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Daddyjt

Carversite 2014 Reference disc notes

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The 2014 Carversite Reference Disc project has been a total blast to put together! I want to thank all the members that suggested tracks for this project. In my opinion, what makes this disc set special is two fold: First, it's a collection of what all of YOU personally use for your own reference tracks, not just what one person thinks up as an arbitrary "best tracks" list. Second, you all gave a brief narrative of what you listen for in these tracks, and I think that information has a lot of value.

 

I would like to extend a special thank you to Rodney (weitrhino) for giving me a Lightscribe disc drive, which enabled me to etch the discs for a professional look, and speed up production considerably. Thank you sir!

 

Here is the final track list and accompanying notes for you to refer to while listening:

 

The Road To Hell, by Chris Rea. Submitted by B-Man

 

The bass line is low, clean and well balanced with the rest of the disc; his voice has a bit of a rasp that sounds "right" on a good setup; dynamic range in general is very good. Definitely a reference song for me when auditioning a system.

 

Ride Across The River, by Dire Straits. Submitted by B-Man

 

Great example of a dynamic recording. Great for revealing system noise or high frequency issues / harshness. Good bass moments as well.

 

Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow / Nanook Rubs It Off, by Frank Zappa. Submitted by SteveFord

 

You'll know within 30 seconds if the amp/preamp/speakers, whatever is really good or bites. You've got the swirling snow sounds and then Frank's voice with Tina Turner and the Ikettes doing the background vocals. Is the bass too light or too heavy, are the vocals up front or recessed, does Frank sound life sized or like a dwarf, does his guitar sound like a razor blade or is it dull sounding, how are the dynamics, etc. Those are the tracks that I use.

 

Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo, by Bela Fleck. Submitted by Fill35U

 

For the low notes of the bass guitar, contrast of the piano, the dynamic range.

 

Too Rich For My Blood, by Patricia Barber. Submitted by Toy Maker

 

No notes have been submitted for this track. If you have a write-up of what you listen for, post it as a comment, and I’ll insert it here!

 

When You Say Nothing At All, by Allison Krauss. Submitted by Daddyjt

 

The real magic in this track is right in the first minute or so. The opening guitar should sound very crisp and smooth. It should not sound at all muddy or dull. When she starts singing, you should hear every detail, right down to the intake of breath. In the second sentence she sings, "…. You can light up the dark, listen for the "k" in dark. It should be a very subtle "kiss" of a sound, but very well defined. On some systems, it ranges from inaudible, to a muddy, incoherent sound. When the drums kick in, and she really opens up with her voice, your system should be able to handle the dynamic increase in volume without making you want to turn it down. It should be a powerful, slightly scary moment, as the overall system output jumps significantly. On MANY systems, this moment will come across as shrill, and very unpleasant. The bass should also be solid and deep, but not boomy. This is my number one track for judging equipment – Enjoy!

 

Brother Where You Bound, by Supertramp. Submitted by Gene C

 

The clarity in Ricks singing at the beginning before the drums hit. The system has to knock me out of my chair with that song.

 

Private Investigations, by Dire Straits. Submitted by Doh-R

 

Quiet details, highly defined passages, good dynamic range.

 

Are You Receiving Me, by Golden Earring. Submitted by BluesMan57

 

Great imaging and separation. Give it a listen you will be surprised.........

 

Battlestar Galactica Theme, by Erich Kunzel & The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Submitted by Daddyjt

 

This track plays BIG, right from the opening drum hits. This will push your system to the lowest depths it can reach. What makes it useful, and somewhat unique, is the fact that while the bass is at maximum excursion, there is A LOT of other information being reproduced – from strong horns, to subtle flutes and triangle strikes. You should hear it ALL – a veritable buffet of sound. If your system is lacking power or dynamic output, the bass will rob all the power, and leave everything else flat. The last 20 seconds are a real test for ANY system!

 

Your Latest Trick, by Dire Straits. Submitted by Daddyjt

 

Outstanding trumpet intro, with a seamless transition to saxophone in the intro. Listen for the trumpet fade-out note, right before the sax and drum kit start. It should keep a clear tone, and not become "nasal" as it fades out. There are crystal clear cymbals, to the point that you should be able to distinguish the different types of cymbals being utilized. When the singing starts, you should actually hear the guy playing the sax walk away from the mic, and fade into the back of the stage – it should actually fall back away from you in your soundstage, and not just diminish in volume. The bass should be incredibly tight, and you should actually hear the bass drum skin being struck. This is one of the most well recorded tracks I have ever come across.

