Not Every Demo Is A Rave

There are trade show days that feature one knock out demo after another, but believe me- not all of them come up roses. We have so much to write about, and trade show demos present so many unknowns and variables that I'm not very quick to criticize based on what I see here let alone to take the time to write about it.

But for the second year in a row I saw about a million dollars worth of McIntosh audio and video gear, including a $10K video processor, making poor images and thin, strident sound that was markedly inferior to much lower priced system in the Marantz (with Snell speakers) demo room right next door.

To convince people of the need for this video processor, the source was analog component video showing a clip of the DVD of Happy Feet, a movie that's available on HD DVD in a spectacular transfer. There was noticeable edge enhancement, and banding in the blue sky areas. This didn't make me pine for the days of DVD; instead it rather made me wonder why someone would buy such a grossly expensive system and not pop the extra $300-$500 for a hi-def player. Power meters are cool and all, but still...