Q Acoustics has announced its first active loudspeakers: the Q Active 200 bookshelf speakers and Q Active 400 floorstanding speakers.

Q Acoustics has designed the Q Active range from the ground up, with the express intent of delivering a versatile high-resolution system that can play music from any source: TV, network music streamer, smartphone, laptop and even a turntable.

A compact central Control Hub configured either for Google “Chromecast built-in” or Amazon “Works with Alexa” is supplied with each pair of speakers, which allows users to connect to a variety of wired and wireless sources. The Hub can be connected to a home network using ethernet or wi-fi.

Users can connect to wireless sources using Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon and Spotify Connect. The Q Actives support 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.

The speakers can also operate as a UPnP media player capable of streaming a user’s digital audio library 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, although users can also plug their turntable into the Hub – it features a built-in moving magnet phono stage.

The Control Hub links to the Q Active speakers via a wireless connection where all incoming audio (Max Source Resolution 32bit/192kHZ) is converted to 24-bit/96kHz hi-res audio, making for a simple system free from the tangle of speaker cables. 

In addition, 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.

Q Active supports 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”.

It is worth pointing out that 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.

The Q Active range features class D amplification – eliminating the need for a bulky external amp or receiver. Both Q Active 200 and Q Active 400 speakers feature twin Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drive units in an offset configuration that deliver a widescreen sound dispersal and what the manufacturer calls “a huge sweet spot”.

The Q Active speakers are tuned to perform their best no matter where they are placed in a listening room. A switch at the back of the Q Active speakers lets the user 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.

The Q Active 200 standmount speakers feature two 2.25in BMR drive units and a rear-firing 4.5in long throw subwoofer with a waveguide for low-frequency bass performance. There are six discrete amplifiers powering the Q Active 200, resulting in a total power output of 280W.

The Active 200 can be equipped with the optional Q FS75 floor stands (£349/$499/€419 per pair). 

Available January 2021, the Q Active 400 floorstanding speakers 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, one at the bottom. This arrangement neutralises 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.

The Q Acoustics Q Active 200 speakers with Google Cast is priced £1,499 / $1,999 / €1,999 and will be available from November 2020 at Amazon, qacoustics.co.uk and qacoustics.com (US).

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