Today, I’ll be reviewing bookshelf speakers
from one of the youngest brands in the
business – Q acoustics, model – 3030i, the
one with a proper 6.5inch driver. Without
further ado let’s briefly overview
the build quality and design first.
So, certainly, those British loudspeakers
look indisputably unique. That is mostly
thanks to their rounded edges which are not
only advantage from the design point of view
but supposedly in sonic performance as well.
I like this and one thing I can tell you,
after spending some time with them, my main
speakers just didn’t look the same as before.
On the front, around the drivers, they put those
metallic rings which I am also into. Wherever
it’s plastic or real metal, I don’t care because
they are totally convincing and of superb quality.
Even on the back, they put effort to maintain
minimalism, quality, and attention to detail
which is not always the case especially at
this price point. Also, the terminals look
very different than usual and totally fit the
whole design. All of the regular trademarks and
labels were put around the bass port, which
is a very smart utilization of free space.
The only thing I don’t like is the
outside surface. Important note,
there are some other color choices
even wood vinyl. Though in my case it
was the very same material/paint
I criticized in the B&W 606.
It looks a bit cheap and boring and just
doesn’t suit the rest of the elegance here.
…but anyway both the design and build quality
are easily one of the best in the class in my
opinion. In 3 words the Q Acoustics 3030i
looks coherent, simple, and elegant.
So all the less important things
aside, how’s the sound quality?
Well, the sound signature is direct and
condensed, tonally they are rather a bit warmish.
Though at the same time
there is some forward energy
due to slightly elevated higher
frequency response and punchy bass.
At first, before further listening
and doing some measurements,
I honestly thought those speakers
were emphasizing midrange a bit.
Why? Because the vocals sounded slightly louder
than what I am used to… and I really enjoyed this
since the way how speakers are manage to reproduce
voices is one of the most important aspects to me.
That’s said, what I learned here is
that perceived advantage in vocals
may not always mean the most
flat frequency response.
If we’ll look at the measurements in my room
I’ve done later, there seems to be a dip around
the 1.5 to 2.5kHz frequency range which actually
stands for some lack in the upper midrange region.
Please, keep in mind those are just
measurements in my room, so we have to
at least compare them to some other speakers.
Now what you see is the comparison with my
reference Quadral Platinum+ Two marked as
a blue line on the graph – notice their
frequency response is more flat
and the dip is not present there.
Just keep in mind those speakers belong
to a different class so I won’t bash the Q
Acoustics here. I am just trying to point out
their key characteristics as best as I can.
So, what I think is actually happening in the Q
Acoustics is that the sense of density and body
I’ve heard, especially in low pitch
male vocals, comes from the combination
of solid lower mids foundation, that
obvious dip, and slightly sparky highs.
…without a subtle boost in high frequencies, those
speakers would probably sound a bit too muddy.
The cloth-dome tweeter in here may not do
the best I’ve heard in terms of resolution
but the speakers are sort of balanced in a way
that I hear a good amount of detail in the music
and the performance seems to be on par with the
price. Indeed, they are sparky but harshness
is not a problem here – in opposite
to let’s say B&W 606, known for that.
How about lows? Well, right from the first
audition bass was not my cup of tea. Sure, it
probably has more weight than the smaller 3020i,
and its punchy but it just sounds too artificial,
boosted in some ways I don’t like, and shallow
in others. I don’t hear many different textures
and the lower frequencies in here sound kind of
uneven like all the bass was trapped somewhere.
I have to say, usually, 6.5inch drivers perform
with a bit more finesse, even at this price point.
…and maybe I could live with some limitations in
bass response but my main gripe, probably in part
connected with this, is soundstage – surprisingly
despite very respectable horizontal dispersion,
the 3030is sound just a bit too small, they
cannot really create a convincing powerful
image around themselves and whereas
the imaging and separation are decent
the speakers are simply unable to provide with
a sense of reality in the scene. Perhaps if
they would experiment with the cabinet proportions
results would be different but we don’t know that.
In summary, the Q Acoustics 3030is
are interesting pair of speakers
with unique characteristics
– both in sound and design.
I really liked their unusual shape, attention
to detail, and very good build quality.
In terms of sound, I enjoyed the directness
in the vocals and the sense of forwardness.
Having said that, I can’t really
recommend them as all-around performers.
In my opinion, their main flaw
lays in the lack of fidelity
and ability to create more
sophisticated 3D -like image.
Also, the bass lacked some warmth
being a bit too hard and shallow.
So, in the end, Q Acoustics 3030i gets 4 out of
5 stars which I think is reasonable accounting we
speak about 400$ price range. Whereas the speakers
are not really for me nor I would recommend it to
most people, I can totally imagine someone looking
for that distinctive direct and condensed sound.
Let me know what do you think about
the 3030i in the comments down below.
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See you in the next one! Peace!