Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers review: lush looks and velvety sound

Whether you’re playing around with a new demo on Garageband, streaming the latest bangers from Apple Music or settling down for an epic movie marathon, the quality of your speakers is going to play a huge part in how enjoyable an experience you have. The latest Q Acoustics M20 HD speakers may well be the ideal option for any of those situations, even for a fussy audiophile.

With a beautifully-presented cabinet, exemplary sound and (almost) every connectivity option you could ask for, the Q Acoustics M20 HD speakers are crying out for a spot next to your record player, TV, or even one of the best MacBooks.

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers: Price and availability

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers on an office desk

Macbook Air Review 2022 (Image credit: Future)

The Q Acoustics M20 HD speakers will set you back $599 / £399, and are available now. You’ll find them on sale at both specialist Hi-Fi retailers and online at the likes of Amazon.

Considering the versatility of the M20 HD Wireless speakers, that’s a fair price – they’ll serve your office as well as they will your TV or vinyl collection – though do note that they may be a little overkill in a desktop scenario for all but the most demanding of audiophiles or sound professionals.

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers: Design and connectivity

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers on an office desk

Macbook Air Review 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Before you’ve even turned them on and got a tune playing out of them, the Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers make a great first impression thanks to their stylish looks. 

Available in three finishes (black, white and the walnut shade we were supplied with), there’s a classy elegance to their slightly-curved cabinets, with Q Acoustics branding kept to a minimal ‘Q’ logo at the bottom of each speaker grille. There’s an almost vintage quality to the walnut finish – understated, even, were it not for the size of them. The M20 HD speakers are on the large side for a bookshelf or desktop setup, measuring 279 x 170 x 296mm, and with a combined weight of 10.6kg. Keep that in mind if you’re intending them for a small office scenario.

The cabinets here are two-way reflex ported affairs, with one speaker the ‘master’ powered unit housing all connectivity options, and the other, slightly lighter speaker acting as the passive partner. A 125mm mid/bass driver and 22mm tweeter in each deliver the sonic goods, with the powered speaker delivering amplification up to a room-filling 130W total.

In a very thoughtful addition, Q Acoustics also offers a switch on the powered speaker to assign it as either the left or right stereo channel.

That powered speaker is doing much of the heavy lifting then, and it’s here where all connectivity options live. You’ve got Bluetooth 5.0 (with aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, SBC and AAC codecs supported), USB-B (24-bit/192kHz), optical (24-bit/192kHz), stereo RCA, and a standard 3.5mm option too. So you’ve enough options here to hook up a TV, record player, computer or even stream from a phone, depending on your needs. There’s a port for adding a sold-separately subwoofer, too.

However, despite the ‘wireless’ name, there’s no option for Wi-Fi streaming support over a network connection. Bluetooth support is as ‘wireless’ as the speakers get. And those looking to plug directly into a TV will note the lack of a HDMI-ARC port. They’ll have to make do with an optical connection instead.

Those omissions aside, Q Acoustics has done a good job of making the M20 HD easy to set up and use. Supplied speaker cabling, threaded through binding posts, connects the pair of cabinets, and a simple LED-lit power button (which doubles up as source identification) sits on the master speaker, flanked by volume buttons. A small remote control gives access to all sources and volume controls from afar, too.

In a very thoughtful addition, Q Acoustics also offers a switch on the powered speaker to assign it as either the left or right stereo channel – handy if your power socket placement dictates where each speaker must go. A second switch tunes the sound output slightly based on whether the rear of the speakers are pointing into a corner of a room, flush with a wall, or sat with room around them, helping to control bass response – which can be further dialled back with a pair of included foam bungs for stuffing into the reflex ports to avoid distortion.

Note that the speakers also support stand and wall mounting.

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers: Sound quality

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers on an office desk

Macbook Air Review 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Whether you’re settling down for movie night or a session with your favorite classic album, the Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers do an awesome job of delivering crisp, detailed sound with warm and precise bass response. And while lossless, hi-res audio formats will undoubtedly bring the best results here, aptX HD capabilities (for those source devices that support it) deliver enjoyable Bluetooth audio too over Apple Music. 

In TV or movie viewing scenarios, the M20 HD speakers perform admirably. Stereo imaging is well balanced, keeping dialogue in the center but giving cinematic width to proceedings at the same time. They won’t offer the boom of a dedicated subwoofer, but the low-end punch they do deliver does a great, tight job of beefing up action scenes too. Remember you won’t get any of the spatial or simulated surround sound options that soundbars regularly now offer though – this is a purely stereo affair.

It’s even more impressive in a musical situation. They may be big, but the M20 HD Wireless speakers, when used as shelf or desktop speakers, really sing. If you can get them on your desk, they will, both literally and sonically, dwarf the competition, with a full, rounded sound that computer speakers (other than those designed as audio monitors) just can’t match.

From whispered vocals and shimmering hi-hats, the M20 HD speakers make the manic jump from quiet to overloaded without strain.

Kicking off with Dua Lipa’s ‘Be the One’, we get a great sense of how expressive the M20 HD can be. The singer’s reverb-laden vocal cuts through with clarity over warm synths and digital plucks of percussion, with the busy pop-production still given a sense of space and distinct instrumentation. 

For dynamism, we switch gears for the Pixies’ explosive ‘Tame’. From whispered vocals and shimmering hi-hats, the M20 HD speakers make the manic jump from quiet to overloaded without strain, bringing in the screaming vocal and tearing guitar effortlessly.

Looking at something truly scuzzy and thick, The Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘The Everlasting Gaze’ sees the full width of the M20 HD’s soundstage challenged, with a heavily distorted riff dueling with waves of synths. The M20 HDs do a great job of picking out the underlying synth melodies behind the otherwise-violent attack of guitars, revealing new layers of complexity to the track.

On the complete opposite end of the scale is Claude Debussy’s Rêverie, L. 68, which fans of the Westworld TV show will instantly recognize. As played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the speakers allow the notes to delicately float, exploiting the analog reverb of the piano-led piece.

For bass performance, we go to Massive Attack’s ‘Angel’, a go-to workout for the low-end capabilities of any speaker. The M20 HD Wireless speakers deliver the deep, cyclical bass riff with aplomb, presenting the sound with distinction and keeping it from becoming flabby or distorted even as its texture warps at the song’s conclusion.

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers: Competition

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers on an office desk

Macbook Air Review 2022 (Image credit: Future)

Depending on your preferred spot for the Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers, there are a couple of different alternatives to consider.

For a living room set up solely centered around a TV, a similarly priced soundbar like the Sony HT-G700, complete with a subwoofer, might do the trick. It has both wireless Bluetooth and HDMI functionality, and support for Dolby Atmos upscaling across its 3.1 channel set up.

In the case of a bookshelf audio set up, take a look at the Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2. Similarly priced to the M20 HD, and in a similar stereo pairing, they sound great and offer similar functionality, but lose USB connectivity support.

If you’re looking purely to serve a desktop scenario, and are completely wedded to living within the Apple ecosystem, you could consider picking up a pair of HomePod Mini speakers, and setting them up in a stereo pair. It’ll be cheaper, they’ll be smaller, and you’ll benefit both from Siri voice control and deep integration with other Apple products, but they won’t come anywhere near to sounding as good as the M20 HD Wireless speakers. If you can find a pair of the now-discontinued full-size HomePods, they will bring you closer to what’s on offer here, and could do justice to Dolby Atmos spatial audio soundtracks, too.

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers: Should you buy it?

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers on an office desk

Macbook Air Review (Image credit: Future)

Buy the Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers if…

You want an all-round music system.
Whether you’re listening to your favorite classical sonata, a screaming Metallica lick, or grabbing the popcorn for a booming Hollywood action extravaganza on your TV, the M20 HD Wireless speakers will serve you well throughout.

You’re not shy of space to store them.
The Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers make use of a large cabinet to deliver their spacious and enveloping sound. If you’ve got the room to let them breathe, they’ll really sing.

You want speakers that look as good as they sound.
From our experience with the walnut finish, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better looking pair of bookshelf-ready speakers than the M20 HD Wireless pair. The curved edges make for a really pleasant-looking cabinet.

Don’t buy the Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers if…

You’re tight on space.
This will likely only be an issue if you’re planning on using the speakers in a desktop, office scenario, but take a good look at those measurements – the M20 HD speakers are deceptively large.

You need truly wireless speakers.
Lacking smart functionality and Wi-Fi audio, the M20 HD Wireless speakers remain very much wired speakers, despite the name. You can take advantage of cable-free Bluetooth, however.

HDMI-ARC functionality is a must.
The convenience of a HDMI connection on the M20 HD speakers would have made them even easier to recommend for the living room. For now, you’ll have to make do with an optical connection instead.

Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers: Verdict

A true all-rounder, the Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless speakers can handle pretty much every sonic challenge you throw at them. As beautiful to listen to as they are to look at, they’re sure to be a welcome sight in any listening room.

Though the ‘Wireless’ name is a bit of a misnomer, and HDMI-ARC support would have been appreciated, the M20 HD Wireless speakers will easily find themselves central to your listening life – whether that’s in the living room, the office or your favorite musical oasis.

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