SoundCheck

Yep, use this list of songs and all your PA tuning nightmares will be solved. This list is a true magic bullet!

Okay, perhaps not. But this list CAN provide you with some great source material that might help you discover the good and bad elements inherent in your PA and/or room.

Proper tuning, alignment, and optimization of an audio rig does require some basic understanding of audio signal path and such to accomplish successfully. Please do not make the assumption this playlist will make you a master. It’s only a tool. NEVER feel bad asking for help from a professional if you need it—we’ve all done it that way for many years and it helped make us better at our craft.

We suggest you ONLY use versions of these songs that are 320 kbps or higher. This is about the only way to guarantee you are listening to the cleanest available version of a track. Why didn’t we just make a Spotify or iTunes playlist you ask? They don’t always offer bit rates as high as 320. Please check before you download—your ears (and the ears of those listening to your PA) deserve it.

Drums/Low End

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Rosanna Toto Toto is great for so many reasons, so it’s hard to pigeonhole this track for the drums only, but you won’t find a better track to analyze the feel of a world-class drum/rhythm track.
(Album cover) I Will Remember Toto Same awesome band but a different drummer on this track. GREAT example of acoustic drums. A good track to analyze how your PA can handle a drum mix.
(Album cover) Little By Little Robert Plant Drums and low-end meld nicely on this track. When it comes to dialing in the “thump”, look no further.
(Album cover) Heavy Fuel Dire Straits Big rock drums/bass/low-end on a nicely mixed track. Not a ton of processing on this song making it a realistic choice to see how the bottom part of your mix will hold up with a full band kicking out the jams.
(Album cover) I Keep Forgettin’ Michael McDonald Classic track to balance low-end with a baritone vocal. If you can get this song feeling tight and clear, chances are you’re headed in the right direction for your system tuning.
(Album cover) Runaway Jamiroquai Ease into this one gently! Even though the bottom here is thick, the transients are very close to what you might experience in your PA once you add live players. Good track to use near the end of a tuning session.
(Album cover) Crazy Seal Besides being a terrific tune all the way around, this track has some great analog sub-bass content going on. It’s a helpful tune when setting limiting/compression on subwoofers.
(Album cover) More Than This Bryan Ferry Nothing like the voice and band stylings on this track to sort out your 200–300 Hz area.
(Album cover) Out Of Touch Hall & Oates Come on now, classic track with big analog-ish bottom end. Get your low-end response tightened up using this track and commence with the rock.
(Album cover) A Thousand Years Sting Once this track gets going, it’s a great way to work on your sub-bass levels. Deep, rich tones can help you realize the musical quality of your subs.

Full Range

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Wishing Well Michael Ruff This track has it all: clarity, richness, and space. Perfect track (if you can find it) to really listen to all of your PA components working/breathing as one unit.
(Album cover) Brothers In Arms Dire Straits To make sure you’ve got sonic clarity AND intelligibility, this can be a good track, albeit a bit frustrating. The vocal track is a bit slurred and buried, making it a perfect track to demonstrate the realities of a live band situation. Enjoy!
(Album cover) Something About You Level 42 This one works nicely to get your low-end vs. high-end balance happy, It’s mixed and mastered very equally balanced meaning if it feels OUT of balance to you, you better keep working!
(Album cover) Keep Talking Pink Floyd A proper soundcheck list is not complete without some Floyd. This one has a lot of content going on as well as nice vocals throughout. Great song to use to ensure a proper balance is happening with your PA.
(Album cover) Everybody Wants To Rule The World Tears For Fears A very evenly mixed song that has plenty of thump, mid-range vocal, and high end instrumentation. Another example of a full band situation to help hear the overall timbre of your PA.
(Album cover) All Right Christopher Cross A well-rounded, full band mix where every instrument is recorded pure and REALISTIC. Great song to use to get the overall feel of your PA in the room.
(Album cover) You’re Driving Me Out Of My Mind Little River Band LOTS of information in this tune. Tons of instrumentation and vocals all vying for their own space making it a useful track to check how your speakers will handle your 15-person band with 7 acoustic guitars, 11 vocals, and 1 banjo.
(Album cover) Her Favorite Song (Oliver Remix) Mayer Hawthorne LISTEN TO THIS SONG. So good. This track has so much sonic purity, you may want to prepare yourself. Lows, mids, highs…all of it is just stellar.

Mid Range

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Brass In Pocket The Pretenders Want to check the mid-range spike that assaults you like a needle in the forehead? Use this track. The vocal and electric guitar sounds here can be instrumental in taming the mid-range coming from your speakers.

Mid Range (Piano)

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Uncharted Sara Bareilles Modern-sounding pop piano sound embedded in a rock band setting. Very realistic track with few extras or effects to deal with. Good way to check how your live piano might sound when being played with a band.

Mid Range (Acoustic Guitar)

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Brand New Day Sting Not too many other tracks that have a better sounding acoustic than this one.

Vocals

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Addicted to a Memory Zedd Can anything be more pure than this female vocal sound coupled with a slamming rhythm track? Perfect song to excite your whole PA while verifying that your high end coverage won’t crap out when it’s needed most. Tread carefully, you’re gonna’ dig this one.
(Album cover) Kiss from a Rose Seal Seal’s vocal sound here is exquisite BUT the high end is so clean and clear on the track that it makes a perfect way to check the vocal sibilance in a room.
(Album cover) Lonesome Loser (Remaster) Little River Band Vocal harmony to the max. Get the vocal range of your PA nice and smooth with this track and you’re ready to rule.
(Album cover) Black Hole Sun Nouela Looking to hear a superbly recorded vocal where you’d swear the mic is all the way in her mouth? This is the track. Perfect way to hear how your PA is going to reproduce vocals.
(Album cover) Company Justin Bieber Even though he’s not someone you might bring over to the house, this vocal is absolutely grand. PERFECT clarity to check how your vocal will reproduce way up in the 14–17 kHz area.

High End/Clarity

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Midnight City M83 Electronic music at its best where everything has that hi-fi sheen and sparkle. Clarity in the upper end of your PA is revealed nicely with this one.
(Album cover) Remember the Time Michael Jackson This track balances beautiful high end with an excellent vocal. Good track to hear how your vocals and high end will react with solid low-end information.
(Album cover) Waiting For You (Oliver Remix) Kris Menace More electronica to deal with. Love this type of track to demonstrate how much clarity the PA is actually capable of reproducing.
(Album cover) Last Plane Out Toy Matinee Obscure track that happens to have some of the best high end of any recording. So clean you’ll swear it was recorded digitally BUT it’s all analog. Terrific tool to check how smooth your speakers are functioning all the way up to about 18 kHz.

And if you just need to rock like a boss…

Song Artist Why we listen to it…
(Album cover) Don’t Wanna Fall in Love Jane Child This one hit wonder will slay your PA. AND you’re immediately a wizard because everyone will wonder where you found this unbelievable track. Tell them MxU sent it to you.

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