A good sound system is a must in a car, at least for me. When you’re stuck in traffic for hours, music can be the only thing to keep you sane. So with a good sound system, life can be a lot better on those days.

Unless you’re a serious audiophile, determining true high-quality sound can be difficult. Some carmakers like to brag about how many speakers and watts their systems have, but that doesn’t necessarily determine quality.

There happen to be certain songs that can help determine the quality of the speakers. So maybe when test driving a new car, bring along a CD with these songs on it:


  1. “Hotel California” by The Eagles – The song is a classic and fantastic, but the best version for speaker testing is the live version from the “When Hell Freezes Over”. The incredible guitar intro and bongos that lead into the song make it the best song for testing all levels of sound. Plus it sounds magnificent.
  1. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits – Mark Knopfler’s opening guitar riff is one of the most famous of all time and that, and the ensuing drum intro, can test the quality of any sound system. There are also some great background vocals by Sting, and listening for the clarity of them can tests the merits of the speakers.
  1. “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – With old-school, James Brown style funk, great brass instruments and catchy lyrics, Uptown Funk can test all levels of your speakers. There’s a lot going on in this song so if you’re able to pick everything out, then you’re listening on good speakers.
  1. “Baba O’Riley” by The Who – With the fantastic, fast paced intro that moves from left to right, and the introduction of all of the different instruments, Baba O’Riley is one of the beat songs to test the fidelity of speakers. Listen for the intro movement and for each instrument as they are introduced throughout the song.
  1. “Bohemian Rhapsody ” by Queen – A true rock and roll ballad, Bohemian Rhapsody is filled with great instrumentals and even lyrics. Listen for Freddie Mercury’s timeless vocals and for the hard-hitting end to the song. A great system can make this truly classic song really come alive.