For all those who wonder how the pros evaluate automotive sound systems, hear (OK, read) what Matt Kirsch, lead audio engineer for the Chevrolet Cruze, has to say. For the record, he spends more than 500 hours a year listening to car audio systems.
Here are 10 tunes he regularly plays and why:
1. "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones. Listen for Norah's voice to sound natural, and be centered in front of you.
2. "Diamonds and Rust" by Joan Baez. Listen for strong vocals, and for the instruments to be set across a wide sound stage.
3. "No One" by Alicia Keys. Listen for clarity in Alicia's vocals and spacious background sound.
4. "Hotel California" by the Eagles. Listen for the clarity and dynamic range during the opening guitar solo, and of course the powerful drum beat.
5. "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas. Listen for powerful, accurate bass beats, even at full volume.
6. "Rock that Body" by the Black Eyed Peas. Listen for clear, intelligible lyrics over the powerful, persistent bass beat.
7. "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. Listen for the enveloping ambience of the song, building on the openness and dynamic vocals.
8. "He Mele No Lilo" by Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu from "Lilo and Stitch". Listen for the ambience and staging as the children's chorus is offset by powerful bass.
9. "Bird on a Wire" by Johnny Cash. Listen for the clarity in Johnny's distinctive voice and his guitar to sound natural and free of any coloration.
10. "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" by Radiohead. Listen for the punch from the percussive bass, and the ring of the steel drums.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee