I used to be mightily impressed by the efficiency of Q Acoustics’ M2 sound base. As a follow-up act, the producer despatched me its entry-level M3 soundbar. The M3 shares the identical pedigree and it, too delivers an outstanding sonic efficiency that can fulfill even demanding audiophiles and cineastes working with modest budgets.
The M3 is a smooth, well designed speaker that can relaxation on a bit of furnishings or mount to the wall. The built-in steel stand performs double-duty for each installations, requiring no particular do you have to select to hold it.
Whereas most soundbars are rectangular or cylindrical, the Q Acoustics M3 has a sculpted and tapered design that makes the M3 an excellent design accent to any tv.
The M3 sports activities a 100x150mm twin voice coil subwoofer to assist the low finish, and 58mm balanced mode radiator drivers to deal with the midrange and excessive frequencies. Whereas the motive force specs are the identical because the Q Acoustics M2, I discovered that the M3 had extra punch and dynamics than the M2 in my room and setup.
Unpacking and getting the M3 taking part in took only a few minutes. I linked it to my TV through HDMI and to my Oppo UDP-203 Extremely HD Blu-ray participant through Toslink optical. I positioned the M3 on a desk in entrance of my HDTV in precisely the identical location the place I had examined out the M2.
You’ll discover there are many similarities between the M2’s and M3’s function set. I might level you to my review of the M2 since lots of the options, capabilities, and equipment are an identical. The M3 sports activities audio inputs through HDMI ARC, Toslink optical, Bluetooth, and two analog audio inputs. Simply observe that with a view to use the HDMI audio return channel (ARC), which sends audio again out of your TV to the soundbar, you usually have to activate HDMI CEC in your TV.
The M3 automates a lot of easy duties. That is a very good factor as a result of I did not like utilizing the distant management. The half-credit card sized distant is reasonable and really troublesome to make out in dim lighting environments. The round buttons are all the identical dimension and form in a vertical array. In case you have the lights turned down whereas watching any TV programming, you will have to memorize every button’s perform after which orient your self by counting the variety of buttons together with your finger. Whereas any such distant is sadly typical at this value level, customers ought to nonetheless be getting a greater worth.
Poor distant management apart, Q Acoustics calls the M3’s preamp options IPA for clever pre-amplifier. The M3’s IPA will routinely change to an lively audio supply. When two sources are lively on the identical time, the M3 prioritizes sure inputs over others. That is fairly good.
HDMI, Toslink, and Bluetooth take priority in that order, whereas the 2 analog inputs take the cleanup spots. The M3 is sensible sufficient to know when there’s a sign or not. It should energy on from standby when it senses a sign, and switch off routinely when a single is not current. Not all soundbars do this.
The M3 has a lot of different extraordinarily helpful options. The again of the soundbar has an EQ change that can alter its frequency response for various room placement choices. The EQ’s impact is noticeable and can tame boomy bass or muddy midrange response do you have to place the soundbar inside a cupboard. There may be additionally a lip-sync delay function that can mean you can synchronize the audio to your video supply ought to the 2 get out of sync. Whereas most customers won’t ever want to make use of it, it is comforting to know that this stage of consideration and sensible performance has been taken under consideration.
The M3’s standby button glows a special colour relying on which enter you have got chosen. The one drawback with this design is that when you’ve got the soundbar sitting on a cupboard, you possibly can’t see the colour, so that you don’t know which enter you’ve chosen.
If you happen to’re connecting your TV to the soundbar through HDMI, I’ll warning you to make use of a versatile HDMI cable. The area between the again of the soundbar and the bracket/base isn’t that beneficiant. The 18Gbps licensed HDMI cable I used was too stiff and began to use too sharp of a bend radius for my style. I in the end swapped it out with one other cable to get it to suit correctly. Most client HDMI cables today ought to work simply fantastic. If you happen to’re utilizing thick cables, contemplate getting a versatile HDMI port saver ($4.99 and up at Amazon) for that connection.
The M3 doesn’t assist Wi-Fi or multi-room streaming, however it does assist Bluetooth, and it is one of many few soundbars at this value level that gives assist for each the AAC and aptX codecs, the latter of which guarantees to ship near-CD-quality streaming over Bluetooth.
The M3 helps Bluetooth pairing through near-field communications (NFC). By tapping an NFC-compliant Bluetooth system to the suitable spot on the highest of the M3, it is going to immediately pair the 2 gadgets. Sadly, I didn’t have success pairing my Sony Hello-Res digital audio participant through NFC to both the M2 or M3. In each situations, the Sony instructed me that the system was not supported. I had no issues pairing the M3 manually through Bluetooth to my iPhone 7.
I used to be completely blown away by the excellent audio high quality of the M3 soundbar. Dialog was at all times crisp, clear, and extremely intelligible. The M3 doesn’t include any dialog-enhancement options and doesn’t want it. I’ve persistently discovered that these options in different soundbars introduce an unnatural sound to the audio observe that rapidly turns into fatiguing to hearken to. Taking part in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, dialog was by no means muddy or troublesome to make out. The M3’s audio was at all times pure and dynamic.
Talking of dynamic, this soundbar exhibited glorious dynamics and power, bringing films to life. Bass response was surprisingly good for a system with out a discrete subwoofer.
The Q Acoustics M3 stuffed my 13- by 24-foot basement theater area with ease. Even at excessive volumes, the M3 didn’t reveal any hints of distortion or pressure. Different soundbars close to this value level have struggled. For instance, taking part in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the X-Wing assault on Jedha got here throughout with full affect at excessive quantity. When the rebels free Jyn from the Imperial transport, an explosion and blasters pictures ring out. Different soundbars I’ve examined cut back the dynamic vary, muting the audio pleasure this scene’s observe is able to delivering. Not so with the M3. There wasn’t any level in my overview the place I felt that the M3 fell quick. It was a persistently strong performer.
An excellent soundbar
I actually fell in love with the Q Acoustics M3. It sounds merely very good. it is an intoxicating, exhilarating product that can elevate your emotional involvement in no matter program you are watching. And, the M3 is available in at a really cheap value level. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a severe sonic improve to your present TV that can fulfill essentially the most demanding critics, the Q Acoustics M3 deserves your severe consideration. It is earned my sturdy suggestion.