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Q Acoustics M4 Review

A below average performer that doesn't live up to its pricetag
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Price:   $350 List | $350 at Amazon
Pros:  Somewhat inconspicuous design
Cons:  Mediocre sound, no available adjustments
Manufacturer:   Q Acoustics
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  May 6, 2018
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Sound Quality - 40% 4
  • Ease of Use - 30% 7
  • Sound Customization - 15% 2
  • Style/Design - 15% 7

Our Verdict

In our testing the Q Acoustics M4 was a below average performer, yet its price is decidedly middle of the road. If this soundbar is within your budget, you'd be much better off with the cheaper and better sounding Yamaha YAS-108. If you're just looking for a very inexpensive way to make your TV sound a bit better, the AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel can give you comparable sound at about a third of the price. Bottom line, you can get both better performance and better value for your money elsewhere.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Q Acoustics M4
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $350 List
$349.99 at Amazon
$700 List
$699.00 at Amazon
$500 List
$299.98 at Amazon
$400 List
$399.00 at Amazon
$200 List
$159.95 at Amazon
Star Rating
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Pros Somewhat inconspicuous designGreat sound, stylish, useful sound modesGood sound, lots of availbale sound customizationGreat sound, Alexa built-in, Airplay compatibleInexpensive, good sound, easy to use
Cons Mediocre sound, no available adjustmentsInitial setup of the Sonos App can be finicky, expensiveQuite large, works best with 50"+ TVsInitial setup of Sonos app can be finickyFlimsy remote
Bottom Line A below average performer that doesn't live up to its pricetagThe perfect choice for those looking for the best possible sound qualityA good choice if you can find it on saleTop-tier sound for a mid-level priceA great choice for those looking for a better sound experience on a budget
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Rating Categories Q Acoustics M4 Sonos Playbar ZVOX SB500 Sonos Beam Yamaha YAS-108
Sound Quality (40%)
10
0
4
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Ease Of Use (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Sound Customization (15%)
10
0
2
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Style Design (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Q Acoustics M4 Sonos Playbar ZVOX SB500 Sonos Beam Yamaha YAS-108
Dimensions 3.54" x 5.59" x 39.37" 35.4" x 3.4" x 5.5" 43.9" x 3.3" x 5.7" 25.6" x 2.7" x 3.9" 35" x 2.2" x 5.2"
External Subwoofer No No (optional) No No (optional) No
Inputs (wired) Optical, AUX 3.5mm, RCA Digital audio in (optical), Ethernet ports (2) Analog stereo input, 2 x Optical digital input Digital audio in (optical), Ethernet, HDMI (ARC) Digital audio in (optical), AUX 3.5mm, HDMI

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Q Acoustics M4 isn't a particularly bad soundbar, it just doesn't live up to its price. It still offers a noticeable improvement over the quality of most built-in TV speakers, but other models do the same for much less.


Performance Comparison


The Q Acoustics M4 performed at or below average in all of our tests, putting it towards the bottom of our score sheet. you can read more about how it fared in all of our different tests below.

Sound Quality


The Q Acoustics M4 was one of the worst scoring models in our sound quality testing, picking up a 4 out of 10. While it is clearly superior to most built-in TV speakers, it lacked some of the fullness of most of the other soundbars we tested. Its bass is relatively weak, making everything sound a bit thin. The treble isn't quite as clear as that of other models, so everything from voices to music sound a bit less crisp. The dynamic range is also narrower than that of other models, robbing big cinematic moments of some of their emotional depth. Notably, the Q Acoustics M4 earned a lower scare in this metric than the Yamaha YAS-108, which costs significantly less.

The M4 sounds better than built-in TV speakers  but not as good as most soundbars on the market.
The M4 sounds better than built-in TV speakers, but not as good as most soundbars on the market.

Ease of Use


The Q Acoustics M4 picked up an average 6 out of 10 in our ease of use testing. It has both a remote and control on the body of the soundbar. However, both sets of controls are fairly basic, only allowing adjustments in volume and the input source. It does not have an app, so you have to use the remote or on-bar controls. Setup was quite fast, as we had it out of the box and making noise in less than 5 minutes.

The remote is fairly basic with smallish buttons.
The remote is fairly basic with smallish buttons.

Sound Customization


The Q Acoustics M4 was one of the lowest scorers in our sound customization testing with a 2 out of 10. The only real adjust the soundbar lets you make is volume. If you want to customize your sound at all you'll have to do so on whatever device you're using with the Q Acoustics M4. At a minimum, we would have liked some preset sound modes that let you dampen particularly loud noises or that highlight voices.

The M4 has some simple controls on the body of the speaker.
The M4 has some simple controls on the body of the speaker.

Design/Style


The Q Acoustics M4 adopts a simple all-black appearance that will blend into most living rooms. It is a bit bulkier than most models, so it may stick out below your TV more than some other models. This likely won't be a huge deal, but if your TV sits on a stand you may be sacrificing a super streamlined look.

The M4's inputs.
The M4's inputs.

Value


Unfortunately, the Q Acoustics M4's list price of $350 does not line up with its performance. The Yamaha YAS-108 sounds significantly better for just $200. Bottom line, you can get better performance for less.

Conclusion


The Q Acoustics M4 isn't a particularly bad soundbar, but you can get much better models for the same price or less. Therefore the Q Acoustics M4 doesn't get a recommendation from us.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata