Finding Music to Demo

The one question that I get asked the most frequently, whether by clients or coworkers is “How do you find music for demonstration purposes?” or “What music do you use to test speakers?”. I simple say well I just find music that I like, but in reality that’s not the correct answer. I slave over my music choices; I obsess over it. To the point where I don’t stop listening to music. It’s a good problem to have, honestly. My choice in music varies from bands I grew up listening to like; the Beatles, Eagles, and Doobie Brothers to music that recently came out such as Drake, Calvin Harris, and the Black Keys. What I have come to learn is that it’s not about the type of music, but the flow and lyrics of the music itself.

First and foremost a song has to have meaning. The first song that I ever demoed for a client was Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”. Mainly due to that’s what I learned from my mentor and it was easy for me to demo. But it was a good choice because the song has a story that’s meaningful. In music that you want to demo for clients and to test speakers, those songs need to tell a story. The song hurt was originally written and recorded by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and he wrote the song because he had lost a few friends to drug overdose most notably Kurt Cobain, and this was helping him cope and deal with his feelings. Johnny did his rendition of the song a week after June, the love of his life, had passed away. You can feel all of Johnny’s raw emotion as he’s singing and it wafts over you throughout the song. Johnny actually passed away a few weeks after the song came out and it is viewed as a final I love you from Johnny to June. This is the type of storytelling that I use when I demo music for clients on speakers. This is something that I find a lot of sales people miss out on, the attention to detail in the song choices they make.

Now with all that story telling out of the way. The first thing I ask anyone that i’m giving a demo to is “what kind of music do you like?” now if I can relate to the type of music they like to a song I demo, then I use that song, if not I use one of my favorites and then move into what they like to listen to. Depending on the speakers and the client I can use a multitude of songs, but this is a good portion of my demo playlist;

  • Johnny Cash – Hurt (Trent Reznor Cover)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Slow Cheetah
  • Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
  • Hank Williams III – Country Heros
  • Gary Clark Jr. – Things Are Changin’ (Live)
  • Slightly Stoopid – Collie-Man
  • Muse – Madness
  • Beyonce – Partition
  • Dave Matthews Band – Ants Marching
  • Lowdown – Boz Scaggs
  • Sturgill Simpson – In Bloom (Nirvana Cover)

So that is a list of 11 songs that I use for speaker demos as well as testing speakers. I have a running playlist of about 50 songs, that I can use for a plethora of music genres. I also find songs whether form friends, television, or just scouring the internet and radio. I always listen to the song for a few days on my headphones and my system at home before I even bring into the store in order to test it there for demo purposes. I believe in perfecting my craft, so my clients can get the most of their experience and they can truly hear the speakers.

The moral of this blog post is that you need to find music that you like and can learn about in order to know what to listen for when testing speakers or what to tell a client to listen to when demonstrating the music to them. I genuinely listen to very strange range of music but the most important this is I genuinely love music and I love what I do and I believe that people pick up on that.

All right citizens! What do you think? What type of music do you listen to when testing speakers? What’s your favorite track? Let me know if the comments section!

What I’m listening to this week – Suicide Squad Soundtrack
What I’m Watching this week – Stranger Things (Gonna try and finish it)

 

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Update 8/26

Citizens! Just a quick little update on why you haven’t seen me fully come back yet. There are some crazy moments in life and this month has been one of those. I’ve been gearing up for the holiday season at work and we lost some people, as some of you know that’s extremely hard. Also my phone decided to break and I don’t have a back-up camera to take pictures of products. Also there hasn’t really been much in product releases or announcements, since the announcement of the Sony z9D. Speaking of I should be getting my hands on of those bad boys extremely soon and will have a full review of it. I’m also working on getting a video review of the television as well.

In other things i’m working on. I might be adding some video game information, to make this an overall tech blog. Working with a friend whom has a twitch channel to bring you citizens of this great technology community more content. This will allow me to add more content to the blog when things are slower news and products wise, like now. As well as allow me to have more time to work on more projects and articles for your enjoyment. I look forward to sharing all of this information with you my citizens as it becomes available.

