Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Bookshelf Speakers

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers: Review

The Q Acoustics 3030i are not a replacement for the existing 3020i, but a larger model for those looking for more bass punch.

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker Colors

The Q Acoustics 3030i are a very interesting loudspeaker; not necessarily from the perspective of the technology they employ but their overall value proposition. In the grand scheme of things, the $469 USD asking price is actually not very high for a loudspeaker that can deliver this much sound quality. 

Products like the Q Acoustics 3030i are a positive trend for the high-end audio segment; and it’s good to see that other brands like Wharfedale, ELAC, Polk Audio, and Klipsch are investing more in more affordable loudspeakers that a wider segment of the population can afford. 

One of the biggest failings of the audio/video press is that we don’t do enough to present equipment in the context of a system that people might actually want to buy. Reviewing the Magnepan LRS or Q Acoustics 3030i loudspeakers is a pointless exercise if we don’t explain how to build a system around them. 

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker in walnut

Telling you that a $469 pair of loudspeakers sound great only gets you so far. How can you maximize that purchase and not make costly mistakes when building a system. 

You have to create a path for people who are new. And it has to be a reasonable one. 

Does It benefit the reader and industry more to discuss $500 products or $50,000 components? 

As much as we enjoy reviewing state-of-the-art products (because who wants to review a Prius when you can spend time with a Porsche) that very few people on the planet can afford, there needs to be greater focus on the products that might help increase the size of the base – who might eventually have the money to buy much better products.

My listening priorities as a 51 year-old Orthodox Jewish man with 3 kids in private school and college are not the same as a 25 year-old living in an apartment (or parent’s basement…time to get out).

We agree, however, on one important concept; we both want to enjoy the music that we love with the highest level of sound quality that we can afford.

Pair of Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers in Black showing front and back

The concept of “affordability” is slightly tricky.

Everyone has a different budget. Some people can afford to spend $100,000 on a stereo system and that gives them the ability to try components that 99% of the population will never get to experience. It’s not a contest. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

I know people who have spent that amount of money and have been stuck on the high-end merry-go-round for years. They’re never happy with the sound of their system and clearly care more about the equipment than the music. 

Most people that I know have a very specific budget for their home stereo system. $3,000 is the most they would ever consider spending on a system and that’s actually a very good place to be.

Audiophiles who tell you otherwise are insecure human beings who are unable to trust their own ears or accept that if something sounds good to you — your opinion is equally as valid. 

The Bacon

Very much like Jason Statham’s character in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the Q Acoustics 3030i are a tad unleashed. They communicate music like an effortless weapon, and with some serious punch in the lower registers with the right amplifier. They borrow a lot of their driver technology from their much larger sibling; the Q Acoustics 3050i floor-standing loudspeaker that retails for almost twice the price.

I’m a huge fan of the 3050i, but I can see how some might find their somewhat restrained sounding presentation a tad boring with the wrong amplifier. The Croft Acoustics Phono Integrated and NAD C 316BEE V2 integrated amplifiers are great matches with the 3050i, but that took a lot of trial and error.

The 3030i are not a replacement for the existing 3020i (one of the best-reviewed bookshelf loudspeakers on the market), but a larger model for those looking for more bass punch. 

Q Acoustics have tweaked something in the cabinet design and crossover of the 3030i because they dig just as deep as the larger 3050i, and sound significantly more robust than the 3020i; their presentation takes a firm step forward. Just like Bacon. 

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers on stands in graphite

The 3030i is not a very difficult loudspeaker to drive (88 dB, 6 ohms) but it definitely benefits from an amplifier with some grip and midrange punch. Stay away from amps that veer dark because the 1-inch soft-dome tweeter needs some illumination.

Q Acoustics use binding posts that are almost flush with the rear of the cabinet and it certainly gives you some extra room if you have to place the loudspeakers close to the wall. 

The 3030i are rear ported 2-way bookshelf loudspeakers and while they are supplied with foam bungs (you stuff them inside the port) to reduce their bass output in that placement scenario, we’re going to advise that you leave them in the box. 

The 3030i are large and unusually deep bookshelf loudspeakers; the 13-inch depth might be problematic for bookshelves and even some media units.

We highly recommend investing in the stands that were designed specifically for the 3030i; the top plate and overall height of the stand place the tweeter 36-inches above the floor. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The Mickey

The Q Acoustics 3030i require an amplifier that is light on its feet, but also capable of delivering a punch. The Rotel A14MKII Integrated Amplifier that we just reviewed worked exceptionally well with the 3030i; detailed, solid low end control, and a very clean and transparent sounding midrange. 

The 3030i are more engaging than the more expensive 3050i from the perspective that they have more of a personality; the 3050i feel somewhat “Canadian” vs the 3030i that are more “American/Israeli” in that presentation. I’m a combination of all 3 nationalities and I really liked how the 3030i pushed vocals out and in front of the speaker into the room. 

It’s never a speaker that tilts too far forward that the treble becomes etched or hard sounding and that made me want to turn it even louder when the music demanded it. 

Midrange resolution is excellent with these enlarged stand-mount speakers; singers have presence, instruments have layers of texture, and you’ll never become bored by the sound. 

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker Detail

I can see the 3030i working well with vintage amplifiers with some grunt and a more forward sounding presentation and some sparkle in the treble. 

