As Q Acoustics explains, the Q Active range was designed from the ground up, with the express intent of delivering an uncompromised, versatile high-resolution system that can play music from any source – TV, network music streamers, smartphone, laptop, and even a turntable.
For that, they complemented the speakers with a compact central Control Hub, an external unit configured either for Google "Chromecast built-in" or Amazon "Works with Alexa," supplied with each pair of speakers, and which allows users to connect to a variety of wired and wireless sources. The Hub can be connected to any home network using Ethernet or Wi-Fi. This way, when eventually the features become obsolete (and that's happening faster than ever), the speakers will remain perfectly usable and not obsolete like many other active designs with streaming features built-in.
Users can connect the Control Hub to wireless sources using Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon and Spotify Connect. The solution supports all popular music streaming services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal – and users can play and control their music directly from each platform's native app, keeping the Q Active speakers reliable and fuss-free without the need to download any additional apps.
The hub can also operate as a UPnP media player capable of streaming existing digital audio libraries from a computer or NAS drive. For wired sources, the Control Hub offers an HDMI ARC input, an optical digital input, an analogue line level input and a subwoofer output. Users can also plug their turntable into the Hub – it features a built-in moving magnet phono stage.
The Control Hub then links to the Q Active speakers via a wireless connection where all incoming audio (Max Source Resolution 32-bit/192kH) is converted to 24-bit/96kHz hi-res audio, making for a beautifully simple system, free from the tangle of speaker cables. The wireless design means the Control Hub can be placed out of sight if desired: behind a TV, in a cupboard or on a rack. A remote control is also included with each Hub.
With this approach, the Q Active speakers are able to support 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”. For now, the Q Active Control Hub will be available with Google “Chromecast built-in” integrated at launch, while the Amazon “Works with Alexa” version will be available in early 2021, and future solutions can also be implemented in the future.
What About the Speakers?
Focusing on the speakers, the Q Active range is a true active design, using class D amplification. Both the Q Active 200 model and the upcoming Q Active 400 tower speakers feature twin Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drive units in an offset configuration that delivers a widescreen sound dispersal and a huge sweet spot. Thanks to this technology option, no matter where the speakers will be positioned in the room, users will hear the same rich and detailed sound from the Q Active speakers.
"BMRs allow Q Active to deliver outstanding sound quality across your entire listening area, rather than restricting it to the ‘sweet spot’ of more traditional driver arrangements... [They] deliver seamless midrange performance. Because they operate all the way down to 150Hz, where they hand over to Q Actives' subwoofer driver, there is no midrange crossover distortion and, consequently, completely clean and uncolored midrange performance," explains Q Acoustics.
The Q Active 200 speakers feature two 2.25" BMR drive units and a rear-firing 4.5" long throw subwoofer with a waveguide for extended low-frequency bass response. There are six discrete amplifiers powering the Q Active 200, resulting in a total power output of 280W.
A switch at the back of the Q Active speakers lets users 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 its low-frequency response to deliver the best possible sound for its environment.
The Active 200 speakers can also be equipped with optional Q FS75 floor stands ($499/€419 per pair). This stylish four-legged stand not only looks stunning but also eliminates unwanted vibrations.
The Q Active 200 speakers ($1,999 / €1,999 per pair) are available from November 2020. The Q Active 400 tower speakers will be available in January 2021. These have the same BMR drive unit arrangement as the Active 200, but feature eight discrete amplifiers with 440W of total power output.
The key difference with the Q Active 400, besides its taller cabinet size, is that it features two rear-firing 4.5in subwoofers: one subwoofer at the top of the cabinet, and one at the bottom. This arrangement neutralizes the cabinet’s internal standing waves, which in turn reduces unwanted resonance and delivers a cleaner, tighter bass sound.
Both speakers will be available in two finishes: matte white and matte black.
www.qacoustics.co.uk | www.qacoustics.com