In announcing the Q Active 200 standmount and the Q Active 400 floorstander, Q Acoustics become the latest loudspeaker manufacturer to embrace the world of streaming active loudspeakers. Let’s take a closer look.
First up, each model utilises an offset BMR driver array (2 x 5.8cm) that take care of high- and mid- frequencies which, at 150Hz, hands off to an 11.4cm ‘subwoofer’ driver, rear-mounted on the 200 and doubled-up for a downward-firing ‘twin-sub’ configuration on the 400.
On this, Q Acoustics says, “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. And, in addition to this widescreen presentation, BMRs 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 uncoloured midrange performance.”
And with one amplifier applied per driver post crossover, the definition of an active loudspeaker, we count three amplifier modules in the 200 and four in the 400. Each Class D amplifier’s individual power output rating remains TBC but the total Wattage for the Q Active 200 system sits at 280 Watts and the Q Active 400’s at 440 Watts.
Two toggle switches on the rear of each loudspeaker – one for L/R assignation and one for boundary compensation – points to a DSP crossover. The external streaming hub – available in a choice of Chromecast Built-in or voice-controllable Amazon Alexa (ETA 2021) – pretty much confirms it. Farewell phase errors.
The only cable we require is a mains cable. Any source connected to the stereo streaming hub will be converted to 24bit/96kHz before being sent wirelessly to each loudspeaker. There’s no mention of WISA on the Q Acoustics website so it’s likely that a proprietary wifi protocol handles speaker sync. Hard-wired inputs on the hub include Ethernet, HDMI ARC, TOSLINK and RCA analogue, the latter switchable between line-level or MM phono. The hub is where we also find a subwoofer output.
The streaming hub also loads in support for Apple Airplay 2, Bluetooth, Roon, UPnP and Spotify Connect. Thereafter, Chromecast Built-in lassos apps like Qobuz, Tidal and Deezer but, as we know, without the benefit of gapless playback.
Q Acoustics will begin shipping the Q Active 200 with the Chromecast hub in November. Price? £1499/US$1999/€1999 per pair. Your choice of matte black or matte white. However, we won’t see the Q Active 400 until 2021. Until then, their pricing remains TBC.
Adding a striking point of visual and engineering difference, the Q Active 200’s optional FS75 stands (£349/US$499/€419 per pair) borrow a healthy dose of Tensegrity ‘tripod’ inspiration from their cousins, the passive Concept 300’s stands (see here).
Further information: Q Acoustics