Q&A - February/March, 2007 Page 2

High-Def Music

Q. I've been trying to keep up with the specs for the new DVD players for both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. I have yet to see, however, if either of the formats supports DVD-A or SACD playback. I realize these audio formats are all but dead, but I have a few multichannel gems I'd like to be able to play using one DVD player for regular and high-def discs as well as multichannel audio. Will either HD DVD or Blu-ray support DVD-A or SACD? Kyle Hendricks Owings Mills, MD

A. Al Griffin says: Of the currently available high-def disc players, Panasonic's DMP-BD10 Blu-ray Disc player ($1,300) supports DVD-Audio playback, while Sony's Blu-ray Disc-playing PlayStation 3 ($599) can also handle SACDs. There's been no word yet on whether a player is forthcoming that can juggle both high-rez audio formats, but given the company's past record, I wouldn't be surprised to see such a beast coming from Denon.

Clearing Out

Q. The sound of my stereo system isn't clear and sharp. Although my wife doesn't mind, I'm a bit more finicky. Our living room has a "warm" atmosphere because of the carpet, and I'm wondering if that has something to do with it. Or maybe the manufacturers of my equipment just don't make very good stuff. All of my gear is brand-new, but should I consider making the switch to some high-end stuff, such as preamps and amps (instead of a receiver) and some high-end speakers? Joseph McCracken Stevens Point, WI

A. Ian G. Masters says: Whatever their other virtues, separate components don't necessarily sound better - or even different - than receivers, so the audio quality that bothers you would probably not change with other equipment. My guess is that the problem - if it is indeed a problem - is one of acoustics (and not lousy equipment): Your carpets are absorbing much of the high-frequency energy, lending a sound that's noticeably duller than you would prefer. And that can just be a matter of preference - some people like a very bright sound, and some (like your wife) do not. The solution may be as simple as cranking the treble a notch or two, as long as that doesn't result in domestic strife.

Goo To You

Q. My husband and I have heard about wall paint you can use instead of a screen. What is it, and where do you get it? Gary and Bobbie Steinke Via email

A. Al Griffin says: It really does exist. The company that makes it is Goo Systems (goosystems.com). Goo is said to be a highly reflective acrylic paint specifically designed to turn any smooth surface into a projection screen. It's even sold in different shades of white or gray to mate appropriately with different types of projectors. While we can't specifically vouch for its performance versus that of a high-quality screen, you can learn more (and locate dealers) at the Goo Systems Web site.

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