Congratulations on finally deciding to upgrade your audio setup at home. Once you’ve plugged in everything and followed The Hifi Guide’s advice on proper speaker placement, what’s next for your hifi setup?
In order to ascertain the capabilities of your new hifi speakers, the next step is to test them out. Testing will also allow you to troubleshoot any problems you may encounter during and after the setup process. Here are some of the best tracks for testing your home hifi audio setup.
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
This song starts off with arguably the most famous rock riff in history. As a prime example of Jimi Hendrix’s mastery of the Cry Baby wah pedal, this sticky, funk-inspired riff takes on a different beauty when played through hifi audio equipment. On top of that, The Experience’s balanced bass and drums alongside Hendrix’s hyper-distorted guitars provide a truly dynamic test for any speakers that claim to be hifi.
Awakening – The Mahavishnu Orchestra
This song is a no-holds-barred jazz rock masterpiece from one of the most seminal bands in rock history, The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Easily the most aggressive track on this playlist, Awakening is a comprehensive display of the legendary John McLaughlin’s MXR pedal-driven tone, a sound coveted by lead guitarists to this day. But while McLaughlin’s guitar takes center stage, this track also contains equally dynamic piano, violin, bass, and drum playing. True to its name, Awakening is not just an adrenaline shot to the heart. It’s also a truly complex hifi test that captures the innovative energy of the era.
Samhain Labs – The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble
This dark and ominous number from The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble is a gothic, ambient exercise in dissident harmonies. Its deep bass sounds can let you know just how low your hifi setup can go without breaking notes. Meanwhile, the mid-range guitars provide an elegant contrast to the distant, fleeting saxophone and other ambient noises. It’s a slow and relaxing ambient journey into the subterranean realms of dark jazz.
Ain’t That Easy – D’Angelo and The Vanguard
This song is the first track in the album Black Messiah, which was the album that broke D’Angelo’s 14-year hiatus from music. In Ain’t That Easy, the rnb veteran pays tribute to the soulful, funky roots of the genre with brilliant phrasing and vocal control. Alongside D’Angelo channeling Prince, iconic bassist Rocco Palladino and the other members of The Vanguard create a compounded wall of sound with elements from rock, funk, soul, and jazz. If you’re looking for variety of sound and masterful engineering, this is the track to test your speakers with.
Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) – Digable Planets
One of the most recognizable tracks from hip hop group Digable Planets, Rebirth of Slick is famous for its double bass riff which alone is a challenge for regular sound systems. It’s also one of the best hip-hop songs that incorporate brass instruments, alongside the advanced use of classic and old-school rhyme schemes. With three emcees on the mic, Rebirth of Slick doubles as a test for how different voice types may sound on your speakers as well.
This is just a handful of the many songs that can allow you to experience the full capabilities of a true HiFi setup. Once you’re sure that your system has been properly set up, get ready to hear the nuances, hidden details, and even audible mistakes that you didn’t know were in your favorite tracks.