This is a collection of tracks that can be used to show off (and break…) your woofers and/or subwoofer(s). Beware: when I talk about “bass” I mean REAL bass. Not that silly pretend-bass 80 Hz oomph that you hear coming from a souped-up Honda with tinted windows as it drives down your street. I mean stuff an octave or two lower than that – it should make it feel like a giant is squeezing your listening room from the outside.
Artist: Paula Cole
Album: This Fire
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Comments: This is a great track for “testing” (translation: “breaking”) subwoofers. Then again, if you have a good system – or at least, properly protected one – you shouldn’t be able to break the sub – just go deaf trying… (N.B. I will not be held responsible for you causing your own deafness by trying to break your subwoofer… You’ll have no one to blame but yourself.)
Artist: Aaron Neville
Album: Warm Your Heart
Track: I Bid You Goodnight
Why: Another great recording from George Massenburg – the kick drum is perfect…
Artist: Marilyn Manson
Album: The Golden Age of Grotesque
Track: This Is The New Shit
Label: Nothing, Interscope
Comments: This is another track that I use for breaking subwoofers. Conveniently, you can simultaneously use this track to break tweeters. Seriously, though… your system should be able to reproduce this track cleanly – there’s a lot of energy across the entire frequency spectrum in this track, so the task is not as easy as it sounds. Interestingly, this track doesn’t suffer from a terribly high-level mastering, which is nice for a change!
Track: Ghosts N Stuff
Comments: To be honest, I hate having to recommend that you buy anything by Deadmau5, but this is a good track for testing. The one thing to beware of is that one of the effects in the mix is heavy compressor pumping, so you’ll have to learn to ignore that…
Artist: Nora Jones
Album: Come Away With Me
Track: Turn Me On
Label: Blue Note
Despite the fact that this album has distortion all over the place – particularly on the voice, the low end of the kick drum in this track is worth hearing.
Artist: Pat Methany & Charlie Hayden
Album: Beyond the Missouri Sky
Track: Cinema Paradiso
Why: This is just a good album – great recording of a great performance…
Artist: Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops
Album: Time Warp
Track: Theme from Battlestar Galactica
Comments: Okay, so this isn’t the most challenging piece of music in history, but the low end is nice on this recording.
Artist: The Minnesota Orchestra – Eiji Oue, cond.
Album: Minnesota Orchestra Showcase
Track: The Firebird Suite: Excerpt
Label: Reference Recordings
Comments: The early-80’s 50 kHz Telarc recording of the Firebird (get the SACD version with the better sampling rate conversion if you’re looking for it) is good. But the low end on this recording is better – or at least lower…
Artist: Herbie Hancock, John Legend, P!nk
Album: The Imagine Project
Track: Don’t Give Up
Comments: This whole album is worth buying, if only for the sound. The fact that the performances and the musicians are amazing is a bonus!
Artist: Tower of Power
Album: Souled Out
Track: Diggin’ on James Brown
Artist: Bill Champlin
Album: Mayday (Live)
Track: Bass Solo
Artist: Lady GaGa & Colby O’Donis
Album: The Fame Monster (Deluxe Version)
Track: Just Dance
Artist: Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band
Track: High Maintenance