The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc

Available in Audiophile 192kHz/24bit, 96kHz/24bit & 44.1kHz/16bit

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Album Name Length Format Sample Rate Price
The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc 1:30:00 $24.98
Buy Individual Tracks
# Track Title Length Format Sample Rate Price
1 When the Saints Go Marching In 4:29 192/24 Album only
2 Don't You 2:11 192/24 Album only
3 This Little Light of Mine 2:45 192/24 Album only
4 Three For All 5:29 192/24 Album only
5 Las Perlas de tu Boca 4:20 192/24 Album only
6 Ben's Farm in Vermont 1:45 192/24 Album only
7 Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring 5:14 192/24 Album only
8 Whip-poor-will 4:31 192/24 Album only
9 Ceremony:Evening 6:54 192/24 Album only
10 Transcendental Tripping 7:10 192/24 Album only
11 Wa Wa Wa 7:52 192/24 Album only
12 War 5:46 192/24 Album only
13 Rock and Roll 4:05 192/24 Album only
14 Test Tracks Introduction 3:13 192/24 Album only
15 Four Surround Voices : Announcement 0:34 192/24 Album only
16 Four Surround Voices : Test 0:35 192/24 Album only
17 Front, Rear Voices : Announcement 0:10 192/24 Album only
18 Front, Rear Voices : Test 0:19 192/24 Album only
19 Drum and Bell: Walk Around the Mic : Announcement 0:14 192/24 Album only
20 Drum and Bell: Walk around the Mic : Test 1:09 192/24 Album only
21 Shaker: Walk Around the Mic : Announcement 0:19 192/24 Album only
22 Shaker: Walk Around the Mic : Announcement 0:59 192/24 Album only
23 Height: Center Shaker : Announcement 0:12 192/24 Album only
24 Height: Center Shaker : Test 0:29 192/24 Album only
25 Height: Left Channel Shaker : Announcement 0:12 192/24 Album only
26 Height: Left Channel : Test 0:23 192/24 Album only
27 Height: Right Channel Shaker : Announcement 0:12 192/24 Album only
28 Height: Right Channel : Test 0:26 192/24 Album only
29 Height: Center Bell : Announcement 0:23 192/24 Album only
30 Height: Center Bell : Test 0:25 192/24 Album only
31 Height: Left Channel Bell : Announcement 0:11 192/24 Album only
32 Height: Left Channel Bell : Test 0:28 192/24 Album only
33 Height: Right Channel Bell: Announcement 0:16 192/24 Album only
34 Height: Right Channel Bell: Test 0:25 192/24 Album only
35 Voice: Dynamic Range Uncompressed : Announcement 0:14 192/24 Album only
36 Voice: Dynamic Range Uncompressed : Test 0:14 192/24 Album only
37 Voice: Dynamic Range Mildly Compressed : Announcement 0:10 192/24 Album only
38 Voice: Dynamic Range Mildly Compressed : Test 0:14 192/24 Album only
39 Voice: Dynamic Range Heavily Compressed : Announcement 0:12 192/24 Album only
40 Voice: Dynamic Range Heavily Compressed : Test 0:14 192/24 Album only
41 Cymbal: Dynamic Range Uncompressed : Announcement 0:12 192/24 Album only
42 Cymbal: Dynamic Range Uncompressed : Test 0:47 192/24 Album only
43 Cymbal: Dynamic Range Mildly Compressed : Announcement 0:10 192/24 Album only
44 Cymbal: Dynamic Range Mildly Compressed : Test 0:49 192/24 Album only
45 Cymbal: Dynamic Range Heavily Compressed : Announcement 0:12 192/24 Album only
46 Cymbal: Dynamic Range Heavily Compressed : Test 0:51 192/24 Album only
47 Drum Kit: Dynamic Range Uncompressed : Announcement 0:15 192/24 Album only
48 Drum Kit: Dynamic Range Uncompressed : Test 1:09 192/24 Album only
49 Drum Kit: Dynamic Range Mildly Compressed : Announcement 0:08 192/24 Album only
50 Drum Kit: Dynamic Range Mildly Compressed : Test 1:09 192/24 Album only
51 Drum Kit: Dynamic Range Heavily Compressed : Announcement 0:13 192/24 Album only
52 Drum Kit: Dynamic Range Heavily Compressed : Test 1:10 192/24 Album only
53 Heart Beat Tracks 1:10 192/24 Album only
54 Shake, Rattle, and Roll : Announcement 0:23 192/24 Album only
55 Shake, Rattle, and Roll : Test 2:28 192/24 Album only
56 Pink Noise : Announcement 0:15 192/24 Album only
57 Pink Noise : Mono 1:03 192/24 Album only
58 Pink Noise : Stereo 1:03 192/24 Album only
59 Pink Noise : Mono + Stereo 1:00 192/24 Album only

