Speaker Review

3030i Speakers From Q Acoustics

The latest in the company’s 3000i line of speakers, Paul Rigby reviews these new stand-mounters

The 3000i series of speakers was launched by Q Acoustics in April of 2018 and has enjoyed roaring success from the off. The performance and finish of these speakers has been quite startling, especially when you factor in the price. 

The 3030i hopes to continue the trend. According to the company, the 3030i has been created for those people who want more than the 3020i can provide but don’t want to shuffle up to a pair of floor standing 3050i speakers just yet. 

3030i Speakers From Q Acoustic

That said, there are stark similarities between the mid/bass unit on the 3050i and the new 3030i. This 165mm unit features a new motor with aluminium windings covered in copper and has been tweaked for a stand-mounting speaker unit. 

The 22mm tweeter displays a similar lineage. That has been taken directly from the 3050i.

3030i Speakers From Q Acoustic

On the other side of the coin, looking at the 3020i, you’ll notice that the cabinet is much larger on the 3030i. In fact, the internal volume has been more than doubled.

Point to Point P2P bracing, which the company first introduced on the Concept 500 speaker, is featured in the 3030i.

3030i Speakers From Q Acoustic

Sensitivity for the 3030i speakers is a solid 88db, at least for a stand mounted design. Spanning 200 x 325 x 329mm, each speaker weighs in at 6.4kg and, as far as amp matching is concerned? Anything upwards from 25W should be fine. 

In terms of finish? You can grab the 3030i in one of four finishes: Arctic white, Carbon black, Graphite grey and English Walnut.


I began by playing the vinyl version of Morgana King’s Like a Seed from her Paramount LP New Beginnings, released in 1973, a sort of jazzy, funky and rather earnest ditty displaying remnants of the hippy dream, still dangling its legs in the waters of Aquarius. 

3030i Speakers From Q Acoustic

I wanted to initially test these speakers with the 3020i speakers from the same company. Often priced around £199 now. After all, the 3020i speakers are the closest design on the market to the 3030i designs. They are, in many ways, a scaled up version. 

The question is then, do the 3030i speakers merely add a bit of bass extension to the 3020i sound? If so, then I would question the value for money aspect of the design and quite possibly the reason for its existence on the market. Or was there more going on? More to warrant the extra £100?

3030i Speakers From Q Acoustic

There was indeed and the ear picked up those differences after all of three seconds too. 

What the 3030i speakers offered here, right up front, was a sense of space and air around the soundstage. The latter was also wide, wide, wide with sense of space that allowed the instruments and vocals to roam with increased freedom. Hence, the choral background on this song sounded positively ethereal. As if it had arrived on a breath of wind without effort or strain. 

Also, on the right channel, there’s an early sequence of a girl playing an alphabet game using the old traditional, throw two balls at a wall and catch each while reciting a rhyme. The notable effect from this portion of the song was the sound of the rubber hitting the wall itself. That sound was clear and prominent in the mix from the 3030i speakers. 

Again, even in these early seconds of the song, there was more information from the content. For example, a rather shy triangle was struck at the same time as a glockenspiel was being played. The triangle produced longer reverb tails from the 3030i. Similarly, the early high-pitched vocal interjection from King provided more meat in the middle of each note. That is, the middle bit of each note sounded full and packed with much more substance now.

The above hit me even before the bass appeared. I assumed that the bass would be the headline effect from the 3030i speakers. Not now, it appeared.

When the bass guitar eventually did arrive though, there wasn’t more bass. That is, the bass effect didn’t grow or dominate or somehow control the soundstage. Instead, the bass guitar become full, it matured tremendously and added weight and presence. Bass didn’t so much as bloom as offered a larger and more significant presence. That is, bass never imposed itself but offered more complexity, light and shade. 

The same could be said of the bongos, adding bounce and reverb with every strike. The acoustic guitar added to the rasping of the strum with a new and added resonance from the body of the guitar that provided further tonal information. Hence, you didn’t just hear the string being plucked and how that sounded but what the string pluck actually did to the body of the guitar. The after effects of that gave the guitar a larger part in the mix. The acoustic guitar was now stronger with a robust reaction to being played.

I did a quick swop and installed the early, original 3020 speakers which you can still buy for around £140 online. 

For the price, these speakers are quite brilliant and an ideal choice if you need a budget system at a rock-bottom price. That said, they can’t compete with the 3030i speakers. The latter had a great focus and precision across all frequencies while the 3020 speakers provided an anaemic bass response in comparison. The 3020 bass was great for that price sure but the 3030i extended the bass, giving it form and heft that the 3020 speakers just didn’t possess.

In midrange and treble terms, the acoustic guitar became relatively shy again and there was less space for the cymbals to move within. 

If you have the cash, leave the 3020 speakers for a second system.

I then turned the tables and drafted in the much more expensive Martin Logan 15i speakers, retailing around £795. More than twice the price of the 3030i speakers.

