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Headphones are great devices for listening to music privately. Besides build material and the headphone brand, the one thing you should look out for in headphones is their sound quality. Sound quality is the biggest deal breaker out of the tons of headphones currently flooding the market.
Sound quality has been directly connotated with the driver size inside the headphones, but is this true? Although driver size is a significant factor that affects sound quality, this is not the only thing you should look out for. If you want to test headphones or their quality, you should know which tracks to play.
Songs like Beat it by Michael Jackson, Sweet child o mine, Seven Nation Army by the White stripes, No Time for Caution by Hans Zimmer, Paper trails by Dark Side, and You’ve got to have freedom by Pharoah Sanders are great tracks for headphone testing for your new headphones.
In this article, we will tackle the different songs to test headphones, what aspect of the headphone sound quality they are used for, and many more.
Let’s get right into it.
Table of Contents
How do you determine good quality headphones?
Perhaps the most significant determinant of good-quality headphones is their audio quality. The best way to test headphones is to listen to different genres that will determine the performance of the headphones. And although we all have other personal preferences when it comes to music, we would all love the several essential aspects of the sound produced by a headphone, such as deep bass, solid beat, clear vocal lines, and overall balance, among others.
Here are the best songs to test headphones:
Explosions in the Sky-Wilderness
Explosion in the Sky’s Wilderness is one of the best tracks to play to test the overall balance in your headphone. Balance is rarely found in most headphones, as cheaper headphones perform with excessive bass, resulting in low range vocals. Good headphones should cover most of the different frequency ranges in a given song, and you will be able to test the headphone quality of your device because Wilderness has a lot of low-end percussive pulse and tons of guitar harmonics.
However, if you prefer another song to test headphones for their overall balance, you can also opt for Black Country, New Road’s Instrumental.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Helplessly Hoping
Hopelessly Hoping is one of the best songs to test headphones for their midrange quality. The midrange is where you’ll find the vocal lines of a song, and to hear them properly, they must have clarity. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Helplessly Hoping has tons of harmonic layering and melodic strumming, making this one of the best songs to test headphones for their clarity.
The vocals might sound thin and chaotic if there isn’t enough midrange support from the lower frequencies. So before purchasing headphones, add this song to your playlist first.
Perhaps the most famous song in this list, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, is undoubtedly an excellent piece to test the dynamic range of your headphones as this song has multi-layered harmonies, echoes, and opera sections that will for sure test the capabilities of your headphones.
Bohemian Rhapsody ranges from relatively calm-sounding music to opera to rock music, complete with electric guitar sounds, piano keys, and other instruments. You know this will be a good test for your new headphones.
The White Stripes- Seven Nation Army
Seven Nation Army was recorded by the White Stripes using 1960s equipment; this song is renowned for its bass riff and is one of the most recognizable songs released in the 2000s. The deep bassline from this song and the mix of different instruments will test your headphone’s dynamic range response.
Most headphones, especially ones on the lower end of the price range, tend to make headphones sound more toward the bass-y end of the spectrum. These bass headphones put more emphasis on the bass frequencies than the clarity of the song, but this is not something good, especially for professional musicians, as the balance is everything to them.
So when it comes to testing headphones for their bass control, there is no better song than Darkside’s Paper Trails. This song will test the deep vocal line into the frequency range, emphasizing the bass’s clarity.
BadBadNotGood – Speaking Gently
Rhythm and timing are crucial for headphones, as keeping up with time is something people look for with good headphones. And when it comes to testing headphones for their rhythm and timing, there is no better song than Speaking Gently, which has a solid beat as the song opens, and a freer percussive mindset as it goes along.
Timing also goes for how well the instruments interact with one another, so this song will for sure test the quality of your new headphones.
Arvo Pärt – Tabula Rasa
Dynamic range is the acceptable volume of sound occurring during a music track; this quality is crucial for headphones as a shortage of dynamic range will most likely result in a flat performance, almost sounding like a rehearsal.
Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa has small and large-scale dynamics that fluctuate within the song, so you can hear your headphone’s quality in real time. Smaller-scale dynamic ranges can be easier to spot, and they are also the most significant indicators that your headphones are good when watching movies or films.
Havergal Brian – Symphony No1 in D Minor (The Gothic)
Havergal Brian’s Symphony No1 in D Minor is the best song to test headphones for their detail level. The detail level might be confused with clarity, but these are two different things discussed. Large scale orchestral pieces with a wide range of various instruments highlight the additional details in a song. For headphones to be called a good pair, they should be able to play the different sounds accurately, even if they are relatively hard to hear.
