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Four great reference disks to test your system’s bass

This weeks blog posts covers some of my favorite disks that I use when I am out at a customer’s house diagnosing their room’s unique acoustical issues or setting up their system. They have been chosen because they are high quality recordings that contain elements that are useful to test a system’s sound quality.

Temptation by Dianna Krall from The Girl In The Other Room has an acoustic double bass line that is great for testing for even bass decay and bass smoothness. Room modes will very often cause the double bass to lose articulation and clarity, with some notes sounding louder than others and decaying at different rates. Her voice is also a good test of image stability – it should be locked in the center of the soundstage and not wander from side to side. Wandering images are a sign of differences in frequency response between speakers which can be caused by poor pair matching or side walls that are acoustically dissimilar.

Dianna Krall The Girl in The Other Room Album Art Cover

Vuolgga Mu Mielde Bassivárrái by a Sami lady called Mari Bione from the album Eallin Live is another good track for testing your system’s bass response. It contains some very low bass guitar notes, buried in the track, that many many systems have problems reproducing cleanly. Room modes can cause this, as can lack of extension of the main speakers and poor integration of mains and subwoofers.

 

Anything by Rage Against The Machine from Rage Against the Machine . Rage’s debut album was recorded without much compression and the drums on it are equal in recording quality to the famous direct-to-disk Sheffield Labs Drum and Track disc from the 1970s. Look out for a system’s ability to reproduce the effortlessness and dynamic contrast abundent in this album. It is a great test album and very few systems in my experience can reproduce it with the drive and verve required.

Bela Fleck’s Flight of the Cosmic Hippo from the album of the same name has a growling (no other word to describe it) bass guitar that is a sure fire way to test for smoothness of bass response, even modal decay and good subwoofer integration.

What are your favorite albums for testing bass response? Please let me know by adding a comment!

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