Now I loved the 15i speakers when I reviewed them. Could the 3030i speakers come close?

You know what? Yes, the 15i speakers were wholly superior in overall terms to the 3030i speakers and they taught them a thing or two about clarity and transparency in the upper frequencies but my goodness, the 3030i speakers gave them a hell of a run for their money. They really did.

What the 15i speakers have is that tweeter and a sense of focus that provided an impressive precision that the 3030i speakers couldn’t match. The noise floor fell even further letting more detail through. 

Saying that though, the detail from the 3030i speakers was pretty darned good ‘as is’ while the bass did travel a tad further downwards than the 15i speakers could fall. Hence, while the 15i speakers were superior and will reward anyone who wishes to invest in them, those who lack that extended budget and plump for the 3030i speakers will extract just as much pleasure and reward from this design. Having listened and been impressed by the 15i speakers, if you said to me, “Sorry chum, you can’t have those but you can use these 3030i speakers instead.” To be honest? I wouldn’t be that disappointed. I’d have as much of a ball and as great a party with the Q Acoustic 3030i speakers. 

I wanted to go dynamic with the 3030i speakers so turned to my McIntosh CD player and a slice of The Cure and the track Open from 1992 LP, Wish. This high-energy release does display some high-frequency edge around the upper mids that can be aggressive at high volumes so I wondered how the 3030i speakers would cope. 

Tonally, the 3030i speakers offered a superb tonal balance. Both the upper and lower frequency were not only in sync and matched perfectly but they flowed without dominating one another right throughout the song.

The bass command from the 3030i speakers did give this rock track real authority but the accuracy from the upper mids remained which enabled a heap of detail to hit the ears. Hence, the ear picked up information while rocking out at the same time. 

And yes, the edgy and aggressive nature of the upper mids and treble remained on this album. You couldn’t get away from that. Nevertheless, the bass did cushion that effect to reduce the nasty elements and reduced listening fatigue to a minimum. 


That these speakers can be bought for £329 startles me. They have me scratching my head that this level of quality can be had for such a low price. It also shows me just how scarily far, in broad terms, budget speaker design has progressed over the years.

In day to day use, the 3030i speakers are ideal for all genres of music. They provide accuracy, focus and space for classical and jazz music but they can offer strength and guts for rock and electronica. 

The low noise/high detail presentation from these speakers are incredibly impressive yet they remain relatively relatively compact in form factor.

When you rope in those sonic advantages and then you look at the price tag? There’s only one word to describe this speaker package. Stunning. Completely, indelibly and whole-heartedly stunning. 


Price: £329

Web: www.qacoustics.co.uk


UK – https://amzn.to/35VIo0i

EUROPE – https://amzn.to/3elz21q

USA – https://amzn.to/2TKDbmr

GOOD: low noise, commanding bass, midrange precision, treble extension, price 

BAD: nothing


[Don’t forget to check out my new Patreon Page at www.patreon.com/audiophileman, for exclusive postings, giveaways and more!]


Funk Firm Little Super Deck

Audiolab 6000A amplifier

Trichord Dino phono amplifier

Spendor A1 speakers

Tellurium Q cabling

Blue Horizon Professional Rack System

Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components

All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner 

Gutwire Consummate Grounding Cable

Air Audio AC-2K Balanced Transformer

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    30th July 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Hello Paul,

    They are indeed wonderful speakers. I kept my demo sample as reference for this price range and i often take them out if i just want to relax and listen to music. Great bargain indeed!

    Best regards

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st July 2020 at 10:07 am

      Thanks Geoff and glad you’ve grabbed a set! 🙂

  • Reply
    21st September 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Great review! I’ve been debating between these and the KEF Q350s… I’ve just been having trouble finding a place to audition both speakers. I may just have to take a chance and order one or the other sight unseen, so to speak.

  • Reply
    27th October 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Great review! You mentioned previously you haven’t had these up against the Concept 20’s but it seems many still favour these over the 3030i’s plus with the price of the 20’s higher on Q acoustics website, I wonder if they think so also? I’ll be replacing a rather aged pair of Kef Q35’s, so I’m sure either of the above will be an improvement!

  • Reply
    Michael Larsen
    3rd November 2020 at 2:08 am

    How is the 3020i compared to the 3030i the depth of the 3020i is insanly long for a small bookshelf speaker and the 3030i is bigger

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd November 2020 at 9:43 am

      I do talk about that in the review Michael so please check out the review for more info.

  • Reply
    Arek Feredjian
    1st December 2020 at 3:21 am

    Hey Paul, Thanks for awesome reviews…questions below.

    I am in the price category of, “on a budget” but willing to splurge a bit. For reference, I was about to buy an audio technica with Kanto YU4s ($525 USD for the entire setup) but after reading all your reviews, I feel that stepping up in price (almost double) will give me much more bang for my buck and have something that holds value better, would you agree? I am a rookie record player owner but have become enthusiastically more and more obsessed over the years.

