Q Acoustics Q Active 200 review: An impeccable bookshelf audio system

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Q Acoustics builds mighty-fine nice loudspeakers, and for its first self-powered providing, the corporate may have modified any of its present designs by bolting on an amplifier and calling it a day. What it has wrought as an alternative is a whole high-end audio system that may accommodate practically any supply: analog or digital, wired or wi-fi, streaming or regionally sourced; one that may be included into any of the commonest home-audio and smart-home ecosystems.

The Q Energetic 200 system consists of a pair of self-amplified, wi-fi two-way bookshelf audio system and the Q Energetic Management Hub (the corporate will quickly provide the identical know-how in a tower speaker system, the Q Energetic 400). The broad vary of audio sources the Hub can deal with vary from a server in your community, to a lot of the widespread streaming providers, to a turntable geared up with a moving-magnet cartridge. It could possibly then ship that music each to its personal audio system and to different audio techniques in your community, utilizing Apple AirPlay 2 or Google Chromecast.

The corporate will quickly provide a Works with Alexa variant of the Hub that can allow the audio system to be included into Amazon’s sensible house and multi-room audio ecosystem as nicely. The corporate tells me it’d ultimately produce a Hub that helps each Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in a single field. Because it stands, you’ll be able to swap Hubs and hold the identical audio system if you happen to ever change sensible house ecosystems. The Hub by itself sells for $400.

That is an in-depth evaluation. When you care extra about efficiency than a deep dive into specs and what makes the system tick, simply click on right here to go to the evaluation’s efficiency part.

Bluetooth is only one arrow within the Q Energetic 200’s quiver, however it’s nonetheless a part of TechHive’s protection of the perfect Bluetooth audio system, the place you’ll discover evaluations of the competitors’s choices, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must take into account when purchasing for the sort of product.

q active hub front Michael Brown / IDG

There are touch-sensitive buttons on the entrance of the Q Energetic Management Hub, however most individuals will conceal this element in a cupboard and never give it some thought as soon as the system is about up.

The Q Energetic Management Hub

The Hub has an onboard Wi-Fi 5 community adapter, plus an ethernet port when you have the infrastructure to benefit from a wired community connection. Audio inputs embrace HDMI with ARC, a Toslink optical digital audio, and analog stereo RCA. Join a turntable geared up with a moving-magnet cartridge to those final inputs and you’ll flip a toggle change to activate an onboard phono preamp. You may also join your turntable to the Hub’s grounding terminal to forestall ground-loop-induced hum.

The one music supply not supported is a USB storage system. The audio system ship loads of low-end oomph (I’ll get into their specs and efficiency later), however the Hub has a subwoofer output if that facet of the system simply doesn’t scratch your itch.

Whereas the HDMI port helps ARC (Audio Return Channel), that is strictly a stereo audio system; the Hub gained’t decode Dolby Digital or some other soundtrack codecs. That mentioned, the audio system’ extremely huge candy spot tends to current dialog as centered within the sound stage. HDMI CEC assist means you should utilize your TV distant to manage the quantity while you’re watching the TV. The Toslink enter auto-senses incoming audio and can energy the system on as quickly as a sign is detected.

q active hub Michael Brown / IDG

The Q Energetic Management Hub can deal with nearly any audio supply, digital or analog, together with a turntable.

Along with wired inputs, the Hub can play music through a UPnP server in your native community (e.g., a NAS field), and it helps all of the main streaming-audio providers, together with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify (through Spotify Join), and Tidal. There’s additionally a Bluetooth 4.1 radio on board if you wish to play music saved in your smartphone. The Hub can settle for bitstreams with as much as 32-bit decision and 192kHz sampling charges, though it’ll downsample them to 24-bit/96kHz earlier than sending the digital audio to the audio system.

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