In things we have coming up;
– Frank Ocean’s New Album, will be reviewed
– Panasonic 4k blu-ray player, review and hopefully unboxing
– Captain America Civil War and The Jungle Book, blog posts
– My new phone should be here this week so I can finally take pictures and use my instagram @themaskedaudiophile
– Maybe a No Man’s Sky & Madden 17 review

Look Forward to talking to all my citizens very soon, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me on twitter @themattweinberg

Update 7/26

Hello Citizens!

I’m sorry for the lack of blogging lately, I had a few crazy projects at work and needed to focus on that, also Pokemon Go came out and as you all know it’s pretty addicting!

Here’s what coming up in the next few blog posts
– Sony announced the Z series
– Batman Vs Superman extended cut review
– Blog post on Amazon echo
– IFTT usage and struggles
– Some more personal blogs and updates

Also i’m working on bringing some other contributors to the blog so you can have more frequent posts and different posts. Hope you guys are enjoying the blog, please leave comments on what you’d like to see.

What I’m listening to this week – California (Blink-182)
What I’m watching this week – Batman Vs Superman extended cut

Definitive Technology A90 Unboxing

Citizens! So after a great, but not complete review of the Definitive Technology BP9000 series. I finally got my hands on the final piece to the weapon of this fight. The Dolby Atmos A90 attachment speakers. Let me tell you they are just as beautiful as the rest of the BP9000 series. I love the way they flawlessly integrate with the rest of the speaker. These speakers definitely add a sense of future to the rest of the speakers. Well that and Dolby Atmos is pretty epic if you haven’t heard it yet.

A quick rundown on what Dolby Atmos is. Dolby Atmos is the newest iteration of surround sound decoding from Dolby Digital, it adds an essential height dimension that many people miss in their home theaters. The best way to explain it, why do you go to the movies to watch a movie? The sound is unreal, correct? For me it is, I have a 4K television and it’s like being at the theater, but what I miss at home are those booms and cracks that can only be delivered in a theater. Well Dolby Atmos helps deliver that. By add height speakers in the center of the room it adds a whole new dimension of sound. Ever wonder what a TIE fighter screaming by you sounds like? Or the whoosh of a baseball being hit out the park sounds like? You can with Dolby Atmos. You can enhance your traditional 5.1 surround sound to 5.1.2 as well as your 7.1 surround sound can become 7.1.2. You have to hear it to believe it. Here’s some pictures of what a set-up would look like taken from Dolby.com.

So now that is out of the way, we can continue with the unboxing! Eventually I will be setting up a youtube channel to do these unboxing at home for you to all see live, but with the blog just starting out, I want to provide you all with the best content I can right here. So here are the pictures from the unbxoing. IMG_2106IMG_2107IMG_2108IMG_2109IMG_2110IMG_2111

As you can see from the pictures these speakers look flawless and then the sound quality really gets going once you hook up the A90 Atmos attachments!

Hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I had unboxing. If you are looking into Dolby Atmos, let me know in the comments and we can talk about it! Also if you have Dolby Atmos and want to reccomend some movies for others that would be amazing. But for now as the post comes to a close I really enjoyed seeing the whole BP9000 series set-up in all of its glory. I still don’t have the rear channels, but that’s a different story. In this fight against bad home theaters and technology one can never be too careful. Hope you have a good week citizens.

 

What I’m watching in Dolby Atmos
– Pixels
– Unboken
– Deadpool
– Ender’s Game

Look out next week when I have my review for the new Samsung UN78KS9800 it’s samsung top of the line full-array 4K LED television that I have some choice words about.

BOSE finally comes into the wireless generation!

Citizens! You know that special surprise I was talking about in my post last week, I’m pleased to inform you all that I can finally talk about it. Although it’s something I don’t consider HiFi, it’s something that everyone enjoys! What I can finally talk about is new members to the BOSE family. Finally, BOSE has done what we’ve been asking for. Wireless noise cancelling headphones and wireless earbud! I was so excited when I found out I almost threw out my Jaybird X2’s (I know not HiFi, but I sweat a lot when I work out) and grabbed the closest pair, but they weren’t released until this past Sunday. Now that they are out I can let you know about them. First up the headphones.

