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October 20, 2010

Will the QS8 rear speakers work well for music playback?

Filed under: AV question — Alan @ 3:22 pm

Q. I love the sense of surround envelopment that I get from my QS8 rear speakers with movie soundtracks, but I’ve read that the new DVD-A and SACD multichannel music formats are mixed using direct-radiating speakers at the rear. Will the QS8s work well for music playback?

A. Most of us do not have room to install two types of surround speakers—multipolar types for movie playback and direct-radiating speakers for surround music playback. A few A/V receivers have outputs for two types of rear speakers to meet this need directly, but experience suggests that for many rooms and setups, a multidirectional-type surround will function admirably for movie surround or music playback. In real life, much of the ambient sound reaching our ears in clubs, auditoriums and concert halls comprises a rich mix of reflected sound, and given that most domestic rooms do not have the dimensions to generate this melange of reflections, a multipolar surround is the preferred choice. This subject remains somewhat controversial. However, if you have the budget and the space, then four or five identical tower speakers in very large rooms would duplicate the conditions under which these recordings are mixed.

Alan Lofft was, for 13 years, Editor in Chief of Sound & Vision, Canada’s largest and most respected audio/video magazine. He edited Sound & Vision (Canada) until 1996, when he moved from Toronto to New York to become Senior Editor at Audio magazine.
Lofft has been writing about hi-fi and video professionally for over 20 years, ever since his first syndicated newspaper column, “Sound Advice”, began appearing weekly in The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation daily newspaper. In the late 1970s, he became a contributing editor, columnist, and equipment reviewer at AudioScene Canada, the leading national consumer electronics magazine at the time. Find out more about Alan in his bio.

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