    1. Would you pair the Rega Planar 1 with these 3030i speakers (if not which speakers would you recommend)?

    2. Could you recommend what other components and specific brand/models are required to make the entire setup work? For example, what cabels, amps etc. Similar price concept, on a budget but willing to go a step up to make a big difference. Ideally would like to stay around $1100 USD. The Rega is $475 + 3030i $399 USD

    Thank you very much!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th December 2020 at 10:29 am

      Thanks Arek – yes the Planar 1 would work well with the 3030i speakers. If you’re on a budget, the best QED cables you can buy would be useful but the Tellurium Q Blue II speaker cables are superb. Looking at your budget, maybe something like a Cambridge AXA35?

    • Reply
      10th February 2021 at 10:49 pm

      Hello Paul b&w 606s2 can you tell me are is more better than this and is yes hiw much i think you know the answer. thank you

  • Reply
    4th December 2020 at 10:41 am

    Awesome details Paul. Just a follow up, I found a guy in the middle of the country who exclusively refurbishes old speakers from 70s-80s era and brings them to original spec. Really passionate guy about his craft. He said for $300-400 bucks I could get an amazing speaker much better than the new stuff. Wanted your take on it. The three speakers he offered were JBL L26, Polk Audio LS-50 or Phillips 477 standing speakers.
    Any thoughts about these specific speakers and broadly if you think it’s a good idea to go retro?

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th December 2020 at 11:42 am

      Hi Arek – maybe…maybe not. It would depend on your guy, what he does and how he does it, the condition of the original speakers, what work was originally needed, the new parts used if any and their implementation, etc, etc. *Highly* recommend you demo before you commit.

  • Reply
    4th December 2020 at 11:48 am

    That is totally fair and great advice thank you. This guy has been doing at 40 years and insists on using all original pieces to refurbish. I’ll go check them out even though he’s four hours away from me I think it will be worth the drive.


    This is the guy that I found on the web if you want to check them out seems legitimate

  • Reply
    23rd January 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I have an Epos M15 floorstands with 17 or 18 years old so I guess is time to upgrade. Do you know Epos speakers like the K 1? Are the Q Acoustics better overall?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th January 2021 at 2:23 pm

      I’d prefer the 3030i, Nuno. Overall, it offers better sound quality.

  • Reply
    Iain McCorquodale
    16th April 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Not quite sure where my post went, so trying again…

    What category of amp would you suggest for these, Paul?
    Mine arrived 10 days ago and I spent time setting them up and trialing them in my office, connected to my venerable early-90s SONY F540E that I brought over from the UK and power with a honking great step-up transformer. They sound great and the volume dial barely goes past three.

    When I decided to keep them, I put them into my living room where they will serve double duty as fronts on a 5.1 setup for movies/TV and as the sole speakers for listening. My AVR is a Denon S750h and the speakers sound great but not quite as great as when they were being tested in. the office. Also, I have to really crank the volume when playing music — TEAC turntable connected to the Denon’s internal phono stage.

    I’ve seen comments in various places that AVRs are not best for playing from musical sources and I’m wondering if a separate amp for music might be a better option, using a dual source speaker switch to toggle the 3030is between the AVR and amp. As it happens, I have some extra play money and so have a budget of around $1000 CAD for a dedicated amp for music.

    So… good idea or not? And if it is, any suggestions for amps to consider?

    Many thanks for any advice you can offer.


    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th April 2021 at 3:20 pm

      You need to wait for me to clear your mail, then it will appear Iain. The Audiolab 6000A would be ideal but Rega’s Brio and Cyrus’ ONE alongside the Heed Elixir are viable alternatives.

      • Reply
        Iain McCorquodale
        17th April 2021 at 6:41 pm

        Thanks for the reply, Paul. Patience is s virtue but being virtuous has never been my string suit.
        And the idea of a separate integrated amp for music with a source switch between the receiver and amp and the 3030i’s? Good idea?

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          19th April 2021 at 10:49 am

          Hi Iain – I like to use the right tools for the job. So a 2-channel amp should, in my view, be used for a 2-channel stereo and for music. AV kit is ideal for TV work, Internet streaming, surround gear, etc.

          • Iain McCorquodale
            19th April 2021 at 2:51 pm

            Thanks. Paul. I appreciate your feedback. I have a switch in mind. Now to start narrowing down the amp.

  • Reply
    Michael Larsen
    16th April 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Rega io ?

  • Reply
    26th May 2021 at 5:19 pm

    just a quick feedback.
    The Q Acoustic 3030i are beautiful in sound and overall presentation of music.
    Whether listening to my records or cd’s, even as part of my old chain, they make me enjoy my music in a new way.
    Anyone considering to buy a pair of bookshelf loadspeakers, go ahead, buy them.
    They are a nobrainer.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      27th May 2021 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks for that, Alex,

    Leave a Reply

    By using this website you agree to accept our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This
    %d bloggers like this: