Q Acoustics' new powered towers may be small, but the sound they're promising is mighty

Q Acoustics M40 white towers in a living room
(Image credit: Q Acoustics)

The best things come in small packages, as the saying has it. Q Acoustics is certainly looking to prove that old aphorism true with its new M40 powered speakers, a pair of dinky floorstanders that boast Bluetooth streaming smarts and multiple connectivity options without the need for external boxes. Effectively a larger version of the five-star Q Acoustics M20 bookshelf powered speakers with new driver technology, the compact towers are billed as the "most convenient way to fill your home with powerful and immersive sound without filling (it) with big, imposing loudspeakers". 

We don't usually start with size, but a big part of the M40 towers' appeal comes from their discrete, neat dimensions. At just 71cm high they're pretty titchy for a pair of floorstanders, and Q Acoustics promises that the M40 are perfect as a "step on the hi-fi ladder for those who don’t want a component-heavy system of hi-fi separates". Still, they claim to deliver 200W of Class D amplification in total, so you should still get plenty of punch from the comparatively undersized units.

The speakers come equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 for streaming from devices, as well as compatibility with aptX HD and aptX Low Latency codecs. The M40 speakers are designed to be versatile for various sources, and so feature a pair of RCA inputs, a 3.5mm analogue input and a USB Type B connector (which supports up to 24-bit/192kHz hi-res files). This means you can connect MP3 players, your laptop and even a turntable (provided it has a phono stage built-in) to the M40. You can even connect your TV to the speakers' optical input (there's no HDMI, though). 

Q Acoustics M40 speakers in three finishes: black, walnut, white

(Image credit: Q Acoustics)

The powered speakers pack in Q Acoustics's latest driver technology via their C3 Continuous Curved Cone mid/bass units, first used in the new 5000 series and on show in the Award-winning Q Acoustics 5040 floorstanders. We hope this bodes well for the new M40s. The speakers also feature a decoupled tweeter for what the brand promises will be a crisp, pure performance at the top end, as well as "Helmholtz Pressure Equaliser" technology which diminishes unwanted standing waves inside the speaker cabinet.

Q Acoustics has also paid close attention to the design of the grilles on the M40s, which are fixed to the baffle and can't be removed. Removable grilles need a firmer structure to ensure they hold their shape when placed on or removed; this problem is eliminated when the grille is fixed to the speaker. This fixed nature means the brand has been able to create a more open structure in the grilles' design surrounding the drivers, meaning the soundwaves from the drivers are less impeded and there's overall reduced sonic interference. This should result in a "smoother sonic performance", claims Q Acoustics. 

You can also designate which speaker unit takes the left or right channel, and there’s an EQ switch to indicate if the speakers are placed against the wall, in free space or in a corner. The DSP technology then optimises the audio performance depending on the towers' positioning.

The new Q Acoustics M40 powered speakers are available now in black, white and walnut finishes, priced at £749 / €899 / $999 / AU$1999.


Check out our guide to the best active speakers

Best hi-fi systems: CD, vinyl and streaming music systems for the home

Read our review of the Award-winning Q Acoustics 5040

Best floorstanding speakers: budget to premium

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied law and history at university before working as a freelance journalist covering TV and gaming for numerous platforms both online and in print. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or forcing himself to go long-distance running.