What selections do you play when showing off your system to others?

I find that when I'm having someone listen to my system that I usually play the same 4 or 5 selections. I tend to lean towards vocals and acoustic presentations. Mine are as follows:

Hold That Line- Tedeschi Trucks Band

Roadhouse and Automobiles- Chris Jones

The Hunter- Jennifer Warnes

River Blues- Eric Bibb

Flight of the Hippo- Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

It's All in the Game- Merle Haggard

Your Bright Baby Blues- Jackson Browne

What are yours?



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Delayed response...

First, the guy asked what selections do you play.  Just list the songs you feel show your rigs capabilities and stop with the lack of "emotional connection"

I went through most of the posts and listened for songs that made my system come alive.  That's the fun of the forum; to discover music and equipment that enhance your experience.

That said, while listening to recommendations, I came across this outstanding piece that will test the dynamics of your rig.  Truly spectacular.  Needless to say, I had an emotional connection!

Mazeppa, Act I: Gopak from  Eiji Oue - Minnesota Orchestra  - Album: Exotic Dances from the Opera

Others I like:

Man in a long black coat - Bob Dylan

Rider on the Storm - The Doors

Apoleipein - Metaz Descendez 

Happiest Days > Another Brick 2 - Pink Floyd

Then they can play what they want!


Some great suggestions here!  I usually have a few selections that I think sound really good on my system (Philip Glass selections, Michael Jackson, etc) but if I know that persons personal tastes I play something they know well.  That’s when it gets interesting.    My granddaughter likes 21 Pilots.  One friend loves Queen.  Another likes female torch song vocals.  They each sit in my chair and I play what they like.  The usual comments when I play a song they know very well, “Wow! What a great system!  I’ve never heard this song sound better”.

Mission accomplished. 

A few that came to mind:

  • Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
  • Corazon Espinado - Santana
  • Just Like You - Keb' Mo'
  • Year of the Cat - Al Stewart
  • Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

Here's some tracks that would show off a great system...

'Isobel' - Yuri Honing Trio (Alive)

'Drum Boogie' - Arne Domnerus (Live is Life)

'Acoustic Revenge' - Antonio Forcione (Live!)

'Dream a Little Dream of Me' - Benny Goodman (Benny Goodman & Friends)

'Private Investigations' - Dire Straits (Love Over Gold)

'Chuck E.'s in Love' - Rickie Lee Jones (Naked Songs Live and Acoustic)

'Dimming of the Day' - Tom Jones (Spirit in the Room)

'Startup' - Bernt Moen (Closure)

'Done Got Old' - Buddy Guy (Sweet Tea)

'Resurrection Blues' - Otis Taylor (White African)

'Mondscheinsonate' - Ray Brown/Laurindo Almeida (Moonlight Serenade)

'Blues in Advance' - Clifford Jordan (Live at Ethell's)



Blown Away - Sivert Hoyem

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word - Lydia Gray

Silver - Rising Appalachia 

On’n’On-Ruined by Rick Rubin - Justice

Momma Sed - Puscifer

Limit to Your Love - James Blake

Bcuz I'm all about that bass:

Stevie Ray Vaughn - "Tin Pan Alley"

Dave Matthews: "Grey Blue Eyes"

Prince: "Dark"

P.M. Dawn: "I'd Die Without You"

Diana Krall: "My Love Is"

Whitney Houston: "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)"

Eightball & MJG: "Just Like Candy"    *Only a quality set up will catch all of the bass in this one. 


Mostly what they want to hear but my demo faves are

Guitarmass - Infected Mushroom

Bass and Drum intro- Nils Lofgren

Xavier Rudd- Follow the Sun

SRV- Tin Pan Alley

Fleetwood Mac- Landslide ( demo track on extended version)

@immatthewj Yes, the Live In Paris Version.

Also, Check out Black Hole Sun by Norah Jones live...

