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Floorstanding Speakers

Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeakers: Review

The Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeakers offer a very different take on the music. Is change always good? The competition should be nervous.

Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeaker Pair with and without grilles

Change is hard. For manufacturers and listeners. We mentioned in our news coverage last week that Q Acoustics were taking a very different approach with the new 5000 series loudspeakers and that it was going to require some extra effort on my part to wrap my head around it. Having listened to almost everything in the lineup with the exception of the Concept 300 and Concept 500 loudspeakers, my brain made some assumptions about how the Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeakers were going to sound.

From the very first notes of Donald Byrd’s “Cristo Redentor” and Stanley Turrentine’s Mr. Natural, it became apparent that the 5040 were very different sounding loudspeakers.

There is an openness and sense of space though the 5040 that I have yet to hear from any of the 3000 series models with the exception of the 3050i driven by the Unison Research Triode 25 Integrated Amplifier.

Q Acoustics and I share a rather special long term relationship.

I own five of their loudspeakers and we just published our review of the exceptional Concept 30; the 5000 series share a lot more in common with the Concept 30 than the award-winning 3000 series.

None of that dampens my enthusiasm for the 3050i that reside in our dining room, the M20 HD that flank my iMac, or 3030i/3090Ci/Q B12 3.1 home theater system in our living room.

Before that knowledge puts an asterisk around what you are about to read — you should also know that I also own Magnepan, Wharfedale, Kanto, REL, Vandersteen, Acoustic Energy, and PSB loudspeakers as well.

My impressions are based upon almost seven years of listening experience with their products; which also means that I have tried more than twenty amplifiers in the past few years alone with them.

Some of those experiences were exhilarating. Others were less so. Synergy and system building are really important.

After almost a month with the 5040, that is most certainly the case when it comes to getting things right with this loudspeaker.

Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeaker Cutaway

Technology & Build Quality

The 14-1/4″W x 38-1/8″H x 11-1/2″D cabinet is incredibly solid and don’t let the dimensions fool you — they feel heavier than the quoted 40 pounds when moving them around; granted my tendonitis in the right hand has made everything that much more difficult over the past 4 months.

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The Holme Oak finish is a brand new option and one that we would recommend if you are looking for a more contemporary look; the Santos Rosewood comes a strong second out of the four available finishes (Holme Oak, Santos Rosewood, Satin White, Satin Black).

The Helmholtz Pressure Equalizers (HPETM) reduce internal pressure and standing waves and the Point-2-PointTM (P2P) internal bracing stiffens the cabinet to minimize lower frequency vibrations, while helping to focus the stereo imaging and improve the soundstage performance.

Do they work?

Q Acoustics 5040 vs. 3050i Floorstanding Loudspeakers Front
Q Acoustics 5040 (left) vs. 3050i (right)

The imaging and soundstage width are significantly better than the 3050i in the same 16′ x 13′ x 9′ room, and there is no question that the bass response is better defined, tighter, quicker, and more detailed.

The 3050i delivers greater overall impact with its larger drivers and cabinet but it was hard not to notice the precision of the 5040 in the low end. It is probably an exaggeration to call the 3050i “loose” in the bottom end but it was audible with almost every recording with a lot of bass information that the 5040 utilizes its smaller C3 woofers rather effectively.

The recessed connection terminals make it easier to place the 5040 closer to the wall if required (along with the bung for the bass port) and there was no issue with my QED Reference XT40i Loudspeaker Cables that make perfect sense with this loudspeaker. $179 USD for 3 meter pair is a steal.

Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeaker Rear with QED XT40i speaker cable connected
Rear with QED XT40i speaker cable connected

The two 5-inch C3 (Continuous Curved Cone) woofers were designed to accommodate increased power handling and that’s something that we confirmed with the Cambridge Audio Edge A Integrated Amplifier.

The new design also includes a dark acrylic baffle that mirrors the minimalist C3 Continuous Curved Cone’s profile. 

Borrowing from the Q Acoustics Concept Series with some modification, the 5000 series uses a new housing for the tweeter. The housing hermetically seals and mechanically isolates the tweeter from the front baffle to protect it from internal cabinet pressure and resonances from the mid/bass driver.

The 5040 come with solid aluminum stabilizers that include top adjustable spikes for easier leveling adjustment; the pair of stabilizers are easy to install and I had both speakers finished in less than 10 minutes.

Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeaker White Front


  • floor-standing speaker
  • two 5″ C3 (Continuous Curved Cone) woofers
  • 1″ hermetically sealed tweeter
  • rear-ported bass reflex enclosure
    • internal PTP bracing
    • internal HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer) tubes
  • frequency response: 39-30,000 Hz (-6dB)
  • sensitivity: 91.5 dB
  • nominal impedance: 6 ohms
  • recommended amplifier power: 25-150 watts
  • low-profile connection terminals accept banana plugs, spade lugs, and bare wire
  • removable magnetic grille
  • 14-1/4″W x 38-1/8″H x 11-1/2″D
  • weight: 39.7 lbs.
  • warranty: 5 years


Setting up the 5040 proved to be rather easy in my 16′ x 13′ x 9′ listening space; we settled on the rear panel of the loudspeaker 28-inches from the wall and 35-inches from the side walls. Both speakers were placed on concrete slabs that are isolated from the floor with rubber feet and pointed straight ahead. Experimenting with toe-in tightened up the imaging but the loss of body in the midrange felt like too large of a sacrifice in my space.

