We’re not sure quite where to place the Q Acoustics Q-BT3 speakers. Are they a soundbar replacement? Wireless speakers? An iPod dock alternative? Powered stereo speakers?
Well, they’re all these things, and more. One thing we are quite sure of, though, is that we approve.
So, what are they? Basically, these are powered stereo speakers with a number of analogue and digital inputs plus aptX Bluetooth streaming. And because of that variety of input options, the Q-BT3s can be put to any number of uses.
The right-hand speaker houses the vital stuff: two 50W per channel power amplifiers, DAC, a Bluetooth receiver that will accept the higher-quality aptX codec and the connecting socketry.
There’s the power input, of course, a pair of phono sockets, a 3.5mm mini-jack and an optical digital input.
There is also a subwoofer output, should more bass oomph be required.
Finally, there is the pair of speaker cable binding posts, the link to the second, passive speaker.
Four metres of speaker cable is supplied, along with a two-metre phono lead and a two-metre 3.5mm cable, so all analogue connections are catered for.
You’ll have to supply your own digital cable though.
Getting things up and running is a smooth process. We put the pair on our test-room desk and connect them to a CD player to blow away any sonic cobwebs.
Once we’ve given them a good weekend’s running in, we get down to business.
The first thing we notice is that we get a good, clear soundstage right from the off.
There’s no need to measure for speaker placement, no fiddling to get the sound into focus, we just plonk the Q-BT3s down where they look about right, and they are singing clear and true from the off.
This is a sound that’s easy to enjoy – the speakers are marketed, in part, as an alternative to a soundbar, so an easygoing characteristic is a must.
And, while they are a bit less straightforward than a soundbar, the sound these speakers make will knock any similarly priced bar’s into a cocked hat.
Stereo imaging is precise, treble sings bright and true, and the midrange (so vital for TV and movie watching, of course) is clean.
We feel there may have been some tweaking to provide a bit of extra richness to the midrange to give it a nice mellow tone conducive to long listening sessions.
The bass itself is quite quick and precise, although perhaps a little more rounded at the edges than from some bookshelf speakers at around the same price.
The sonic characteristics remain the same no matter the input. We turn to the Bluetooth setting, using our MacBook Pro as a source. Set-up is simple, the laptop finding the speakers within seconds.
There’s a ‘credit-card’ remote which allows you to control volume and input, though the right speaker can detect when a Bluetooth signal is coming in automatically.
We imagine the Q-BT3s will go down very well with the student market. They make a great small system – just add a Bluetooth device and away you go.
But they’ll work really well in many ways in the home. They’re a little big for PC speakers, but if you’ve got the desk space, they would be great.
Put them either side of a TV and you’ve got better sound than any equivalent soundbar, and they are a far better sonic bet than a normal iPod dock.
Few products are as versatile and easy to like as the Q-BT3s for the price.
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