Natalie Merchant’s Tigerlily (Qobuz, 24-bit/96kHz) was a prime example of just how good the 3030i can be with a good recording and affordable amplifier; dynamic, transparent, and no sense of hesitation when she hits her groove, and her powerful voice takes over your listening space. 

EDM and electronica are well-served by the 3030i because Q Acoustics have paid close attention to not only the deep extension of the bass response but also the solidity of the notes and speed. The 3050i can sound slightly reserved and slow in comparison. 


Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speakers in Walnut on Stands

There is no question that there are a lot of really good loudspeakers in 2021 below $500 from some very respected high-end brands. That’s a good thing. If the industry wants to attract new blood, products like the Q Acoustics 3030i are the best way to do it. 

There is just enough swagger in these loudspeakers to make them work with a really wide range of amplifiers; they can take the power of more expensive products and they will not become detail monsters that become fatiguing over time. Feed them a balanced diet of power, neutrality, and some midrange punch and you might come away thinking these are the best sounding $469 loudspeakers you’ve heard in a very long time. 

They have earned a permanent place in my home office system and I think I’ve only scratched the surface of their sonic prowess. 

For more

Where to buy: $469/pair at Amazon

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.



  1. Sorrel

    October 16, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Ian, are you going to review the new Concept 30? It would be great for someone like yourself to discuss the sound of the 3030i, the Concept 20, and new Concept 30 side by side in a listening room with the lights turned off. My gut says the Concept 20 will disappear soon. I enjoy your reviews. Thanks!

    • Ian White

      October 16, 2021 at 6:11 pm


      January 2022. Along with the new Acoustic Energy AE320 and something from Spendor in the same price range.

      Appreciate the kind words and for reading us.

      Ian White

      • Sorrel

        March 2, 2022 at 8:06 pm


  2. Catherine Lugg

    December 29, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for this review. It helped me helped a friend who is a church musician (talent a go-go, poor as said church mouse). Her 40 year KLH’s woofers cracked, and these turned out to be a big hit (paired with a 40 year old Onkyo receiver). She’s super discerning, so these gave her the resolution and imaging that she needed, without putting her into bankruptcy. For her needs, they were better than “Good Enough.” So, thank you!!

  3. Renato Morais

    May 19, 2022 at 1:32 am

    Hi Ian, first time I read what I feel about the 3050i! Do you still have them and did the amp recommendation changed? I kind feel they also require a lot of power to push them properly, even though they are easy to drive… I’m a bit afraid the the NAD might be short. I have them on a Rega Io, which is a great amp, just not with these speakers. I exclusively play flac files through a Denafrips Ares II.

    Cheapest way would be to replace the speakers but I feel the 3050i have a lot of potential, it’s just that I’m not able to properly harness it…

    • Ian White

      May 19, 2022 at 2:08 pm


      I own them so I use them daily. The NAD works in my 16 x 13 dining room. The Rega io is a great amp but not enough for them.

      A used Croft Phono Integrated is my other amplifier with it. Superb. Like blows the NAD out of the water superb.


      • Renato Morais

        May 20, 2022 at 12:57 am

        Thank you, that was a big help!

      • John Shumate

        December 12, 2022 at 1:53 am


        Nice article and your absolutely right about recommending other components to match the speakers.
        I have a pair of Wafendale Evo 4.4 speakers and a NAD C388 Amp and while it does sound good would appreciate any thoughts you may have on anything else that may be a better match for these speakers?

        • Ian White

          December 12, 2022 at 2:33 pm


          Parasound or Cambridge might be a better match. Do you find the Evo 4.4 to be slightly reserved sounding in your room? They also need an amplifier that can control the bottom end. The Parasound could be a great match in that scenario.


          • John

            December 12, 2022 at 11:21 pm

            Any certain model Parasound?


          • Ian White

            December 13, 2022 at 12:19 am


            Hint 6 which I know is kinda expensive.

            You might be able to find Parasound separates which combined would be cheaper. Oddly enough.

            Ian White

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

New Products

With 75 years of experience in both professional and home audio, JBL has a storied tradition in audio innovation, which bears out in their...


We've tested the Q Acoustics 5050 Floorstanding Loudspeakers with a range of equipment. Find out what works best.

Bookshelf Speakers

At $3,500/pair, the PS Audio FR5 stand-mount loudspeaker aims to capture the magic of the aspen Series in a smaller form factor.

Bookshelf Speakers

At $2,500/pair, the Monitor Audio Studio 89 bookshelf speaker combines inspiration from the past with flagship Hyphn technology.

Bookshelf Speakers

From $300 to $1,000 a pair, ELAC's Debut 3.0 series loudspeakers provide an affordable hi-fi and home theater solution with 7 new models.

Floorstanding Speakers

Reporting from Munich, we got the scoop on dozens of new high-end audio products coming out in 2024

Gift Guides

Tech and hi-fi gifts to make the transition into the workforce more enjoyable.

Bookshelf Speakers

Priced from $399 to $1,199 a pair, the Q Acoustics 3000c loudspeaker series includes five new models along with new finishes.


ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

Copyright © 1999-2024 ecoustics | Disclaimer: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

SVS Bluesound PSB Speakers NAD Cambridge Audio Q Acoustics Denon Marantz Focal Naim Audio RSL Speakers