Second coming

Guru’s original QM10 was a true music maker, but never the greatest all-rounder. With this in mind, Jason Kennedy greets the new QM10two

As we discovered in Hi-Fi Choice 317, the original Guru QM10 was a little charmer; even sat next to far more expensive boxes it could carry a tune like few others. Still, it wasn’t the world’s most transparent two-way and when fed with serious amounts of power had a habit of going out to lunch. In short, what it needed was a beefed up drivetrain, the means by which it could move air more forcefully.

Well, the new QM10two arrives with precisely this. There’s a new 20.5mm tweeter (up from 16mm) said to give greater power handling and more bandwidth to boot. This means that rice pudding skins are no longer safe; the quoted power handling has gone up from 60 to 150W. Interestingly the lower limit has also been reduced from 20 to 5W although it’s only claimed to be a decibel more sensitive. The main mid/bass driver is still a 100mm unit, but now has what Guru calls a mineral fibre cone, rather than the coated paper found on the MkI.

It still inhabits an unconventional cabinet that’s wider than it is tall, but it now looks rather better thanks to its anodised aluminium metalwork and lush piano lacquer finish, set over a largely MDF box. It makes for a relatively rigid and unresonant structure. Interestingly, rather than recommending Blu-tack or spikes, the QM10two has soft- foam feet. Guru says these avoid resonances created by the tensions that spikes induce in a cabinet.

As befitting a country famed for its furniture, the Swedish-built Guru is well made; more so than the first QM10, which wasn’t quite as impressive in this regard as it might have been – its fit and finish are now much more in line with its price than its predecessor. Like a Stihl chainsaw, you’re paying a premium for the Scandinavian design, build and style. I love the lacquered finish on both the black and white versions of the QM10two and the metalwork is superbly executed around the drivers, cable terminals and on top.

There’s just the one pair of terminals and they only accept 4mm banana plugs, which keeps the back panel clean so that the speaker can be placed close-to-the-wall as recommended. Guru recommends placement across a damped wall with the loudspeakers toed in, so that you can just see the outer panels.

Sound quality

The QM10 remains a musical rather than an analytical or visceral speaker. While power handling has increased to the point where it can be used in most rooms, it’s still not designed to impress with gut-churning bass or skyscraping treble. Rather, it’s exceptionally good at getting out of the way and letting the music do its stuff.

The balance is not as obviously transparent as many at the price, but there’s a degree of coherence to the sound that makes it so easy to enjoy the recording; you can put hi-fi considerations to one side and relax. Nonetheless it’s surprisingly revealing, exposing the changes that higher resolution material brings with ease. It’s not bright and shiny, but refreshingly crisp and uncannily devoid of any sense of the mechanical. Near-wall placement often undermines imaging, but the QM10two throws up a well-scaled soundstage that completely obscures the loudspeakers themselves if you just close your eyes and listen.

That it manages to deliver decent bass extension as well from such a compact enclosure is very impressive, the proximity of the wall helps, and the fact that it’s designed to be there means you don’t lose out on acoustic space.

The key point about this latest iteration of the Guru QM10 is that it has managed to broaden its usability without losing its musical charm; this remains one of the most enjoyable and engaging little loudspeakers on the market. I It has a direct line to the melody, as well as the overall emotion of the musical event. It opens a window on the soul of the creator – which is something that only the best equipment can deliver.

LIKE: Sings like a songbird at sunrise, looks all sleek and Scandinavian
DISLIKE: Still won’t blow your windows out, but at least it can now move air!
WE SAY: Unerringly musical box with a keen sense of rhythm. Now better built and svelte-looking, too

DETAILS
PRODUCT: Guru QM10two
ORIGIN: Sweden
TYPE: Standmount loudspeaker
WEIGHT: 6kg
DIMENSIONS: (HxWxD) 232x300x252mm
FEATURES:
• Treble driver: 20.5mm soft dome tweeter
• Bass driver: 102mm mineral fibre cone
• Sensitivity: 87dB
• Impedance: 5 ohms
DISTRIBUTOR: Tom Tom Audio
TELEPHONE: 01727 810047
WEBSITE: guruproaudio.com