Test Records

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by sdman, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. sdman

    sdman New Member

    Can anyone recommend a good Test Record?

    I've been out of the loop for a number of years and the
    use of test record may be obslete.


  2. brucered

    brucered Well-Known Member

    i have the shure "an audio obstacle course" and it seems like a decent one. i don't think i made any changes after listening to it, but it was interesting playing it thru. there are a few different versions of this one, i was told to grab this one (black and yellow psychadelic cover, they are about $10 on ebay every once in a while. once your done with it, it looks great in a $10 album frame.

    Attached Files:

  3. ferninando

    ferninando AK Subscriber Subscriber

    San Jose Ca.
    Stereo Review (Hirsh-Houck Labs) if you can find it, Shure Audio obsticle Course, ditto.
    you don't need any others. these 2 will cover the whole system.
    I only mention these 2 as I have both for over 35 yrs.
    Maybe new ones exist but these were what you bought back then and all that existed.
  4. brucered

    brucered Well-Known Member

  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy Krusty old SOB! Yes, I own Audiokarma Staff Member Admin Sponsor Subscriber

    Try the hifi news test lp.
  6. brucered

    brucered Well-Known Member

    KAB has this one for $40
  7. SaSi

    SaSi Super Member

    Athens, Greece
    I have Ortofon's "Test Record 2" and Shure's "ERA IV" TTR15 LPs.

    The Shure is geared on testing through music alone, and is geared towards trackability tests mainly. It is useful and can expose a badly configured system rather easily.

    The Ortofon has one side with test signals and the flip side with selected music. I personally find the Ortofon easier and more useful to work with as it is geared towards quantitative analysis of channel separation, distortion, resonance frequency and trackability.
  8. dokblues

    dokblues Just Glad to be HERE! Moderator

    Acoustic Sounds Spring Catalog

    You might want to check this one out. I have no affiliation with this site!

    The Ultimate Analogue Test LP

    180 gram

    Analogue Productions

    Analogue Productions

    Label: Analogue Productions
    Genre: Test Record
    Product No.: AAPT 1
    Availability: In Stock
    Format: Turntable Set Up Tools


    The Absolute Sound - 2008 Editors' Choice Awards
    "…The modern renaissance in vinyl over the past decade, coupled with the startlingly high performance of today's best LP front ends, has created the need for a new standard in test records. And that new standard is undoubtedly The Ultimate Analogue Test LP from Analogue Productions. This new disc has been meticulously assembled in collaboration with some of the world's greatest technical experts in record cutting…a 'must-have' for any analog enthusiast." – Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound, October 2008

    "The speed stability of this test record is outstanding and below the measurable threshold, that's what it's supposed to be. With most test LPs, the speed is erratic caused by off center holes and warps in vinyl. I have over 40 test records and for most functions they are useless. You made a great test LP, I used it to set up and measure my new Rim Drive and without it most of the testing would have been useless. It's unbelievable, there is no wavering." – Harry Weisfeld, VPI Industries

    "The Ultimate Analogue Test LP from Analogue Productions is something that could only have been dreamed of a few years ago. Now it's a reality and an indispensable tool for setting up and getting the most from your vinyl rig. It's 'all about the music' for us vinyl lovers and I can't imagine how we ever did without something like this for so long! Bravo to Analogue Productions/Acoustic Sounds for making this the true Ultimate set-up disk, a tool that will enable us to get the most music and good sound from our record collections." – Steve Hoffman, mastering engineer

    "The Ultimate Analogue Test LP is a milestone and very powerful reference for those truly concerned about getting the very best performance from an analog (vinyl) front end and also for those professionals who manufacture the related analog front end products. To start with, Track One very accurately provides a 1kHz tone at 7 cm/s mono (in-phase, lateral) NAB OVU standard reference level, which has been the industry standard since 1964. This supercedes the long-outdated RCA 5 cm/s (3.54 cm/s stereo) test level. Track One can also be used as an outside track wow and flutter reference as will the inner Track 10…two ways to approach this measurement. A close look shows that each track on this disc can be used in multiple ways far beyond the list provided in the limited space on the record jacket. Hats off to all of those involved in making this outstanding test LP." – Keith Herron, Herron Audio

    "The Ultimate Analogue Test LP from Analogue Productions is the quintessential tool for setup and fine tuning of ALL analog systems…Pure Science yields High Performance." – Dan Babineau, Technical Editor, TONEAudio Magazine

    "First of all I have to say it comes along in close to perfect manufacturing quality. In comparison to lots of other test records available in the market there are nearly no warps. So when it comes to talk about a test record, the first thing that is absolutely necessary is perfect flatness of the disc. The second and third tracks on the first side of this record are very good tools to adjust azimuth to a certain degree without test-equipment. Track 10 is a perfect 3150 Hz tone that is mastered close to perfection. In direct comparison to a German-made product, one can see that level is kept in a much narrower band. So there is only very small amplitude deviation visible. All of the other tracks are very useful as well. I have to give my highest recommendation to this record – a must have for any audiophile!" – Dr. Christian Feickert, Feickert Analog Products

