1. Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack
Why it makes a great speaker test: This song is the acid test for sub-woofers – there is a hidden thunderous quality to the intro that only the best bass speakers or headphones will reveal.
2. Hotel California – Eagles – Live From Hell Freezes Over
Why it makes a great speaker test: Make sure you’re listening to the live version from the Hell Freezes Over album. The intro guitar solo features crisp high tones, and then here come the bassy bongos!
3. Caribbean Blue – Enya
Why it makes a great speaker test: You don’t have to love new age music to appreciate the subtle layering of the audio-tracks in this song. If the speakers or headphones you’re testing don’t surround you in ethereal layers of sound, you may want to keep shopping.
4. Beverly Hills Cop Theme Song – Harold Faltermeyer
Why it makes a great speaker test: It’s worth it to go out of your way to find the original recording of this soundtrack to be certain you get the full mix of energy and silence. Also be certain you can hear the sharp clicking sound in the background.
5. Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan
Why it makes a great speaker test: Hey Nineteen just might be the audio engineer’s favorite track for testing their systems. Go to a concert early and you’re likely to hear it. As clear and clean a recording as you can get.
6. Brass Monkey – Beastie Boys
Why it makes a great speaker test: Bass, baby, bass! A word of caution – don’t turn up the volume of this floor-shaking party track until about 10 seconds in. The big booming bass could blow a lesser speaker apart.
7. Baba O’Riley – The Who
Why it makes a great speaker test: The intro of this classic track moves from left to right in a dizzying way – check see that you hear the motion. Then check the fidelity of each part as it comes in, piano, drums, guitar, Daltry and finally the violin solo.
8. Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall (HQ)
Why it makes a great speaker test: This song brings out crispy highs and deep lows with plenty of bass. It is a great song for testing any tier of headphone or speaker.