Q Acoustics 3000i speaker range first impressions review
The British speaker company says that, not only does the new line-up build on the success of its original 3000 speaker series, but it also brings in innovative audio and design technologies taken from its £4,000 flagship Concept 500 speakers.
I had a chance to audition members of the new line-up in London’s Fitzrovia. I can safely say that Q Acoustics has managed to do it again with a spectacular price/performance ratio.
The three models available to hear were the compact 3010i, the mid-sized 3020i bookshelf, and the floor-standing 3050i.
Q Acoustics also had the 3090Ci centre channel and Q3060S subwoofer for home theatre applications on show, although the latter wasn’t loaded.
Q Acoustics 3000i loudspeaker design
Fit and finish
Being inexpensive sometimes means that manufacturers skimp on the dressing – this hasn’t happened here. Not only do you get a choice of classy finishes such as Graphite Grey, English Walnut, Carbon Black, and Arctic White, their execution is also top class.
There’s no awkward edging or seams to distract from their contemporary styling. I am also a fan of the new chrome accents around each driver which will see most people ditching the neat magnetic grilles.
The most obvious difference between the previous and new series is the size. The cabinets for the 3010i and 3020i bookshelf models are slightly taller and 25% deeper than the last generation.
Needless to say that the increased physical volume extends low-end frequencies for a more powerful bass that belies the speakers’ diminutive size.
This construction was first employed in the company’s top-of-the-line Concept 500 floor-standing speakers. The intent is to eliminate the vibration-induced cabinet resonance that can colour a speaker’s audio reproduction. During the 3000i speakers design computerised analysis pointed to where the internal supports should be placed.
Further unwanted resonance has been mitigated thanks to the soft-dome tweeter being decoupled from the baffle via a suspension system that isolates it from the woofer.
In a bind
The 3000i’s binding posts are brand new and a significant improvement over the previous generation. Speakers with low-profile binding posts have a huge drawback: banana plugs stick half way out from the back of the enclosure. The binding posts on the 3000i series are recessed into the cabinet, so that banana plugs can be used and the speakers will still fit on bookshelves.
Q Acoustics 3000i series first impressions
3010i compact speaker
The 3010i is a compact speaker that’s perfect for a bookshelf, countertop, or for those with limited space. The 3010i is a two-way reflex speaker with a 4-inch bass driver and a 0.9-inch tweeter crossed over at 2.6kHz. Frequency response is rated at 65Hz to 30kHz (+3dB, -6dB). Each speaker weighs 9 pounds and measures 5.9-inches x 10-inches x 9.9-inches. It is a great performer, especially when you consider its size and price point.
3020i bookshelf speaker
The mid-sized 3020i speaker weighs in at 12 pounds and sports a larger 5-inch driver, but retains the same 0.9-inch tweeter. The tweeter and driver are crossed over at 2.4kHz, with a frequency response of 64Hz to 30kHz.
I found the 3020i slightly edgy with the high/high mids sitting a little forward in the mix. However, I reckon that these will still serve you well whether as a stereo pair or as part of a home cinema system.
3050i floor-standing speaker
The 3050i floor-stander is the flagship of the 3000i series and weigh in at 39.2 pounds each and measure 12.2-inches x 40.2-inches x 12.2-inches. The drivers are arranged in an MTM (mid, tweeter, mid) configuration.
The twin midrange drivers are 6.5-inches in diameter. However, the tweeter is the same 0.9-inch unit as the other speakers in the line-up. The woofers are crossed over to the tweeter at 2.5kHz. Unsurprisingly, the 3050i delivers the deepest, not to mention warmest, bass of the three models, with a rated frequency response of 44Hz-30kHz.
Further cleverness can be found within the 3050i’s cabinet as it employees a Helmholtz Pressure Equaliser tube inside the cabinet. This evens out the cabinet’s internal pressure and helps banish those annoying standing waves.
Naturally, the 3050i was the top performer and still reasonably compact for a floor-stander. The soundstage was incredibly accomplished and the presentation was accurate no matter whether I was enjoying a selection of familiar tracks from Tidal through the Naim or being exposed to more random fare on vinyl.
Q Acoustics 3000i first impressions conclusion
They have managed to do it again. Q Acoustics have proved that build-quality, as well as sound quality, doesn’t neccessarily mean having to pay a fortune.
Even if you opted for the 3050i, you will still get change out of £700. This might seem steep to some, but once you take a look at similarly spec’d speakers you will come to realise that this is more than reasonable.
The 3010i, as with my trusty 1010, will make excellent speakers for your computer system or bedroom rig.
The 3020i will be the one that most will lean towards to add to their compact living room solution.
Whichever way you go, I think you will be happy with the the Q Acoustics 3000i options. They are well worth testing out for yourself.
Price and availability
The new 3000i line-up is available now in the U.K.
The suggested retail prices are as follows:
- 3010i – £199 / €249
- 3020i – £249 / €299
- 3050i – £649 / €799
- 3060Si – £329 / €399
- 3090Ci – £169 / €199
- 3010i 5.1 bundle – £895 / €1,095
- 3050i 5.1 bundle – £1,345 / €1,645
More information can be gathered at https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/