Q Acoustics builds some of our favorite high-end speakers, and now the company is about to introduce its first active (i.e., self-amplified) models: The Q Active 200 bookshelf and the Q Active 400 floor-standing tower.
Both sets of speakers will come with the Q Active Control Hub for streaming music from wired and wireless sources to the speakers. The hub accepts high-res music streams of up to 32-bit resolution at sampling rates as high as 192kHz, then converts them to 24-bit/96kHz before they’re sent to the speakers.
The hub will connect to your home network via Wi-Fi or ethernet cable, and it can act as a UPnP media player to stream music from a computer or NAS box. It also supports Bluetooth or you can stream directly from any of the most popular music service apps—including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify, and Tidal—without needing to install an additional app on your smartphone or tablet.
In addition to wireless and network sources, the hub is outfitted with HDMI ARC, a Toslink optical digital audio input, and a stereo RCA line-level analog audio input. This input is connected to a swtich that can enable a moving-magnet phono stage to support a turntable connection. A subwoofer output gives you the option to connect a powered subwoofer to the system.
Q Acoustics says the hub can be controlled with voice commands via Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or Google Assistant. You’ll be able to set up multi-room speaker configurations using Chromecast, AirPlay 2, or Roon, with “Works with Alexa” compatibility coming in early 2021.
The Q Active 200 ($1,999 per pair) are two-way bookshelf speakers with a pair of Q Acoustics’ 2.25-inch Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drive units and a rear-firing 4.5-inch long-throw subwoofer with a wave guide in each cabinet. The drivers are powered by six discrete amplifiers delivering output of 280 watts. The bookshelf speakers can be mounted to an optional set of stands ($499 per pair) inspired by the Concept 300 Tensegrity product that are specially designed to eliminate unwanted vibration.
Q Acoustics says the BMR units in both the Q Active 200 bookshelf (available in November) and Q Active 400 floor-standers (shipping in January 2021) are arranged in an offset configuration to produce a generous sweet spot, so it doesn’t matter where you sit in the listening room.
A switch on the back of each speaker designates it as either the left or right channel, and another switch informs the speaker where it’s located in the room: next to a wall, in a corner, or out in free space. The switch position allows the speaker to fine-tune its low-frequency response to the environment.
The new floor-standing speakers will have the same BMR arrangement as the bookshelf model, but the larger speakers will have two 4.5-inch woofers—one at the top of the enclosure and one at the bottom—and they will have eight discrete amplifiers producing 440 watts of power. Q Acoustics has not announced pricing for the Q Active 400. We’ll update this story when we receive that information; meanwhile, stay tuned for our Q Acoustics Active 200 review.