The market for high-end active loudspeakers is heating up with a new entrant from Q Acoustics. At $2,000/pair the new, modern looking Q Active 200 powered speakers are the first-ever to include internal amplification from the fast-rising British audiophile brand. It appears they’re looking to steal market share from KEF, which recently introduced the LS 50 Wireless II powered speakers that costs a $500 more. Other than the obvious color choices KEF offers, the biggest differences arise from each company’s proprietary driver technology.
The Q Active 200 stand-mount speakers feature two 2.25-inch Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drive units and a rear-firing 4.5-inch long throw subwoofer with a waveguide for enhanced low-frequency bass performance. There are six discrete amplifiers powering the Q Active 200, resulting in a total power output of 280 watts. Interestingly, that’s the same power as the KEF’s so one might wonder if internal amplifiers are the same?
Q Acoustics claims their BMR architecture delivers a wide sound field across an entire listening area, rather than restricting it to the ‘sweet spot’ of more traditional driver arrangements. In addition, the company boasts seamless midrange performance that operates all the way down to 150Hz, before handing off low frequencies to the rear subwoofer driver.
The Q Active speakers are tuned to perform their best no matter where they are placed in your listening room. By offsetting the drivers, customers can swap left and right speakers for an added degree of fine-tuning. A switch at the back of the Q Active speakers lets you 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. This information allows the Q Actives to fine-tune its low-frequency response to deliver the best possible sound for its environment.
The Q Active 200 speakers use an external Control Hub configured either for Google “Chromecast built-in” or Amazon “Works with Alexa” that is supplied with each pair of speakers. The Hub connects to your home network using ethernet or wi-fi and links together a variety of wired and wireless sources including Bluetooth®, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon and Spotify Connect.
For wired sources, the Control Hub offers an HDMI ARC input, an optical digital input, an analogue line level input and a subwoofer output. You can also plug your turntable into the Hub – it features a built-in moving magnet phono stage.
No Speaker Wiring
Once everything is connected to the Hub, there’s no wiring to the speakers! Only the power cords from each speaker need to be plugged into a wall outlet. 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 beautifully simple system free from the tangle of speaker cables. 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.
All popular music streaming services are supported 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, keeping the Q Active experience reliable and fuss-free without the need to download any additional apps. The speakers can also operate as a UPnP media player capable of streaming your digital audio library from a computer or NAS drive.
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”.
The Active 200 can be equipped with optional Q FS75 floor stands ($499/€419/£349 per pair). Inspired by the Concept 300’s Tensegrity stands’ principles of the 1951 Festival of Britain’s Skylon structure, this stylish four-legged stand eliminates unwanted vibrations to result in a purer sound.
The Q Active range is a true active design, with class D amplification eliminating the need for a bulky external amp or receiver. The Q Active 200 speakers feature twin Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drive units in an offset configuration that deliver a widescreen sound dispersal and a huge sweet spot: so no matter where you’re sitting in the room, you’ll hear the same rich, detailed and expressive sound from the Q Active speakers.Q Acoustics
|Max Source Resolution||32bit/192kHz|
|Dimensions||Per Speaker: H x W x D: |
284 x 170 x 290mm
(11.2 x 6.7 x 11.4in)
Speaker on Stand: H x W x D
922 x 286 x 338mm
(36.3 x 11.3 x 13.3in)
|Enclosure Type||Reflex (ported)|
|Frequency Response||46Hz to 20kHz (-6dB)|
|Mid Bass / Driver||2 x BMR 58mm (2.25in)|
|Subwoofer||1 x 114mm (4.5in)|
|Weight||Un-boxed weight (per speaker) 7.5kg|
Coming in 2021, Q Active 400 Floor Standing Loudspeakers! Same front BMR drivers in a bigger cabinet that houses an extra bass radiator in the rear. Pricing not yet announced. See them in the video below.
Price & Availability
Available in matte white or matte black. Learn more at: https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/activerange
Q Active 200 with Google Cast “Chromecast” Control Hub (October 2020)
- $1,999 at Amazon.com
- £1,499 at Amazon.co.uk
- €1,999 at Amazon.de
Q Active 200 with Amazon “Works with Alexa” Control Hub (Early 2021)
- Pricing expected to be the same.
Q FS75 floor stands
- $499 at Amazon.com
- £349 at Amazon.co.uk
- €419 at Amazon.de