Q Acoustics M7

Score

Pros

  • Stylish premium design
  • Easy, versatile installation
  • Powerful soundstage and seamless bass
  • Superb clarity, integration and musicality

Cons

  • Lacks the insight of more recent designs
  • No HDMI ports for AV use
  • Smooth presentation lacks bite
  • Expensive

Key Features

  • Review Price: £899.00
  • Comprises 7000i satellites, 7070Si sub and Q AVA amplifier
  • 2 x 3-inch mid/bass drivers and 1-inch tweeter
  • 2 x 50W of power output and 96kHz/24-bit DAC
  • aptX Bluetooth and MoviEQ mode
  • Subwoofer with 150W class D amplifier

What is the Q Acoustics M7?

The M7 is a 2.1-channel sub/sat system that combines the compact stereo speakers and active subwoofer from Q Acoustics’ 7000i system with its new Q AVA stereo amplifier.

Ideal for use as a TV sound solution or hi-fi system, the M7 sets its sights on buyers who want something more sonically ambitious than a soundbar – but who don’t want to clutter up their living room with big boxes.   

Related: Best Soundbars

Q Acoustics M7 – Design and Connections

The M7 is a beautifully designed unit across the board, blessed with sleek modern styling and substantial build quality.

The 7000i satellites are 240mm-high pill-shaped speakers, attached to a ball-joint table mount that allows you to angle them as desired. Spin the speaker 180 degrees and the base can be used as a wall bracket, with keyhole fixings on the bottom that hang onto screws.
Q Acoustics M7
The sats’ hefty aluminium bodywork gives them a suitably premium feel, while the curvy shape and elegant black finish are easy on the eye. The drivers shelter under a rounded metal grille on the front, plus spring-loaded speaker terminals are hidden in the base to keep things nice and tidy.

Q Acoustics M7

The Q AVA is designed to match the speakers with its curved casing and black finish, and boasts the same robust build quality. At just 175mm wide, this cute and compact amp should be easy to accommodate. Note that the whole system is also available in white, if you prefer.

Q Acoustics M7

Front controls are stripped to the essentials, with a button for each input, volume controls and MoviEQ mode. The input keys light up to indicate which one is selected, and an arc of eight blue lights displays the volume level – the latter disappearing after a few seconds.

On the back you’ll find banana plug-compatible binding posts, two optical inputs, 3.5mm analogue input and a subwoofer output. The lack of HDMI ports serves to remind you that the M7 is more hi-fi system than AV hub, but the optical ports should suffice for most systems. There’s an input for the Q AVA’s huge power brick, which is almost as big as the amp itself.

Q Acoustics M7

The 460mm-wide 7070Si subwoofer doesn’t really join in with the whole compact thing, but looks nice and stylish with its rounded edges and off-centre cloth grille. The cuboid MDF enclosure is solid as a rock and sits on screw-in spikes with rubber protectors if you need them.

Q Acoustics M7

The sub’s volume and crossover controls are found on the side, while the RCA inputs are hidden behind a heavy-duty metal panel below. For a neat installation, the cables can be fed through a hole in the bottom.

Q Acoustics M7

Q Acoustics M7 – Features

The Q AVA amplifier musters 2 x 50W of power, and comes equipped with aptX Bluetooth for easy music streaming and a precision DAC that handles 96kHz/24-bit signals through the optical inputs. Its MoviEQ mode raises the subwoofer level and reduces the treble to lend more punch to movies.

Q Acoustics M7

Each 7000i satellite is equipped with two 3-inch long-throw mid/bass drivers and a 1-inch ring radiator tweeter, with a two-way crossover.

The subwoofer packs a 8-inch high-excursion driver, driven by a 150W class D amplifier. The driver is concealed within the cabinet, which fires sound against a fixed baffle and vents it though the narrow cloth-covered grille. That makes it less sensitive to room placement, allowing you to hide it away if need be.  

Q Acoustics M7 – Setup and Operation

With four components to rig up, setup takes longer than your average soundbar and involves a lot more wires too – canny cable management is a must. Helpfully, everything you need is in the box, including speaker cables and an optical lead.

Placing the speakers requires a little more thought than usual, too. Ideally, the satellites should be toed in towards you, with the subwoofer placed horizontally somewhere in between (widest side forward). However, if you want the narrow side forward then Q recommends flipping the phase setting from 0 to 180 degrees.

Q Acoustics M7

Operation is effortless. The Q AVA features an Intelligent Preamplifier (IPA) with automatic source selection and can be controlled using your existing remote. There’s a decent little zapper in the box, too, which sports a pleasant brushed finish and rubber buttons that cover all bases. Four numbered keys let you jump straight to your desired input.

