them? A great speaker provides a wide soundstage, giving each instrument its own “space.” It’s like having an orchestra laid out in front of you.
🎧 The All-Rounder Playlist
🎵 "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen 🎵
Piano Introduction – Touching the Soul:
The hauntingly beautiful piano chords that kick off “Bohemian Rhapsody” are enough to give anyone goosebumps.
And when testing speakers, these initial chords are your first clue. They should feel rich, resonant, and not tinny.
Remember, the best speakers reproduce piano sounds with a warmth that feels almost like you’re sitting right next to Freddie at the piano.
Freddie’s Voice – The Heart of the Song:
Oh, Freddie Mercury, a voice that’s touched millions! As his voice intertwines with the piano, it should command its own space.
When testing, ask yourself: Can I hear the raw emotion, the subtle fluctuations in his voice? His vocals should be clear, powerful, yet tender, without distortion or getting lost amidst the instruments.
The Rock Shift – Dynamics in Play:
Just when you think you have the song figured out, it pivots into a rock anthem. This sudden change is your speaker’s litmus test for dynamic range.
The transition should be smooth, with Brian May’s guitar bursting to life, but not drowning out the vocals or other instruments.
The Operatic Section – A Symphony of Voices:
Ah, the theatrical middle! This segment is like a mini-opera, with overlapping voices and eclectic sounds. It’s complex, and honestly, many speakers stumble here.
What to listen for? Clarity and separation. Each ‘character’ in this segment – from the high falsettos to the deep bass voices – should have distinct audibility.
Final Rock Outburst and Conclusion:
The climax is loud, powerful, and utterly Queen. The drums, the guitar solos, the powerful vocals – it’s a test of how well a speaker can handle intensity without compromise.
You shouldn’t feel the need to reduce the volume; a good speaker will rock out without sounding muddled.
🎵 "Imagine" by John Lennon 🎵
The Serene Opening:
There’s a tranquility to the beginning of “Imagine.” The gentle touch of the piano keys sets a mood that’s both intimate and grand.
Here’s where you start: Play the song at a moderate volume. Can you hear the soft press of each key, the tiny hammers striking the piano strings? It’s like the echo of a heartbeat in a vast room.
A quality speaker will reproduce this depth, giving the piano both its delicate touch and the resonant undertones.
Lennon’s Soulful Vocals:
John’s voice in “Imagine” is raw, heartfelt, and brimming with emotion. Your focus here should be on clarity.
As he sings, “Imagine all the people…,” his voice should be crystal clear, embodying the very essence of his message without being overshadowed by the instruments. If your speakers capture the nuances of his vocal inflections, you’re on the right track.
Bass Lines and Rhythmic Nuances:
While “Imagine” is primarily a melody-driven track, it has its moments of rhythmic brilliance.
Those subtle bass lines and the soft percussion should be evident, not overpowering, but certainly present. They add depth and dimension to the song, and your speakers should provide them their deserved place.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Testing Speakers
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Testing Speakers
One Track Mindset: Relying solely on one song or genre won’t give you the full picture. Variety is the spice of life (and speaker testing)!
Source Matters: Whether it’s vinyl, digital, or streaming, the music source can drastically alter the sound. Always test with the highest quality possible.
Room Dynamics: Don’t forget the acoustics! A room’s size, shape, and furnishings can influence sound. Make sure it’s not skewing your test results.
💡 Tips for Effective Listening 💡
Perfect Ambiance: Dim the lights, close your eyes, and immerse yourself. Minimize distractions to focus solely on the sound.
Volume Matters: Start at a moderate volume and gradually increase. Some details emerge only at specific volume levels.
Replay and Compare: Heard something intriguing? Don’t hesitate to replay certain sections. Comparing different moments can reveal a lot.
Enhancing Your Speaker Testing Experience
Tech to the Rescue: Apps like “Spectroid” for Android or “RTA Analyzer” for iOS can provide real-time audio analysis. Dive deep into the frequencies and see what your ears might miss.
Equalizers: These can adjust frequency responses, helping you pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in your speakers.
Why test speakers with different genres?
Different genres emphasize different sound profiles, ensuring a comprehensive speaker test. From jazz’s smoothness to rock’s raw energy, each genre brings its challenges.
How does a song’s production quality affect the test?
High-quality production acts as a magnifying glass, revealing more details. It makes it easier to spot speaker flaws or strengths.
Can I use my favorite songs to test speakers?
Absolutely! Familiar tracks can be your secret weapon, helping you notice nuances in speaker performance.
What’s the difference between testing headphones and speakers with these songs?
While the principles are similar, speakers often offer a broader soundstage and different frequency response that’s like comparing a cozy room to a grand concert hall. Both have their charm, but they deliver sound differently.
What are audiophile test tracks?
Audiophile test tracks are specially selected or crafted songs and sound recordings designed to assess, compare, and showcase the performance and capabilities of audio equipment. These tracks usually have detailed instrumentation, distinct vocals, and a broad dynamic range to push systems to their limits.
Which songs are considered the best audiophile songs of all time?
The best audiophile songs of all time are those that offer impeccable production quality, intricate details, and dynamic soundscapes. Examples include “Hotel California” by the Eagles, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and “Aja” by Steely Dan. Selections vary among audiophiles based on personal preferences.
How do I choose the best audiophile tracks to test equipment?
To select the best audiophile tracks to test equipment, focus on songs with a wide dynamic range, detailed instrumentation, clear vocals, and varying tempos. Tracks that explore the full spectrum of sound from deep bass to high treble are ideal. Reference recordings or studio master tracks are often preferable.
What are the best songs for surround sound experience?
The best songs for a surround sound experience are those with multi-layered instrumentation and spatial sound dynamics. Tracks from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, Hans Zimmer’s movie scores, or Yosi Horikawa’s “Bubbles” are exemplary choices for a multi-dimensional auditory experience.
How can I conduct a left right speaker test?
A left-right speaker test determines the stereo separation of your audio setup. To conduct one, play a stereo test track that isolates sound between the left and right channels. Ensure that the corresponding sound matches the appropriate speaker – left sound from the left speaker and vice versa.
How do you effectively test speakers?
To test speakers, start by playing a variety of songs across different genres to assess their performance across a wide range of frequencies. Use tracks with clear vocals, deep bass, and intricate details. Audiophile test tracks or specific speaker test songs can help identify strengths and weaknesses.
Which album is recommended as the best to test speakers?
“Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd is frequently recommended as one of the best albums to test speakers due to its impeccable production, wide dynamic range, and intricate soundscapes.
How can I test a speaker to ensure it’s working correctly?
To test a speaker, connect it to a sound source, play audio, and listen for clarity, balance, and distortion. Check both low and high volumes. You can also use specific test tones or tracks to evaluate frequency response and stereo separation.
Conclusion: The Grand Finale
Choosing the right songs to test your speakers is more than just a technical exercise; it’s a journey into the heart of music.
From the deepest bass to the crispest treble, the right track can illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of any speaker.
Remember, it’s not just about the equipment but the symphony it produces. So, the next time you play your favorite tune, listen closely. You might just hear something new.
Monica Rivas is a Reviewer and Content Manager of Audiofavorite, she is an audiophile for many years and she helps people to learn all they need about audio, speakers, sound etc.