Offered at an attractive price, Q Acoustics has released a set of enhanced floorstanding models. Paul Rigby reviews the 3050i speakers
Yes, floorstanding speakers take up space and can be an eyesore to some but their sonic benefits are tempting indeed. Well-designed floorstanders, as opposed to standmounts with a bit of cabinet stuck underneath can, of course, be a boon for those users looking for enhanced lower frequencies but they can also be perfect for those with a great sounding, yet low powered amplifier. These speakers have a 91db sensitivity, for example. Ideal for a relatively low powered valve integrated, if you wish to be adventurous. They can also provide a truly balanced performance that can be attractive and addictive.
To that effect, Q Acoustics hope to have you hooked to your music collection through their 3050i speakers.
Sporting two, coated paper, mid/bass units of 165mm, finished with newly developed, low-hysteresis, rubber surrounds and a soft dome, decoupled 22mm treble unit, the speakers include HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer) technology designed to, “…convert pressure to velocity and reduce the overall pressure gradient within the speaker enclosure…” said the company. “This technology is perfect for taller loudspeakers that tend to resonate at a single favoured frequency.”
You’ll find enhanced design features over the earlier 3050 model such as extra work on the cabinet in terms of extra bracing, infusing the cabinet with strength. While we’re on the subject of meat, the cabinet baffle has also been bolstered to provide a better foundation for the drivers on the front.
Arriving in Graphite grey, English Walnut, Carbon black or Arctic white with a chrome bezel that frames the drivers to provide visual highlights, the whole lot can be covered, if you wish, by magnetically attached grills. I removed mine for the sound tests.
The speakers use “low profile” binding posts that accept 4mm Banana Plugs. The idea behind that was to avoid terminal cut outs to improve cabinet structural integrity. They worked very well.
Spanning 310 x 1020 x 310mm, each speaker weighs in at 17.8kg.
I began with vinyl and Public Image Ltd’s This is What you Want…This is What You Get LP (1984) and the track, Bad Life.
First impression from the 3050i speakers was that the sound, in its broadest sense, was impressive. In terms of its overall sonic flavour and how high energy, dynamic music hits you. The music was presented in a big, bold and grand fashion.
Now, with any pair of speakers, you start talking like that and what normally follows is a concurrent lack of finesse but not here. The 3050i speakers provided plenty of that too. Hence, there was a delicate balance with, on one hand, lower frequency strength and, on the other, detail from the upper mids.
Let’s begin with the deep stuff. Bass was big, it was powerful and it delivered with heft but it never swamped the soundstage. Yes, there was punch and mass but it knew its place. It never threatened to invade the space allocated to the midrange. Hence, any air produced by the midrange was allowed to flow, the bass didn’t swamp or mask any of the more fragile aspects of the presentation. It merely sat alongside.
Treble and midrange detail was heard in abundance with subtle sax effects easily tracked amongst the percussion and bass guitar. The measure of midrange insight meant that you always felt in touch with the subtle details, even in a raucous track such as this.
But I wanted to investigate the upper frequencies further, so I loaded a Bing Crosby CD and Let A Smile be Your Umbrella on the album Bing With a Beat (Bluebird).
The beginning of this track begins with a busy series of percussive taps in which everything but drums are hit: the rims of drums, cymbal stands perhaps, coffee pots and flower vases maybe? Whatever they were, they were short and sharp tonal responses from the drum sticks. Oh and Crosby’s voice too. The Q Acoustics handled the lot with aplomb. And this is the thing about the 3050i speakers. Here I am going on about the bass in the text above but here, there was no hint that the upright bass, when it decided to join in, was being pushed forward in the mix, no sign that the lower frequencies were taking control. No, once more, balance reigned with each frequency type maintaining its true position, allowing the soundstage to sound measured and even in tone.
Hence, the percussion had plenty of space to maintain a delicacy during its initial tapping fest with treble in fine evidence while the contrasting Crosby baritone, full of delicate nuances and tiny degrees of emphasis here and there, provided a neat reflection of rough texture that gave the early part of the song a delightful relief.
As the rest of the jazz band launched into the track, I was happy to see enough instrumental separation that allowed even subtle elements of the music to ease through without any apparent effort. Hence the piano, which sat at the back of the mix, took full part of the song. Adding a sense of clarity but also richness to the output.
Q Acoustics should be congratulated for providing so many sonic goodies for the price here. The combination of midrange transparency and bass strength is pretty irresistible while all genres of music are treated with a sense of respect by these speakers. They never impose themselves upon the soundstage, they just allow the strengths of that piece of music to venture forth in a natural manner.
The Q Acoustics 3050i speakers look good, they sound good and, by golly, the price is good too. What more could you ask for?
Q ACOUSTIC 3050i FLOORSTANDING SPEAKERS
Tel: 01279 501111
GOOD: airy mids, crafted bass, detail, aesthetics, value for money
Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Group, The Audiophile Man: Hi-Fi & Music here: www.facebook.com/groups/theaudiophileman for exclusive postings, exclusive editorial and more!]
Pro-Ject RPM3 turntable
Spendor A1 speakers
Tellurium Q cables