The Bose QuietComfort series is well known by anyone who has ever looked at headphones and this latest iteration is not lacking anything. The new QC35’s offer wireless capabilities! This is something that fans of the brand and in fans in general have been asking for, for a long time now. The QC35’s offers a 20-hour long battery life and if you want to be wired that same battery will last 40 hours! 20 hours for a noise cancelling wireless headphone is quite the accomplishment. The QC35’s are also Bluetooth and NFC compatible, which is really cool for those that use NFC. From the experience I has wearing the new QC35’s they are just as comfortable as any other headphone BOSE makes. So whether you’re listening for an hour doing homework, or an 18-hour flight you won’t get fatigued wearing them. I was in a noisy showroom when I tried my pair and on it was pure silence, until I turned my music on. Then it was honestly like every other noise cancelling headphone, but more accurate and less bass (looking at you Beats) At a retail price of 349.95, with two color choices (Black and White) I can honestly say these are a home run! Let’s talk about the earbuds now.

Now this is something that everyone has been waiting for an even longer time. Wireless earbuds from BOSE so you can jam out while working out. The BOSE SoundSport lineup has always been a go to recommendation, but with this year’s wireless addition it’s hands down a go to. The downside to the earbuds are battery life (6 hours compared to others at 8-10) and non-noise cancelling, but maybe BOSE will surprise us and release those later in the year. The earbuds sound great just like every other earbud on in the price range. But with the capability of connecting to multiple devices at once these are a step ahead of the competitors. The good news is that these earbuds are at a great price. Retail cost is 149.95, comparing to some equal competitors at 179.99 or 199.99. The new SoundSports come in two colors black and blue. Along with the new earbuds BOSE is releasing a charging case for the new SoundSports, the case will give another 3 full charges to the earbuds, so you’re looking at 18 hours in full, if you add the case which will be 49.95. These seem and sound like a great buy from BOSE.

 

For now, I think I’ll stick with my Bowers & Wilkins P7s which are not noise cancelling, but to me still sound better than the BOSE. But I will probably be swapping out my Jaybirds for the new SoundSports. Overall these are going to be a great addition to anyone’s collection especially at the price point that they are released at. As for adding them into the fight for better technology it’s a great move by BOSE, but you won’t see this crime fighter using them when there are so many other options on the market.

 

QuietComfort 35’s – 3 Masks out of 5

SoundSport Wireless – 3 Masks out of 5

If you want a pair head over to bose.com and take a look for yourself, but I suggest going to a local retailer like a BOSE store or Best Buy to try them out.

What I’m listening to now

  • Drake Vs. Childish Gambino playlist by Apple Music.
  • Jon Bellion – The Human Collection

Thanks to BOSE for the pictures!

Is Definitive Technology’s new BP9000 series a definitive choice for your home theater?

Citizens! I was waiting until I got the whole lineup for this new addition to the Definitive Technology family. But it’s taking too long for my rear channel speakers or the SR9080 & SR9040’s to come in. This makes me sad, but nothing a good review can’t help. So here we go!

If you don’t know anything about Definitive Technology I suggest going on to definitivetech.com and checking them out! Really cool and interesting technology they use in their speakers, but as a little time saver here’s a a rundown. Definitive Technology was founded in 1990 and since then has taken the industry by storm, winning hundreds of accolades for their bipolar speakers. What’s a bipolar speaker you may ask? Essentially instead of having just one front facing speaker they have a back facing speaker inside the cabinet as well. Thus creating a unique listening experience. This allows the speaker to fill the room that much more with sound since it’s not coming only from one place, but from all around you. Well now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about the new line up.