@andynotadam  I was on an ebay SHM CD buying binge, and I believe I did get that live Norah Jones CD.  I have only listened to it once, though.  I picked up the Live Krall SACD from Amazon when I was on another binge.  I do really like that live cover version she does.  Although I think I've only listened to that one 3 times, my impression was that it was very dynamic.  Wallflower is my favorite SACD by Diana Krall; I like the tracks she covered and I think she did a great job.  Her cover of "Desperado" rivals Linda Ronstadt's (imo) and I love her cover of "California Dreaming."

On yet another binge (MD this time) I think I picked up every SACD by Norah Jones they had available.  On one of them, she does a cover of Tom Waits "Long Way Home" that always makes me smile and want to sing along (which I don't, because I really want to hear Norah, not my own out of tune singing).

I played UB40: Red Wine to sell my Salk Songtowers. It was sold as soon as the bass line came in. No negotiating. Had to prove there was no subwoofer. It's really the room.


Also outstanding: 


Lalo Schifrin: Bullit Soundtrack 1968.

John Barry: 007 theme

Ella Fitzgerald: The Very Thought of You.






When pressed it can be difficult for some people to come up with a song on the spot.  Especially when surrounded by hundreds of CDs and records.  But if someone has made it into my listening room, then the odds are good I know at least a little something about their musical tastes.  So I like to pick something they are likely to have heard many, many times before.  Beatles or Stones.  Ella and Louie.  Take Five by Dave Brubeck.  You get the idea.  
It serves to put them at ease with something familiar and improves the chance they will hear something in that recording that they have not heard before.  

I usually get comments about the clarity of the vocals or the instrumentation, but occasionally someone says something really nice to hear like “I can’t really tell where the sound is coming from” or my favorite ever comment, “your subwoofer is really dialed in well.” 
I wasn’t using a subwoofer.  

@immatthewj Yes, the Live In Paris Version.

Also, Check out Black Hole Sun by Norah Jones live...

Great thread.  Here are my current digital choices, all served in high res:

Sarasate: Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25:  4 Moderato - Anne-Sophie Mutter - Carmen - Fantasie

Lay Lady Lay - Cassandra Wilson - Glamored

Horizontal Blue - David Piltch - Take One

Ocean Wide, Canyon Deep - Jacob Collier, Laura Mvula, Metropole Orkest, Jules Buckley - Djesse Vol. 1

The Spot - Mickey Hart - Planet Drum

 Siren Singing - Yello, Fifi Rong - Point

Analog is for another post.



@andynotadam  , would that be the live at Paris recording of "A Case Of You"/Diana Krall  or the studio recording?

It's fascinating what others listen to. I like to look over people's music collections. Once ear opening electronic music. Vy experimental. Vy weird.

Planets Mehta LA Phil. 1st track Mars they will feel they're being invaded. And it will sound familiar cuz of being used as a soundtrack on many a video.

I'm hardly cynical...and it's not a "stance" as I did use the word "generally." I'm simply speaking from many years of reality with this stuff, and yeah they "can" turn towards it and it baffles me that most people just don't...they want giant screen televisions with crystal clear images, phones that do anything, blah blah...but serious audio? Ha. Go to nearly anybody else's house and they're perfectly satisfied with the convenience of being able to yell instructions at a tiny speaker and play bad classic rock in the background all night...drives me nuts. I've had people ask me for advice about what to get for themselves but they rarely follow through as the vast majority do not care. I'm fine with it as it doesn't dampen my fun one bit.

Take A Walk On The Wild Side. Lou Reed

A Case Of You. Diana Krall

Magnificent Seven. The Clash

These Days. Greg Allman

Oh Well. Sara K

Tired of typing, but I agree with many here that it's best to let your friend pick some of the songs regardless of what I might think about the sonic quality. When they hear an old fave in a new way they tend to get it...

