Two unusual music pieces to reveal your HiFi system’s qualities

Reading time: 5 minutes


For this part of our journey to evaluate the sound quality of a HiFi system, our Marantz sound engineers share two very different and unusual albums. While both can be used for evaluation the second is also very nice for demonstration of all the attributes a good HiFi system should have. This might sound strange at first. Why do we make a difference between demonstration and evaluation? If we want just to evaluate the qualities of a product or even if you just want to check out one certain aspect – for example dynamics, you select a piece that highlights this aspect and accept that it may have shortcomings in others like for example tonal balance.

For demonstrations you want to choose material that makes a products shine and that puts a satisfying smile on even the demanding audiophile’s face.

Read about the below recordings and try them on your own system.


Mi Corazon by The Brandt, Brauer, Frick Ensemble

Taken from the album: Mr. Machine.


This is something that doesn’t fit into any genre. The 3 masterminds (Brandt, Brauer and Frick) are well known DJs in Berlin. So they usually are into House, Techno and Dance music. Some of the rhythms surely fit into these genre but you won’t find any electronic instruments or sampling on these tracks. Everything is played by 10 Jazz or classical musicians. So you have tuba, cello, piano and a lot of percussion that is done with all kind of tools and tubes. Everything is recorded in a way that gives a sense of space.

What to judge here is that the soundstage is well defined (you should be able to easily follow the arrangements as the instruments start playing one by one and piece builds over time). Secondly because of all the percussion this music is also very demanding to amplifiers because of the impulses with sometimes a very high amount of low frequency energy (bass).

The LP version is also something we use to test our phono stages.


Let It Rain or Use Me or Black Magic Woman by Partricia Barber

Taken from the album: Companion


Special Editions: MFSL remastered versions and a special double LP in 45 rpm

This album is a live recording from a small Jazz club in Chicago done end of the 90s. The recording is just excellent and transports all the attributes we associate with ‘HiFi’. The track ‘Let it Rain’ starts with the usual background noise where you can hear single persons clapping hands or talking at their tables. This brings you right into the scene. Patricia Barbers vocals and later on the acoustic guitar playing of John McLean are just excellent and very well captured. The positioning of the musicians is easily to spot and the singer is always center stage with a very remarkable and realistic height. The track ‘Use Me’ from Bill Withers gets a new arrangement and starts with a solo of the double bass player of about 2 minutes. Here you have bass energy, dynamics and again a remarkable presentation of the musician on stage. Finally, the last track of this album is the well-known ‘Black Magic Woman’ of Peter Green that so many only know from Carlos Santana. Again, in this arrangement, it is not only the guitar player who shines, it is also the Hammond lines played by Patricia Barber that make this version so special.


You want to find out more about the Marantz sound character? Don’t hesitate to read further here.

Curious how Marantz HiFi components in all categories sound? Visit the Marantz homepage to be inspired.