A Stereo Test Sampler Disk


David L. Debertin


Instead of going out to buy some new CD’s, I decided to “raid” my own CD archives in order to create a personal test disk for checking out speakers and other Hi Fi Gear. I think my choices include a unique assortment of music that stresses speaker designs in many different ways.


Here are my track selections


I Contemporary Jazz Masters Sampler #1 Columbia 46106

            1. Paul Desmond “Skylark” The best of Paul Desmond 45484

                        A marvelously holographic, breathy saxophone

            2. Stanley Turrentine  Pieces of Dreams” The Best Of Stanley Turrentine 45478

After opening with rather conventional sounding massed strings, out comes this very aggressive sounding Sax. Take particular note of the colors from that snarly Hammond B-3 in the middle section.


II Organ Spectacular Peter Hurford London/Decca 43710

Some of the best pipe organ music ever recorded has been done by Peter Hurford, and he is at his best on these two.

            3. Boëllmann, Suite Gothique op 25 p. I,II, III and IV

In pipe organ, Boëllmann is known as something of a “one hit wonder” in that he is famous primarily for this one well-known suite. The colors of the two slower inner movements are the most fun. The very aggressive Movement IV starts off softly and then builds to a point where it tests the response of an entire system especially the deep bass.

            4. Karg-Elert   Marche triomphale  Nun danket alle Gott

                        What can I say? Not to be missed!!


III Tender Ritual Jim Chappell Music West MWCD 131

In my view, Jim Chappell is the best of the New Age Piano composers.

            5. “Blue Racer”

                        A great test of Grand Piano by the composer


IV The Best of the Manhattan Transfer  Manhattan Transfer Atlantic 19319-2

            6. A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square

            I remember being blown away by the Manhattan Transfer singing this on TV in the 1970s I think. It’s just a great recording of four voices singing to each other and perfectly in tune.


V Without a Song Willie Nelson Columbia CK 39110

            7. Once In Awhile

            8. A Dreamer’s Holiday

Willie Nelson you say? This album of slow, jazzy ballads shows why Willie is more than just a country and western singer. In the 1980s, I remember attending a Willie Nelson concert in a smaller open-air venue at the North Dakota State Fair. Somehow the weather had caused a cancellation of the concert the previous year, and Willie was going to make good to his fans that night. The concert began at 8 pm without an opening act. He kept singing that night to well after midnight, and as it got later the songs tended to sound more and more like those on this CD. It’s occurred to me that the sound has as much to do with his distinctive backup band as with his unique voice. The arrangements are simple and effective with lots of deep bass. Listen to that Hammond B-3 sound in the backup band!


VI 20th Anniversary Celebration Sampler King’s Singers

            9. La-bas dans le limousin

            10. Blackbird

Almost a capella, the King’s Singers are marvelous at using the voice as musical instrument. Listen for all the countertenor parts.  


VII Telarc Digital Compact Discs Sampler Vol 2 (20 Excerpts from Telarc’s digital compact disc catalog) Telarc CD-80102

            11. Holst “Song of the blacksmith” Fennell, Cleveland Symphonic Winds

The symphonic winds here are actually a symphonic band

12. Stravinsky “Le Sacred du Printemps”, excerpt Maazel, The Cleveland         Orchestra

OK, OK, not everyone can handle Stravinsky, but what better way to test loudspeakers?


If you have questions about the sampler, drop me a note at DLDebertin@aol.com

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