 

Symphony #3, by Henryk Gorecki. Submitted by dcl

 

Female soprano & orchestra in a moving performance–you will forget the gear & room when the sound is spot on or otherwise be up fidgeting.

 

On The Road Again, by Katie Melua. Submitted by PDR

 

All her material is very well recorded.....the "Dramatico" label.

 

Norwegian Wood, by Patricia Barber Submitted by ?

 

This one came to me in a PM that I deleted – Please post a comment with your notes on the track, and I will insert them!

 

The Forecast Calls For Pain, by Robert Cray. Submitted by B-Man

 

Good recording; clean bass line; good imaging capabilities.

 

Ouverture, by Robin Vassy. Submitted by Weitrhino

 

French/Iranian jazz. Vassy creates many of his own instruments so the sounds in this track fall outside the ordinary. I listen particularly to the hard plectrum sound from the plucked steel strings and the beautiful decay of the fading vibration sometimes with multiple strings in harmony. Additional instruments appear and disappear sometimes panning and sometimes precisely imaged in three dimensions. As the piece progresses the full band kicks in. The bass is deep and resonant but with a softer touch that evokes fingers in contrast to the hard plectrum sound of the other string instrument. This is an album that sounds particularly good on ribbons. The whole album is amazing and has the advantage of presenting something fresh.

 

http://robinvassy.bandca...m/album/bon-voyage

 

Dirty, by Johnny Winter. Submitted by Blues Pwr

 

Originally released on vinyl in 1974, the song "Dirty" was a bonus track on the remastered CD released in 2008 from the original LP master tapes, which creates a crisp and clean recording. This song is just Johnny on acoustic slide guitar and vocals and a flute player(Jeremy Steig an American Jazz Flutist). Often criticized for his lack of vocal prowess, this song is perfect for his south Texas twang/growl. The flute playing is incredible, at times light and airy and the next second dirty and raspy. It contrasts sharply with the dark lyrics and Johnny’s acoustic slide guitar work. The flute playing will test the upper ranges of your system and reveal any weakness's it may have. Should be a real test for ribbon and super tweeters. This is unlike any other Johnny Winter song out there, which is probably why it was added as a bonus track, because it wouldn't fit on any other release. Well worth a listen, if you’re curious what real blues are supposed to sound like.

 

Hush, Hush, Hush, by Paula Cole & Peter Gabriel. Submitted by Daddyjt

 

This is a great track for sibilance (the correct reproduction of the "s" sound). Paula’s voice is almost a female falsetto, and can come across as very grating in poor speaker/amp combinations. A great deal of the information on this track sits right in the cross-over region on 2 way speakers. As such, it will test the anomalies created by your cross-over design. Peter’s voice carries a soft, yet grainy feel, and should seem to anchor the entire track. All-in-all, a great duo, and a nice listen.

 

Son Of A Preacher Man, by Dusty Springfield. Submitted by kve777

 

For sibilance checking - Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" as found on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. I use various tracks on that CD for testing, but this is my go to track for speakers. I've passed on many deals just because this song sounded crappy.

 

Powaqqatsi, by Philip Glass. Submitted by dcl

 

A mid-piece crescendo merges vocal chorus & orchestra over the deep ostinato (hey, its Philip Glass). So, massed basses, percussion over which the chorus could be shrill at volume.

 

Walking On Sacred Ground, by Janis Ian. Submitted by Daddyjt

 

This track is great for testing mid-bass response. When done right, it is warm and inviting with a solid low end kick. The vocals should float above all the other instruments, and especially the bass line. Her voice should have a delicate, yet powerful sound. When done poorly, the bass is very muddy and ill-defined, and the lower notes lack any kind of kick – the whole thing turns into a dull mess that is rather unpleasant to listen to. This track also has the nasty ability to showcase rattles within your system and room.

 

The Children’s Crusade, by Sting. Submitted by Daddyjt

 

This track exhibits great texture – from Sting’s raspy voice, to the seemingly off-key piano. Good crescendos before the chorus take a lot of power to keep the different sounds separate, and not allow them to collapse into a jumbled mess. Listen for separation throughout, and solid transients.

 

Frequency Sweeps, Low to High.

 

 

Great for detecting and isolation rattles and resonances. Be careful at the higher frequencies, as prolonged sine waves can damage tweeters!

 

 

Again, I’d like to thank everyone here for their help and input – I think this first go is a success, and I’m very proud of the results! Thinking maybe we do this again next year, but I’ll let all of you be the judge of whether or not we do it again…

 

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Mark, thank you for all your work on this great project. Projects like this consume lots of time and money, I for one greatly appreciate your work. This project and the other great Karma's going on right now show how great this site is.To all members involved with these Karma's take a bow. 
 
