Which track sounds best on your speakers?

P5 and 800 Diamond series reports from CES 2010

So, you’ve bought your brand new speakers – be it our award-laden Zeppelin ipod system, the equally heavily awarded 685s or a gleaming pair of 802 Diamond – and you’re lining up your favourite music to test them on.

We want to know what you’ve found sounds the best. Which stand-out  track would you play when your friends come round and you want to really show them off, or perhaps justify why you bought them to your partner.

It might be that you hear something new in an old favourite that you’d never heard before or that suddenly it sounds as if Keith Richards is playing in front of you.

The Daily Growl from Lambchop’s Is A Woman sounds brilliant on my 684′s – there is a beautiful depth and warmth and a really immediate live feel that always makes people ask who the artist is.

We’d love to hear from you on what makes your speakers sing.

258 Comments

  • Andy says:

    On my Old Denon PMD 1060 i listen to:

    - Talk Talk – The Colour of Spring.
    With a great drum solo on the intro…

    - Roger Waters – Amused to Death.
    - Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms – Listen to So Far Away , the tone of the voice of Mark Knopfler on This song is great.
    - REM – Automatic for the People – Nightswimming – Great atmosphere and beautiful Emotions in the voice of Michael stipe.

    - Marillion – Brave – A remark in the CD booklet is “play it loud with the lights out” – Just do IT!!!!!!!! and You’ll see!!!

  • bryce says:

    alanis morrissets mary jane is incredible
    on my 683 and put a spell on you ccr the feedback on the guitar sounds like the amp is in the room amazing

  • Dax Abraham says:

    Diana Krall, Blue Man Group, Shakti on my 605′s sounds awesome ….

  • Nigel says:

    Every part of my system was bought after listening to ‘Now we are free’ from the Gladiator soundtrack.

    Diana Krall – ‘I could drink a case of you’ from Live in Paris is stunning.

    In fact I agree with another poster, John, who says that female vocals always win.

    For movies, switch to DTS and run the opening battle scene from Gladiator. From the rustling of the corn through Maximus’ fingers, the robins’ wings fluttering, through to the brute force of the Mars Bringer of War style battle score I’m rivetted. And so is anyone else I’ve sat in the middle of it.
    Who needs a subwoofer when you have 602s3s up front?

  • Bruce McLean says:

    Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – by Jacques Louissier Trio – this was a demo disc when I selected last CD player NAD C545BEE played through NAD 370 Amp to B&W Matrix 804 speakers with small Missions at the back

  • Bill says:

    I absolutely love Stevie Ray Vaughn’s:
    Rivera Paradise. It was what was played for me in the audio room when I bought my speakers and it sold me on their quality of sound.

  • Mikael says:

    I have a pair of B&W 683 in my room and listen to almost all genres. Mostly rock, hard rock, metal. But if I’m going to buy a new pair of speakers I’ve got at short list of what I came up with now.

    Bill Withers – Lovley day
    Anna Ternheim – My secret
    Dire Straits – Money for nothing
    Nils Lofgren – You
    Prodigy – Spitfire
    The Knife – Like a pen
    Scorpions – Money and fame

  • Andy K says:

    Second the Leftism album. In this genre the In-Sides album by Orbital and Poney pt1 by Vitalic.

    The best quality live album I’ve heard is the Corrs Unplugged, Andrea’s voice is crystal clear.

  • adam h says:

    on my ccm50 and asw2 my choise is Monster Magnet with the song spacelord

  • fernando silva says:

    I listen to hard rock,pop, metal,etc.
    I have 603s3 with rotel 1062 amp+951 cd player and supra ply 3.4s bi-wire.
    They sound great with Depeche Mode, Def Leppard, Metallica, paradise lost, etc…

  • max says:

    Dire Straits where do you tink you’re going (lp)
    Roger Waters Perfect Sense
    Antonella Ruggiero Solo tu (registrazioni moderne)
    Pink Floyd Shine On You Crazy Diamond
    cdm7se

  • Richard says:

    I’m fortunate to have Chord Electronics CPA400/SPM1400E pre/power + B&W 802s + Nordost Valhalla cabling.
    Eclectic music tastes, but for demo showing power & range Wojciech Kilar’s Dracula theme and for notes that just hang, shimmering in the air Enrique Iglesias’ Hero.

