Matt Kirsch, lead audio engineer at Chevrolet, has unveiled his top ten tracks for testing the audio equipment in your car.
Matt tells us it's not all about how loud the stereo can go, but the quality and clarity of the sound: "Most people think that the best sound systems have to make the loudest noise possible, but you should listen for all-round dynamic tonality and punchy vocal characteristics to determine quality - whether you're listening to a smooth jazzy sound or R&B.
"From spending years listening to all kinds of music types and styles, we actually have a few trusted tracks that we always turn to in order to measure the true acoustics of a vehicle. We think it's a kind of 'greatest hits' from both a technical and auditory point of view. Of course there is the fact that they're all really incredible songs!"
He and his team have conducted extensive research to find a selection of tracks that ensure the most rigorous test of a new sound system.
Matt Kirsch's Top Ten Tracks For Testing Your Audio Equipment
"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
"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 colouration
"Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones: listen for Norah's voice to sound natural, and centred in front of you
"Diamonds and Rust" by Joan Baez: listen for strong vocals, and for the instruments to be set across a wide sound stage
"No One" by Alicia Keys: listen for clarity in Alicia's vocals and spacious background sound
"Hotel California" by the Eagles: listen for the clarity and dynamic range during the opening guitar solo, and of course the powerful drum beat
"Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas: listen for powerful, accurate bass beats, even at full volume
"Rock that Body" by the Black Eyed Peas: listen to clear, intelligible lyrics over the powerful, persistent bass beat
"Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap: listen for the enveloping ambiance of the song, building on the openness and dynamic vocals
"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
These and thousands more tracks have been used to measure the acoustics of all new models due for release in the UK this year: the Chevrolet Cruze, Orlando, Camaro, Captiva, Aveo, Volt, and Corvette.
Professional audio judges from the Mobile Electronics Competition Association (MECA) rated the Chevrolet Cruze audio system's acoustic credentials highly in their 2010 Sound Quality League competition.
"Audiophiles believe that rating audio performance requires critical listening as well as measuring output," said Steve Stern, MECA president. "Only the human ear can gauge how natural and believable the listening experience is."Published 13 April 2011