A while ago we tested the Q Acoustics 3050i floorstanding speaker, a nice introduction to the young British Q Acoustics. When we heard that a new monitor was added to the 3000 series, we immediately requested a test sample. And so now a pair of Arctic White Q Acoustics 3030i is playing in our listening room. Are you wondering if they sound ok? Well you’re not the only one!
Q Acoustics conquered the market a few years ago with its affordable speakers and continues to do so to date. Meanwhile, they have already released a number of high-end speakers to their line-up. Loudspeakers with impressive technology to bring ‘next level’ sound at a good price. The most eye-catching model is the Concept 300 that we tested here a while ago. It stood out because of its special speaker-stand. The 3030i – check the introduction here – surprisingly so also gets its own stand and although it is less extreme than that bizarre Tensigrity tripod, it goes to show that Q Acoustics spares cost nor effort to get the best out of its speakers
Next to the stands, which are available separately, we see a couple of light grey magnetic fronts in the box that contrast nicely with the white monitors. You also get a set of foam plugs, ideal if the bass dominates your space a little bit too much. We didn’t need these during testing in our rather fresh sounding room.
If you don’t want a stand and just want to place this speaker on a piece of furniture, a set of rubber feet at the bottom of the speaker will help. Q Acoustics really thought of everything. And even the packaging, which was rather poor with the floorstanding 3050i, is now also properly done. Although the packaging may seem incidental, it does show the attention a manufacturer pays to the details. It’s about time we take a closer look at the speakers themselves.
Construction and appearance
The 3030i is available in three other versions besides our white version. Black, grey and walnut. The exceptional depth of the speaker (33 cm) and its rounded corners make this monitor look quite different. A bit futuristic even, especially in white. In this price range it already distinguishes itself visually from its competitors.
The biggest change compared to the more compact 3020i, however, is not the depth, but the size of the mid-bass driver. This is now the 160 mm paper coated driver from the 3050i floor stand and you will notice that as soon as you have them up and running! The 22 mm soft dome tweeter is the same and has again been decoupled to reduce the influence of vibrations.
The silver frame around both the tweeter and mid-bass driver add a touch of luxury to this very affordable speaker. We do see that the vinyl is not quite perfect in some places, but in this price range there are of course concessions. Q Acoustics has contacted us and will be adressing the problem. Maybe Q Acoustics can add a few more glossy designs because this monitor deserves it.
Inside, we have the well known computer model-based (CAD) ‘point to point’ connections that guarantee a particularly rigid casing and minimal vibrations. The in-house developed bass port at the back (Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer) again does an excellent job, we’ve noticed. Underneath we see a few separate speaker terminals (we only know this type from Q Acoustics) and read that Q Acoustics prefers Qed speaker cables. Well: we happen to have some laying around!
If we look at the specifications, the higher sensitivity of 88db in 6ohm stands out. They are therefore very easy to drive. And what also stands out, is the ease with witch they let you hear differences in amplification. The recommended power for the 3030i is 25 to 75 watts which are rather low. With a Hegel H120 for example, 2×75 watts, you have both control and punch in the sound. An excellent match.
Although the Hegel H120 is in fact overkill we believe that you get better results with a solid amplifier in combination with a budget speaker than the other way around! Driving a more expensive speaker with a budget amplifier is often less interesting and satisfying. Moreover, the Q Acoustics 3030i did not fall out of tune in our reference system. We never had the feeling that we were listening to a budget speaker, worth 399 euros. Yeah: you read that right, and we didn’t feel like replacing it with some of our more expensive models. We couldn’t think of a nicer compliment.