@wolf_garcia  "Nobody who doesn't already care about great audio really cares about how cool you think your stereo is. They simply do not give a damn generally, and may say something complimentary to be nice...kind of like "Nice train set," or "Nice tiny doll house furniture collection," or "Stamps...How cool!""

That's a bit of a cynical stance.  

Actually, I've made converts... some people who thought they didn't care, or hadn't ever really thought about it, have really come around very quickly to the concept of excellent stereo once they listened to some music through my system... even casual acquaintances who have attended my poker nights have taken notice and actually asked about my system, and that's just w a Pandora stream playing quietly in the background.  Neophytes ears can indeed be opened.

Some people have never really been aware of what a difference even a relatively modest carefully selected stereo system can make to music enjoyment.  Once they hear it for themselves, they can turn towards it very quickly.  Just today I was mentoring someone who approached me for advice about putting together a good budget system; his interest was piqued by what he had heard casually through my own modest system... 

to name a few: 

John Denver, Rocky Mountain High

S&G, Bridge Over Troubled Water

Fleetwood Mac, Over My Head and I'm So Afraid

George Michael and Elton John duet live: Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me

Metallica, Wherever I May Roam

Rubenstein, Chopin Nocturnes


My system is for my enjoyment - if someone's interested in music I will invite them to be the dj and listen with me.  

I ask them what they would like to hear and I play that. Easy to do with streaming, odds are it will have what they want. It is absolutely pointless to play them something they don't care for even if to your ears it is the best sounding record ever. Lesson learned.

Little Wing - Stevie Ray Vaughan

Hell Freezes Over - pretty much any track - Eagles

Let Down - Radiohead


Any original Mofi UHQR if they like any of those albums. Otherwise something they name that I have.

The ultimate demonstration disc by Chesky records.

Rebecca Pidgeon's take of Spanish Harlem from this CD never ceases to amaze anyone i play it for.

Good point. If the goal is to play something impressively good then it would have to be vinyl.

When I Showcase My Rig … It’s ONLY Vinyl 👍

King Curtis - Soul Meeting

WAR - The World Is A Ghetto 

SUPERTRAMP - Brother Where You Bound

GRP - Live in Session

James Cotton - High Energy 

John Mayall - 70th Birthday Concert 

So many to choose from. I would agree wholeheartedly to let the listener control the music, as the best way to really appreciate a system is to listen to familiar music.

That being said, I do have a few favorites that I pretty much default to:

  • SRV - Riviera Paradise
  • Uncle Lucius - Keep the Wolves Away
  • Muddy Waters - My Home is in the Delta
  • Hans Theessink - Feel Like Going Home
  • Anything off “Famous Sound of Three Blind Mice”
  • Anything off “Greensleeves” by Shoji Yokoushi Trio
  • Herb Alpert & Hugh Masekela - Kalahari Nights

Enoch Light, Bongos Flutes and Guitars or any of his Command Performance Label recordings on vinyl

....fun just to leave it on the big screen soundless and looped...

Beats a blank screen any day...even if it doesn’t smell funny. ;)

Change the speed to fit the mood....

Nobody who doesn't already care about great audio really cares about how cool you think your stereo is. They simply do not give a damn generally, and may say something complimentary to be nice...kind of like "Nice train set," or "Nice tiny doll house furniture collection," or "Stamps...How cool!"

"That Mellow Saxophone" from Boogeyin'! on Mapleshade because it's so much fun.


Oh, and "I'm An Old Cowhand" by Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks, featuring the vocal stylings of the delicious Maryann Price (her singing on this song is absolutely lascivious!).  Found on the group's Striking It Rich album, produced by the well-known Tommy LiPuma (33 Grammy nominations with 5 wins!), recorded in January and February 1972 at Sunset Sound in L.A.---a studio known for it's great sound, engineering by Bruce Botnick (the doors, Love, The Beach Boys, many others). The whole album is fantastic, the relatively rare concurrence of good music AND good sound.

By the way, Botnick produced the two Columbia Records albums by L.A. Power Pop band The Beat, their debut album a classic of the genre.

