FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Q ACOUSTICS 3000i LOUDSPEAKERS
Being a fan of the Q Acoustics brand since buying a pair of their 1010 bookshelf speakers many years ago, I jumped at the chance to attend a secret rendezvous to meet their all-new 3000i loudspeaker series recently.
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 can often lead to trade-offs, but that doesn't seem to be the case 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 is no awkward edging or seams to distract from their contemporary styling.
The new chrome accents around each driver are a nice touch which I suspect 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 their diminutive size.
During a short briefing before the listening commenced, I was informed that the 3000i range includes point-to-point internal bracing.
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 loudspeaker's audio reproduction.
During the design process of the 3000i speakers, the 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 halfway 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.
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 and 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. According to Q Acoustics, 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, whether I was enjoying a selection of familiar tracks from Tidal through the Naim or being exposed to more random fare on vinyl.
The new 3000i line-up is available now in the U.K. priced 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).
For more information visit Q Acoustics.
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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