Here at Audiophile Nirvana we take reviews, listening sessions, and system testing very seriously. Instead of reporting our findings from a single day of system analysis, we listen to, and use, most of the systems for weeks or months. This means many different tracks and types of recorded music are used. Each engineer has their own list of reference recordings, and while there is some crossover between them, it’s important that our readers have a list of the most used recordings. This will make it easier for everyone to reproduce our results to the best of their abilities.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER
Many of our tests can damage your hearing. We wear hearing protection, when needed, and you should too.
Our reference system is unlike audiophile (consumer) grade equipment. We can, and oftentimes do, utilize well over 1000 watts RMS of amplifier power. Attempting to replicate certain tests may induce amplifier clipping in your system, and burn out your voice coils, especially in tweeters.
While many people believe they need the most accurate loudspeaker system available, they would probably find it to be harsh. Accurate studio monitors produced by companies like JBL and ATC are designed for professional applications, where the engineer needs to hear exactly what is in the recording. Hearing this level of detail in a home system would most likely distract from the musical experience. When we compare consumer products to those used in professional environments, it should not be construed to imply that pro equipment is better for all applications. Unless specifically stated that certain pieces of pro gear would be well suited for use in a home environment, don’t assume that it is.
The listening room we have chosen for use in the reviews on this site was designed for audio reproduction. It was chosen because it is roughly the same size as an average living room in a home. However, unlike most living rooms, it doesn’t have any windows or hardwood flooring. It is well damped but not acoustically treated. Like many things in life, it is a compromise between the ideal and the practical.
REFERENCE RECORDING LIST (Partial)
Diana Krall The Girl in the Other Room (especially Tracks 3 & 8)
Diana Krall When I Look in Your Eyes (Tracks 2 & 9)
Diana Krall Wallflower (Track 15)
Katie Melua Piece by Piece (Track 3 – good test of upper mid-range control)
Mark Knopfler Sailing to Philadelphia (Tracks 2 & 8)
Jane Monheit Taking a Chance on Love (Tracks 1, 4, 5)
Jane Monheit Come Dream With Me (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 11)
Madonna Music (Track 2)
Alicia Keys Girl on Fire (Tracks 9 & 10)
Bette Midler Experience the Divine (Track 11)
The Glenn Miller Orchestra In the Digital Mood (Tracks 1 & 2)
Harry Connick, Jr. 25 (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 13)
Jeff Buckley Grace (Track 6)
Jeff Lorber Fusion Now Is the Time (Tracks 1 & 5)
Cassandra Wilson Coming Forth by Day (Tracks 1, 3, 10)