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.