Sources included the Cambridge Audio MXN10 Network Player, Roon Nucleus, Thorens TD-160 Super/RB330/Ortofon 2M Black, and Marantz CD60 CD player.

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The Cambridge Audio Edge A and AXA35 integrated amplifiers took turns powering the 5040 and both highlighted the neutral tonal balance and enhanced detail retrieval that is a major change from the 3050i.

Listening to vocals; which included Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Merchant, Amy Winehouse, Dolly Parton, and Florence + The Machine, it became rather clear that the 5040 offer slightly less midrange warmth compared to the 3050i.

The trade-off for less body is a significant uptick in clarity from the upper bass through the lower treble.

Q Acoustics 5040 Floorstanding Loudspeakers With Grilles
Q Acoustics 5040 with Grilles

The new tweeter is lively but never hard or etched and it is clear that the trickle down technology from the Concept 30 has been well integrated into the 5040.

Horns have ample energy and one of the biggest changes from the 3000 series is the ability of the 5040 to sound rather delicate and reserved when the music demands it.

The 3050i’s tweeter is far more polite sounding but the overall presentation is more forceful with the right amplifier.

The midrange of the 5040 is extremely smooth and the tonality is really dependent on the amplifier and sources; the less expensive AXA35 can’t control the two mid/bass drivers with the same degree of power and control as the Edge A, but its darker tonal balance fleshed out vocals and added some presence in the upper bass.

The Edge A barely broke a sweat driving the 5040 but I must confess that streaming TIDAL and Qobuz directly from my iPhone 12 only emphasized the cooler tonal balance of the loudspeakers.

Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeaker Rear Angle in Oak

Using the MXN10 network player created more consistent results; higher levels of resolution, greater low end impact, and notes had more weight behind them.

Vinyl felt more organic through the 5040 and that had a lot to do with the table and tube phono preamp on the other end.

The 3050i puts more meat on the bones but you realize that you are missing out on so much inner detail and I must circle back to the spaciousness of the presentation.

The soundstage width in my room extended well past the edge of both loudspeakers and everything felt very tight within that space; performers are locked in place and whilst the overall performance is not as aggressive as the 3000 series loudspeakers, there is a better sense of control and flow.

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Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeaker in Rosewood without grille
Q Acoustics 5040 Loudspeaker in Rosewood


Affordability and versatility always have to be taken into consideration when putting together a system in the $3,000 to $5,000 range because you don’t want to blow too much of your budget on one component, and the loudspeakers better be easy to grow with using a variety of potential amplifier options.

The Q Acoustics 5040 checks off both of those boxes in a significant way.

One of your key takeaways from my first month with these loudspeakers is that the Q Acoustics 5040 deliver a balanced and detailed sound, which has been achieved through the combination of advanced driver technology and a carefully designed cabinet. Build quality is superb for the money and more than a few house visitors mistakingly assumed that they were at least $3,000 or more. The $1,499 USD asking price tackles the middle of the market in a very successful way.

Their accuracy and clarity, with a smooth and detailed midrange and well-defined bass response make them one of our top choices between $1,000 and $2,000 in the floor standing loudspeaker category.

Q Acoustics Q B12 Subwoofer
Q Acoustics Q B12

We also love their versatility, as they can be used in a variety of listening environments, from small rooms to larger living spaces; although we would advise adding the Q Acoustics Q B12 Subwoofer if they are going to be used in a home theater system and your room exceeds 250 square feet.

The 5000 and 3000 series are very different horses; one puts greater emphasis on a warmer, thicker tonal balance with excellent drive at some incredibly affordable prices, whilst the 5040 delivers a more neutral tonal balance with better defined bass, exceptional clarity, and a wonderful sense of space; especially as it pertains to soundstage width.

The Edge A and AXA35 are back with the Magnepan LRS and Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s — next up are the NAD C316BEE V2 and Rotel S14 Network Amplifier. The final chapter in this three-part review will be the 5040 with two tube integrated amplifiers that are likely to make these loudspeakers soar.

If the budget allows — consider these a must audition in 2023.

Where to buy: $1,499/pair at Amazon | Crutchfield

Continue reading Part 3 of our Q Acoustics 5040 Review



  1. Catherine Lugg

    April 21, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    Ian, Thanks for this detailed review of the Q Acoustics 5040s–on top of the terrific review of the Concept 30s. They both look like fantastic speakers, excellent buys for the non-trust fund set. I really appreciate the design ethos of Q Acoustics. In particular the 5040s look just fabulous for most any living room/family room.

    Q Acoustics seems to find paths to my heart AND wallet.

  2. Ray Nabozny

    April 23, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Where are these speakers manufactured ?

    • Ian White

      April 23, 2023 at 2:07 pm

      Designed and engineered in the UK. Manufactured in Asia. The build quality is superb regardless of where they are made. Especially for the money.


      Ian White

  3. Steve Messenger

    May 5, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    Great review Ian. Have you been able to try these with the NAD C316 & Rotel A14 amps? Thanks Steve.

    • Ian White

      May 5, 2023 at 5:56 pm


      Part 2 will post late on Saturday night. Yes…I did.


      Ian White

      • Steve Messenger

        May 5, 2023 at 8:59 pm

        Thanks Ian, you’re the best!

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