I gave in and bought one of the mega machines that "also plays CDs". It seems to play every modern format of music known to man (although not necessarily to Marie) out of 5 speakers and something called a sub-woofer (when did this become a word?). I quite like that in addition to being "also a CD player", it is also a radio!
Hooking it up yesterday I was rather pleased with the sound quality. However, I only managed to get sound out of 2 speakers and the sub-woofer-thingie. I will have to troubleshoot today or if worse comes to worst...call a man!