Music Monday: Music to Test Your Headphones With

This post is a kind of collaboration with my youngest son. He is writing a similar post, highlighting his favorite songs to listen to using his headphones. He’s got a much broader range of music that he listens compared to me, so I’d encourage you to check it out at Muzik Mondai.

I’m often a little behind on keeping up with the music scene, but in this case, I’m more than a century behind.

I just got my first pair of what I consider “nice” headphones (Mpow H19 IPO Active Noise Cancelling Headphones), and I never knew what I was missing until I listened to Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising album over the weekend. The headphones shut out the world around me and allowed me to just listen to the music. It was wonderful.

I have had headphones before, but they were the equivalent of the free ones you get on an airplane. I just didn’t think I would be able to notice the difference in sound quality between those cheap headphones and a nicer set. Boy, was I wrong…

According to Wikipedia, the first headphones were developed in the late 19th century for use by telephone operators, to keep their hands free. Initially, the audio quality was mediocre and a step forward was the invention of high fidelity headphones. In 1958, John C. Koss, an audiophile and jazz musician from Milwaukee, produced the first stereo headphones.

So the technology has been around a long time, and I am just really taking advantage of it now. I tried to think of some songs that might sound great through a set of headphones, and the first one that came to mind was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, and I guessed correctly:

After that, I wasn’t sure what else to try, so I decided to look for some expert guidance. I went searching on the web for some listings of songs that are considered great songs to test out headphones on. I came across lots and lots of listings, but I only checked out a couple of them and listened to the songs that were suggested. It was quite an eclectic set of songs, and there were very few songs that I was familiar with.

One song that stood out was: “Wild Monk” by Osamu Kitajima. According to Vlad Svavov, the author of one of the articles I came across about top songs for testing headphones, Wild Monk” is just a fun, dynamic track that really tests the treble reproduction of any sound system. I don’t know treble vs bass, but I simply enjoyed how the music shifted from one ear to the other at times, and was a different kind of music to what I usually listen to.

The final one I’ll include is another song and artist I’ve never heard of: Paper Moon” by Booka Shade. It’s another song that just really shows off the beauty of listening to music through a pair of headphones.

I’d love to hear some suggestions as to songs that you think sound particularly great through a set of headphones; I’ve got some serious catching up to do…

29 thoughts on “Music Monday: Music to Test Your Headphones With

  1. My husband and sons are also devoted slaves to their head sets, Jim. They have expensive sets which they get for Christmas and other special gifting occasions. I can’t use headphones at all. I have very sensitive ears, I can hear everything and overhear a lot that I shouldn’t by accident. I get terrible earache after a short while no matter how good the headphones. I like the middle song, very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not tried listening to a podcast with my headphones yet, but I did watch an entire documentary with my headphones on, which was about two hours. They were quite comfortable. And it’s hard to make Bohemian Rhapsody sound bad 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think any tune sounds better with noise-canceling headphones. I got a pair of Sony headphones for Christmas last year, and they work great. What’s really nice is that you can turn them way down to avoid damage to your hearing, and they still sound good, due to the noise-canceling feature.

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  3. I pulled out my Bose headphones which are great for airplanes and gave it a go. Those were all great headphone songs. I really liked Paper Moon.

    I remember a couple of awesome songs for headphones. Time Has Come Today by The Chambers Brothers was my favorite headphone song in college. The Doors’ Riders On The Storm is another. They also worked well with a high powered stereo and putting speakers in the dorm windows. 😉😄😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you had headphones in college? You were way ahead of me!
      I had never heard of Time Has Come Today, but I am listening to it right now while I type this. It does sound great with the headphones. And I know that Doors song will sound great.
      And man, do you bring back good memories of blasting music out the dorm windows while in college!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In college, headphones were a poor man’s substitute for great speakers. I bet you may have heard Time Has Come Today. I looked it up and it has been in many films like Coming Home, Casualties of War and recently Da 5 Bloods and TV shows including The History Channels’ Vietnam in HD.

        This post brought back great memories from college days for me. Walking on campus on warm spring afternoons and listening to music blasting out of dorm windows. 😎

        These days, acquiring a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones did more than any other single thing to increase my enjoyment of long flights.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I need a good pair of headphones to truly appreciate the music. I also love wearing headphones when I’m working out. I hadn’t heard the last two before. My favorite was the last one.


  5. i’ve never owned a pair, but it definitely sounds tempting. i’m sure it would be a whole new sensory experience that i wouldn’t know that i was missing, until i tried them. i love music and i have a strong feeling i would love headphones. enjoy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I, like you, have returned to my appreciation of headphones. I can wear mine at work and have fallen in love with the sound quality and channel separation. I have heard little nuances that I have never noticed before in songs I have heard a thousand times. Can’t give you a specific song to try out, but I do suggest you lean toward studio productions where channel separation and mixing are at their best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know many people can work or study while wearing headphones and listening to music; I just don’t think I could do so. Although I am listening to a great song right now while typing this comment…:)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree that listening to music through good headphones is wonderful – as long as they’re plugged into a good system! It also helps if the music is to your taste – sadly, those last two weren’t for me. I also have problems listening to Bohemian Rhapsody without images of Wayne’s World sneaking into my brain 😂

    As for other tunes that sound good in the cans, try this one, with the added bonus of a beautiful video:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I probably don’t have the greatest setup; I’m just listening to Spotify on my laptop with my wireless headphones. But it still sounds great…
      And yes, Wayne’s World – classic.
      And that Beatles song and video were wonderful – thanks for the suggestion 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m the same – Apple Music and an iPad, but decent headphones do help! Mine are noise cancelling with super bass – they can be deafening!

        Glad you liked the song. The remix and that video are rather good, aren’t they…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. it was a nice take on the song; I’m sure lots of Beatles songs sounds great through headphones. My favorite Beatles song is Here. There, and Everywhere – I may have to give it a listen…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It was done for the Love album, which was the soundtrack to a show by Cirque du Soleil. A lot of Beatles albums have been remastered so you should be able to find a version of Revolver to do justice to your headphones.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Good to know! I’ll dig out a copy – there’s a fairly recent version of the album somewhere in my Apple Music library…


      5. I just tried it – it’s good, isn’t it! Some of their remasters are really great, a favourite of mine is the one last year for the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road. The balance on Come Together is great, and the effects on Here Comes The Sun are lovely.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for introducing these two pieces. I enjoyed Wild Monk–parts of it, and some of the transitions reminded me of Jethro Tull. You may enjoy them on your snazzy new headphones. I have a decent set, but there is a loose wire so I keep losing one side of the music….


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