Testing Your New Headphones
One of the best things about getting a new pair of headphones is contemplating what album or song you will play first. I found myself asking the question “What are the best songs to test headphones?”
Start With Something You’re Familiar With
Now depending on your personal taste in music, the answer may vary from person to person.
One thing I like to do when I break out a new pair of headphones is to start with a genre that I know usually sounds pretty good consistently, regardless of the headphone quality.
For example, a lot of dubstep and hip-hop songs will usually sound more clean even if the headphones didn’t cost you $500.
As compared to throwing on a Cannibal Corpse album that has a lot going on in the actual music. This is not to say that EDM and hip-hop don’t have a lot going on within the track. The point I’m trying to make is that it will be much easier to get a good gauge on the sound of the headphone if you try it out with something more simplistic first.
My Favorite Testing Tracks
Here are some of my favorite testing tracks that I will usually play first.
- “God” by Jeezy – the bass is so overpowering that this will give you a good idea about how much bass the headphones can handle without too much distortion
- Anything by Getter, especially some of his older tracks – the crunchy wobble and intermittent ad-lib sound effects should sound crisp and heavy
- “Far From Home” by A.CHAL – you will be able to hear the emotion in his voice and the instrumental part will sound like angels playing the harp
- “Dead Price” by Zeds Dead ft. Sean Price – once again the razor sharp wobble should sound like a robot hand running through sonic comb and Sean Price’s rhymes will have you nodding along like a possessed puppet
After I run through a couple of my favorite initial “testing tracks”, I’ll start sifting through my music library and branch out into other genres.
I’ll start with metal:
- “Withered” by Currents – the nuanced grit in the vocals will give you chills and the instrumental aspect/rhythm of the guitars, drums, etc. should tell you how loud you’ll be able to listen to anything remotely heavy without blasting your headphones
- “Scraping the Barrel” by Make Them Suffer – the symphonic elements coupled with the metallic onslaught and blast beats should give the headphones a run for their money
- Break Those Bones Whose Sinew Gave It Motion” by Meshuggah – the first minute and a half allow you to feel the groove and determine the clarity of a solid riff and drum pattern
- “Smashed” by Suicide Silence – if you don’t feel like you can run through a wall after this one, throw your headphones away immediately
If the metal tracks pass the test run, I move onto something more relaxed, (at this point the genre doesn’t matter as much to me).
- “Discoloration” by Dawn Golden – fused with electronic and alternative elements, the vocal distortion and instrumental mastery allow you to hear some range capabilities
- “Grief” by Earl Sweatshirt – an eccentric hip-hop instrumental plus Earl’s intricate flow patterns and rhymes equals gold
- “Warm Thoughts” by Flume – if this song in your headphones doesn’t inspire warm thoughts, it’s either you or the headphones
- “LUST” by Kendrick Lamar – Kendrick’s mastery of vocal manipulation and lyrical abilities and the eclectic choice of instrumental should sound crisp, powerful, and mind-blowing
Keep in mind that these are just a few of my personal go-to tester tracks. Feel free to test these out for yourself, you might discover that you have a wider range of musical taste than you thought you did.
Comment with some of your favorite songs to play when you test out a new pair of headphones below!