Q Acoustics M7 – Performance

We first encountered the 7000i satellites back in 2014 as part of the 7000i 5.1 system, so we’re already aware of their excellent pedigree. They have a smooth, easygoing tone that makes anything sound good, from gentle TV dramas to hardcore thrash metal.

This balanced, transparent presentation sheds light on sonic detail, and doesn’t allow one frequency to dominate the others. Overall clarity is exceptional – any brashness or distortion are eradicated, offering a delightful listen no matter how loud you push them.

Q Acoustics M7

When teamed up with the Q AVA and 7070Si sub, the M7 delivers an unbelievably powerful sound, giving blockbuster movies the scale and spectacle they deserve. It musters an enormous soundstage, flooding the room with big waves of bass and dispatching effects with superb drive and precision.

As the Avengers chase baddies through a crowded Lagos marketplace in Captain America: Civil War, the M7 engulfs you in punchy gunshots and muscular explosions. Cap’s brutal fist fight with Crossbones has impressive weight and impact.

Q Acoustics M7

Thanks largely to the use of separate components, the M7 delivers a more expansive soundstage than most soundbars at this price. Get your speaker placement spot on and you’ll enjoy a wide spacious stereo image with skilfully organised effects and centrally locked dialogue. The scene is chaotic, but never congested.

There’s a seamless fusion between the sats and sub. The latter’s omnidirectional bass masks its location well, but there’s good definition and slam behind every beat. MoviEQ does what it says on the tin, bulking up the bottom end for an even deeper, richer sound. But in all honesty, it’s overkill – there’s more than enough bass here without it.

Q Acoustics M7

Negatives are few and far between, one of which is a result of Q Acoustics’ own success. Since launching the 7000i system, the company has taken things to a higher level with the 3000 series – pretty much one of the best budget speaker systems around – and the M7 doesn’t send shivers down the spine in quite the same way.

There’s plenty of detail here, putting the majority of similarly priced soundbars to shame, but it doesn’t dig out tiny mid-range and treble textures like the 3000 system does.

We’re not sure if this is down to the speakers or the Q AVA amp – but for whatever reason, the M7 doesn’t quite hit the dazzling levels of insight and finesse that we know the company is capable of.

Q Acoustics M7

Another minor gripe is that the M7’s smooth, easygoing approach lacks the snappy edge that some people seek when watching movies. But this small dip in excitement is an acceptable trade-off for such a listenable sound.

Play some tunes via Bluetooth or CD and the M7 system flexes its musical muscles with a lively, polished performance. The satellites display great agility in the mid-range and treble, easily getting to grips with intricately programmed beats and percussion. Once again, it lends scale to big crescendos and anthemic choruses, possessing enough rhythmic drive and timing to induce subconscious toe-tapping.

Vocals sound natural and detailed, while excellent bass reproduction results in a full-bodied sound that never gets ponderous. The subtle kick drums in Gregory Porter’s “Day Dream” stop and start with great accuracy, giving them a surprisingly live feel, while the funky bassline in “Banana Skin Central” by Resolution 88 is similarly fleet-footed.

Q Acoustics M7

Should I buy the Q Acoustics M7?

If you want a space-saving audio system for the living room but you’re not sold on the idea of a soundbar, then the M7 is a terrific alternative. Premium design, modern styling and flexible installation are key parts of the system’s appeal, but what seals the deal is its astonishingly powerful performance.

The M7 delivers movie soundtracks on a scale that few soundbars can match at this price, and combines it with the refined, transparent character for which Q Acoustics’ is renowned. It can’t match the company’s more recent speakers in terms of detail insight, but it more than makes up for that with sheer muscularity and listenability.

With no network streaming or HDMI ports, the feature list is old-school – Bluetooth is probably the most technologically advanced thing about it – and it’s rather expensive, but in terms of design and sound quality, the M7 doesn’t disappoint.

Verdict

Q comes up trumps with a compact 2.1 system that delivers high-class design and spectacular sound quality.

Score

Score in detail

  • Performance 8
  • Features 7
  • Value 8
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Design 9

Features

3D Ready No
Number of Speakers 3
Supported Channels 2.1
DVD Player No
Blu-ray player No
Audio Processing No
Dolby Digital No
DTS No
Dolby Pro Logic II No
Dolby TrueHD No
DTS Master Audio HD No

Connectors

S/PDIF Optical In 2
Subwoofer Out 1
Stereo Line In 1
Power (Watt) 2 x 50W

Physical Specifications

Height (Millimeter) 240 (sats); 320 (sub); 75 (amp)mm
Width (Millimeter) 100 (sats); 460 (sub); 175 (amp)mm
Depth (Millimeter) 160 (sats); 198 (sub); 207 (amp)mm
Weight (Gram) 1.6k (sats); 13.8k (sub); 0.7k (amp)g