McIntosh MDLP1 1080p DLP Front Projector Wheeling WV
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McIntosh MDLP1 1080p DLP Front Projector
July 23, 2008 By David Birch-Jones
Of all the storied American audio brands established after the Second World War, perhaps none has the rich history associated with the McIntosh marque.
Founded and run by engineers, the company produced audio components that stood out from competitors with their trademark cut-glass front panels, highlighted with blue-lit meters and a green-glowing McIntosh logo—a trade dress that continues to this day.
Independently owned for many years, McIntosh was acquired by car-audio company Clarion in the 1990s and was recently folded into the growing repertoire of brands under the D&M Holdings umbrella, which includes stablemates such as Denon, Marantz, Boston Acoustics, Escient, and a number of other consumer and professional brands.
Considering that Marantz is one of McIntosh’s sister companies, it should come as no surprise that the MDLP1 is a derivative of Marantz’s flagship single-chip 1080p front projector, a top performer in its own right. While the McIntosh version retains the ovoid, curved chassis of its cousin, the dark-charcoal-gray cabinet adds a distinctive richness, and the top panel has been redesigned with the McIntosh livery, featuring a smooth, polished facia housing the trademark green McIntosh logo and switchgear that matches to a T that of the company’s other components.
Given the MDLP1’s provenance, I was certainly not surprised by the projector’s fine test-bench performance, achieving top marks in color accuracy and gray-scale performance. Like its sibling, the MDLP1 is equipped with one of the better-performing video-processor chips, in this case a Gennum VXP. As I found when I previously tested the first Marantz 1080p DLP projector, which was similarly equipped, the MDLP1 sailed through the toughest torture-test deinterlacing patterns, producing a first-rate picture that was at all times colorful, vivid, and devoid of any aberrant picture artifacts.
The projector is fully prepared for anamorphic widescreen viewing, and McIntosh offers the companion LK1 motorized lens option that, with a variable-width screen like Stewart’s CineCurve, provides real, in-home theater 2.35:1 presentations with no black bars at the top and bottom of the screen image.
Even though the projector is equipped with a 200-watt lamp (compared with other models in its class that usually feature 300-watt bulbs), the McIntosh lamp is a direct current (DC) type that provides more than sufficient output to handle even large screen sizes. McIntosh offers the projector in medium- and long-throw versions, with the long-throw variant being the preferred choice for back-of-the-theater mounting, now the most popular installation configuration.
Even though the MDLP1 is equipped with a fairly generous input panel, McIntosh saw the need for a companion dual-zone video switcher and processor, and the company now offers the VP1000 for deluxe installations that need wholehouse video distribution and r...