When is a sound bar not a sound bar? When it doesn’t just sit in front of stuff, but acts as a base for your television.
Sound Base vs. Sound Bar
Back about eight months ago, I reviewed the M3 Sound Bar by Q Acoustics. I liked it, a lot. Q Acoustics makes audio equipment that’s a couple steps above the stuff you might be tempted to buy at Costco or Target, but the prices aren’t that much more. What you get is very good sound, and high-quality construction that’s not going to fall apart or start rattling with resonances once the glue of the pressboard construction starts to fail (hint: there’s no pressboard in the Q Acoustics equipment).
Now they’ve sent me something new: the M2 Sound Base. What is a sound base? Well, it’s basically a sound bar that your TV can sit on top of. That’s right, it’s not just audio equipment, it’s a piece of furniture!
As you can see in my installation image above, this will only work if your TV has a central pedestal base, but the M2 can also slide nicely under a stack of components, so you have options for placement. It will support up to 55lbs, which worked for the 60″ TV we have. And an interesting quirk that the sound base helped resolve for us was that the IR sensor for our TV remote was embedded in the lower frame of the screen, so having a sound bar in front of the TV made it so that the sensor was blocked at certain angles. With the sound base, there is no block, we get more open surface on the table, and having the TV an extra 4″ higher has improved viewing.
As for the audio quality, the M2 base shares all the same internals as the M3 bar: the same 58mm mid/high drivers and the same 100mm x 150mm dual voice coil subwoofers. The sound is very similar, but I like it better. Because it sits under the TV, the faces of the speakers are closer to being flush with the TV screen, so the sound feels more like it’s coming from what you’re watching.
As with its wider, shallower sibling, the sound is crisp, clear, and even energetic. This is what sound is like when you have drivers that aren’t made of cardboard, being driven by the appropriate amount of power, all coming from a structure that doesn’t buzz with internal resonances. And the sub-woofers add plenty of punch to the low-frequencies so that it doesn’t feel like you’re just listening to TV sound. In a space like a bedroom, or a small apartment where you can’t go the distance with a multi-speaker setup, this is a great way to get excellent audio.
The M2 takes input via HDMI passed along through your TV, optical, RCA, and a 3.5mm jack. It will also act as a Bluetooth v4.0 speaker, and includes the aptX® codec for high-quality audio.
- Power output 80W (2 x 20W + 40W)
- THD (at rated power) <0.9%
- Frequency response +/-0.5dB 20Hz to 20kHz
- S/N ratio (A-Wtd) -85dB
HDMI, Optical, and USB
- Line in 1 (RCA phono) min. input sensitivity 1.0Vrms
- Line in 1 (RCA phono) input overload 2.2 Vrms
- Line in 2 (3.5mm jack) min. input sensitivity 450 mVrms
- Line in 2 (3.5mm jack) input overload 1.2 Vrms
- L&R drivers BMR 58mm x 58mm
- Subwoofer Dual voice coil 100mm x 150mm
- Crossover (Typical) 340Hz
- Deep Standby <0.5 Watt
- Idle 11 Watts
- Power Rating 100~240V – 50~60Hz 100W
- Bluetooth® specification
- V4.0 class 2 device
- Latency 40ms
- Internal stereo CODEC 16-bit
- Stereo audio sample rate Up to 48kHz
- Music enhancements aptX®, SBC, MP3, AAC
- Support for AVRCP 1.4, A2DP, 802.11 co-existence
Weight and Dimensions
- Product (W x H x D) 550mm x 93mm x 338mm
- Packaging (W x H x D) 615mm x 178mm x 428mm
- Net weight/Gross Weight 5.8 kg, 7.9 kg
- Manufacturer Warranty Period 2 years
I really liked the M3 sound bar, but the M2 Sound Base moved the needle into love territory. Rather than being a thing that sits in front of the television, it’s part of the viewing experience, delivering strong, clear, and energetic sound better than any built-in TV speakers can. The convenience factor alone makes it worth while, and the quality-for-price makes it a great addition to any home.
The Q Acoustics Sound Base is available for $350 from Amazon, or read more reviews at Q Acoustics.
[Q Acoustics provided a sample for the purpose of this review. Opinions are my own.]