    "In having created a special grinding system we at Basis have created turntable drive belts precise to within a fraction of a Micron. Combined with our similarly groundbreaking work in creating absolutely true bearings and platters Basis has broken new ground in turntable speed stability. The result is that the speed stability of Basis turntables now exceeds the limits of the very test records used to test speed stability. Only one out-of-print test record so far had been up to the task. The recent test record you sent makes the second. The lack of drift in the test tone makes this the most close to perfect speed check we have found to date. Thank you for bringing this record to my attention." – A.J. Conti, Basis Audio

    "Yes, I'll occasionally set up a cartridge visually to listen casually. However, all serious listening is done by setting up with the 'Ultimate Test LP,' it's always interesting to see how far off I am with a visual set up. Some of the adjustments are very fine. I don't think one can be certain that their cartridge is set up right without this disk." – Michael Yee, Michael Yee Audio

    Analogue Productions set out to produce the ultimate test record.
    We’ve consulted many experts in the field, including mastering engineers, audio experts, turntable experts and audiophile listeners, to create a test record that's never been made before. When Barry Wolifson from Sterling Sound in New York City called us with the same idea we had been thinking about – that being to create the ultimate test record – he and our audio expert Clark Williams began to brainstorm and research ideas until they were both completely satisfied with what should go on the record.

    Most of the test records in the past have been made to test a variety of equipment. This test record excludes silly cannon shots, typewriters, voices on one channel and other useless fluff. This one specifically addresses your turntable and cartridge. It’s designed to provide the basic test signals necessary to calibrate a turntable or cutting lathe as simply as possible. Most of the signals have specific implications, but it is certainly possible to use them in any number of novel ways.

    This record was mastered and cut on a Neumann VMS 80 lathe at Sterling Sound and pressed at Record Technology, Inc. on high-quality, 180-gram virgin vinyl.

    Side 1
    General Reference Level
    This 1 kHz reference tone will allow you to establish a “base level” for all measurements.
    Track 1 1Khz reference tone 7cm/s Mono, in phase (Lateral)
    Basic reference for all measurements, adjust meter for maximum convenience (in the studio 0VU).
    Adjust preamp channel balance for equal output.
    Also used to check the offset angle of the photo cartridge; L&R signals should be exactly in phase as displayed on an oscilloscope.

    Azimuth Adjustment
    Track 2 1kHz reference level Left channel only
    Measure Right channel output.
    Track 3 1kHz reference level Right channel only
    Measure Left channel output.
    The object is to sit the stylus exactly perpendicular in the groove.
    Twist cartridge about its radial axis until the measurements from Track 2 and Track 3 are equal or very close to equal for both channels.

    High Frequency Adjustment
    Tracks 4, 5 and 6 are used to calibrate the RIAA high frequency equalizer of a phono preamp. This will be used to calibrate a mastering lathe’s phono preamplifier or any phono preamplifier that has these adjustments.
    Track 4 1 kHz tone at -20 below reference level, Lateral
    Reference for High Frequency test.
    Track 5 10 kHz reference tone at -20dbu, Lateral
    Adjust the high frequency until the output level equals that of Track 4.
    Track 6 1 kHz to 20 kHz sweep at -20dbu, Mono (Lateral)
    The AC millivoltmeter reading should stay constant across all frequencies. There are a number of factors which can affect frequency response, including cable capacitance, cartridge loading, tracking force and worn parts. Because of this, it can be difficult to achieve perfectly flat frequency response. Sometimes by making small compromises in the 10 kHz adjustment, a better overall frequency response can be achieved.

    Low Frequency Adjustment
    Tracks 7 & 8 are used to calibrate the RIAA low frequency equalizer of a phono preamp.
    Track 7 1 kHz to 20 Hz sweep at 0 VU (Lateral)
    Play Track 7 and measure the output with your AC millivolt meter.
    Ideally, the output will be flat across all frequencies. When viewed on an oscilloscope, the amplitude would remain constant during the frequency downsweep.
    Track 8 100 Hz reference tone at 0 vu (Lateral)
    Adjust LF Eq to reference (which is your reading from Track 1).

    Track 9 VTA adjust
    This is an IEC intermodulation distortion (IMD) test signal; 60Hz & 4kHz 4:1 ratio.
    Using an IMD tester, adjust VTA by raising or lowering the tonearm for minimum distortion.

    Track 10 Standard Wow & Flutter test signal; 3150Hz
    The Wow & Flutter meter will give dynamic speed variations as a percentage deviation from nominal.
    Also, the frequency counter should read exactly 3150 Hz for nominal speed. You can use the Hz function on your multi-meter (if so equipped) to verify speed here as well. You can also use to find the measurements at 45RPM. The correct reading at 45RPM would be 4253 Hz (45/33.33) x 3150.

