A speaker for (almost) every occasion
If there’s one thing you can rely on in audio, it’s that most people will happily sacrifice quality for convenience. The popularity of music streaming services and wireless headphones are proof of this; They may not be compatible with a well-recorded LP or a good pair of wired headphones, but they sure come in handy.
Recently, however, there has been a conscious pushback for quality, with the resurgence of vinyl and the adoption of high-resolution, lossless audio from music streaming services like Apple Music.
So when it comes to speakers, is there a way to enjoy those high-quality sources without sacrificing convenience, at a price that mere mortals can afford? Turns out there is.
The $ 900 M20 HD from British audio brand Q Acoustics is a pair of active bookshelf speakers that is versatile enough to handle wireless streaming from your devices while also offering a host of inputs to connect to your TV, PC, game console, CD player or turntable.
Most modern TVs have at least one optical audio output or red and white RCA plugs, either of which can be used to connect the M20 speakers, and there is a subwoofer output if you want to bring more bass into the setup through. from a separate subwoofer. A not-so-common USB Type-B cable is required for PC connectivity, but not included in the box.
Q Acoustics cheekily calls the product a ‘wireless’ music system, which is a bit of a stretch considering you’ll need to run a speaker wire between the left and right channels and a power cord to one of them. However, unlike other active speakers on the market, you can assign the powered speaker to be either the left or right channel with the push of a literal switch, making it easy to locate power outlets in a room.
Plus, unlike much of the competition, the M20s are just as enjoyable to listen to with games and movies as they are to music, which is a first for under $ 1000 powered speakers from what I’ve heard. You also don’t need to mess with things like equalizers and audio profiles to get there; just plug it in and play.
The stereo images are accurate, the treble is true, and the midrange, which is so vital for watching TV and movies, is clean. Clearly, there have been some tweaks within the onboard amplifier to provide a bit of additional richness to the midrange to give it a nice, smooth tone, conducive to long listening sessions. The bass itself is surprisingly tight and punchy, but never to the point of muddying the mids or distorting the overall sound.