"The One" song/album... to test your hi-fi system?

No, I’m not speaking about Bootsy Collins! :grin:

With time passing, I realize that I’m more and more attracted to well recorded/produced records and hi-fi in general.
It’s not that I have a $$$ setup*, but with small adjustments (ie. speaker position, room treatment, …) and well spent money you can have a enjoyable system that sounds really good and still be affordable.

So, each time I make a change to my hi-fi setup, I listen to the same track: “Oblivion”, by Nina Nastasia. I’m not sure why this one in particular as it’s not my favorite track of this artist, but I guess it’s because it comes from the first “well produced” album I stumbled upon after a decade of listening to over-compressed metal & rock albums (thanks to the Loudness War…). Steve Albini recorded this one and it shows the guy loves the bass.

So, to other hi-fi nerds on this forum: what are your favorite tracks/albums with a great production value? Bonus point if they have a juicy bass tone!

*who am I kidding, if I had the money I would!

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You could try some of these (the real tracks, not the YT videos, of course :grin:)

Good production and some low bass notes (with octaver); really testing your bass speakers

Production-wise not the best, but Michael Brecker takes that EWI through all six octaves, from the almost no longer audible to some shattering lows (I am exaggerating a tiny bit); good range of frequencies there

Super production - so “in your face” and yet transparent; especially the sax - you basically feel like your head is inside the bell


When I was hi-fi nut I used the War of 1812 overture. Good dynamics, highs, lows, everything. Can it handle the cannons and the bells?

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Bonnie Raitt Nick of Time

I was in an Uber hifi store years ago and was listening to those old magnaplanar speakers. They put this on and I nearly bought those stupid big things on the spot. Thankfully I really didn’t have the room.


Heart Greatest Hits
Surprisingly, one of the best sounding albums there is.

Both of these in talking vinyl btw.


Seeker is the reference song for me.
The trio project with Hirome, Tony Jackson, and Simon Phillips.

It has dynamics and very expressive songs with 6 string bass with a pick and larger than life drum tone and setup. It’s a great song.

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One thing for sure - avoid anything that has been “remastered” from 1995-2015 or so, as this usually means “compressed for loudness”.

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The best quality recording I have ever heard. Best on Vinyl (Analog Productions pressing), but still great if digital.

This is a great track for testing a system

‘Frankenstein’… Edgar Winter Group, especiallyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65XSHM3jlAY the part starting at 3:17