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Song(s) that sound best on your system?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Kreshna, May 10, 2018.

  1. Kreshna

    Kreshna ...but I have to know.

    Yes, I knew, an ideal system should have no sound of its own, thus, reproducing any kind of song with "equal opportunity". But it seems there is no such system; it seems sonic difference between systems is a fact of life. After all, Fostex FE206en driven by SET 300B sounds different than Monitor Audio Silver 500 driven by Emotiva XPA 200, doesn't it?

    So, which song(s) sound best on your system? Which song(s) do you love the most when played on your system, in regard to your system's sonic characteristics?

    Decades ago, when I was using the first amplifier I had, songs that sounded best on it was actually something like this one. The Standard SR-157SU didn't seem to have enough punch for rock music, but it sounded really warm and sweet for such song.

    When I was using JBL 120Tis driven by Sansui AU-7900, my favorite songs were easily those with heavy top ends, especially cymbals. I always have the impression that AU-7900 sounds bright when paired with JBL 120Tis, but it's airy-bright instead of analytical-bright. Thus, cymbals become audio nirvana. Scatman (Game Over Jazz) by John Larkin was easily one of my most favorite songs when playing on that system. Singing Birds, Crying Beasts by Santana, The Vamp by Jiro Inagaki, Ring Bell, Ring Bell by Miriam Makeba, and Lugar Comum by Herbie Mann sounded like Nirvana due to the system's airy highs. I also had another system in the garage, which consisted of JBL L20Ts driven by Sansui A40, that sounds similar to the 120Tis/AU-7900 system. Thus, my favorite songs remain the same.

    Now, my current (garage) system consists of a pair of Bowers & Wilkins DM302, driven by Rotel RB-985, and controlled by Yamaha RX-V663 (Pure Direct stereo mode). Basically, the Yamaha AVR is nothing but a glorified stereo volume control, since I have yet to build the required mini home theater room for my retro gaming computer systems. As such, all those components are used as stereo, with three other B&W DM302s remain unused.

    The B&W DM302s, driven by Rotel RB-985 and controlled by Yamaha RX-V663.

    The most recent system sounds noticeably different than my previous JBL-titaniums-driven-by-Sansui systems. The B&Ws sound warm, sweet, and organic, although they probably sound "fake" --in a sense that they made everything sound organic, including songs produced by DJs from synthesized samples. Especially when driven by the Yamaha RX-V663's own internal amps: everything sounds sweet and chocolatey --not enough punch, which makes the warmth and sweetness sound out of place with songs like Mick Jagger's Throwaway. Using Rotel RB-985 improved the punchiness quite a lot, but the warmth and sweetness are still there.

    That's not saying it's not a good thing, though.

    Since using the system above, my most favorite song is Flyin' Away by Mo' Horizons. Yes, the band is actually a duo of DJs from Hanover, Germany, who made their music using synthesized samples. But when played on B&W DM302s, Flyin' Away sounds very sweet, very organic, especially the percussion despite they're all digital samples. The hand claps that start from the minute 2:48? They too, sound really sweet, organic.

    How about songs that are fully acoustics to begin with? Take Miriam Makeba's Pata Pata for example; not only the titular song, but the entire album sounds sweeter and more organic than when played on the JBL L20Ts/Sansui A-40 combo. Songs that sound really nice on the said system also include Siempre Di Domenica by Daniele Silvestri, Jitterbug by Angelo Badalamenti, La Isla Bonita by Madonna, Streets of New York (Unplugged) by Alicia Keys, and Snake Eater by Cynthia Harrell. The DM302s' LF bump also help to enhance punchiness, but still sound organic nonetheless.

    So, how about yours?
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  2. Excellent idea for a thread, Kreshna. In response to your question: the Prince and the Revolution soundtrack albums Purple Rain and Parade (for the film Under the Cherry Moon). Sometimes one has to toot one's horn and in this case I will. The albums sound simply sterling in my living room - at any volume. Standout tracks are "Let's Go Crazy," "I Would Die 4 U," "Computer Blue," "Darling Nikki," and the eponymous title track from Purple Rain. In regard to Parade, "Christopher Tracy's Parade," "Life Could Be So Nice," "I Wonder U," "Anotherloverholenyohead," "Mountains," and "Venus de Milo," transport me to another place.

    Once again, this is an excellent thread topic and I can forsee a multi-hundred page thread in the making. :)
    Bdbras84 and Kreshna like this.
  3. Kreshna

    Kreshna ...but I have to know.

    Thank you!

    What is your system made of? Why do those songs sound really nice on the system? What is your system's strength? Midrange sweetness? Top end airiness? Bass slams? Disappearing act? Stereo imaging?

    Amen to that.
  4. mroboto

    mroboto Super Member

    The song that sound best in my system is that song that I thought I was perfectly acquainted to, but have previously always heard on other systems, on radio, etc...
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  5. I'm using:

    a.) A Windows-based server converting digital files to analong via a...
    b.) AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC (v1.2) which feeds into a...
    c.) B&K PT5 preamplifier/tuner paired with a ...
    d.) B&K ST125.2 stereo amplifier (140 watts per channel). The amp drives a pair of...
    e.) 15" KLH 9154 three-way floorstanders, both of which fill in the bottom end in unison with...
    f.) 12" Velodyne VRP1200 (x2) and 12" Sony SA-WM500 powered subwoofers.