  • Francesco says:

    I have a 302 speakers with paradigm ps100 sub for low fq. I listen tons of music, I really love the guitars and femenine voices in this small speakers. My favorites are, Natalie Merchant(tiger lily), Alison Krauss (Live with Union Station), Caty Melua (Pictures), Maria Rita (segundo), Amy Winehouse (Frank).
    And… this reference Records- Astor Piazzola “Live in Central Park; Mile Davis “Quiet Music”, Alan Parsons “on air”……etc….etc….

  • Jason says:

    I have to go with “Can’t You Hear me Knocking” from “Sticky Fingers”. It has everything in it, and at just over 7 minutes in length, it is long enough that you don’t repeat it.

  • Gary says:

    I run 683′s,Martin logan Grotto sub with rotel pre-amp/amp combo. I love Nora Jones (Come away with me,Nightingale) off of her 200 gram vinyl album. Along with Supertramp reference recording (Crime of the Century). White Stripes (Icky Thump)brings out the bass with meg’s drums. And for digital, the Eagles (Hell freezes over)DVD. The song (Seven Bridges road)at the end in DTS surround is skin tingling.

  • Dee says:

    Sopot-Hamburg Jazz Quintet….

    on my 703′s…..pure heaven
    Cheers

  • javier says:

    I have a 805 speakers, with a pre Rotel rc 1070 + 2 ampli (monoblocks) Rotel rb 1070 (300 w aprox.)
    the songs are the next
    Diana Krall – temptation
    Katie Melua – Spider´s web
    Dire Straits – Private Investigation
    The sins of thy beleved – all alone
    Therion – Ljusalfheim
    Metallica – unforgiven

    The sound is amazing

  • Ralph says:

    The best track I heard on my 703 and creek evolution amp and evo 2 cd player is “Sing, sing, sing” played by the GRP All Star Big Band album live.
    Other really good albums are the dmp music cds like “Flim & the BBs” especially “Tricycle”.

  • C'Man says:

    I love the track ‘Sunrise’ by Norah Jones on my 705s – which really shows off the 705′s ability with vocal and natural instruments. The other track I crank up, is “Something’s Missing” by John Mayer, which gives ppl a surprise when they hear the bass come in from such a small pair of standmounts.

  • Michael Meyers says:

    Tough call there are a lot of great recordings. But to show off the N803 driven by a MF A308 Integrated with a Theta Data Basic II Transport and MF TriVista DAC front end. It has to be the following.

    Holly Rea :)
    Bruce Cockburn :)
    And last but not least Flim & the BB’s :)

    I think I can honestly say it doesn’t matter which track from any one of them.

    Oh we won’t go into vinyl for it rocks!!!

  • Alex says:

    Depending on the audience and my mood I use the following set to demonstrate the sound of my B&W 804s:

    Cowboy Junkies. The Trinity Session.
    Muddy Waters. Folk Singer [ULTRADISC Mobil Fidelity re-master]
    Elgar. Cello Concerto. Sea Pictures. Du Pre. Baker. Barbirolli. [1965 EMI]
    Jennifer Warnes. The Hunter (“Somewhere, Somebody” track and “Way Down Deep” – for base)
    Roger Waters. Amused to Death.
    Romeo Is Bleeding. Soundtrack.
    Pink Floyd. The Dark Side Of The Moon. [ULTRADISC Mobil Fidelity re-master]

    I didn’t feel the need to upgrade my equipment for almost 10 years. To drive my B&W 804s I use Theta Basic II transport with Theta Progeny DAC hooked to Anthem PRE1 with two NAD 216 THX power amps (horizontal bi-amping) with WireWorld speaker and interconnect cables.

  • Menno says:

    Set consists of Technics SL-P1200 CD player, connected to DAP5500 pre amp from Denon connected to POA 6600 power amps from Denon connected to model 801-F .
    Tracks that always sound verry good (in random order):

    It’s probably me – Sting
    Afternoon + Hands And Clouds – Andreas Vollenweider
    Luna tu – Alessandro Safina
    Planet Dada (Flamboyant) – Yello
    Three wishes – Roger Waters
    Tu – Sarah Brightman
    Spente Le Stelle – Emma Shapplin
    The Race – Yello
    The Rythm devine – Yello
    Cold Rain – The Blues Company
    Noches Calientes – Rosenberg Trio
    Foolish Games (Edit) – Jewel
    Deeper Well – Emmy Lou Harris
    Tattoo – Janis Ian
    Aerial Boundries – Michael Hedges
    Respect the Wind – Eddie and Alex Van Halen

    And, wel… I could go on for hours and hours, but these (old) 801′s just always sound great!

