Stereophile Test CD 3
And now we have Test CD 3! While there is some overlap of the test signals with our earlier discs—it includes the useful audio-bandwidth warble tones from Test CD 2, but cleaned up a little—its test tracks can be used for setting up Home Theater systems as well as conventional stereo systems. As with our other CDs, all the information you need to use the disc is printed in the CD booklet. As that is printed in typically teeny-tiny type, however, almost all of it is repeated in this article.
As the music tracks on our first two Test CDs were almost exclusively classical, a common criticism was that we had ignored fans of other musics. For Test CD 3, therefore, although we feature a track from Stereophile's recent classical Concert CD, we selected a wide variety of tracks from "audiophile" record labels (footnote 1).
The primary criterion for inclusion was that the track be superlatively well-recorded. The second was that, at least in my opinion, it be musically red-hot. Our thanks to all those who allowed us to use their copyrighted material, including Reference Recordings, who are represented by a Dick Hyman track recorded with Pacific Microsonics' new HDCD® process. I was excited to be able to include a music track encoded for surround-sound playback—the chant-based piece from the Empire Brass Quintet. Sara K.'s small-group jamming was also a natural choice. As an electric-bass guitarist, I am excited to be able to include solo performances by two musicians who have inspired me: Dean Peer and Stanley Clarke. And, as someone who got actively involved in music-making in the '60s, I feel privileged to be able to include two tracks by blues musicians: one old, one not so old; one white, one black; both masters.
Test CD 3 costs just $11.95 plus shipping and handling. With a playing time of over 75 minutes, the new disc should prove an invaluable tool to help audiophiles optimally set up their systems by ear—and the music's great!—John Atkinson
Footnote 1: In the advance-publicity material for this CD, we mentioned that the disc would include our Music Editor Richard Lehnert reading one of his poems. Sadly, space precluded our including this on Test CD 3. But it will appear on Test CD 4!—John Atkinson