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The What Hi-Fi? guide to the best music to test your system

The What Hi-Fi? guide to the best music to test your system

We listen to a lot of music during the course of the working day. Morning, afternoon and evening (and usually lunchtime too), the listening rooms are alive with the sound of music. As the song almost says.

Both by nature and by design we use lots of different types of music while we're testing, both in terms of genre and of recording quality. We don't just listen to exquisitely produced recordings (although we like a full-on show-off hi-fi track as much as anyone), and we doubt you do either. To really cut the mustard, a product has to handle a cheap and hurried recording just as effectively as it deals with something that's been buffed until it gleams.

Of course, each member of our review team has their particular favourites, recordings that reveal the true nature and ability of a product more effectively than others. So here's where you can find just a small selection of the music we find especially helpful when we're considering all aspects of the way a product performs.

Here's music that's great for testing headphones, for testing speakers, for testing record players, for testing bass. Some of it is vinyl-specific, some of it centres around a particular instrument, some of it is all-around useful (as well as being great music in its own right). And on top of that, here are our monthly streaming-service playlists of the songs we're listening to right now...