Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless review: Hi-Fi minus the hefty price tag

Of course, the Q Acoustics M20 HD wireless music system supports Bluetooth – Bluetooth 5.0 with support for aptX HD, in fact. But if you want to hear the best audio performances this high-end two-channel system has to offer, connect it to your computer and use it as a USB audio device for listening to music, watching movies, or playing games.

The system is capable of streaming music at up to 24-bit resolution and sample rates up to 48 kHz via Bluetooth, with support for AAC, AAC +, and aptX HD codecs. But the maximum sampling frequencies jump to 192 kHz when you use a USB cable or a digital optical cable (Toslink). Analog audio sources are supported through 3.5mm and stereo RCA analog audio inputs. Missing? HDMI and Wi-Fi connectivity, the absence of which could explain the reasonable $ 599 price of the system. More on that in a moment.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best Bluetooth speakers, where you will find reviews of competing offerings, as well as a buyer’s guide on the features to consider when purchasing this type of product.

Connect the M20 to a Windows 10 or 11 Mac or PC with a USB-B cable and you gain access to the lossless, jitter-free, and low-noise data delivery platform that is USB 2.0 High Speed ​​True HD Audio. If you’re hanging from a dinosaur rig, Q Acoustics provides downloadable drivers for operating systems as old as Windows 7 and even Windows XP. If you are paying for one of the high resolution streaming services (Tidal HiFi, Qobuz, Amazon Music HD, Apple Music, etc.) you will get the audio quality you are paying for.

q m20 acoustic usb cable Jonathan Takiff / IDG

A printer-style USB-A 2.0 connector brings high-resolution digital audio to the Q Acoustics M20 system.

Interestingly, Q Acoustics does not provide the USB cable that you will need to achieve this. Fortunately, such cables are very inexpensive; you may already have one as it is basically a printer cable. I bought a 15 foot meter JSAUX Brand Cable on Amazon for $ 11. By the way, 5 meters (16 feet, 5 inches) is the maximum length you can use without unfolding an “active” USB cable, like this one $ 14 One-price model (which I did not test).

I also got nice results from the M20 system when I hooked it up to high-definition streaming music boxes, such as Andover Audio Songbird and Russound MBX-PRE, the latter of which, unlike the M20 itself, can display MQA tracks streamed from De tide. I also auditioned with a DirecTV tuner, a PlayStation 4 game console, and a Pioneer Universal Disc Player. As near-field speakers, the M20 system sings so sweet and bright that the follicles in my arms danced.

q acoustic m20 flanking imac Jonathan Takiff / IDG

The Q Acoustics M20 doesn’t take up too much space on this 59 x 27-inch (WxD) Ikea desk.

Q Acoustics M20 Specifications

The M20 is a neat system consisting of two 10.98 x 6.7 x 11.65-inch (HxWxD) cabinets that can be placed on a desktop or mounted on optional brackets or wall brackets. Unlike some wireless speaker systems, the M20’s two speakers must be connected with a conventional speaker cable (a 13-foot one is provided); On the plus side, you can flip a switch to designate which speaker works as the left and right channel. This arrangement makes it easier to place your speakers as you have less worry about where to find an available outlet for the powered unit.

A three-way switch on the powered speaker sets the system equalizer to compensate for speaker placement – the up position offers the most bass output, for speakers positioned away from walls or corners. The center position reduces the bass boom when you have no choice but to place the speakers close to the wall. If the only place you can find for the speakers is in the corners of your room, slide this switch to the bottom position and the equalizer will reduce the bass output even further. Finally, you can insert the provided foam plugs into the rear speaker ports if there is still too much boom in your room.

q acoustic rear panel m20 Jonathan Takiff / IDG

The rear panel of the active speaker features RCA and 3.5mm analog inputs, subwoofer output, and USB and optical Toslink digital inputs.

Q Acoustics M20 Feature Set

The M20 system’s powered speakers look a lot like Q Acoustics’ 3020i passive bookshelf speakers. Each has a 0.9-inch dome tweeter and a 5-inch woofer in a rounded two-way cabinet with ports with significant amounts of resonance-absorbing bracing inside. The cloth racks cannot be removed, apparently to protect the cone on a crowded desk.


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