Q Acoustics Q Active 200 review – What Hi-Fi?

Q Acoustics Q Active 200 offers

( Image credit: Q Acoustics) Transmission 24-bit/96kHz.
Spotify Connect Yes.
AirPlay 2 Yes.
UPnP Yes.
Bluetooth Yes.
Inputs Line-level/phono, optical, HDMI.
Chauffeurs 114mm woofer, 2x 58mm BMR.
Voice control Google Chromecast, Amazon Alexa.
Power 100W per channel.

MORE:.
Read our guide to the very best all-in-one streaming systems.
Read our KEF LSX evaluation.
Read our KEF LS50 Wireless II evaluation.

Q Acoustics has picked to utilize a set of BMR motorists in each cabinet in preference to traditional cone systems. BMRs have two huge benefits: they deliver both midrange and treble (and a little bit of bass) from their modestly sized types, so preventing the requirement for a separate tweeter and mid/bass mix and the distortion producing crossover that accompanies it. And they also radiate sound evenly across a 180-degree plane, reducing the typical propensity for speakers to develop a listening sweet spot..
The drivers small size, extended frequency action and wide-dispersion skills make it a practical option for a product such as the Q Active 200.
Their positioning on the speaker– the dual BMR configuration can sit either on the within top corner or outdoors top corner, depending on which way round the speakers are placed– brings some advantages too. According to Q Acoustics, the asymmetry in the acoustic course lengths from the BMRs to the baffle edges improves diffraction characteristics. It likewise offers flexibility in placing: for far-field listening (further away or to the sides) they must be positioned to the within, or for near-field listening, on the outside.
Naturally, theres only a lot amount and depth of bass a 58mm driver can collect, which is why Q Acoustics has incorporated a ported 11.4 cm woofer into the back of each cabinet. This brings chauffeur cooperation and crossovers back into the mix, however Q Acoustics has carefully thought about that.
The upper BMR (each BMR has its own DSP and amplification channel) runs the full frequency band from the crossover point with the woofer to 20kHz, whereas the lower BMR is designed to just work up to 5kHz. The woofer fires onto a rear baffle, its output guided through vents at the side of the cabinet, with sophisticated DSP keeping the sound from all the drive units time lined up.
Whereas the floorstanders in the Q Active range, the Q Active 400, use the P2P bracing as mostly engineered for the companys Concept 300, these standmounts embrace a dart bracing strategy, which repairs the rear-firing woofer directly to the front of the cabinet to provide it with mechanical stability.
Q Acoustics has created a set of dedicated stands for the Q Active 200, the Q FS75, more modest developments of the ingenious stands created for the Concept 300. For an extra ₤ 350 ($ 499) per set, they feature a skeletal, highly rigid space frame made up of rods in compression, stabilised by cable televisions in stress, and have mendings that allow them to be bolted to the standmounters.
Functions.

( Image credit: Q Acoustics) If you were anticipating an active set of speakers resembling Q Acoustics current variety of standmounters, then the Q Active 200s style might raise a couple of eyebrows.
Packages are narrow, deep and in a beautifully ended up matte white– up until now, so Q Acoustics. Instead of the usual tweeter and mid/bass woofer embellishing each façade, there is a rectangular grille in the top corner that conceals two round, 58mm BMR (balanced mode radiator) drive units.

( Image credit: Q Acoustics) Q Acoustics has actually taken the choice not to house the streaming architecture and connectivity inside the speakers, but instead in a different connectivity center. There are two hub choices to select from, depending on where your voice control loyalties lie. The Google Home box (which we have on test) provides Google Assistant voice control, plus integrated Google Chromecast, while the Amazon Alexa box alternative deal with Alexa.
Its a pity one box doesnt cover both bases– there should be a lot of individuals who use Alexa, for example, but likewise stream music through Chromecast. And what if your obligation changes down the line? Q Acoustics states its looking into making each hub individually available, though hasnt yet validated its strategies.
Whichever hub you choose, you get the very same physical inputs– HDMI (ARC), optical, and an analogue input that is switchable in between line level and moving magnet. Basically, that suggests whatever from a CD player to a TV to a turntable can be linked to the center and streamed to the speakers. Digital signals from the HDMI and optical inputs are all transformed to 24-bit/96kHz, as are analogue signals through the 24-bit analogue to digital converter (ADC).
Rather than the hub streaming these transformed signals to a master speaker that passes the other audio channel to the slave speaker, it sends out the 2 channels of audio directly to the speakers over a 5GHz wireless connection, helping guarantee accurate syncing in between them.
The center is likewise a streaming entrance to AirPlay 2 for iOS users, Spotify Connect for Spotify Premium and Family subscribers, and Bluetooth. Support for the Roon music platform is on the method through a future firmware update, too.
If you own a NAS drive with music, UPnP support is onboard for playing networked music files approximately 32-bit/192kHz (which subsequently gets down-sampled to 24-bit/96kHz for the transmission to the speakers). Q Acoustics will quickly release its devoted Q Active app for assisting owners with registration and set-up, control center customisation, software updates and basic controls, however it will not be an all-encompassing music control app from which to browse regional or networked music libraries and gain access to streaming services.
Thats an embarassment, but third-party UPnP control apps arent tough to come by, and those utilizing Tidal (by means of Chromecast) or Spotify (through Connect) may well select to utilize the native apps anyway. For accessing our NAS device, we use the complimentary MConnect and BubbleUPnP apps on an Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy S20 phone throughout our screening and both work fine.
A strip of touch buttons throughout the back of each speakers top panel more or less mirrors remote control, too. There is an LED by the controls on the top panel that flashes to symbolize this, but unless youre standing you wont be able to see it.
Sound.

