Dealer's demo recordings

I always suggest bringing your own familiar recordings when going to a dealer to audition equipment. On the other hand, while going to dealers and just lending an ear to what is playing in their demo rooms, I sometimes hear recordings that, obviously, favour the system at hand. While often enough unimpressed by the music itself, I become quite intrigued by the sound of its reproduction. Sometimes both the performance and recording quality coexist in the demo record. This sort of thing occurred while visiting the Montreal show. I heard in the JM Labs' room a song titled "Stimela" by Hugh Masekela that was wonderful to appreciate the dynamics of the system. I have had one hell of a time trying to find that particular version from all the ones recorded by this artist. I wonder what are the recordings playing as demoes in high-end rooms of the dealers you pop into and have you ever gone out to purchase one of these recordings. It would also be interesting to know what you think the dealer was specifically trying to show off by playing such recordings and whether it was successful. Thanks.
I often find demo material boring. Some dealers and even manufacturers choose software that shows off the equipment, but musically is not very inspiring.

On the occasion where popular music becomes "the" chosen demo material, it gets played to death. I remember one CES show where every demo room was spinning Jennifer Warnes, "Famous Blue Raincoat" or Paul Simon, "Rhythm of The Saints."

It was refreshing at this last show to hear Eva Manley rocking out to Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet." It was fun standing outside her room and watch the expressions on peoples faces.

Personally, I work to make my system sound as good as possible with software that I love. Listening to music just for the sound is not why I work so hard to make my system right.

My recent demo material is Johnny Cash's new album, Alison Krauss, "Forget About It," "OK Computer" by Radiohead, and "Out of Our Idiot" by Elvis Costello.

I understand the need to show off the stereo favorably, but when you're all alone and listening to the music you love, it better be able to make you happy.
Pbb: I have "Stimela" by Hugh Masekela as recorded on the Burmester Demo Disc 3. It is a live version and sounds kick ass. Even though it is not a type of music that i would normally go out of my way to listen to, the recording and presentation on this disc is so good that it encouraged me to go see Mr Masekella when he came through Chicago several months ago. It was a very enjoyable evening and a new experience for me. As a side note, the entire Burmester disc is very good and i can see how they chose the selections that they did to demo their systems with.

Other than that, i typically have a small selection of discs that i bring with when checking things out. They range from instrumental "new age" and "chamber" music to phenomenally punishing "death metal" with pounding double bass drums. Needless to say, some of the selections that i choose have stunned sales people, but i don't care. I listen to a very wide variety of music, so i want to know up front if a component is up to the task or not. Like Albert said, it's not about putting your "toys" up for display, it's about using and enjoying them. Sean
I find that making a cd with specific sounds that are really hard to get right is invaluable when testing systems.

A few I use are the Geni voice off "Amused to Death".The crcking of the whi and the slayride off the same CD track 7 to test soundstaging.

Male Vocals of Stan Ridgway on 16Tons ,Karen Carpenter,Tracey Chapman and a few others.

I listen to see weather the cracking of the whip and the door slamming back and forth on amused to death or Marv Alberts voice sound right and how dispersed they are.SOme recordings that are out of Phase I put on the same disc to see what they sound like also.

I only take 20-30seconds of the specified cut off so as not to take to long in hearing what I need to know.

If after all the short cuts sound right I listen to
"Feel The Benefit" in it entirety from 10CC because there are alot of instuments that are on it and alot can be gatherd as to how much detail and how3 invlveing the setup is.

The best you can do is use things that you are familar with which drives alot of salesman crazy because they are trying to sell while you are trying to test.

JMO and way of doing things.For Classical I use cuts from Bartok,Wagner and Beethoven.

If after all that I cannot tell weather I like the pice of gear there is something wrong.

Albert, nice mention of Allison Kraus' album. This has been my favorite lately. I had it for a few years, but never thought much of her voice (sort of wished she had stuck with fiddling, I thought her voice sounded thin). Then spun the CD again after a recent system upgrade, and it just sucked me in. Gorgeous sound and musicianship, and incredible choice of (mostly sad!) material. Really a haunting album.
Abex, I love that track on Amused To Death. I've been listening to that CD for years, but it wasn't until my recent stereo system completion that I've recognized its potential. The whole CD is just recorded extremely well it seems. But "Too Much Rope" is so good it's scary.

And regarding dealers demo material, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE some of the stuff on demo discs. I have bought quite a few of the original cds that were highlighted on compilations. What can I say, I'm a sucker for impressive new demo material.