After recent turntable reviews, today I decided to write a new article – Q Acoustics 3030i review.
- 1 Q Acoustics 3030i Review – Intro
- 2 Q Acoustics 3030i Specifications
- 3 Q Acoustics 3030i Review – Build Quality & Design
- 4 Q Acoustics 3030i Review – Sound Test
- 5 Q Acoustics 3030i Video Review
- 6 To Buy or Not?
Q Acoustics 3030i Review – Intro
Q Acoustics is a relatively young British loudspeaker manufacturer. They were founded in 2006, and for the first few years it mostly devoted itself to home theater sets, then it gradually introduced models intended for stereo listening, and recently they also offer active speakers. They attracted attention with their modern design and excellent price-quality ratio.
The 3030i model continues that tradition and gives a new challenge to competitors. These are bookshelf speakers from Q Acoustics’ 3000i series, which also offers two smaller models, 3010i and 3020i, one free-standing (3050i), one central speaker for home theater, and one subwoofer.
Q Acoustics 3030i Specifications
- Enclosure type: 2-way reflex
- Bass unit: 165 mm (6.5 in)
- Treble unit: 22 mm (0.9 in)
- Frequency response (+/-3 dB, -6 dB): 46 Hz – 30 kHz
- Average impedance: 6 Ω
- Minimum impedance: 4 Ω
- Sensitivity (2.83v@1m): 88 dB
- Stereo amplifier power: 25 – 75 W
- AV receiver power (2 ch. driven): 50 – 145 W
- Crossover frequency: 2.4 kHz
- Effective volume: 12.5 L (763 cu in)
- Enclosure dimensions (HxWxD): 320x200x313
- Overall dimensions (HxWxD): 325x200x329
- Weight (per speaker): 6.4 kg (14.1 lbs)
You can download the manual here->Q Acoustics 3030i Manual
Q Acoustics 3030i Review – Build Quality & Design
Like other speakers in the 3000i series, the 3030i has, at first glance, odd proportions. The speaker is very deep, but not overly tall, so it has a somewhat “bulky” appearance, which is softened by the rounded edges.
As a rule, bookshelf speakers come in a two-way design. As expected, this is also the case with the 3030i. But when I take a closer look at the technology used here, my expectations are quickly exceeded. The first thing to mention is the case, which is reinforced with so-called P2P struts (point-to-point), which is intended to reduce the generation of vibrations and background noise to a minimum. Very good! Instead of simple off-the-shelf chassis, Q Acoustics also relies on dedicated in-house developments in its entry-level series.[amazon box =”B083KQ2QPF”]
The 165 mm diameter bass/midrange driver has a membrane made of impregnated, coated paper. With the cone shape selected here, Q Acoustics also promises an optimal balance between torsional rigidity, strength, and self-damping. The tweeter is also special. It is equipped with a large 25-millimeter dome whose elastic suspension decouples it from the baffle. This protects it from external influences as far as possible, which should be reflected in a clearer, freer, and more brilliant high-frequency reproduction.
The great depth is due to the considerable volume of 12.5 liters, and the speakers are still not too bulky, at least not in terms of height and width. The bass-reflex opening is on the back, so placing these sound boxes will be a bit of a challenge. As you know, speakers with a bass-reflex port on the back require some clearance from the back wall, and since the Q Acoustics speaker itself is more than 12 inches deep, its front panel should be at least 30 inches from the back wall, the books say.
In practice, it turned out that, surprisingly, even 20 centimeters of separation was enough, while at 40 centimeters the sound was a little bit more stable. The speakers come with sponges for filling the bass-reflex opening, but I am not really a fan of them. Admittedly, they solve the problem of bass reflection in the case of too much proximity to the wall, but they also blur the bass.
The finish of the speaker is at an enviable level, especially for this price category. You can choose between four finishes: Graphite Grey, Arctic White, English Walnut, or Carbon Black. Mind you, Carbon Black is more of anthracite in person, so it’s easy to get confused with the Graphite Gray version, which is actually a bit lighter than what I normally describe as “graphite metallic”. I liked both of these shades, as well as the white one, while the English walnut color did not suit me with the shape of the speaker boxes.
The speaker units are trimmed with chrome rings, and the speakers come with magnetic meshes that cover the drivers. The back of the speaker has also been tweaked: the bass-reflex opening is framed in a darker shade, while at the bottom you can see a pair of very shallow connectors, which can accommodate speaker connectors, or, by twisting, secure the cable. The caps of these connectors do not have a safety device against falling out, so be careful when unscrewing them, because they can fall off, and then they usually roll under the heaviest part of the furniture. It is not quite clear to us why such a shallow design of the connector is highlighted by the manufacturer as a special characteristic of the speaker. In any case, the speakers have to be moved away from the wall, at least a little, so it wouldn’t be a problem if they were designed differently. On the bottom side of the boxes, we find four rubber washers and slots for wall supports.
Q Acoustics 3030i Review – Sound Test
Be sure to burn it in
Before I start the listening test, one more piece of important information: The 3030i needs a break-in period. After about two hours, it plays much more intensely, powerfully, and more agile than right out of the box. So give them a little time, ideally more than the two hours mentioned. Worth it. After the warm-up phase of my brand-new 3030i is over, it’s finally time for the listening test.
I tested these speakers most of the time in combination with the Onkyo A-9110 amplifier. Its 44 W of power (at 8 Ω) is right in the middle of the recommended amplifier power range (from 25-75 W).
I also paired them with a 100-watt Denon DRA-800H receiver, and purely for testing purposes with a cheap SMSL SA-36 amplifier, class D, which nominally outputs 20 W. I wouldn’t recommend the latter, but it might work while you wait for a sale of a solid amp of at least 40W.
At first, the 3030i showed the qualities of a very versatile speaker, suitable for different types of music and at different volumes. Although the placement did not play as big a role as I thought, it still gives the best results away from the back wall, with the position of an equilateral triangle between the listener and the two speakers. The less ideal layouts were, admittedly, noticeable, but they did not damage the quality too much, and the only thing that is lost is the good definition in the space. Driven by a Denon amplifier, even though it is nominally too strong for them, they gave their best and all frequencies came to the fore even when listening more quietly. With Onkyo, I achieved the same result by turning on the loudness filter, which serves exactly that purpose.
The best feature of these speakers is the uniformity of the sound at various volumes, as well as at all frequencies. The bass is fast and precise, although not too deep because it is still about 6.5″ drivers. In the medium and high range, the speaker copes solidly with more demanding musical material. The sound has quite a bit of detail, almost twice the price of the Bowers & Wilkins 606 speakers, which would definitely win the comparison test, but the differences are small.
Q Acoustics 3030i Video Review
To Buy or Not?
The 3030i is a successful upgrade in the bookshelf loudspeaker portfolio of the 3000i series. With it, Q Acoustics has created a pretty perfect compromise between compact bookshelf speakers and high-sounding floor-standing speakers. Although only slightly larger than the 3020i, the 3030i delivers a significant increase in volume, draft, and performance. In this way, it fully lives up to the claim of its development team to make the live experience of the music the benchmark for playback. Tonally designed for long-term listening suitability, it plays powerfully and dynamically. Processing and material quality add to the sound: the largest shelf speaker from the Q Acoustics portfolio shows no weaknesses in these disciplines either. On the contrary, in this price range, it will be difficult to find such a well-made and effectively equipped pair of loudspeakers.
Q Acoustics 3030i Pro & Cons
- Build and sound quality
- They are not demanding in terms of accommodation
- A very fair price
- For this price, nothing