What We Like
- The audio quality is utterly exceptional and sets it apart from the crowd.
- The design is simple, if odd, and build quality is high.
What We Don’t Like
- May not fit your space due to its unusual form factor.
- Not much in the way of extras, and lacks HDMI throughput.
Q Acoustics describes themselves as “not like other loudspeaker companies”. A fairly recent addition to the audio landscape, they’ve only been going since 2006 but have already managed to make a significant splash right across the industry.
The QM4 is a slightly unusual design. From the front, it gives the appearance of being quite compact and slim, but this quickly gives way to a trapezoidal cabinet which goes back a fair bit and gives the overall device some not inconsiderable bulk to contend with. It is hardly massive, but definitely on the larger side of modern soundbars. At 40 inches in width, 3.5 in height, and 6 at its deepest, it’s absolutely worth getting the measuring tape out to check that it will fit into your set-up before purchasing.
The reason for this odd design is clear: it means they can fit more stuff in. And ‘stuff’, in this context, means drivers. A 6.5” elliptical subwoofer fits right at the back of the device, while one 2-3/8” Balanced Mode Radiator driver sits at each end of the cabinet. The build quality is on the higher end of the spectrum. It feels solid, and while there isn’t a whole lot of glamour to be found in aesthetic touches and visual flair, there is nothing to complain about either. It looks fine, and it feels like a premium product through and through.
Q Acoustics has extended the same ‘no nonsense’ approach which has been the guiding force behind their design ideals to the fairly sparse feature set which is on offer from the QM4. It comes as something of a surprise given competing models at this price point that the QM4 does not come with an HDMI input. This means that you are forced to connect everything through the television itself, and then route it into the soundbar via a supplied digital optical cable. Something of an odd choice, perhaps.
The remote control is a similar spartan affair. A tiny plastic rectangle with five buttons in a straight line down the middle finished off by the unassuming Q that functions as Q Acoustics’ logo. Sure, you have everything you need—power, source control, volume, and mute—, but for the price you may be left wanting a little more quality in the peripherals than has been provided for you.
Lastly, you do have a couple of wireless streaming options in the form of Bluetooth and NFC. These are great to have and, as we will get on to, will probably see a lot of use given the particular expertise which this device has in playing music.
So, to recap what we’ve got so far: slightly odd, bulky design that may be off-putting to some and may just not fit where you need it to; a comparative lack of features when considered alongside similarly priced offerings; and a remote control that looks like it should power a $5 water feature that your Grandma keeps in the downstairs bathroom. Nothing remarkable thus far.
But, that’s where we get on to the real focus of this device: its audio performance. Q Acoustics, as you may know, is predominantly known as a HiFi manufacturer. And, boy, does the QM4 show it. Soundbars are usually all about improving a TV watching experience, but this model could legitimately hold its own as a pure music playing device. The sound is incredibly clean, detailed, and subtle, and you can hear elements of tracks that you just can’t on a lower-end system or on pretty much any other soundbar we’ve encountered.
The bass is extremely well performed. Agile enough to refrain from being muddy, and powerful enough to create the requisite impact and presence when either (or both) are required. And the fun doesn’t stop with music. The listening experience during movies and TV is also exceptional.
It may not be the prettiest, and it may not have the most bells and whistles to bulk out its feature list, but the QM4 outperforms the overwhelming majority of soundbars we’ve encountered and can hold its own against HiFis.