When David Chesky reached out with his idea to work with Head-Fi.org on a sampler album with tracks specifically hand-picked to help wring out and test headphone audio systems, I smiled from one headphone-covered ear to the other. Yes! was my obvious answer.
We talked about it on the phone, over e-mail, and finally had a meeting in Las Vegas during CES 2010, and the project was a go. What resulted was The Head-Fi / HDtracks Open Your Ears Sampler.
I'm a long-time fan of Mr. Chesky and his label. If you're a music-loving audiophile, then you know the names David Chesky, Chesky Records, and HDtracks.com. David is a wonderful composer and musician in his own right, and his works have been a beloved part of my music collection. Through his Chesky Records label, David also brings us the works of others like McCoy Tyner, Monty Alexander, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Peggy Lee, John Hammond, Paquito D'Rivera, Badi Assad, Rebecca Pidgeon, and so many more.
Each and every track assembled for this, The Head-Fi/HDtracks Open Your Ears Sampler, was carefully selected by David and additionally reviewed by Steve Guttenberg (author of The Audiophiliac high-end audio blog at CNET) and myself. If you have a 24-bit/96kHz-capable system, this album is also available in a 24/96 FLAC version, which shouldn't be surprising considering Chesky Records was one of the early producers and purveyors of high-res music, and Chesky's HDtracks.com is now leading the downloadable high-res charge.
Included on The Head-Fi/HDtracks Open Your Ears Sampler are tracks for testing:
Palpable Detail and Texture
If you want to know how good your headphones can sound, listen to great sounding recordings. Each track on this sampler was selected to demonstrate specific audio qualities like transparency, dynamic range, imaging, etc.
01. Midrange tonality - Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of (4:41) 人声真实感
02. Low-Level Resolution - Money (6:58) 右边的鼓点如何充满整个大厅
03. Transparency - Get Behind The Mule (5:11) 人声和吉他的清晰度和准确度
04. Visceral Impact - Sare Tete Wa (6:08) 鼓点动感
05. Out-Of-Head Imaging - Gadamaylin (4:07) 一开始的鸟叫和市井之音有距离感，二胡的空间感，整曲都很有远近感
06. Center Focus - Texas Ranger (4:18) 女声和乐器有相同的集中感
07. Palpable Detail and Texture - Concerto for Basoon and Orchestra, Movement 3 (5:14) 一开始的拍手声，大管声音的饱满度
08. Rhythm - Hajji Baba (4:48) 节奏感
09. Spatial Depth - Percussion Imaging Test (7:36) 鼓手在3 6 9 12 15 30 70英尺距离演奏的纵深感
10. Depth - Tumbao De Tamborito (6:39) 萨克斯在最前面，贝斯在最后，现场感
11. Bass Extension - Heartbeat (1:09) 50 40 30 20赫兹的低音延伸
12. Bass - Everything is Broken (5:29) 区分贝斯和鼓点，低音的现场感