John Pickford runs the rule over a pair of full-bodied speakers
Having been most impressed with Q Acoustics’ small 3010i bookshelf speakers, I was delighted to take a look at the largest pair in the company’s affordable 3000i range, the 3050i floorstanding speakers. Sporting twin 165mm coated paper mid/bass drivers sandwiching a 22mm decoupled soft dome tweeter, the speakers have a wide-band frequency response, reaching down to 44Hz and extending up to 30kHz. A bass-reflex design, the low-end output is assisted
by a rear firing port.
Improving on the award-winning 3050, the new model incorporates several upgrades, with design features from Q Acoustics’ more prestigious and expensive ranges. Using the company’s proprietary P2P bracing system, the cabinet enclosure has been stiffened for greater rigidity. Cabinet resonances have been minimised with Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer technology, which works particularly well with floorstanding speakers.
‘The detail is there but not at the expense of the overall musical picture’
Fully run-in, the first track I play is Good Times Bad Times from Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album. Despite its hard-rock credentials, this track can sound lean and brash on small-scale systems. However, they deliver a fulsome low-end with great depth and weight. The kick drum sounds thunderous, underpinning a nicely rounded bass guitar. Robert Plant’s vocal is placed centrally with no hint of shout, while Jimmy Page’s widely panned double-tracked guitars interplay superbly without too much detachment within the stereo image. The ambient room sounds I am used to hearing are a little subdued, however, revealing the speakers’ slightly dry nature.
Continuing the heavy-rock theme, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit sounds smoother and fuller than usual, lacking the slam from the drums and taming the grittier aspects of Kurt Cobain’s scratchy guitar and impassioned vocals.
Toning things down with some jazz, vibraphone player Bobby Hutcherson’s mid-1960s Blue Note recording Dialogue sounds wonderful, exuberant and mellow in all the right places and not overly clangorous.
Fleshed-Out Bottom End
The 3050is stand out from the crowd, as many modern loudspeakers are brightly balanced to sound fast and detailed. These speakers take a different approach with a full-bodied, warm and even-handed character that makes the best of lo-fi recordings. Playing a selection of 1960s pop 45s, the edge is taken off the tinny productions and the bottom end is fleshed-out.
The prodigious bass response may be a little too much in some situations and the supplied foam port bungs can help here, especially if the speakers are placed close to a rear wall. Other than this, the 3050is are not overly fussy about room placement, their generous soundstaging producing a full, room-filling sound. Those who value pin-point stereo imaging above all may find these floorstanders lacking a little focus, however most listeners will be enthralled by their large-scale presentation.
As these loudspeakers buck the trend for a hyped treble response, firing relentless detail at the listener, they make for an involving listen. The detail is there but not at the expense of the overall musical picture, so you can easily ‘listen in’ to a complex studio recording. Their full-bodied nature allows them to be enjoyed at all volume levels, performing well at late-night listening levels and house party volume alike.
If your desire is for largish floorstanding speakers with bountiful bass and an epic room-filling sound, you should put these gorgeous units from Q Acoustics at the top of your audition list.