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℗ © 2014 Chesky Records

There’s no doubt about it; we’re living in the Golden Age of Headphone Design. At every price category, headphones have never sounded better. I’ve heard more than a few $10 in-ears that were pretty respectable, lots of mid-priced winners, and a couple of $5,000 state of the art, full-size beauties that blew my mind. Today’s best headphones are higher resolution devices than the finest $100,000 speakers. You can hear superior detailing and clarity from headphones and typical room acoustic problems with speakers are completely eliminated. With the best headphones you hear what the microphones “heard,” and nothing else.

Of course a stellar headphone can’t make a poor quality recording sound great, so if you want to hear your headphones’ full potential you have to listen to the best recordings. Now sure, sound quality is a matter of taste, but I prefer recordings that sound as much like the real thing as possible. In other words, recordings free of compression, peak limiting, equalization, digital reverberation, Auto-Tune, or any studio processing tricks. That describes the sound of every Chesky recording ever made. They’re always pure and natural. We’ve included an assortment of the latest Chesky recordings to show off the best of what your headphones can do.

We’ve all gotten used to hearing music mixed and mastered to sound consistently loud, so a whisper quiet vocal is as loud as a scream. The uncompressed music tracks on this sampler retain their natural soft-to-loud dynamics, so you’ll probably have to turn up the volume on your phone or amplifier a notch or two from your normal listening level to enjoy the music’s full dynamic range.

Over the last few years Chesky Records has used a B&K 4100 D Binaural “head” that has microphones where the head’s “ears” would be. That one B&K is the only mic present at the sessions; no other mics are used to pick up individual instruments or voices. These Chesky Binaural+ recordings can also be enjoyed over stereo speakers.

In addition to the music tracks we have included a selection of tracks that can test your headphone’s dynamic range and imaging capabilities. Bear in mind that Binaural+’s 360 degree spatial cues will sound very different on in-ear, on-ear, and over-the-ear headphones. With the best headphones you will experience an “ear-witness” perspective; you hear what the binaural head heard at the session, exactly. There’s no after the fact mixing or alteration to the balance. There can’t be, as it’s a live to two-track recording. So if you own a bunch of headphones, check out how different they sound on the music and test tracks. You might be surprised by what you hear.

Soft-to-loud dynamic range compression is often cited as the #1 problem affecting sound quality on nearly all contemporary recordings, and I have to agree. Sadly, few music lovers have ever heard uncompressed recordings. Dynamic range compression is unrelated to lossy data compression formats like MP3 or Dolby Digital. No, I’m referring to dynamic range compression, the intentional squashing of the naturally occurring soft-to loud dynamics of voices and instruments. That’s why we’ve included a series of test tracks that demonstrate the musically disastrous effects of compression. For each group of dynamic range tests you’ll first hear the music in its natural, uncompressed state, followed by the very same track with a moderate amount of compression, and then one more time with a maximally compressed and peak limited sound mix. The differences are far from subtle; it’s a shame that few artists ever release their music in an uncompressed, or even only a mildly compressed version. Once the original sound has been compressed, it can never sound completely natural.

—Steve Guttenberg, February, 2014

Produced by David Chesky & Steve Guttenberg
Recorded, edited, and mastered by Nicholas Prout

All tracks were recorded at the Hirsch Center, Brooklyn, New York, and St. Paul’s Church, in New York, with a B&K Binaural head, MSB A/D converter, and Crystal microphone cable.

This album was made with the purest audio path, using the very best microphones, mic preamps, analog-to-digital converters, recorders, and cables with careful attention to detail to produce the most transparent and natural sound available today.


Reviews

"This is one that every headphone enthusiast needs to have, in the same way every audiophile back in the 1900s had to have Chesky's original Ultimate Demonstration Disc. I'm sure this one will be all over every headphone show for years to come, and it's certainly going to be part of my headphone testing from this point forward. This is gonna be fun ..."
—Brent Buterworth, stereos.about.com

While I really appreciate the interesting experience and will find some solid utility in the test tracks, it's the music on this disc that has me tantalized. The samples on the disc, and the albums from which they come, are remarkable headphone listening experiences. One of the great things about Chesky Records is that they've not only got the serious recording chops to be rightfully considered and audiophile quality label, they've also got the longevity and artistic wherewithal to attract superb talent. I highly recommend a rummage around Chesky's Binaural+ page to hunt out some music that you might enjoy. I think you'll find the experience quite a bit more ear opening than you might expect...I know I did.
—Tyll Hertsens, innerfidelity.com