Q Acoustics M3 soundbar review
The M3 soundbar looks to improve on the company’s Media 4 unit. For all intents and purposes it certainly looks like they’ve managed it.
What I wanted to find out was whether or not its beauty is only skin deep.
Read on and see what I think.
M3 soundbar design
The M3 cuts a rather more dashing silhouette, I think we can all agree on that. The Media 4 wasn’t ugly but this latest model looks to have employed a stylist.
The design is sleeker and it sits on a fitted brushed aluminium stand. The stand gives the bar an almost floating appearance. More importantly, as it is part of the design, there’s no construction required.
You also get extra features compared to its sibling. The M3 brings HDMI input with Audio Return Channel (ARC) support. This means that you can feed sound from the TV directly into it and sync up control so you need use only one remote.
The usual array of inputs are all present and correct too. There’s Optical in (which can support up to 24-bit/96kHz music files), Aux in, RCA in and, of course, wireless audio streaming via built in Bluetooth aptX.
There is also a user adjustable EQ option so you can choose from predefined EQ settings to tailor the sound to your needs.
M3 soundbar performance
The M3’s svelte and slippery shape is all the more impressive when you take in to account it houses the same large elliptical subwoofer driver from the Media 4 in the back of the unit. You have probably noticed the lack of an external sub in this set-up.
Two BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) drivers handle the left and right channels.
All of that is squeezed in to a beautiful body that measures 70mm x 1000mm x 125mm (HxWxD).
For those wanting to stream songs wirelessly from their many smart devices, aptX Bluetooth makes the process fast and painless. The button is hidden on the back of unit but in the same area as the main bank of buttons.
The LED around the bar’s power button lights up with different colours depending on the input used: purple for HDMI, white for optical, blue for aptX Bluetooth, and green for line in. The top control buttons are responsive and nice to use.
Kicking things off with Iron Man 3, I was impressed by just how big the sound from this single unit is. I am used to a Panasonic SC-HTB485 bar and woofer so was expecting to miss some of the low-end with the M3.
If anything, when pushed at volume, there might be too much bass for this bar.
Flicking over to Deadpool and fight-scenes, gun shots and heads-hitting-metal all ring through convincingly.
Dialogue is clear and upfront, too. Handy when dealing with the sarcasm and dry whit of Ryan Reynolds.
Cymbals, high synths and, thanks to aforementioned movies, breaking glass are all sharp and clear.
Am I expecting too much from an all-in-one? Perhaps, but I am aware of how well received the Media 4 was and was looking forward to the M3 building on that.
M3 soundbar review conclusion
There is no doubt that the M3 from Q Acoustics is capable. It fires dialogue and effects powerfully and clearly. Explosions and gunshots ring through and soundtracks sound large.
To my ears though it sounds to like there needs to be some better separation between the mids and the low-end. Try to push this bar and things can get a little muddied and confused.
I do like how it looks and the one-piece design is cool. I think a little EQ tweak could make this a winner.