Important Specs Overview
Speaker type: powered, 2-way, front ported
Power output: 2 x 50 W
Frequency response range: 20 – 20k Hz (+/- .5dB)*
Driver size: 4 in
Unit weight: 8 lbs (averaged)
Cabinet dimensions: 6 x 8 x 9.5 in (width x depth x height)
Wireless: Bluetooth 4 compatible; included remote
Warranty: 2 years
*see review and discussion section.
Review And Discussion
Q Acoustics is a relatively newer British audio company that has become quite regarded for making excellent mid to high end speakers. While some of their speakers cost several thousands of dollars, they do have others that, while we wouldn’t call them budget or entry level, are reasonably affordable. The BT3 is one of those speakers, and also currently the only powered satellite speaker they sell.
The BT3 being powered simply means it has an amplifier built in, so you don’t need a receiver. In addition to an included remote it’s also Bluetooth compatible (hence the prepending “BT”), so you can sync pretty much any source right to the speakers and play stuff very easily.
While most of Q Acoustic’s current speakers look extremely slick and retro-futurish, the BT3 looks much plainer, and more in line with a run of the mill budget speaker. We’ve seen white and red variants around, but for now the standard black seems to be the only color they sell it in.
The cabinet looks like pretty standard MDF with a sheen finish. The baffle is a separate piece that has a convex shape. The cover is a hard grill that’s embedded into the baffle and doesn’t look quite so easy to remove.
Q Acoustics doesn’t disclose any specifics on the driver materials, but from what we can tell the tweeter looks like a ~1 inch textile dome and the woofer looks like a ~4 inch polymer blend with a dust cap – pretty standard materials for entry level bookshelf speakers.
One thing that immediately jumped out to us is the quoted response range* – it sounds way too good to be true, and frankly there’s just no way a bookshelf speaker with a single 4 inch woofer can hit that kind of range with such accuracy. 20 – 20K Hz with less than 3 dB variance (much less .5 dB) would be outstanding still for an elite 3 way speaker or a 2.1 system with a great subwoofer. We couldn’t find any testing information, and testing a response yourself takes a lot of time and iterations to get a strong enough sample size, so, for now the best we can say is that if the actual response range is anywhere close to what they claim, it would be outstanding for a two way bookshelf speaker.
The parent speaker has a 2 x 50 W channel amp built in, which will make these speakers plenty loud in just about any normal-ish sized room.
The BT3 has pretty much every input you could need, including a line-out for a subwoofer to give you the option to add one on, which is something that isn’t so common on powered bookshelf speakers.
The BT3 manages to remain quite light and compact for how powerful it is. The front firing port also means you don’t have to worry about it having breathing room in the back, so placing these will be about as easy as it gets, especially compared to some of the behemoths out there like Yamaha’s HS or JBL’s Series 3 powered speakers.
The BT3 comes with a 2 year warranty that includes electronics, which is pretty good coverage – you’re normally lucky to get 1 year or more of a warranty on powered speakers. It also comes included with all essential connection cables which is nice.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
Q Acoustic’s passive speakers have quickly become highly regarded favorites in the audio community, and if the BT3 can get anywhere close to the ludicrously quoted response range, then these might very well be the most performant powered bookshelf speakers at their price and size. The BT3 is more expensive than a lot of the popular entry level competitors, but remains pretty reasonable for what you get. It’s somewhat dated now but still very much a viable option, especially for how small and light it is.
Something to consider: We wouldn’t be surprised if these got revamped sooner than later, and the resultant legacy status of the BT3 might bring about significant discounts in the not too distant future.
If you’re merely looking for speakers to put on a computer desktop for near-field listening, the BT3 might be overkill – check out the links below for some alternatives that are cheaper and may be perfectly sufficient.