The BP9000 series is absolutely stunning to look at, Definitive Technology really outdid themselves on the design this time around. From the base that looks like something out of a Star Wars movie to the brushed aluminum tops and bezel. These speakers scream futuristic. bp9000

After listening to these speakers for a few weeks, all I can say is looks can be deceiving but not for this case. These speakers blew away all thoughts I had about Definitive Technology. So here’s the setup for music that I was using BP9040 and a Pioneer SC-91, I was also using my phone to stream tidal HiFi. Generally the first track that I play on speakers to hear the clarity is Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt. From the first breath you could hear the major improvements in the BP9000 compared to the BP8000 series. From the lows to the highs it was all clear and concise. The added benefit of these speakers are the built in subwoofers. So there was no need to add extra bass to this. After Hurt, I generally completely switch gears and go to Beyonce’s Partition to really open up these woofers and bass drivers to see what they can do. Just as I suspected, the bass is kicking like no other speakers can. It’s a true wonder on how Definitive Techchnology can get this much bass in such a small cabinet. After that it was just basically my playlists of songs, everything from Iron Maiden to Tony Bennet was played. (I will have to share my playlist in a future post) After listening to track after track I really got a feel for these speakers and I really enjoyed them.

Overall I’m going to give this series a 4 masks out of 5. Only reason it’s not a perfect 5 is that where the speaker can handle the lows and bass extremely well sometimes the highs end up getting lost amongst the bass. I would recommend  this speaker series to someone who is just getting into the home theater space and wants an amazing speaker but doesn’t want to spend the money on full 5.1 system. This series will get the job done with just two speakers and a center channel. By the way, I know I skipped over the center channels, but a quick run down is that they’re great, they are clear and accurate for voice which is exactly what you want. But with the built in woofer it’s bass heavy. This series will be a great addition to anyone home theater audiophile or not.

As for pricing, the BP9000 series follows suit to the BP8000 series.

  • BP9080X – $1,749/each (available late summer)
  • BP9060 – $1,099/each
  • BP9040 – $899/each
  • BP9020 – $649/each
  • A90 Module – $499/pair
    • This is a Dolby atmos module that will add great height to any movie that your watching, unfortunately at this time, I have not received these guys so I cannot make an opinion on them, hopefully soon.
  • CS9080 – $999/each (available late summer)
  • CS9060 – $699/each
  • CS9040 – $499/each
  • SR9080 – $349/each (available late summer)
  • SR9040 – $249/each

As you can see the pricing for this series is not terrible at all! Please take the time and go find a dealer for these speakers and give them a listen yourself. Leave in the comments what your thought on these speakers are.

So citizens as our latest battle is coming to a head I think that these Definitive Technology BP9000’s will make a good addition to our arsenal of weapons against bad sound. Be safe out there!

What I’m listening to this week

New Songs – Acquainted (The Weekend) and of course Panda (Desiigner)

Old Sound – Country Heroes (Hank Williams III)

 

Thanks To Definitive Technology for the picture!

Update 6/2/2016

Hello Citizens! It’s been a crazy week so far and only getting scarier out there. As per my day job I had a few trainings this week on some awesome new products that are hitting the shelves soon if not already. So I will be getting some reviews out sooner than later.

Reviews to look forward to

  • Definitive Technology BP9040 & CS9040
  • Something secret I can’t disclose yet!
  • Samsung UN78KS9800FXZA (I’m really excited to see this guy)
  • Pioneer Elite VLX101 & VLX301
  • 2016 LG OLED Line-up as soon as I can get them broken it
  • Maybe some special surprises 😉

Looking into also setting up a youtube channel to start doing unboxing and live reviews, I think that will add some extra security layers so evil home theaters will have less places to hide.

 

As for music, not to much going on new we got a new Radiohead album and a new Blake Shelton album. Looking forward to listening to them for you citizens.

 

As for what i’m listening to this week

  • Drake -Views (new music)
  • White Album – The Beatles (old music, but it’s one of my favorites)

As always i’m listening to my tracks on Tidal HiFi

 

Let me know what you guys think and if we need to be reviewing anything else, let me know what you want to hear! Find me on Facebook (facebook.com/themaskedaudiophile) and Instagram (@themaskedaudiophile)