British speaker brand Q Acoustics has been making some ground-breaking speakers over the past decade with a perfect balance between price and performance. Last year I reviewed the company’s flagship Concept 300 bookshelf speakers and now I’m following up with a review of Concept 30, a more affordable pair of bookshelf speakers that share many of the more expensive Concept 300 features, including the innovative quadruped stands.
With its design cues and acoustic technology based on the flagship Concept 300, this new pair of speakers can deliver audiophile performance at a relatively affordable price. The key feature of the Concept range is the cabinet’s design, which is engineered to be as quiet as possible. Largely unaffected by internal and external resonances, these gorgeous-looking speakers produce a tightly focused soundstage that gives the impression of a live performance.
The construction of these new speakers is based around the more expensive Concept models and there’s a whole heap of technology that makes the Concept 30 excellent performers. For example, the Concept 30 speakers are based around a Gelcore construction which cuts down on higher frequency noise.
Gelcore was introduced with the original Q Acoustics Concept speakers and is a unique non-setting gel sandwiched between two layers to absorb high-frequency vibrations created by the speaker’s drivers. The driver’s energy output is dissipated so that the sound remains focused.
The cabinet construction is reinforced with Point-2-Point (P2P) internal bracing. This technology was first used in the high-end Concept 500 to stiffen resistance in parts of the speaker cabinet that are particularly susceptible to being affected by low-end frequency reverberations.
Another way of reducing vibrations is using a suspension system as a sprung baseplate. Two plates are separated by suspension spheres that isolate the cabinet from any interference created by external vibrations, producing a tighter stereo image and extending the depth of the sound.
Each of the Concept 30 speakers has a 5-inch (125mm) mid/bass driver alongside a 1-inch (25mm) tweeter. Both drivers are brand-new designs fixed to a very stiff 3mm aluminum baffle plate before being attached to the speaker cabinet. This construction creates a tight acoustic seal that dampens vibrations and reduces structural coupling.
The Concept 30 tweeter is hermetically sealed and mechanically isolated from its supporting baffle. This reduces distortion and creates a lower crossover point. The mid/bass driver’s voice coil has also been beefed up, so it can handle 50% more power than a 25.4mm voice coil.
Finally, the crossover circuit that routes the audio signal between the tweeter and woofer is mounted on an isolating base, ensuring it remains free of vibrations that could affect the sound. The isolation also helps shield the crossover circuitry from any electro-magnetic influence from the drivers.
The Concept 30 speakers are advanced but also beautiful to look at. I borrowed a pair with a premium high-gloss white finish to test the speakers. The Concept 30 speakers are available in black, silver and white lacquers, featuring Q Acoustic’s signature aluminum front baffle plate. The finish is beautiful and the whole look is finished off with an attractive textile grille that attaches magnetically to the front of the cabinet.
To get the best performance from Concept 30, Q Acoustics makes a striking four-legged stand that’s tensioned by wire cables. The stands can be used with spikes or rubber tips to create a perfect mounting that enhances the stereo soundstage. The stands are pretty expensive, but not only do they look superb, but they also make a big difference to the sound of these remarkable speakers.
I set up the Concept 30 speakers using Q Acoustics Q FS75 stands that were loaned for this review. I also tested the speakers without any stands to gauge the difference in sound. Two sets of binding posts at the rear can be biwired if desired. The speakers are shipped with a conductor between the two sets of binding posts. By decoupling the posts, it’s possible to bypass the crossover circuitry. I tried both methods and the difference between them was marginal at best. The Q Acoustics crossover used in the Concept 30 speakers is excellent.
The sound from Concept 30 is incredibly energetic and tight. The separation between the woofer and tweeter is pronounced and the soundstage, especially with the stands, is stunning. These speakers sound almost as fulsome and dynamic as a pair of floorstanders. And although the bass doesn’t go quite as deep as a pair of floorstanders, every bass note can be heard, if not always felt. If you like intense bass, I would advise looking at one of Q Acoustics subwoofers to underpin the sound.
The overall sound is wonderfully tight and punchy. The midrange is perhaps slightly recessed in the upper registers, but the tweeter provides the sharp focus and clarity that establishes the superb soundstage. The use of Gelcore, Point-2-Point bracing and the solidity of the cabinet build make for such a tight and coherent sound that brings music to life and injects and irresistible energy to the sound. I don’t think Q Acoustics could have made these speakers and tighter if they tried. The whole sound adds up to a coherent feel that enables the listener to concentrate on the music.
Verdict: The Concept 30 speakers from Q Acoustics are stunning performers for the money. I think they can even rival the more expensive Concept 300 model. The quality of the cabinet construction is exemplary and beautifully executed. When mounted on the Q Acoustics Q FS75 speaker stands, these remarkable speakers’ look and sound complete. They are well worth the extra outlay. If you want a pair of speakers that don’t take up too much room but produce a large and perfectly formed soundstage, the Q Acoustics Concept 30 are well worth an audition. Highly Recommended.
Pricing & Availability: The Q Acoustics Concept 30 speakers are available now and cost £899 / €1,199 / $1,299/ per pair. The Q Acoustics Q FS75 speaker stands are also available now and cost £375 / $499 / €449 per pair.
more info: www.qacoustics.co.uk (UK) and www.qacoustics.com (US)
- Bass unit: 1 x 125mm (5.0 inches).
- Tweeter: 1 x 25mm (1.0 inch).
- Frequency response (-6dB): 54Hz – 30kHz.
- Rated impedance: 6Ω.
- Minimum impedance: 3.9Ω.
- Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1kHz): 87dB/w/m.
- Recommended amplifier power: 25 – 100W.
- Crossover frequency: 2.4kHz.
- Distortion (120Hz – 20kHz, @2.83Vrms): <0.2%.
- Effective volume: 7.0 liters.
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 284 x 180 x 319mm (11.2 x 7.1 x 12.6 inches).
- Weight (per loudspeaker): 7.9kg (17.4lbs).