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Ask Simon

Have a question about anything to do with Home Entertainment? Simon is a power house of knowledge and will answer commonly as well as the seemingly unusual questions on anything associated with Home Entertainment. Simon is definitely a music aficionado but is a wiz with all the latest gadgets. So please email your questions and we will reply personally and upload the answers for all to share. Obviously your name and address will be kept confidential. 

Note, some questions that have been asked frequently have formed the basis of an article that now appears in the regular section of our Learning Centre. We will provide a link to these articles.

Riding The Radio Waves

Q. I just bought a new high quality Stereo Receiver from Audio Trends and the radio reception on AM radio is terrible! It is worse than my cheap clock radio which is over 20 years old! What can I do? Should I change brand? Malcolm - Ferntree Gully

A. Thanks Malcom for your email. This is not really a problem or fault with the Receiver but more to do with the geography where you live and the need to install a suitable antenna. As this problem is being experienced Australia wide, we have written an article which discusses the issue and also suggests a solution. Click here to read.

Dolby Atmos

Q. Dolby Atmos seems to be the buzz word in Home Theatre. Can you tell me what brands are doing it and what's so special or is it another gimmick? Marc

A. Thanks Marc for your email. No, in our opinion it is not a gimmick but rather adds a real dimension to movie soundtracks. We have setup our main Theatre room so come in for a listen when you can. In the meantime you may wish to read our Dolby Atmos article.

Magneplanar Speakers

Q. Magneplanar Speakers are quite different to conventional box speakers. Do I need a big room or expensive amplifer? I have read a lot of great reviews on the Internet but there also seems to be a few negative comments. Steve

A. Steve, you may wish to read our Magneplanar FAQ  page, but always best to come and compare with your own music.

Sonos PLAYBAR & SUB 3.1

Q. I am interested in the Sonos PLAYBAR and SUB 3.1 system as it seems really easy to use and is wireless. I would like to use an Apple iPhone and PC to control the music, so does the Sonos allow for this, and do I need to purchase anything else? What if I want to have speakers in the living room too, I want to make sure I start off with the right gear. Andrea (By Email)

Click here to read Simon's answer.

Which Record Cleaner

Q. You have two different vinyl cleaning kits available: The Spin-Clean Record Washer Mk11 Record Cleaning Kit and the Knosti Disco-Antistat Record Cleaning Kit. What are the differences between these two kits? Is one kit better than the other? Do they both clean 12" and 7" records? Denis (By Email)

Click here to read Simon's answer.

Bad TV Sound

Q. Can I buy a TV that has decent sound? All the flat-screen TVs I've seen are absolutely awful! Jackie - Doncaster

A. Yes Jackie, all manufacturers are concentrating on just the picture. But, we have a number of good "soundbars" as they are called. Click here to learn more about the Sonos Wireless Soundbar.

Regular Maintenance

Q. I've had a home theatre system for about 6 years. Has it changed a lot in that time and is it time to update and invest in new gear? Is there anything I should be looking at as far as maintenance is concerned? Haydn - Castlemaine. 

Click here for Simon's Answer

Dead Technology Resurrected

Q. I ditched my turntable 25 years ago but thankfully kept all my albums! My teenage grand kids are now raiding the cupboards and telling me "vinyl" is back on the scene. Is this true? What is available as far as makes, models and prices are concerned? Can I get rid of the pops and crackles? Geoff - Newstead. 

Read Article On The Latest Gear

Oppo BDP-103

Q. I am looking to buy an Oppo Blu-ray player. With no real interest in 3D the BDP-103 seems the obvious best performing all round choice; would you agree? Is the Oppo BDP-103 region free? Why should I buy from an Australian seller? Warranty? Simon.

Click here for Simon's Answer

What Were They Thinking Of?

Q. My friend Paul has just bought a 1966 Ford Mustang and it has an unusually large type of cassette that I've never seen. Can you tell me more about this and some of the earlier audio and video formats? Nadine, Port Melbourne.

Click here for Simon's Answer

Ideas For Your Man Cave

Q. My man is definitely into good audio gear and I think he's already got everything! So, what suggestions can you give me for the man that thinks he has everything, but doesn't cost a small fortune? VW - Toorak

Ideas For Your Man Cave

Meet The Designer

Q. I remember attending seminars at the original Audio Trends Wantirna store in the early 1990's. Do you still have them at your Ringwood Showroom? They were very informative. RW Northcote

Click here to see details of our last Meet The Designer event.

XLR Interconnecting Cables

Q: Is there a simple explanation of the difference between unbalanced and balanced cables? A lot of high-end and not so high-end products include exclusively or as option XLR connections on the back. I know they've been around a long time in the Professional A/V world, but do I need them? A.R. - Wodonga  

Click here for Simon's Answer

Stewart Screens

Q. I believe Stewart Filmscreen from the USA make the best Projector Screens in the World. But, they have so many different screen materials to choose from. What are the differences? Click here for Simon's Answer

Headphones

Q. My family are complaining about my music and so I want to listen on some headphones, but there are so many choices! What are the differences? RL Bayswater. Click here for Simon's answer.

Turntable Connection

Q. I have decided to get out my old NAD Turntable and listen to some of my favourite albums but the new Home Theatre Receiver I purchased 3 years ago doesn't have a suitable input. What can I do? LL Warburton.

Click here for Simon's Answer.


Paradigm Millenia TV Speakers

Q. I see a lot of new TV speaker solutions coming to market here and overseas. What do you think of the Paradigm Shift range of products?

Click here for Simon's answer.

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