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Q Acoustics M2 review: Save 43% at Amazon right now

Christopher Minasians Matt Breen
11 Jun 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
249
inc VAT

A space-saving way to enhance your TV’s sound, but audio quality isn’t quite up with the best

Pros 
Powerful, engaging sound
Plenty of connectivity options
Works even with huge TVs
Cons 
Slightly weak mid-range
No surround sound
Lacks HDMI passthrough
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The Q Acoustics M2 sound base doesn't work like your conventional soundbar. This rectangularly shaped speaker sits directly under your TV. That's right, it'll take up to 25kg of weight that'll cater for your massive 55in TV to sit on top of it, equally it'll happily reside in a cabinet for those with wall-mounted TVs.

Once in place, the M2’s downward-firing subwoofer and twin 58mm forward-facing drivers deliver a loud, powerful sound – and it supports a wide array of connectivity options, including Bluetooth aptX and HDMI. But is it worth the £249 investment?

READ NEXT: Cambridge Audio TV2 (v2) review: Simply superb TV audio

Deal alert: Save 43% on the M2 at Amazon

Seriously, don't dither if you've decided to pick up this soundbar, since Amazon has slashed prices by a hugely impressive £130. For how long, though, we're not sure.
Amazon
Was £299
Now £169

Q Acoustics M2 review: Price and competition

The Q Acoustics M2 can be had from John Lewis for £249; it’s a tad more expensive on the manufacturer’s website and on Amazon.

At this price it faces strong competition from Cambridge Audio’s excellent £199 TV2 V2 and £249 TV5 V2 soundbases. Other notable alternatives include the £283 Polk Audio Magnifi Mini and the Samsung HW-MS550 soundbar – which cost £379 when we reviewed it last year, but can now be had for just £220.

READ NEXT: Samsung HW-MS550 review: The affordable soundbar with distortion cancelling technology

Q Acoustics M2 review: Design, features and connectivity

The Q Acoustics M2 is a chunky thing. It weighs just under 6kg, and measures 550 x 338 x 93mm – so you might want to get your tape measure out before buying, to make sure it will fit in your TV cabinet.

Still, it’s solidly built. It can support up to 25kg of weight, which means you can plonk a huge TV on top – for example, the 55in LG OLED55C7V, weighing in at 19.2kg, can be easily accommodated.

Design-wise, it’s very discreet – an all-black rectangle with rounded edges and four short feet, which give the downward-firing subwoofer space to function. On top sit three physical buttons: volume up and down, and an illuminated power button which changes colour to indicate which source you’re using. Purple is for HDMI, white is for optical, blue is (naturally) for Bluetooth and green is for the 3.5mm and RCA line inputs.

The inputs themselves are at the rear: the 3.5mm, stereo RCA, optical and HDMI (ARC) sockets are easily accessible. You may notice though that there’s no HDMI passthrough, nor support for Dolby Atmos or 5.1 surround sound – this is strictly a 2.1 device. At this price though that’s no surprise.

You’ll also spot two switches. One is Q Acoustics’ “low source gain” toggle, which increases the volume by 6dB for optical and HDMI sources – useful if some of your devices are quieter than others. The other lets you adjust the bass to suit cabinets of various sizes.

Finally, you’ll find all the important buttons replicated on the supplied remote control. This is tiny enough to pop in your pocket, and lets you turn the soundbase on and off, switch between sources, adjust the volume and toggle the “MoviEQ” setting, which tweaks the frequency response to suit either music or movies.

READ NEXT: Samsung HW-MS650 review: The innovative soundbar with distortion cancelling technology

Q Acoustics M2 review: Sound quality

The M2 has two 58mm BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) 20W drivers at the front and a 40W Dual Voice Coil 100 x 150mm subwoofer underneath. Together, these pump out a sound that’s more than loud enough for an average-sized living room. As mentioned above, you can adjust the EQ and cabinet modes to suit your particular media and room arrangement.

The overall sound quality of the M2 is impressive, though not perfect. The downward-firing subwoofer delivers a tight, clean and controlled mid-bass response. Sub-bass isn’t bad either, but it doesn’t fully extend into a deep pronounced rumble. The cut-off is apparent in songs such as DJ Khaled’s “Do You Mind”, or action movies such as Transformers: Age of Extinction.

In the mid-range, I found the M2 a tad pushed back. The soundbase doesn’t have forward-sounding mids and in songs such as Usher’s “Burn”, the vocals can get overpowered by the mid-bass. By comparison, the Cambridge Audio TV5 V2 and Samsung HW-MS550 produce much more engaging mids – which makes a real difference when it comes to vocal soundtracks or movie dialogue.

The treble meanwhile extends well but feels a touch rolled off at the top end. Once more, its rivals have an extra bit of sparkle; in songs with lots of cymbals, the difference can be clearly heard. Still, the overall soundstage is nicely expansive, and responds subtly to your EQ setting: for movies, the MoviEQ setting creates a wider stereo image, whereas disabling it gives a narrower, more direct sound that’s better suited to music.

Instrument separation is a strong point too: in Santana’s “Africa Bamba” everything sits clearly in its proper place, from the vocals to the smaller instruments, with nothing getting lost in the mix. And it’s worth mentioning that the M2 supports aptX, so you can enjoy true CD-quality audio from Bluetooth sources.

Overall, the M2’s sound isn’t as immediate as some rivals’, but it gives a loudness and depth to music and movies that can’t be taken for granted at this price: the Samsung HW-MS550 soundbar sounds lightweight by comparison.

READ NEXT: Best soundbars of 2018 – our favourite TV speakers

Q Acoustics M2 review: Verdict

The Q Acoustics M2 is a competent soundbase at a reasonable price. If you’re looking for plenty of volume and low-end punch in a conveniently-sized single unit, it’s well worth a listen.

It’s not short of competition, though, and personally, I’d pick the Cambridge Audio TV5 V2 instead. It supports the same connections, but has a slightly more forward-sounding mid-range, ensuring that movie dialogue remains front and centre.

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