    Side 2
    Track 1 Anti-skating test; 315Hz amplitude sweep to +12dbu (Lateral)
    Signal should remain clean in both channels up to the highest level, both audibly and as viewed on an oscilloscope. In case of distortion, increase anti-skating force or decrease anti-skate until breakup occurs equally in both channels. The left channel information is inscribed on the inner groove wall, the right channel information, on the outer groove wall. Because of the offset angle of a pivoted tonearm, a constantly varying vector force biases the arm towards the center of the record causing the stylus to lose contact with the outer (i.e. right channel) groove wall. Both linear and modulated groove velocity, tracking force, stylus profile, and vinyl composition are contributing factors. The anti skating force attempts to ameliorate this by applying an opposing similar force.
    It is also accepted that the overall force vector increases as the tonearm approaches closer to the spindle or end of the record.

    Track 2 Pink noise lateral
    Track 3 Pink noise vertical
    Used for cartridge “demagnetizing”
    You can also use this track to loosen up the cantilever’s suspension to help break in a new cartridge. Play these tracks five to ten times after every 300 hours of normal LP playback.

    Track 4 1kHz @ reference level, vertical
    This out-of-phase signal should cancel to nothing when summed to mono.
    Any signals still present are distortion artifacts, lack of channel balance, or timing (phase) anomalies. This test can be a second confirmation of anti-skate adjustment.

    Track 5 1kHz to 10Hz sweep @ -20 below
    reference level, vertical
    Resonance anomalies in the tonearm / cartridge interface will show up as amplitude peaks and dips as the frequency sweeps down.
    Once again, by listening in ‘Mono’ it is easier to hear the distortion artifacts.

    Track 6 Silent groove for bearing rumble and table isolation
    During playback of this track, nothing should be transmitted from the turntable to the speakers. Replay the track and gently tap on the rack or base that the turntable is resting on. There should be little or no thump transferred to the speakers. This track will help you experiment with turntable isolation methods and products to be able to get the most out of your playback system. You may want to use a closed or sealed headphone for best listening results, or a stethoscope on the plinth.

    Customer Reviews (5.00 Stars) 3 person(s) rated this product.
    Must-have test LP posted on 03/10/2008
    5 Stars
    Setting up your cartridge properly is a daunting task (at least it was for me). The 'Analogue Productions - The Ultimate Analogue Test LP' makes it not only doable, but is essential if you want your cartridge aligned properly. I would recommend using an oscilloscope to get the most out of the LP. To avoid one pitfall, on setting up the azimuth with Tracks 2 and 3 on Side 1, look at BOTH channels on the oscilloscope, not only minimizing and equalizing the crosstalk in the non-signal channel, but also maximizing and equalizing the other (signal) channel simultaneously. Without doing this, I found it difficult to find 'the' critical point. Otherwise, I found the test LP very accurate and easy to use. After using this test LP, my cartridge/arm/turntable sounds MUCH better than it ever has. By the way, this equipment comprises a VPI TNT Mk. IV turntable, Wheaton Triplanar VI tonearm, and Transfiguration Temper Supreme cartridge.

    Thanks for the suggestions and please keep posting posted on 04/26/2008
    5 Stars
    Reviewer: Chris Muth
    I was one of the guys who worked on this disk and want to thank everyone else who made this and those who have suggestions for use and comments posted. It is always a challenge to figure out what to put on a disk and jacket, where to put it, and how to repair and align the cutting lathe and tone generators (my job) for the easiest presentation (etc.) I want to especially thank George Marino and Barry Wolifson for their friendship and general technical and artistic excellence. Also, the people at RTI, who paid more attention than their normal excellent job to press this disk and do justice to the rock steady VMS-80 attributes, didn't hang up when we asked them to run the press cycle for longer than normal. Thank you all again and keep posting!

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  9. sdman

    sdman New Member

  10. Patriot1776

    Patriot1776 Cancer Survivor at 26

    Murphy, NC
    Even though its $40, I am going to get 'The Ultimate Analogue Test LP' soon because of it being a new-press and also being a 180 gram pressing too.
  11. kenwood61

    kenwood61 KR-4070 started it all Subscriber

    Bend, OR
    I just ordered the HiFi News Test Record from KAB Electro Acoustics for $39.95, plus shipping. It's the new pressing in 180 gram vinyl. No affiliation.


    I figured with two turntables and multiple cartridges, and having no way to know if I have my cartridges setup for optimum sound . . . I better have something like this to enjoy my investment as much as possible. It's taken me about 6 months of thinking it was too much to pay, but now when I can't tell is it the record, or could my setup be improved? . . . I can't wait any longer.
  12. Aerobat

    Aerobat Class A all the way

    Southeastern Pennsylvania
    Resurrecting this thread...any new feedback on test LPs? I'm in the market for one.
  13. beatcomber

    beatcomber AK Member

    Lexington, Massachusetts
    I recently found that one (copyright 1971) in a Goodwill for a buck! :banana:
  14. LeeVing

    LeeVing AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Salem, Oregon
    The Stereo Disc
    Capitol, SWAL-9032, 1950's??


    It's the first test record I've seen thrifting so far, and in the box was the booklet for the record and the old owner must have purchased this with an Emerson model 896, cause the operating instructions were inside.

    here's what's on side 2:

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