Recommendations for really well-recorded music for high-end audio system demo

I’m using my system to give some local high-end audio demos for fun, and although I have a good selection of tracks I can always use more and am sure you guys have some great ones out there.  First and foremost I’m looking for really well-recorded material that shows off what a good system can do — you know, the “wow your friends” tracks we all have, and if it happens to be good/fun music as well that’s a nice bonus although not necessarily a requirement.  I’d recommend listing the artist, album, and track so it’s easier to find the right version, and if you feel like elaborating on anything notable that makes it particularly good for a demo that’d be helpful/interesting but not necessary.  As an example…

  • Patricia Barber, Companion, “Like JT” — Great live jazz club vibe, fun instrumental with excellent imaging/depth/3D soundstage.

Thanks for anything ya got!


Anything by Chantal Chamberland, preferably heard on SACD.

I'm a bit surprised at the number of early digital recordings that have featured in the posts so far - Brothers in Arms, Body and Soul, and the Nightfly, all of which IMHO, show up the fairly severe limitations of the digital recording technology of the time. Admittedly, Body and Soul is superbly engineered, but would have been so much better if it had been recorded to 30 ips analogue.


What are the demographics of the high school where you are going to be demonstrating the system?

You need to meet your audience where they are and play music they enjoy.  A specialized high school that studies music vs a typical public internment camp that passes for an education will like different music.

And asking a bunch of old White and Asian dudes, with the two old black ex military guys) stereotyping us from who I saw at the one audio show I’ve been to) is not your sample.

I’d recommend a couple of tracks Best of Queen (still culturally relevant and some excellent recordings to show off a system) and to show bass something like Lourdes “Royals”.

And neither of those are particularly relevant to the under 18 demographic, but great recordings and they will know them.  Remember it’s not music you enjoy, but they enjoy.

“Darlin’ Corey” on Ricky Skaggs Big Mon album is a great sounding track. It has bluegrass instrumentation with the added bonus of Bruce Hornsby's voice and piano.  The entire album sounds great.  

Dianne Reaves - Tenderly 

Kevin Mahogany - Teach Me Tonight

Mark Isham - Anything from his Blue Sun LP