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What are Your Favorite Test Tracks and Why?
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Back in the day, I had a subscription to Stereo Review magazine. One day I saw an advertisement for Boston Acoustics speakers. They were giving away CDs titled "The Boston Bass Disc." I called the toll-free phone number and requested one. I eventually got one. I, along with most people, expected the disc to be bass-heavy rap music. Much to my surprise, the disc contained contemporary jazz from the Wyndham Hill label.
I was mildly disappointed, but the liner notes included an explanation of what to listen for. Upon a critical listen, the disc is full of transient bass. With good speakers or headphones, you can hear drums being struck and their heads vibrating, you can hear bass guitar strings being plucked and decaying. The music was also recorded well enough that treble and mid-range are well represented and their interplay could be quite difficult for inferior equipment to faithfully reproduce. Various behaviors were explained and sure enough you could hear them quite well with good equipment.
I got mine for free. :-)