Pharoah Sanders – You’ve Got To Have Freedom
You’ve Got To Have Freedom is a good test for your headphone’s treble quality. Coarseness in treble frequency response might be the first thing you notice as they will make your ears hurt, which means you might be forced to adjust other aspects of your device, such as removing sharpness from songs.
To test treble quality, you can play You’ve Got To Have Freedom through your headphones, and this song should sound immaculate to your ears without making them bleed.
Eminem- Rap God
Eminem’s Rap God is one of the best rap songs you can play to test your new headphones. Rap God starts with a TV announcement, a piano, and lyrics, which is a pretty elaborate intro for a rap song. With a thundering bass throughout the sons, Rap God will test your headphone’s treble to the limit.
In addition, Rap God will also test the clarity of your headphones. Although you don’t need to understand every syllable in this song, you should be able to hear them.
Kraftwerk – Autobahn
Autobahn is electronic music that Kraftwerk made in 1974. Although not many people knew what they were trying to achieve with this music, they were one of the most renowned artists for electronic music; this 23-minute electronic-sounding music will test your entire headphone’s performance.
Spit It Out- Slipknot
Slipknot is one of the most known artists producing heavy metal music. Spit It Out is one the most intense tracks from their debut album, and this terrifying-sounding music will test the performance of your headphones for their bass control, balance, and clarity; if you listen closely if you filter out the guitar sounds and instrumentals, you should still be able to hear the lyrics from this song.
Bad Guy- Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy is a good test for your headphones because this song has a lot of thumping sounds along with the vacuumed sounds in the background. Playing this song will test your headphone’s ability to handle bass.
Take My Breath- The Weeknd
Take My Breath by the Weeknd is just like a disco song with modern production. It is an R&B song complete with instrumentals, deep bass, and typical The Weeknd lyrics, which will entirely test out the capabilities of your headphones from balance to clarity.
How to choose tracks for testing headphones
If you prefer to test headphones on your own, choose your tracks. Then it would be best if you keep these factors in mind.
Familiarity with the song
When choosing tracks to test your headphones, the most crucial aspect is your familiarity with the song. Familiarity with the music ensures you know what to expect when playing that track. Does it have tons of instrumentals? Does it emphasize more on the lyrics more? These are all essential aspects to consider.
Variety is the second thing you should consider when making a playlist to test your headphones. The more variety of noises and instruments in a song will result in a better test of the capabilities of your headphones. It could have animal sounds, clapping, and many others.
Be sure to choose a song that will test your headphone’s ability in bass control, clarity, treble, and others. A prime example of this is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Quality production of the track
Even if you have the best sounding headphone in the world or the most expensive, they will still sound terrible if the quality production of the song you have chosen is of bad quality. So when looking for songs to test your headphones, look for high-production quality pieces.
How to check the sound quality by looking at the technical specifications?
If you want a purely objective way to test the sound quality of your headphones, then you can do this simply by just looking at their technical specifications. Here are some specifications that you should look out for when looking for good-sounding headphones.
As mentioned earlier, headphone drivers are almost synonymous to sound quality. The driver size is one of the most important things to look out for if you want good-sounding headphones.
Electrical resistance in the headphones also directly impacts their sound quality. Most high-quality headphones have higher impedance; a higher impedance means more energy is used to power the headphones, thus resulting in better-sounding music.
A higher headphone frequency response means it can cover a more comprehensive array of the frequency range. Though this will not directly impact the sound quality, a higher frequency response means that your headphones can cover different sounds more accurately.
Noise cancellation is inseparable from newer, high-quality headphones. Superb noise cancellation capabilities will directly influence the sound coming from your headphones as they will filter out all the background noise, allowing you to hear the music on their own.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does 8D audio do?
An 8D audio tricks your brain into thinking that you are in a more extensive area when listening to them; this makes you feel that the sounds are coming from different directions, just like in a concert.
Is Bohemian Rhapsody good for testing headphones?
Yes, Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the best songs to test headphones because they cover a wide array of instruments, and the song itself is a variation of different song genres.
When looking for headphones on the market, the first thing you should look for is their superb sound quality. An excellent-sounding headphone will allow you to relax and escape from all the business of life through listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts. And to aid you in testing the quality of the headphones you want to purchase, you can use the songs listed in this informative article.