British audio specialist Q Acoustics today announced its first-ever active loudspeakers: the Q Active 200 bookshelf speakers and Q Active 400 floorstanding speakers.
The company says it has designed the Q Active range "from the ground up", with the express intent of delivering a high-resolution system that can play music from any source – TV, network music streamer, smartphone, laptop, and even a turntable.
A compact central Control Hub configured either for Google “Chromecast built-in” or Amazon “Works with Alexa” is supplied with each pair of speakers, which allows users to connect to a variety of wired and wireless sources. The Hub can be connected to your home network using ethernet or wi-fi.
You can connect to wireless sources using Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon and Spotify Connect, too.
The Q Actives support all popular music streaming services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal. You can play and control music directly from each platform’s native app, which should keep the experience reliable and fuss-free – ie. without the need to download any additional apps.
The speakers can also operate as a UPnP media player capable of streaming your digital audio library from a computer or NAS drive.
For wired sources, the Control Hub offers an HDMI ARC input, an optical digital input, an analogue input and a subwoofer output. You can also plug your turntable into the Hub thanks to the built-in moving magnet phono stage.
The Control Hub links to the Q Active speakers via a wireless connection where all incoming audio (Max Source Resolution 32bit/192kHZ) is converted to 24-bit/96kHz hi-res audio. The wireless design means the Control Hub can be placed out of sight (and free from the tangle of speaker cables) behind a TV, in a cupboard or on a rack. A remote control is also included with each Hub.
Q Active supports voice control via Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and can form part of a multi-room speaker group using AirPlay 2, Roon, Google 'Chromecast built-in' or Amazon 'Works with Alexa'.
The Q Active Control Hub will be available with Google Chromecast integrated at launch, while the Amazon Alexa-supported version will be available in early 2021.
Both Q Active 200 and Q Active 400 speakers feature twin Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drive units in an offset configuration, thus promising a wide sound dispersal.
A switch at the back of the Q Active speakers lets you designate left or right channels, while another tells the speakers where they are positioned in a room – close to a wall, in a corner, or out in free space. This information allows the Q Actives to fine-tune their bass delivery to suit their positioning.
To drill down into the specifics of each model, the Q Active 200 standmount speakers feature two 2.25in BMR drive units and a rear-firing 4.5in long throw subwoofer with a waveguide to boast excellent low-frequency bass performance. There are six amplifiers squirrelled away inside the casework to power the the Q Active 200, resulting in a total power output of 280W.
The Active 200 can also be mounted on the optional four-legged Q FS75 floor stands – inspired by the Concept 300's Tensegrity stands – but you'll need to buy them separately, for £349 ($499 / AU$799 / €419 per pair, main photo).
The Q Active 400 floorstanding speakers have the same BMR drive unit arrangement as the Active 200, but feature eight amplifiers, with 440W of total power output.
Q Acoustics tells us that the key difference with the Q Active 400, besides its taller cabinet size, is that it features two rear-firing 4.5in subwoofers: one at the top of the cabinet, one at the bottom. It's claimed that this set-up helps to neutralise any internal standing waves and reduce unwanted vibrations for cleaner, tighter bass.
The speakers are available in two finishes: matte white and matte black.
The Q Acoustics Q Active 200 with Google Cast is priced £1499 ($1999 / AU$3199 / €1999) and will be available from November 2020 at Amazon, qacoustics.co.uk and qacoustics.com (opens in new tab).
Pricing for the Q Active 400 isn't yet known, but they should launch in January 2021.
Read all our Q Acoustics reviews
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