Stereophile Test CD 3

Back in the spring of 1990, Stereophile introduced its first Test CD, featuring a mixture of test signals and musical tracks recorded by the magazine's editors and writers. Even as we were working on that first disc, however, we had plans to produce a second disc which would expand on the usefulness of the first and feature a more varied selection of music. The result was our Test CD 2, released in May 1992.

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

mav52's picture

eveytime I try to order this test disc it brings me to the review.  Not the page to move to check out.

BacHolz's picture

As above, attempts to order this "Stereophile Test CD 3" brings me to the review page, not checkout.

John Atkinson's picture

attempts to order this "Stereophile Test CD 3" brings me to the review page, not checkout.

I just went to the shop page for Test CD 3 - - and when you click on "Add to Cart" it works properly. However, when I went to the Test CD page - - and clocked on "Buy Now" yes it opened this page.

Clinking on "Buy Now" for Test CD 2 brought up a page for both Test D 2 and Test CD 3.

We will fix this problem.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

hellmwc's picture

Great test CD,... The recordings are exceptional in every respect.

Regarding the CD booklet; Is this available as a PDF file for download?

Thank you,

William Hellman

John Atkinson's picture
hellmwc wrote:
Regarding the CD booklet; Is this available as a PDF file for download?
Unfortunately not. But the booklet text was identical to what is published in this Web article.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Satya's picture

I am unable to use any of the links in the article or in the comments. I would like to purchase this CD.