Since their beginnings in 2006, Q Acoustics has been renowned as one of the foremost budget speaker brands in the UK.
With multiple What Hi-Fi? awards bestowed on their bookshelf and floor standing speakers, the company has taken its first proper leap into the soundbar market – and the results are exceptional.
In an age where television speakers are almost microscopic, and also one in which people crave a more minimalist aesthetic, soundbars have exploded in popularity. Whilst some just aim to be better than a TV’s inbuilt speakers, some aim much higher, and the M4 is definitely one of the latter.
The thinking from Q Acoustics is that this particular soundbar can not only improve your TV audio, but will also give your hi-fi a run for its money. Using two BMR (balanced mode radiator) drive units – rather than traditional tweeters and separate woofers – the M4 is able to achieve much greater dispersion of sound into the room.
Effectively eliminating the so-called ‘sweet spot’ from the listening position, these drivers offer brilliant depth and quality, even when the listener is ‘off-axis’. They are also able to offer a smoother transition between high and low frequencies, coming from single drive units rather than one for treble and one for midrange.
The M4 also has a built in subwoofer drive unit, meaning that the detailed and full-sounding midrange isn’t sold short by the bass, which extends well for greater impact in films and with music too.
Convenience is always key with a soundbar: Bluetooth connectivity is provided for a handy link up between mobiles phones, tablets and laptops – great for people who have online music accounts and those who love internet radio.
The supplied remote is smart and simple to operate, and a wall mounting plate is included making it easy to keep the minimalist aesthetic up if your TV is mounted rather than being on a stand.
Using Pacific Rim, the M4 showed its pedigree as a real heavy hitter. Its wide soundstage and tight, deep bass matched the great heft of the on screen action. Rear effects were missing-in-action, but it’s the whole of the performance, rather than fancy tricks, that impress here.
Throwing music at the M4, straight through it’s Apt-X enabled Bluetooth proved equally as enjoyable. Daft Punk’s last release Random Access Memories gave us a chance to hear how well dynamic shifts could be handled, and the answer was “marvellously!” Timing, pace and rhythm were all kept in check, and sound as crisp and as clean as on much more expensive separates systems. At a meaty 100w total output, the M4 is great for getting great sound at low volumes, as well as high – and that extra grunt is imperative for great dynamics.
Whether you’re after something to get the best out of your growing Blu-Ray collection, or a one-box party machine for your music, it’s easy to see why the M4 was a What Hi-Fi? award winner this year.
We would strongly advise you call, or pop into your local branch for a listen and a look at one of the best new bars on the block!
Author – Chris, Liverpool store