  • freddy says:

    B&W dm683 with rotel rsp 1098 and rmb 1075,marantz and audiaquest king cobra’s.
    leonard cohan live in london
    dido live dvd
    dire straits sacd brothers in arms
    ima galguén abisimo arriba
    everything from simple minds

  • Fred says:

    I listen to jazz mostly. My babes are CM1 with Cambridge, Sony SACD, and Velodyne sub. Ecletic sound from:
    ~Rick Braun Sessions Vol1 (entire album)
    ~Miles Davis Kind of Blue (who doesnt?)
    ~Winston Mankuku Ndlozi (rare compilation from early 1960s by SA’s finest saxophonist)
    ~Joe Henderson, Best of (listen to El Barrio, Spanish inspired saxo lube)
    ~John Mayer Live (not jazz but the guitar riffs on bluesy Cd1 are great)

    B&W bloggers i want SACD jazz Cd’s, any recommendations?

  • Kris says:

    Lyngdorf – B&W 804S
    * Bartok’s opera “Bluebeard’s Castle”: opening of the fifth gate (combines full orchestra blast and a ppp solo soprano within one minute).
    * Orlando di Lasso: Propethiae Sibyllarum (de Labyrintho) (chamber music stage, realism of voices, overtones.
    * Gia Kanchely: last 5′ of violaconcerto “Styx” (contains about everything to illustrate the various qualities of a speaker. High/low, dynamics, single piano,single viola, choir, full symphonic orchestra and most importantly: music that should carry you away from judging speakers to sheer joy)

  • steelydan96 says:

    use any good speakers you like, mine are Harbeth. Jaco Pastorius bass on Joni Michells Don Juans Reckless Daughter track Talk to me on vinyl. Steely Dan AJA and Donald Fagen Nightfly.

  • Spiza says:

    For me:

    SACD The Pink Panther Theme, Ultimate Mancini.

    SACD Carmina Burana Carl Orff, Robert Shaw. (very dificult to reproduce)

    SACD Pentatone Classics RQR

    SACD Richard Strauss-Also Sprach Zarathustra, Fritz Reiner: Chicago Symphony Orchestra (very dificult to reproduce)

  • Barros says:

    You will forgive me, but the question does not make sense. It’s the other way round. Speakers have to deal with the music I like. I’m not choosing music that fits them best…

  • Dewald Visser says:

    I listen to a wide variety of genres but there is a few that is really special in the sonics department.

    Janis Ian – Breaking Silence (180g Vinyl Issue)
    Jennifer Warnes – The Hunter
    Dire Straits – Love Over Gold
    Sara K – Water Falls (180g Vinyl Issue)
    Ryan Adams – Gold
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    Pink Floyd – DSOTM (30th Anniversary Ed on Vinyl)
    Neil Diamond – The Jazz Singer (Original Vinyl Issue)

  • julio says:

    Opps!. That’s a splendid question. Firstly I’ve just read the whole list and I would like not repeat on my elections.

    1.- Harry Connick Jr. (“She”) CD 1994
    You could use any track for stunning sound, but just try with the first track for this record: ‘ She ‘ ( same title as the cd)… Please, be careful with the volume. The bass could break your woofer or your nearly mirrors!!! After that you has brilliant vocals, and a fabolous rythm section with rip-roaring pianos.

    2.- Dead Can Dance.- “Into the laberynht” (1993). Try with cd, but exist SACD too!.
    Vocals, exotic, mistique, medieval. That’s superb.

    3.- Rickie Lee Jones.- “Girl at her Volcano”. Cd (1983 Ep). Try with any track, or just directly with the cover ‘ Under the boardwalk’.

    4.- Queen .- ‘The Game’ DVD Audio 2003 5+1 brilliant mix as must be done!.

