This Is a Test – Music for Appreciating and Evaluating Audio Equipment

This Is a Test – Music for Appreciating and Evaluating Audio Equipment

While my love for music is as preternatural as my love for sugar, oxygen, and affection, I’ve never considered myself to be a bonafide audiophile. Even if I have the ear, I don’t have the income, so me wanting to be an audiophile is a bit like a greeter at Wallmart having a penchant for single malt scotch. Though my recent experiences evaluating high-end gear and writing glossaries of audiophile terminology have taught me to truly understand the flaws of my own equipment, leaving me feeling how Madonna must feel when she sees an unairbrushed photograph of her arms.

I’ve also come to realize the extent to which people use undeniably great equipment to listen to unbelievably bad music. The refrain is that top-tier equipment reveals details in the music that inferior gear would leave unexposed, which is absolutely true, but a pair of $1,200 headphones isn’t going to make me appreciate Taylor Swift any more than the disposable earbuds they give out on the plane, nor would the best speaker system in the world convince me that I need to hear Bohemian Rhapsody again.

This is a Test represents an attempt to cull the some of the most impeccably produced music ever recorded with consideration for those who test, review, or strive to better appreciate audio gear, while also working as a listenable playlist for those who do not. All of the music is taken from lossless sources. The play button is linked to a 320k mp3 file, but below there are links to download the selection in a lossless format.

Circlesquare – All Sleepers (prod by Konrad Black)
Massive Attack – Angel
The Knife – Silent Shout
Isolee – Beau Mot Plage
Jamie xx – All Under One Roof Raving
Darkside – Paper Trails
Daft Punk – Fragments of Time
Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle
D’angelo and the Vanguard – Sugah Daddy
Atom TM – I Love U (Like I Love My Drum Machine)
Drake – 6 Man
James Blake – Take a Fall for Me
FKA Twigs – Water Me
Air – Don’t Be Light
Can – Vitamin C
Steely Dan – Hey Nineteen
Joy Division – Passover
Kraftwerk – Antenne
Paul McCartney – Kreen Akrore
Grace Jones – Art Groupie
Perfume Genius – Fool
Mas Ysa – Gun
Chromatics – Tick of the Clock
Radiohead – Nude
Brian Eno – Bottomliners
Sigur Ros – Staralfur
Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight
Nils Frahm – Fa
Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker – Harry and Dolly
Fleetwood Mac – Albatross
Ella Fitzgerald – Someone to Watch Over Me
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Hand Covers Bruise
Boston Acoustics Bass Test
Subwoofer Bass Test
Plastikman – Disconnect
Aphex Twin – Minipops 67 (Source Field Mix)
Alvo Noto – U_08-1
Oneohtrix Point Never – I Only Have Eyes for You
The Field – From Here We Go Sublime
The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes for You

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320k mp3 (Right Click)

Download Now

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Lossless (Right Click)

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With the other mixes I’ve done for AudioStream and InnerFidelity having run the range of musical genres, there is of course a contingent of readers who have an aversion to electronic music. With the recent selections of music I’ve compiled favoring new music, much of which was wrought by digital means, I felt inclined to offer something of a course correction for the classic audiophiles who proudly hold their ground.

My inaugural mix for this publication was a selection of what I considered some of the best produced music for the use of evaluating audio gear. While that mix contained both electronic and analog sounds, its sequel favors analog production and live instrumentation.

David Axelrod – The Warnings Part 1
Television – Marquee Moon
Janis Joplin & Big Brother & The Holding Company – Ball and Chain
A&R Machines – A Book’s Blues
Muddy Waters – Rolling Stone
Nina Simone – Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter
Fairport Convention – Who Knows Where the Time Goes
The Velvet Underground – Pale Blue Eyes
Crosby, Stills, and Nash – Find the Cost of Freedom
The Beach Boys – I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times
Steely Dan – Black Cow
Bee Gees – Stop (Think Again)
10cc – I’m Not In Love (Rework of Art Mix)
Peter Gabriel – Lay Your Hands On Me
Enya – Only Time
Mark Nauseef – With Space In Mind
Vos Flores Rosarum – Voices of Angels
Alexander Nevsky – Russia under Mongolian Tyranny
Chopin – Prelude, Op. 28 No. 4
George Michael – They Won’t Go When I Go
Chet Baker – I Get Along Without You Very Well
Miles Davis – So What (With Studio Sequence)
Sam Cooke – Any Day Now
Minnie Ripperton – Expecting
Louis Armstrong – La Vie En Rose
Ry Cooder – Cancion Mixteca
Angelo Badalamenti – Laurens Walking
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Sugar Storm (Reprise)
Audio Test – Left Channel, Right Channel
This Mortal Coil – DD and E
Deutsche Wertarbeit – Deutscher Wald
David Bowie – Sound & Vision
Daft Punk – Fragments of Time
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – There Is No Light
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
Spiritualized – Lord Can You Hear Me
Steve Reich – Music For 18 Musicians: Section One
Audio Test – Soundstage Test

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320k mp3 (Right Click)

Download Now

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Lossless (Right Click)

Download Now
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