Music and driving, like ranch dressing and fries, are two things that go great together. When a vehicle is equipped with a good audio system, it helps complete a journey that starts when you twist the key and ends when you arrive at your destination whistling the song you just listened to.

In order to achieve top notch listening environments, automakers often employ audio engineers who are quite skilled at being good listeners. We imagine they also enjoy ruining social events by droning on about such things as oxygen-free copper center conductors and ohm impedance. Matt Kirsch however, an audio engineer with General Motors, may be more interesting judging by his preferred playlist used when testing audio setups. Kirsh has made public his own Top 10 list for testing the mettle of our own sound systems.
  1. "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones. Listen for Norah's voice to sound natural, and 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 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.
The list is varied between genres and decades, and it's jam packed with a plethora of instruments to stretch the legs on your tweeters, mid-range units and on down to the subs. Finding music with high highs and lovely lows is necessary to experience the complete auditory road trip, and Kirsh's playlist does just that. Don't believe us? The General posted the playlist on iTunes so you can see for yourself.

[Source: USA Today]

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