Sound 3.

Build 5.

Q Acoustics Q Active 200 …

Q Acoustics Q Active 200 …

It offers the classy cabinets a distinct, nicely minimalist look that might sit well in modern created home– however the design is most likely to divide opinion.

( Image credit: Q Acoustics) Q Acoustics has actually successfully constructed a credibility for excellent passive speakers in its 15-year history– specifically in the budget market. Its products have actually consistently included class-leading clearness and amusing punch, and those talents have predictably discovered their method into the Q Active 200 too.
We play Radical Faces The Missing Road from Tidal through Chromecast, and the melodic acoustic strums, cello and singing humming come through with an eager lucidity, the discussion startlingly clear and direct, not to point out room-filling. You should not always expect Q Acoustics normal richness and heat here, but the active speakers leaner, more forward tonal stance offers them a likeable sense of snappiness.
We stream over Bluetooth and, though we expect the usual drop in quality, the Q Active 200 keep things remarkably tight, losing a little strength and space compared to UPnP and Google Chromecast playback, however largely showing a worthwhile approach of playback.
The BMR motorists keep their end up, spreading sound kindly and equally around our test space and making sure the speakers produce a remarkably big presence for their compact footprint. They have the volume and punch to facilitate work of John Williamss climactic structures, and while that rear-firing woofer is restricted in regards to absolute bass depth, it proves terse and tight as the bassline in SBTRKTs Wildfire (played over UPnP) comes into play. Bass mixes in perfectly with the rest of the frequencies, too, proving Q Acoustics has done a good task with the crossover between the BMRs and low-frequency motorist.
To help optimise positioning, each Q Active 200 has actually three settings selected by a manual switch at its rear. There is Positioned near to a corner, Positioned close to a wall, and our favored Free-space, which we find works best not only when the speakers were out in the space, however likewise near the back wall– possibly since the speakers bass output isnt self-important and the midrange is a little forward. As constantly, we d suggest experimenting to see which setting works best in your listening room.
We switch from Q Acoustics dedicated stands to a pair of Custom Design FS104 Signatures and the discussion sheds some clearness– from both a sonic and visual point of view, we d suggest the customized device. While the Q FS75 extracts more from the speakers, the general differences arent substantial. Just keep in mind that due to the rubber strips underneath the speaker, safe positioning on a third-party pair of stands may be a little fiddly.

( Image credit: Q Acoustics) Theres a little harshness in the upper mids, which remains audible even after a week of use. Its not the end of the world, but it does mean higher-pitched voices can begin to grate after a while. It not does anything for a thick, cymbal-heavy track like Touché Amores Ill Be Your Host either.
However our greatest problem with the Q Active 200 is their combined absence of vibrant and balanced expression. With Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Galleon Ship, the piano and singing pairing comes through clear and strong, yet is bereft of genuine feel.
Everything appears to ride along one audio aircraft, doing not have forward momentum and vibrant tiers. It doesnt help that the sound staging isnt particularly well layered either. Together, these things mean the track isnt all that interesting or mentally grabbing.
Whether trying to grasp the grooves that underpin Thundercats Them Changes, or nail the balanced logistics essential to the SBTRKT track, the Q Active 200 do not rather tie the musical hairs together with the coordination needed for them to thoroughly amuse. They conduct themselves in a upfront and startlingly clear manner, however beyond that they fail to mesmerize.
Offering an entire audio system inside such a compact and hassle-free principle is no easy task, however those such as the KEF LSX and KEF LS50 Wireless II, which sandwich the Q Acoustics in price, reveal it can be done. The Q Active 200 eventually fall well below those standards, providing a cruder listen than we d expect at this not-insignificant price.
Decision.
Its rare, if ever, that we publish sentences including both Q Acoustics and frustrating, but here the Q Active 200 can not conceal behind their thoughtfully thought about spec sheet and speaker engineering. Its a shame due to the fact that the brand has actually done a lot right– theres vast connection available, a lot of speaker engineering, and dedicated represent those who want them. Performance-wise, they merely arent entertaining sufficient to advise..
Its frequently the case that initially efforts are followed by better 2nd ones, and we really much hope that turns out to be the case here.
RATINGS.

The Q Acoustics Q Active 200 appear to be a speaker-first style, given the ambitious acoustic engineering on show here. Get the speaker part right, as you d hope a firm with such kudos in the field would, and youre midway there.
Construct.

Q Acoustics Q Active 200 tech specs.

Its a simple fact of life that the more there is to doEasy truth more there is to prioritise. For Q Acoustics first all-in-one streaming speaker system, the Q Active 200, the British speaker specialist could have focused most of its attention on the streaming side of things– that is the unchartered territory here. Q Acoustics has actually chosen to utilize a pair of BMR drivers in each cabinet in choice to traditional cone systems.( Image credit: Q Acoustics) Q Acoustics has taken the choice not to house the streaming architecture and connectivity inside the speakers, however rather in a separate connection center. Its rare, if ever, that we release sentences including both Q Acoustics and frustrating, however here the Q Active 200 can not hide behind their attentively thought about spec sheet and speaker engineering.

Its a simple fact of life that the more there is to do, the more there is to prioritise. For Q Acoustics first all-in-one streaming speaker system, the Q Active 200, the British speaker specialist might have focused the majority of its attention on the streaming side of things– that is the unchartered territory here, after all. While the brand has some degree of experience in powered speaker design, this is its first proper active streaming proposition..

Functions 4.

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