Home Tech Q Acoustics’s Superb New M40 Speakers Prove Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Q Acoustics’s Superb New M40 Speakers Prove Bigger Isn’t Always Better

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Q Acoustics’s Superb New M40 Speakers Prove Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Streaming from a mix of AAC files from Apple Music on the iPhone 15 Pro, and both Qobuz and Spotify using the aptX-compatible Sony Xperia 1 V, I was thoroughly entertained by the M40s. They are well-balanced and surprisingly spicy, with a lovely low end that I really didn’t expect.

Scrolling through my family playlist, it’s abundantly clear that these speakers don’t discriminate. Just like the perfect wedding DJ, they are happy when the audience is happy. The Prodigy’s classic dance floor filler/army (delete depending on how old you were in 1994) ‘Your Love’ bounces and rumbles with bags of energy, while Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Vampire’ soars confidently, with impressive control, even at the kind of volume that would make a 10- year-old daughter demands.

From classical to classic rock, through electronic and acoustic, I have yet to be disappointed by the M40’s warm, accessible performance. Connecting my laptop via a USB port (up to 24 bit/192 kHz via Qobuz) added more depth to playback compared to standard Bluetooth streaming, but I imagine most owners will be happy no matter how they also want to listen.

For further reference, I placed the M40s next to the similarly priced models Q Acoustics 3050i analog floor standing speakers. These were powered by the Sonos Amp, with audio streamed wirelessly. I was surprised by how well the M40 HD held up when streaming “regular” aptX Bluetooth. Yes, they lacked the same full look, but that’s not surprising given the 40-inch cabinet height (12 inches taller and significantly wider) and the dual 165mm drivers.

However, they did not feel disappointed. And while $999 isn’t a huge change, considering the added cost of an amplifier, streamer, CD player, etc., and significant savings on size, they offer solid value for money.

Competition time

Not to be confused with something like the loan-inducing KEF LS60 Wireless floorstanding speakers, but if you do want the extra tech of Wi-Fi, EQ settings, app-based remote control and hi-res streaming, then the WIRED Recommended KEF LSX II LT could be worth a look. It costs about the same and sounds dreamy, but lacks the ability to command a good size room.

The M40s sound great, look good and pack a punch in terms of sound, but the lack of smart features could be alienating to many potential buyers. Bluetooth sounds good here (especially aptX), and I imagine many people wouldn’t dream of demanding more.

But anyone who’s ever used a speaker with Wi-Fi streaming will be frustrated by Bluetooth’s limitations. The sound cuts out when a phone call comes in, the signal drops out when you leave the room with your phone and it feels dated having to connect to the speakers every time.

You can of course connect a streaming box such as the well-known $ 149 one WiiM Pro in the M40s and enjoy all the benefits of high-resolution WiFi streaming with Spotify Connect, AirPlay, Alexa and Google Assistant. It’s not ideal, but it’s a relatively hassle-free solution for anyone who wants excellent audio quality And smart streaming.

I’m not going to call the M40s old fashioned though. They’re definitely low-tech, if high-resolution WiFi streaming and app-driven compatibility are important to you. But if you’re looking for a fantastic pair of all-in-one stereo speakers with 200 watts of built-in amplification and with connections to a laptop, turntable (preamp needed), CD player and Bluetooth streaming, then you’ll win’ be not disappointed.

I’ll also be the first to admit that I was skeptical about the size of the M40s. Launching something for a predominantly traditional audio audience that isn’t one or the other is a risk. But in real-world conditions, the mini-towers managed to be relatively unobtrusive, while sounding anything but. Maybe, just maybe, it’s really what you do with it that counts.

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