  • Juanjo Arias says:

    BW603 S3 – Pioneer A307R Integrated Amp.

    - Knopfler – You and Your Friend, Live (Album On The Night)
    - Aaron Neville – Close Your Eyes
    - Enya – May it Be (Lord of the Rings)
    - Evanescence – Good Enaugh – Lithium – My Inmortal
    - Hayley Westenra – Wuthering Heights

    Listening DVD Movies:
    Pioneer 5.1 – 100w/Ch
    Infinity Beta 250 Center Speaker
    JBL Balboa 10 Rear Speaker
    They are not expensive, cuestion of Money jejj.

    The Beginning of Lord of The Rings, The Felloship of the Ring (Spanish Version – Spanish Voice, Great)

  • Angel says:

    AC/CD Live

  • JUAN ANGEL says:

    El disco en Cd el JACINTA – AUTUMN LEAVES ( 1999 ).
    En LP Carmina Burana – Deutsche Grammophon.

    Mis cajas son B&W 705 con cables Mit, amplificador TecnoLine MJ60 con KT 66 y de compact disc un Audiomeca Kreature con cables audioquest.Tocadiscos JVC con capsula ClearAudio Classic Wood.

    Perdon por escribir en español.

  • Alvaro Suas says:

    The Eagles – Hotel California – Acoustic in Melbourne.

  • Steve says:

    603.3′s plus LCR600 and 610′s rear powered by a Rotel 1056. Turn it up and get blown away!

    Dave Holland Big Band: Overtime
    John Patitucci: Mistura – great Brazilian jazz

    Patti Larkin – Strange Fruit – HDCD – rich acoustic – great space for an acoustic CD

    Afro Celt Sound System – Release – huge drummingis

    Trilok Gurtu – Bad Habits Die Hard-Incredible live CD -Trilok’s drumming is one of the great auditory experiences!

    Strength in Numbers- Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck -

    Steve Hackett -Genesis Revisited -

    Cassadra Wilson -Thunderbird – produced by T-Bone Burnett

    Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale-Breathless
    some electronic wizardly well mixed – great space.

    that my 2 cents!

  • Gerry says:

    Bi-amped pair of 804s,

    I use the Eagles – “Hell Freezes Over” CD for my friends. Tracks 6 – Hotel California, 7 – Wasted Time, and 12 – Take it easy.

    Personally I like late night listening with lights off

    The 804s bring the music alive

  • cyrano says:

    Bonjour !
    I always tested the different speakers with :
    “TAKE FIVE” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums.
    Best regards.

  • louis Mertes says:

    the ultimate speaker test for me are
    ” emotion ”
    and for the test my favourite choice are ( in a lot of others…)

    Svarta Bjorn – Sangen om fyret ved Tornehamn
    The Chieftains – The Foggy Dew with Sinead O’Connor
    The Judds – Maybe Your Baby’s Got the Blues
    Van Morrison – Have I Told You Lately
    Ten Years After – I Can’t Keep From Crying, Sometimes
    Michael Franks – Underneath The Apple TreeTom Waits – I Never Talk To Strangers
    gerard lesne – vivaldi – cum dederit -
    arvo part – miserere
    hopkinson smith – luth pieces from j dowland
    Led Zeppelin – Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
    Blood Sweat & Tears – Sometimes in Winter

    put the records on the studer A730, turn on the accuphases twin and…
    just listen !

  • Mike says:

    B&W 804s + Primaluna Dialogue Two + Yamaha CD-S 2000

    Mark Knopfler – Je Suis Desole
    Dire Straits – Telegraph Road
    Jesse Cook – Closer to Madness
    Dave Brubeck – Take Five
    Louis Armstrong – What a wonderful Life
    Diana Krall – temptation
    Antonio Forcione – Tears Of Joy
    Strong/Whitfield – Papa Was a Rolling Stone

  • virgilio says:

    Mi equipo: opera consonance 15th anniversary-amplificador, xindak muse se-compact disc player,thorens td-240 – giradisco,B&W CM1-las magnificas cajas acusticas. Mi musica: Joe strumer -redemption song. JEFF BECK-Where were you.the Beatles-Happiness is a Warm gun.The Clash-Complete control.Stones-Fingerprint file.Neil Young-Rockin´in the free world.Bob Dylan-Jokerman

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