One of the most recent innovations in the field of home theatre has been the soundbar — a single speaker that sits underneath your TV that is designed to replace a 5.1 surround system. It's a concept pioneered by Yamaha several years ago and now offered by everyone from Marantz to Samsung to soundbar in the past, but with the Q-TV it has produced something else entirely. Could this be the start of a new breed?. British manufacturer Q Acoustics has produced its own version of the
Design and features
The Q-TV2 is a 2.1 system consisting of the ammo-box-like sub unit that attaches directly to the back of your TV, and the two speakers connected by adjustable arms which hug either side of your set. The unit is designed to accommodate between 30- and 42-inch televisions, and we were even able to fit it to a 46-inch Z5500 with a bit of shoe-horning — admittedly that model does have quite a thin bezel.
The speakers and sub use what the company calls Balanced Mode Radiators designed to offer a wider soundfield than conventional units. Theoretically, you shouldn't have to sit in the "sweet spot" directly between the speakers to get stereo sound. The unit has eight of these drivers, with a total of 100W of amplification.
Inputs are fairly limited, with two 3.5mm inputs, a single stereo RCA and an optical port. There's no source selector so you need to ensure that only one source is playing at once. The unit is relatively simple and so it lacks an on-screen display or other controls, though there is a three-step EQ and lip-sync compensation.
Though you'll be playing mostly analog devices through this device, the product information was a little vague about what formats the optical input supports. We'd suggest vanilla flavours of DTS, Dolby and PCM.
The Q-TV2 is different from a soundbar's because it actually attaches to the back of your television — utilising a bracket which screws into the wall-mount holes on the back of most sets. But how will you mount it on the wall then, you ask? Well, Q Acoustics supply two accessories, a wall mounting bracket (AU$129) and an extensible cantilever bracket (AU$449). If you have ever put together a piece of Ikea furniture then you will have no problem attaching the Q-TV2.
However, using a bracket does present its own challenges: it can block access to some ports, as we were unable to attach an antenna cable to the— though, of course, the unit wasn't made for a TV of this size — and for a neater look you'll need to run any cables up between the unit and your TV.
Lastly, the unit comes with a simple remote which consists of only three buttons — volume up/down and mute.
The local distributor tells us that there are two further models coming soon, with a model fitting between 42- and 55-inch TVs in November and a smaller 15- to 30-inch model coming in March 2010.