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 Q Acoustics M2 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.
The remote feels cheap, and there’s no LED readout to guide you through the few source modes and EQ settings offered.
For the price, the audio is about what you might expect, but you can find similarly priced options that offer more. But is it worth the investment?
Design, Build and Remote
Rather than being designed to be mounted underneath – or sat in front of – your TV, soundbases have a much deeper form-factor that means they’re better suited to acting as a stand for your TV.
The Q Acoustics M2 also has the added benefit of a toggle switch that alters its sound to let it work better in case you’d rather stash it away inside a cabinet instead.
But for most people, the 550mm x 93mm x 338mm M2 is going to sit on top of your existing cabinet with the TV resting on top of it (up to 25kg of weight is supported), and thankfully it’s design is neither eye-catching nor ugly.
It’s a fairly nondescript black box, and while Sonos’ PlayBase is comparatively more stylish, we appreciate an accessory that doesn’t distract from the main event, the TV.
Along the front is a speaker grill that houses its two 2.3-inch Balance Mode Radiator (BMR) drivers that provide a 180-degree sound that Q Acoustics M2 claims means you won’t have to sit directly in front of the speaker to get the best sound performance.
These two full-range drivers are joined by a downward firing subwoofer on the soundbases’ underside.
The only physical buttons you’ll find visible on the soundbase are a pair of volume controls and an input switcher that also doubles as an LED indicator.
It’ll turn blue for Bluetooth (no surprises there), purple for HDMI-ARC, white for optical, and green for line-in.
Considering the lack of physical buttons, we were concerned we were going to have to rely a lot on the fairly piddly included remote.
Thanks to the wonders of HDMI-CEC however, we were able to safely leave it in the box while our TV’s remote took over volume duties.
If you’re reliant on an optical or line-in connection then you might not be so lucky, but the only time we had a reason to use the physical buttons on the sound base was when it went into standby mode, and we had to cycle through all available inputs to resurrect it.
The Performance of Q Acoustics M2
Fortunately, the poor remote is the only thing I have to complain about, because the M2 sounds superb.
There are some manufacturers that believe a soundbar is just there to give your TV a bit of help in the bass department.
Thankfully, Q Acoustics is a little more sophisticated than that. The M2’s ‘standard’ mode is tuned to sound similar to the Q Acoustics hi-fi speakers, which have a more neutral tonal balance.
That means the M2 could technically serve as a sound system in its own right.
There’s no shortage of low-end power. Explosions will easily shake your light fittings and irritate your neighbour. But the tradeoff is a more subtle performance than you’d get from most £300 soundbases.
Q Acoustics has really made an effort to ensure each part of the frequency range is just right.
The treble is clear and sparkly, without ever coming across as thin. The mid-range is direct and meaty, giving substance to voices.
The M2 doesn’t have any virtual surround modes, which isn’t an issue since they’re generally a bit rubbish.
Instead it relies on its own wide soundstage, which comfortably goes beyond the borders of a 50 or even 65-inch TV.
I’ll finish this off with a setup tip. I’d keep the M2 as close to the centre and bottom of the TV as possible.
Q Acoustics has made accommodations for those who want to put it elsewhere, but I tried having it in my AV rack about a foot below the TV and the disconnect between picture and sound felt odd.
This soundbase really belongs right under the picture.
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Q Acoustics M2 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.
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.
The Q Acoustics M2 isn’t the kind of product that’s going to revolutionise your living room, but then it isn’t trying to, and its reasonable $350 (£299/AU$549) price tag is proof of that.
But what it does do is offer a significant boost to your TV’s sound. It won’t do anything more, like surround sound or Dolby Atmos. Instead, it’ll offer what your TV can already do, but with much more power and control.
And it does it exceptionally well.
Frequently Asked Questions
QUES: Can I connect this soundbox you my tv wirelessly as I can’t position it near enough to my tv
ANS: If the TV has Bluetooth speaker connection capability then yes. Alternatively, there are adapters available to convert optical or analog audio to Bluetooth.
QUES: Can you use hdmi cec as tv does not have hdmi arc
ANS: No, HDMI cec would not work as it does not have an audio out feature , the M2 does have an optical and RCA input connection that you could use