After the demise and subsequent rebirth of Mission loudspeakers, some of its UK staff fancied remaining in the motherland and not upping sticks to Mission's new owner, the Chinese-based IAG. The result was a new company and brand called Q Acoustics and in the short four years since conception, it's achieved hi-fi and AV gold right from the word "go".
We last looked at its innovative Q-TV2; a bolt-on 2.1-channel speaker system for flat panel TVs, and now it’s the turn of the more conventional 2000 Cinema Package — a compact 5.1-channel AV speaker system.
Four identical bookshelf speakers, the 2010s, a single 2000C centre speaker and 2070S active subwoofer make up the package, plus there are optional stands and wall brackets available for different mounting positions. Four finishes are available — walnut and graphite black or high gloss white or black options which add AU$200 to the price. Our system came in the shiny white and visually the 2000s look super sleek. Construction and finish are both excellent.
The 2010 and 2000C all use the same 100mm bass drivers and 25mm tweeter, while the slimline 2070S subwoofer contains several fancy features. It's "digital" insomuch as the 140 Watts of on-board power are Class D driving twin 170mm woofers and it employs Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to sonically match it to the partnering speakers. An array of switches on the back panel of the sub allows different operating modes, includes a choice of "Ported" versus "Sealed" for the mains — we chose the former as it suits the 2010s. "Music" and "Movie" modes also alter bass performance, with the latter setting said to offer a bit more grunt for those big dynamic movie moments.
The 2010s' cable connections are tucked underneath on a base plate which means the speakers can be placed right up against a wall or run through the optional stands’ column to hide the wiring completely. Removable cloth grilles complete the aesthetics and either on or off the system as a whole looks quite inconspicuous and room-friendly.
Given a week to properly run in, we were keen to hear the 2000s in full surround sound flight and duly loaded up a Blu-ray of the rather excellent Star Trek (2009). There’s plenty of heavy-duty audio to keep the speakers busy and the Qs didn’t mind one bit. We were driving them with an Onkyo AV receiver which had no trouble pushing the 2000s to almost reference level. Despite their compactness the Qs genuinely deliver sound pressure levels far greater than you’d imagine and they do it cleanly too. The film’s battle scenes deliver blockbuster sound at its best and the little Qs make a hell of a din, in a nice, cohesive, dynamic sort of way.
For movie power and punch, the system delivers the big stuff in an almost mocking fashion and we’d imagine most AV amps would run out of steam before the 2000s. They coped admirably with the torture test that is Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and reproduced the "take your breath away" dynamic crunch wonderfully as the tripod emerges from beneath the street.
Some AV speakers tend to sound as subtle as a brick with finer movie details or music; however, the Qs turn on the charm here also. Atmospheric movies like Signs, Das Boot or 2001: A Space Odyssey are deftly handled with you sitting pretty amidst spacious and ambient soundfields. The submariner action of Das Boot places you right there in the claustrophobic U-boat and its crushing depths — those subtle effects that add realism are precisely handled and the Qs steer them with the skills of a champion sheepdog. And if you ever struggle to make sense of home theatre dialogue, the 2000C’s tonal balance and clarity will ensure on-screen speech is delivered intelligible.
As the Q2010s are sold in stereo pairs, they make listening to music just as enjoyable as the 5.1 option. Best used with the subwoofer for bass reinforcement, in 2.1 mode the Q Acoustics play music — all music — in a big, majestic fashion. There’s bags of sparkling, open detail and scintillating midband presence, all of which are qualities that rarely grace AV loudspeakers. Switched to "Music" mode the 2070S sub gels perfectly with the 2010s as satellites filling out the bottom end with sumptuous, fast and tuneful bass. Even without the aid of the sub, the 2010s are still able to make decent thump of their own, especially if you do chuck them right up against the wall. But it’s their abilities in the higher frequencies, especially that silky smooth midband that leaves the most lasting impression.
We’re hard pressed to find fault with this speaker collection — it impresses on all levels. If you have a cavernous room to fill, then it’ll struggle, but for the average living room and home theatre system the 2000 Cinema Package is a superb solution. Movies and music are handled with equal measure, the sub’s various DSP controls all work well and improve its versatility. Excellent build, great looks and a price tag that’s very reasonable all mean this little lot gets a well deserved "Editors' Choice" recommendation.