So many great songs mentioned.   If I have company I will just launch Qobuz or Tidal and hand them the tablet.   I will do this with my Vault 2i as the source so they can control volume without touching my gear.    

SRV Tin Pan Alley is a fav.....   Dire Straits  Private Investigations is a superb recording .    


- "Driving Wheel", T Bone Burnett.

- "Me And Bobbie McGee", Gordon Lightfoot.

- "Mercury Blues", David Lindley.

- "Shoot Out The Lights", Richard & Linda Thompson.

- "Superstition", Stevie Wonder.

- Sheffield Labs The Missing Linc Volume II.

- Holst: The Planets, Sir Adrian Boult conducting The New Philharmonic Orchestra With Chorus (EMI ASD 2301).

- Vivaldi: Trial Of Harmony and Invention No's 1-4, The English Concert conducted from the harpsichord by Trevor Pinnock (CRD 1025).

Too many to list. I've got custom made demo discs for multiple genres, live recordings. etc. So, hopefully I've got something to please and/or impress everyone. But, I agree the best impressions are more often made when the guest picks the tune(s).


But, two of my current favorites are: "Angry Eyes" by Loggins & Messina and "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" by Joni Mitchell.

After guest picks, a first track from any side of  Blue Note’s WAR Platinum Jazz, or maybe Cisco Kid.  The Brothers Johnson will do it too,  Plop them down between the speakers and turn it up.  If they don’t start moving, call 911.

Interesting question.  Like many, I admit I like to pick music that sounds great on the system but I stay away from non-mainstream strange stuff, looking for 'known' music. Sometimes I like stuff with deeper bass (Lyle Lovett's Road From Ensenada) because most folks have no idea what a full-range system can sound like.

I totally get the 'emotional' aspect but for many listeners (non-critical ones especially) it seems they get that even from a decent boom-box...  If they suggest music with decent recordings to listen to on my stuff, it's more of a win-win.   Grin.


Chocolate Chip Trip-Tool

Anything by Marcus Miller. Insanely great recordings. 

Hotel California- Eagles live

Fallin- Alicia Keys

Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway- Al Dimeola

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough- Michael Jackson

Eva Cassidy many tracks

Anything from the Made in Japan album by Deep Purple

Watermelon Man- Herbie Hancock

Bucks Boogie- Blue Oyster Cult

Phantom of the Opera- Iron Maiden

Fly Like an Eagle- Steve Miller

Kashmir- Marcin

Warriors- Too Many Zooz


I always let guests have the the first picks, the start working my faves into the mix. Usually I'll suggest Eva Cassidy, Aaron Neville, if it's Jazz, Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny "Beyond The Missouri Sky", Diana Krall. Eric Clapton and BB King "Riding with the King", Carlos Santana "Europa", Stevie Ray Vaughan "Texas Flood". 


I never watch a movie because it has good special effects (like I did in the old days) but because it is a good movie with a good plot a good script and good acting.  But I can only imagine, however, how much more I would like some of my favorite movies on a HT.


Yes they've got to have more than just special effects, even the very best - 2001, Mad Max 2 etc.

Otherwise like so many of the blockbuster Marvel/DC films, they are so easily forgettable afterwards. Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight were good, but I can't see myself in a hurry to watch them again. I have the DVDs but they've remained undisturbed in the cupboard for years.

Recently I've been watching some Robert Mitchum films and I was surprised to find I haven't seen a bad one yet! Even the later ones such as Farewell My Lovely and The Big Sleep were excellent.

I also remember one demo where they were using an helicopter scene out of one of the James Bond movies, I think Pierce Brosnan, to show off the system, subwoofers and all. If I remember correctly they even had some special chairs that would shake during the action sequences.

It was all very dramatic but my main thought was to get out of the room asap. Sometimes you don't want that much fake realism, you don't need that much fake realism.

Too much crash bang wallop.