ASK THE EDITOR: Audiophile demonstration ‘deceit’

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Michael Vronsky asks:

Neil - if during a demonstration, an uncompressed live recording, which was not available to the general public were used, is that reasonable, or unfair and what are your reasons please?

Well I would say it’s a matter of disclosure. If the sales person who we must assume is an enthusiast is himself is rather knocked out by the results of the equipment that he has been demonstrating with uncompressed and unavailable studio-type material and he wants to show this off to the perspective buyer, well I think that is fine; providing he explains it. What would not be acceptable would be to put it on as if it was just another CD that anybody could get if they went to a shop and bought it. Because that’s deception.

The counter argument is that in so doing, the system is being demonstrated at its optimum. Like a high performance touring car being tested on a closed track at speeds that would be banned on our motorways.

Well I think my view is that the salesperson should never use only uncompressed studio broadcast standard or whatever you like to call it – unavailable material – for demonstrating the thing. He has to demonstrate with other equipment and personally when used to demonstrate things to people I always encouraged them to bring some of their own material that they thought they knew. This refers back to something I said much earlier, which is that you have to take people's breath away on things they think they know.

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