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Favorite PA Demo Songs?

Simon Barz

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Hello all!


I'm interested in what tracks you all are using to demo PA systems and familiarize yourself with a system you're about to engineer on.


I understand the idea is to use songs you are very familiar with this way you can quickly determine certain characteristics of a new system. I realize that this is not a replacement for measurement.


Here are a few tracks on my current playlist: 

Fragments of Time - Daft Punk
Bad Blood - NAO
Pulp Culture - Thomas Dolby
Rainmaker - Keb' Mo'
Africa - Toto
Higher Love - Steve Winwood
Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
Do It Again - Steely Dan

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I work with bands as a FOH mixer as well as PSM work. Thomas Dolby's 'Pulp Culture' is my go-to for checking a system's basic operation before anything else. This will usually ID a non-working sub, main, monitor or cabinet component.

I'll sometimes use Steely Dan/Donald Fagen's  I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World) for something different.

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  • 8 months later...

I worked with a sound designer that would only tune systems with a particular Tori Amos album. I remember having to run out and buy another copy when he'd forget it at home on multiple occasions. This was before lossless audio files were a thing.


Another one looped the acapella version of Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega to tune vocal systems. Like, for an hour. Do do doo do, do do doo do…


Thanks to another FOH engineer I can't hear Dido ever again.


On my last tour we negotiated split dinners- I don't need to annoy the crew with my music and pink noise, and I don't need people running power tools while I'm analyzing a transfer function of the room.

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