Test Tracks: Video

Some tracks that are good for demonstrating the sound capabilities of a home theatre system.

Blu-ray – 7.1

1. Tron Legacy.

This was mixed in 7.1 with the surround loudspeakers at +/- 90° (directly to the sides of the listening position) and the back speakers at XXX°. (there was an article about this in Widescreen Review) Check out the beginning of the Light Cycle race scene when the announcer is speaking to the crowd. Listen to the echo on the announcements moving through the speakers from front to back and the different crowd noises in each speaker pair (i.e. Ls/Rs is a different crowd than Lb/Rb). Another good scene for demos is when Flynn goes from getting dressed for the Disk Wars, then rides up in the elevator to the arena. Also, the movie’s Foley and SFX are seamlessly integrated with the Daft Punk soundtrack, which was also composed/mixed in 7.1.


Blu-ray – 6.1

Blu-ray – 5.1 / DVD


1. Dancer in the Dark

This whole movie is worth seeing because of the sound design. The basic premise of this movie is that it moves back and forth between the real world and Selma’s imaginary world. The musical numbers (the imaginary world) are distinguished from the real world by using colour saturation and by switching from mono to a multichannel mix. The real world has de-saturated colours in the image and is mixed entirely into a mono centre channel. When the imaginary world takes over, the dancing starts, the colours saturate and the mix expands to surround – and widens in frequency range.

2. House of Flying Daggers

Scene 2 (look for a woman dancing in a circle of drums) is good for showing off a multichannel system that has 5 large loudspeakers instead of 5 little ones and a subwoofer.


  1. How about including the movie “top gun” to the list, the scene where the fighter jet flies over your head is pretty impressive.
    I last heard this scene on big jbl pro tour sound speakers and the sofa was literally vibrating heavily!

  2. Hi. My intention in this list is to have more than just a single moment to show off one aspect (like low-frequency effects).

  3. For full range sound I can recommend the “Ancient Aliens” series from The History Channel.
    Although the content of this series is controversial, the sound is anything but!
    When listening through my old but trusty Sennheiser HD 595 headphones on the Dolby Digital output of my laptop the sound is very clean, natural & detailed.

  4. You could add The Fifth Element / Luc Besson to your list, heavy low end duty!
    intro 0 to 2.25, at 2.17 the is a Woooop only a realy good sub would pickup!…..

  5. Hi Steen,
    Which release of the Fifth Element are you listening to? The original DVD release was in Dolby Stereo and required a ProLogic decoder. Is that the one you have? Or is it a newer release?

    – geoff