The Q Acoustics Q-TV2 is an ingenious audio upgrade for flatscreen TVs that attaches to the back of the set and delivers sound from two speakers poking out of the sides. This virtually invisible solution is equipped with 100W of amplification, eight speaker drivers and a slim subwoofer, all designed to dramatically improve sound quality when watching TV shows and movies.
The Q-TV2 has been around for a few years now and cost £330 when it was first introduced, but because Q Acoustics has recently slashed the price to a ridiculously low £150, we thought it was high time we had a listen.
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You can’t see the Q-TV2 when it’s clamped to the back of your TV, so understandably Q hasn’t bothered to make it look pretty. The industrial design has more in common with a wall mount than a soundbar, using robust metal components to give it the requisite sturdiness.
The main body, which measures 50mm deep, has metal bars coming out of the sides that hold the satellite speakers. It’s designed to fit LCD TVs between 32-inch and 42-inch, while the Q-TV2X is designed for 42-inch to 50-inch screens.
To fit the Q-TV2, you attach two rails to the threaded fixing points on the back of your TV – a wide range of screws is provided to cater for different TVs. If these rails cover up your TV’s connections, use the supplied spacers to create a gap to feed the cables through. The Q-TV2 then simply clips onto the rails.
Having this contraption strapped to the back will obviously bulk up your TV considerably, and therefore you can’t attach it to newer, slimmer LED TVs that can’t support the weight. In that instance, Q Acoustics offers a free tabletop stand that lets you place the speakers behind the set. Standard and cantilever wall brackets are also available that hold both the TV and Q-TV2.
The width of the speakers can be adjusted for your TV by loosening the bolts and pulling the bars out. You can also move the speakers up and down the bars or swivel them to the optimum angle.
Along the top of the unit is a row of sockets and controls. The easiest way to feed sound into the Q-TV2 is through the optical digital input – that way, anything connected to your TV will be heard through the speakers, be it Blu-ray, Sky TV or games console. Make sure your TV's optical output is set to PCM or you'll only hear noise.
Alternatively you can connect your TV to the analogue RCA inputs or 3.5mm minijack. Using the latter you can connect your TV’s headphone output and control volume using your existing TV remote – though we don’t recommend it. A second 3.5mm jack lets you hook up portable audio devices.
Alongside the sockets are three switches, one of which lets you select from three EQ modes based on where it’s installed – freestanding, wall or corner. Another switch lets you choose whether to use the Q-TV2’s own volume controls or the volume controls of an external device connected directly to the RCA inputs, such as a TV receiver. The third switch lets you apply an audio delay (up to 180ms) to marry up sound and pictures if there are lip sync problems.
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The Q-TV2 boasts eight Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drivers, two in each speaker and four in the slim subwoofer. BMR drivers are known for their ability to disperse sound over a wider axis than traditional drivers, which means everyone in the room theoretically shares the same listening experience.
The subwoofer is fully ‘force cancelling’, which means it keeps vibrations and resonances to a minimum and therefore prevents any damage to the TV or blurring of the picture.
In the box is a compact remote bearing just three buttons – volume up, down and mute. The volume keys also let you adjust the audio delay when the switch is in the ‘Set Delay’ position. It’s an excessively well-made zapper given its limited jurisdiction, but we’re not complaining.
Despite its unorthodox design, the Q-TV2 does a terrific job of adding power and depth to TV shows and movies. We don’t think there’s a flatscreen TV on the planet that can match the sheer muscle and clarity offered by this impressive speaker.
The onboard amp goes impressively loud and the BMR drivers easily fill the room. There’s no virtual surround processing but the unit musters a surprisingly enveloping sound that makes you feel involved. The dynamic, attacking tone is effortlessly exciting without stepping into harshness.
But even more impressive is its bass output, demonstrated by the first beach-drop scene in Edge of Tomorrow on Blu-ray. As the troops wait in the hold before the drop, the plane’s engine has a low, solid hum, and when Cage is dropped into the battle zone the room swells with weighty explosions and thumping machine gun fire.
This beefy bass brings the sort of scale and drama you simply don’t get from TV speakers, which is no mean feat given that the unit is barely thicker than the TV it’s trying to improve.
But on the downside bass isn’t particularly well defined. Much of the time the sub just rumbles loudly, struggling to convey differing velocities and nuances. It could be tighter, too – there’s some overhang on quick bass hits – but it seems churlish to complain given the sub’s slim frame.
The sound is remarkably detailed, evidenced by the crisp clank of metal robo-suits during battle scenes and the subtle background chatter in the Army barracks. Dialogue comes through loud and clear – Tom Cruise’s nasal tones are unusually audible – and in general there’s a terrific sense of cohesion and openness that makes for an entertaining listen no matter what you’re playing.
In the words of David Brent, a good idea is a good idea forever, which is why the Q-TV2 is still a remarkably clever and compelling audio solution, despite its age. It’s virtually invisible when clamped onto the back of a TV, but makes its presence known with an exciting, enveloping and weighty sound, imbued with many of the qualities that make Q’s Media 4 soundbar so special.
Sure, the subwoofer is the weak link, but it still works wonders considering its slim dimensions, and its deficiencies are easy to overlook at this price. Overall performance is good enough to compete with more recent soundbars and soundbases, although the Media 4 is far superior if you have the space and budget for it.
At its original price of £330 we’d probably award the Q-TV2 8/10, but at £150 it’s a nailed on 9/10 for sheer value. Snap one up today.
Q’s terrific rear-mounted TV speaker delivers an impossibly big sound from a slender frame, making it a steal at its new knock-down price.
You can get the Q Acoustics Q-TV2 for £150 directly from the Q Acoustics site: click here
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