REVIEW: Q ACOUSTICS 3050I FLOOR STANDING SPEAKERS
We were lucky enough to have had a sneak preview of Q Acoustics' new 3000i range of speakers, and they proved to be very compelling. However, we needed more time with the largest of the troupe.
You may recall the improvements that Q Acoustics have designed into the 3000i range but, if not, here's a quick recap. Firstly, the use of point-to-point cabinet bracing, as initially featured in the Concept 500 range. The parts that require stiffening are provided with extra support to make them quieter. Also, the baffle is thicker to support the tweeter and mid/bass driver.
Additionally, the 3050i’s 20mm soft dome tweeter has been decoupled from the baffle via a suspension system to isolate it from vibrations from the two 16.5cm woofers that bookend it.
Again, something also first introduced in the company's Concept 500, the 3050i gets some Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer (HPE) technology. It's always great to see flagship solutions trickle down to the more affordable ranges. However, it does get me thinking about what new design cleverness is on the cards for upcoming top range releases.
HPE is basically a tube filled with damping material inside the cabinet and, according to Q Acoustics, evens out the cabinet’s internal pressure and helps banish those annoying standing waves.
- Enclosure type: 2-way reflex
- Bass Unit: 2 x 165 mm ( 6.5 in)
- Treble Unit: 22 mm (0.9 in)
- Frequency Response (+3 dB, -6 dB): 44 Hz – 30 kHz
- Average Impedance: 6 Ohm
- Minimum Impedance: 4 Ohm
- Sensitivity (2.83 V@1 m): 91 dB
- Crossover Frequency: 2.5 Hz (var)
- Effective Volume: 32.4 L (1977 cu in)
- Dimensions W/H/D mm: 310 x 1020 x 310 mm (12.2 x 40.2 x 12.2 in) (inc. grille, terminals and feet)
- Enclosure width: 200mm (7.9 in)
- Weight (per speaker): 17.8 kg (39.2 lbs)
I have generally been impressed by what Q Acoustics can do especially when it comes to designing speakers for a target price point. From my initial listen at the range unveiling I knew that the 3050i would perform well enough. I had already had a glimpse of their energetic musicality. That said, once positioned correctly in my room, I was taken aback by their clarity and punch.
Kicking off with The Kick Inside, Kate Bush's fantastic debut and her telling of a fleeting sexual encounter in 'L'Amour Looks Something Like You'. Kate's Marmite vocal stylings are crystal clear with a crisp delivery. The typical backing of piano, fretless bass, drums and guitar are all well placed. The upper register keys have a biting leading edge which is countered by warm, round bass lines. The cymbals and chorus-effected guitar shimmer with the snare punctuating the piece with surgical precision. Lesser speakers would have difficulty in translating all that mid and high range action. However, the 3050i proves to be remarkably adept.
Cosmic Travels from Chris 'Daddy' Dave and the Drumhedz album 'Mixtape' is another track that could lose meaning through bland speaker delivery. Thankfully, the Q Acoustics can decipher the loops, synths and general space-Jazz weirdness to give this track room to breathe. Naturally, it's Chris' drums that draws me in. A master of intricate patterns, flitting tempos and groove, Dave's sense of fun and rhythm also displays the 3050i can match him for timing.
"Burn Hollywood, burn!" chants a techno-backed John Lydon, as I sit back to enjoy Leftfield's 'Open Up' to further test Q Acoustic's floorstanders. The speakers' ability to anchor the most profound, most foreboding bass notes enables them to communicate threat and cynicism perfectly.
The 3050i never appeared to get flustered, keeping dynamic signatures in check and shepherding overlapping instruments into a spacious soundstage.
The Q Acoustics 3050i floor-standing speakers are a sure-fire hit. Where more blocky models may be met by unconvincing glances from partners, the 3050i's gentle curves soften their appearance. However, aesthetics aside, their deft handling of a variety of genres will have you contemplating your choice of finish more than whether-or-not you should buy them. These mid-priced floorstanders really do squeeze out every penny of their worth. Should you take the plunge, I can assure you that you will not regret it.
So, what will it be sir? Arctic White, Carbon Black, Graphite Grey, or English Walnut?
For more information visit Q Acoustics.
Further reading: StereoNET UK Discussion Forums
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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