As the 3000i name suggests, it is easy to guess that this line of acoustics is positioned as an improved version of the three thousandth. As in the previous series, there are all the speakers here, from which you can assemble a complete set of home theaters, and there is only one floor-standing model among them.
Naturally, not least of all it is of interest as a stereo pair. The changes, according to the developers, are both evolutionary and revolutionary.
External differences are really minimal: the same speaker configuration, the same cabinet rounding, even the dimensions remain the same. But the increased price tag is immediately noticeable.
What is in it and how does it sound? Let’s go from top to bottom. The 22mm dome tweeter removes vibrations from the front panel as it is now attached to it via a silicone damper. The pair of midrange / woofers with impregnated paper cones and a special coating received new rubber surrounds with low hysteresis, which should improve response speed.
The rigidity of the case is increased by spacers using the proprietary P2P (Point to Point) technology, and the main frequency of the internal resonance of the case is absorbed by the design using the Helmholtz resonator principle.
The technology was named HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer). The panel cutout for the input connectors is now absent, the terminals are cut directly into the housing. This was done in order to get rid of unwanted vibrations penetrating through this panel, and the terminals themselves were shortened for the convenience of placing the speakers.
The optional 3000FSi floor stands are available for the 3010i, 3020i and 3090i speakers, providing the stability you need and ensuring good sound. 3000WB wall brackets are also available as an option.
The 3020i speaker system is part of the Q Acoustics 3000i range. The 3030i is larger than the previously released 3020i and, according to the developers, will give more bass without eating up a lot of space.
Many lessons learned from the development of the premium Concept series have been incorporated here. This is especially evident in the case: the sandwich construction used in the Concept line was abandoned due to cost considerations, but its quality is worthy of the Q Acoustics brand.
The acoustics remained quite compact: only 200x325x329 mm. But the woofer from the 3050i floorstands – a 6.5-inch speaker, which, however, was optimized for working in a small volume, by updating the magnetic system and winding copper-plated aluminum wire on the coils – fit into this rounded case.
As a result, these kids can bass from as much as 46 Hz. The tweeter along with the mount is also taken from the floor speakers – it plays up to 30 kHz. A lot of attention was paid to rigidity in such a case: it was achieved thanks to the Point to Point P2P spreader system, first introduced in the flagship Concept 500 model. The speakers, according to the company, play best with the proprietary stands.
The inherent sophistication of these Q Acoustics does not accentuate the harsh and harsh features of other system components. They’re also not too picky about material shortcomings – even low bitrate MP3s can bring the listener a lot of joy.
The Q Acoustics 3030i is equipped with a 165mm woofer and a 1-inch dome tweeter. While other companies such as B&W are experimenting with exotic materials for their woofer cones, Q Acoustics uses the tried-and-true classics of paper to make them. Rather, “a diffuser made with high precision from impregnated coated paper,” as the company describes.
This is the same speaker that previously appeared in the 3050i floorstanding speakers. As with the 3050i, the tweeter is separate from the woofer and the cabinet uses internal ties to dampen unwanted vibrations. The speakers I received for testing had an Arctic White finish with a nice matte finish, and a Graphite Gray finish is also available.
The front panel of the 3030i has chrome accents and a white protective grille magnetically attaches to it. On the back of the speaker there is a bass reflex outlet and a pair of nice screw terminals.
The 3030i measures 20 cm wide, 32.5 cm high and 33 cm deep. According to the datasheet, the speaker operates in a frequency range of 46 Hz to 30 kHz (+/- 3dB) and is designed to be connected to a 50 to 145 W amplifier.
The speakers I have in stock for comparison to the Q Acoustics, Elac Debut Reference are well thought out and look like a premium model. What they lack is a truly captivating sound as well as its punch.
In character, the Q Acoustics 3030i are pretty much the opposite of these over-mannered ELACs. Perhaps the Q Acoustics speakers directly provoke you to jump up and start dancing to the music.
Initially, I was disappointed with the sound of Q Acoutsics – right after unpacking the speakers didn’t sound very good, their bass was out of focus and the upper range was too bright. Over the course of a week with occasional listening, however, the 3030i’s sound became more uniform, dynamic and consistent.
I have always been skeptical about the need for pre-warming hi-fi, as in many cases it is more about your ears getting used to the new sound than any changes in the device itself. But these speakers really take time to achieve optimum sound.
In other words, if you don’t like the 3030i right away, drive them around for a while before sending them back to the store.
Songs that initially sounded not very good through these speakers played much better over time, more balanced, and in some cases even better than on my home Bowers and Wilkins 685 used as reference.
The first track I listened to on the 3030i was Mountain At My Gates by the Foals, and it sounded bad – too thin, and the bass drum sound was similar to the sound of a roll of paper towels banging on the table. After a week of listening to the speakers, the sound became much more powerful and bass. While B&W sounded not very clear on this track, especially during its crazy finale, Q Acoustics always kept the track under control.
I continued testing with the composition Bread, Cheese, Bow And Arrow by the British band Future of the Left.
The 3030i’s speakers were able to capture loud staccato after-effects, but B&W missed them entirely. You could hear the bass drums and guitar fading out into the space the band was recording in (or perhaps in the far corner of their reverb). Despite this omission, B&W provided a more unbiased sound image and retained its expression.
The new album The Strokes has finally put everything in its place. In The Adults Are Talking, B&W speakers were able to create the feeling that we are listening to a group whose members are playing in concert.
Here the 3030i’s tendency to extract details worked against them, and the song was broken up into a set of separate musical instruments.
On heavy bass material, the Q Acoustics performed best, with a lot of low end heard on tracks like Bad Guy Billie Eilish and Beta Band’s Life. They certainly may not sound the same as large speakers, but on good stands the 3030i will provide quite convincing bass.
In my review of the Elac Debut Reference, I found that the Elac was better than the Q Acoustics in my not-too-matched home AV system, and that was still the case even after the 3030i warmed up. However, with a pair of good rear speakers like the 3020i, the Q Acoustics 3030i will perform well in your multichannel setup and deliver crisp sound without being too harsh.