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New Q Acoustic Active Speakers Not Recomended By Leading Hi Fi Magazine

UK Hi Fi Company Armour Homes who were banking on their new Q Acoustic Q Active 200 active speakers to lift them out of a slump are now facing a major problem after a leading UK Hi Fi Magazine described their performance as “simply not entertaining enough to recommend”.

The Q Acoustic streaming speakers that look like speed cameras, were late coming to market and had been promised to distributors more than 12 months ago.

They were the first active speakers from the UK Company Armour Home, who were dropped by former Melbourne based distributor Indi Imports Group back in January 2020, because of concerns that the new speakers were not “not up to scratch” and concerns over Armour Homes ability to supply Australian retailers due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the Companies manufacturing ability during COVID-19.

The publication described the active streaming speakers as lacking on a number of fronts especially as there was no app to control the active speakers and that they lack dynamic and rhythmic expression and that the stylish stands are expensive extras.

ChannelNews understands that the speakers that look like Government speed cameras because of their unique facing grill are still not widely available in Australia with the What Hi Fi review set to make some dealers concerned about the future for the Q Acoustic offering.

The Company who was banking on the success of the new speakers is facing competition from several other active speaker products from brands such as KEF, Bowers & Wilkins with their Formation speakers and Ruark Audio.

Reviewers said “If you were expecting an active set of speakers resembling Q Acoustics’ current range of stand mounters, then the Q Active 200’s design may raise a few eyebrows.

instead of the usual tweeter and mid/bass woofer decorating each façade, there is a rectangular grille in the top corner that hides two round, 58mm BMR (balanced mode radiator) drive units, these grills are ugly and when ChannelNews and SmartHouse first saw the speakers we were shocked as to the design especially as Armour Home was positioning them on standalone stands.

The speakers that deliver 100W per channel were promised to retailers back in 2019 but the Armour Home who ChannelNews understands is under financial pressure failed to deliver their new offering.

European reviewers who have been complementary about Q Acoustic speakers in the past said that the “design is likely to divide opinion”.

Q Acoustics has taken the decision not to house the streaming architecture and connectivity inside the speakers instead of a separate connectivity hub.

Connectivity can be via the Google Home box, Google Assistant voice control, plus built-in Google Chromecast, while the Amazon Alexa box works with Alexa to deliver a response.

The reviewers said that “It’s a shame one box doesn’t cover both bases – there must be plenty of people who use Alexa, for example, but also stream music via Chromecast. And what if your allegiance changes down the line?”

Apparently, Q Acoustics says it is looking into making each hub individually available, though hasn’t yet confirmed its plans.

The hub is also a streaming gateway to AirPlay 2 for iOS users, Spotify Connect for Spotify Premium and Family subscribers, and Bluetooth. Support for the Roon music platform is on the way via a future firmware update claims the UK Company.

As for sound the reviewers said that there is a bit of harshness in the upper mids, which remains audible even after a week of use. They said that the biggest issue with the Q Active 200 is their combined lack of dynamic and rhythmic expression. With Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ Galleon Ship, the piano and vocal pairing comes through clear and solid yet is bereft of real feel.

“Everything seems to ride along one audio plane, lacking forward momentum and dynamic tiers. It doesn’t help that the sound staging isn’t particularly well layered either. Together, these things mean the track isn’t all that interesting or emotionally grabbing”.

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