    The strengths of my setup are definitely midrage (voices sound amazing and "there") and non-boomy bass. The aforementioned tracks by Prince and the band sound so nice due to the artist's purported "perfectionism" during the recording process. The tracks stage well and sound very "open" in my listening space. The system as listed above does a very good job of getting the music "into the room" without shoving it down the listener's throat and without having to turn the volume up to ridiculous levels. My couch is 10 feet away from the front plane of the speakers and listening to tunes by themselves or doing so while reading is simply heaven to me.
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  6. quiet

    quiet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    This afternoon it's Shag. Chad Smith and the Bambastic Meatbatts.
    Generic early 70s receivers and speakers. Representing a very divers selection of coloration.
    Hyfi likes this.


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  7. squirrelnest

    squirrelnest Addicted Member

    Alexandria, VA
  8. knockbill

    knockbill Addicted Member

    SE PA
    Pink Floyd sounds good here!!!
    darkblue94 likes this.
  9. Justgotohm

    Justgotohm AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Savannah Georgiaish
    I can literally hit shuffle and most anything sounds good to me. The only downside is some recordings I really like were poorly produced or produced when available, out of studio, equipment was not great. I listen to these on less revealing speakers. Usually a set of speakers and equipment that was around at the time. I prefer live recordings with big open venues. Some YouTube examples, I do like to surf YouTube disregarding that the media isn’t super hi fidelity but plenty good enough to jam out.
    This does not sound good but I like to crank it anyway.

    This does sound good, the echo seems three dimensional.
    tater415, Bdbras84 and Ds2000 like this.
  10. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown Super Member

    Northern California
    With my JBLs I listen to a lot of Rock and Hard Rock, as well as a lot of Dubstep, Drum & Bass, and everything in-between. Mid-bass punch that comes with hard-rock is very important to me and of course bass is very important to me. I would say that these are the songs that bring out those characteristics the best:

    I love the way this song plays on my system and does the mid-bass punch perfectly, you feel it right in your chest just like you should when you are listening you hard rock loud:

    I can't think of a single song that brings out the bass better on my system than this song. I play this when I want to show people what my system can do and the furniture usually isn't in the same place afterward:
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  11. knockbill

    knockbill Addicted Member

    SE PA
    Traffic and Clapton are always spinning here also... I think some bands/artists spend a lot of time and effort on the engineering/recording//production of their music... Steely Dan could be added to this list also...
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  12. bluescat

    bluescat Well-Known Member

    "In Hearing Of" by Atomic Rooster
  13. Spacey37308

    Spacey37308 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    "Crying To The Sky" by Be Bop Deluxe. Soaring guitar solos from a mid '70's progressive rock band. Dynaco PAS 3 Magnavox 175 amp with Klipsch Rb5 II.
  14. Pioneered

    Pioneered Well-Known Member

    Gees! A lot of my music sounds good on my gear, heck if it didn't I reckon I'd get some other gear but, as I sit here and think
    "Miss Emily's picture" - John Conlee on the"With Love" album always sounds extra special to me but, that song has always meant a lot to me.
    John Conlee-With Love (.jpg
    kray likes this.
  15. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I used one with startling dynamics with Glenn's speaker video post here.
  16. alteclipsch

    alteclipsch Super Member

    My system is a pretty basic, older Onkyo receiver, Realistic Lab 400, and bone stock Altec Valencia speakers. I just listened to "She's a Woman" from the Beatles 65 album. One of my favorites because of McCartney's strong vocal, but also the staccato guitar chords and Harrison's short but excellent solo. This kind of music really brings out the best from the Vals. Another old rocker is "NSU" from Fresh Cream (also mid 60s). Again, crisp guitar and a short but stunning solo by Clapton. Preferably both played loud and in a critical listening situation (no distractions) make these two of my favorites for a music experience in which the content and equipment are in near perfect sync.


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  17. OttOpixel

    OttOpixel AK Member Subscriber

    Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada
    “Once upon a Time in the West”
    Dire Straits - Communique’

    It’s my benchmark song.

    Whenever I’m swapping around gear and something is off I play that song.

    It basically tells me if it’s the material or the gear that is off.

    When that song sounds right the gear is good and the fun begins.
  18. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    I agree with Dire Straits album above, but on my larger system (800 watts bi-amped into ML Prodigys), I like the way Jazz and Classical music is reproduced, particularly trios and quartets. A couple satisfying benchmarks are the McCoy Tyner Double Trios album (the song "Sudan" with Marcus Miller for example) and Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio's "Midnight Sugar" (title song as an example). If you maintain the original hi-res digital format (via PS Audio Directstream), these are hard to beat in terms of putting yourself in the room with the musicians, with bass lines that vibrate your bones rather than thump your eardrums on my electrostatics with integral subwoofers. Most Rock music for some reason (maybe pleasing distortion) sounds best on a tube-amped, vintage analog system I have set up in another room.
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  19. swamppirate

    swamppirate Addicted Member

    Sweet Virginia Breeze
    Dire Straits- Telegraph Road.....this tune will reveal any strength or weakness!
    reydelaplaya, sdw54 and VYNULADIKT like this.
  20. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Philadelphia PA
    Every thing I play on my main system sounds wonderful. I suppose that's why I rarely change my gear. Listening to Madonna as I type this.,

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