Thanks,
Wayne 

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Is there anyway I can get a reference disc? I missed this thread. Great project!
 
Why not upload an ISO file so anyone interested  can burn a copy....... 
 
With all due respect - I realize I am being a little old fashioned here, but I want you guys to have a physical, tangible disc set for your collection (Hence this being posted in physical digital).
 
Once the discs have been mailed out and received, it was always my plan to upload.  However, if you guys want it posted now, I will comply with the majority wishes...

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I still like to hold the magazine I'm reading, the birthday card I receive rather than a Blue Mountain special and I still like the CD in my hand so I'm old. Oh well, I guess everybody else would like a cashless society- not me, I wanna see the green too.

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I still like to hold the magazine I'm reading, the birthday card I receive rather than a Blue Mountain special and I still like the CD in my hand so I'm old. Oh well, I guess everybody else would like a cashless society- not me, I wanna see the green too.
 
I agree, its the spirit of giving something you can touch away....
It came from distant lands, I waited for it to arrive, ramble on, sing my song sort of thing...
 
I think it would be in the spirit to not release it on the interweb till after X-mass.
 
My 2 cents. 
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It would be an injustice to not have it available on physical media seeing as so much work and time was put into it.
 
After a given time period when the majority who want the physical disc have it in hand then I see no reason why it could not be available as a download. Convenience for anyone who may need to replace a missing or damaged copy of the original media. 
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I would add that the bass line in both "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" and "Too Rich for my Blood" will help you balance your sub out with the rest of your system. Most of us tend to have our subs cranked up a bit too much. If the low notes are much louder than the mid to high notes, there's a good chance you have a bit much gain added to the ole sub. It should be a smooth transition, especially with Bela Fleck.

 

Chris

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" you all gave a brief narrative of what you listen for in these tracks, and I think that information has a lot of value."
 
After reading the submitted "narratives" I sheepishly feel like I could have done a better job on mine. The keen descriptions offered will improve my listening appreciation (and, hopefully, my future posts.)
 

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"you all gave a brief narrative of what you listen for in these tracks, and I think that information has a lot of value."
 
After reading the submitted "narratives" I sheepishly feel like I could have done a better job on mine. The keen descriptions offered will improve my listening appreciation (and, hopefully, my future posts.)
 
If you want to expand on your description, I would be happy to update the original postemwink.gif
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I would add that the bass line in both "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" and "Too Rich for my Blood" will help you balance your sub out with the rest of your system. Most of us tend to have our subs cranked up a bit too much. If the low notes are much louder than the mid to high notes, there's a good chance you have a bit much gain added to the ole sub. It should be a smooth transition, especially with Bela Fleck.

Chris
 
Flight of the Cosmic Hippo has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. The low bass notes can definitely rattle the walls and kitchen cabinets. Been there done that. msp_thumbup.gif
 
 

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Is there anyway I can get a reference disc? I missed this thread. Great project!
 
Sorry, novice member here.
I also would really appreciate the opportunity to receive a set of these discs. Please let me know if this is possible and what I need to do.

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eusa_clap.gif Mark, thank you for all your hard work on this project. eusa_clap.gif The Reference Disc Notes will come in very handy!!!
 
Flight of the Cosmic Hippo is without a doubt one of my favorites to show off the system. msp_thumbup.gif

 

So many times I've heard about this song but never actually heard it. I'm amazed at how much bass comes out of the ribbons on my AL threes. And great bass imaging that I didn't expect. What a fun track. Thanks for the hard work this is a wonderful gift. Funny thing happened when the Zappa track started, I had just turned on the sonic holography and sat back and the snow started swirling and my cat jumped up and looked straight up in the air. Then she looked like she had seen a ghost crawled over to me real low and started to meow. This is a cat that never makes a noise. So funny Zappa really got her. I think you did a great job with the sequencing as well. It's a rare disc that I like more than one or two tracks but on this one I like a lot so far and will probably like more as it goes. Thank you to everybody for your contributions. On a side note this made me feel really good about my bedroom system.

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Really great job putting this reference music together Mark. I'd love to get a copy and would be happy to pay for any costs to be able to get a set of the discs.  I'll PM you.
 
Rob

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Really great job putting this reference music together Mark. I'd love to get a copy and would be happy to pay for any costs to be able to get a set of the discs.  I'll PM you.
 
Rob

 

There's also a downloadable version if you wanted to burn a disc. The link is currently in the Resident section so Mark would have to PM it to you.

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