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Q Acoustics Concept 30 Loudspeakers: Review

The Q Acoustics Concept 30 might be the best kept secret in stand-mounted loudspeakers below $2,000.

Q Acoustics Concept 30 Loudspeaker Pair on stands in white with grille on

Having invested in five pairs of loudspeakers made by Q Acoustics going back to 2016, my brain convinced itself leading into the review of the Concept 30 loudspeakers that I already knew what to expect.

There is a “house” sound when it comes to the 3000 series and after listening to the 3050i with almost every amplifier I have reviewed for the past few years, it is fair to say that I understand the little shifts in its tonal balance and presentation that makes it a wonderful listen but also one of the most underrated floor standing loudspeakers one can purchase.

You need to approach the Q Acoustics Concept 30 with a different mindset; those considering stand-mounted loudspeakers from KEF, Dynaudio, and Wharfedale in the same price range really need to put these on their radar.

Q Acoustics Concept 30 Loudspeaker on stand in white with grille on

The Concept 30 is in another league when it comes to performance; and that’s not meant to be a slight on the 3050i. The price difference between the two loudspeakers is not that significant so it might surprise some to learn that the stand-mounted Concept 30 sound more coherent and authoritative.

What makes a loudspeaker great?

It is clearly a combination of unique industrial design, solid engineering, and excellent sonic capabilities — but for me it has to go much further.

When you spend most of your time listening to Hi-Fi components, the mind starts to get bored and things do begin to sound the same. You almost have to walk away and experience something else outside of your little cocoon to restart your engine.

We are fortunate to live by the ocean and whilst nobody is very confusing me with Chief Brody, I have been known to partake in some fishing and surfing since our decision to migrate to within blocks of the Atlantic Ocean.

I love the sea. I love the sensation of driving hard into the waves and feeling the icy cold water envelop me. My fishing and surfing routine begins rather early and usually ends at the 7-Eleven across the road warming my toes near the space heater and enjoying some hot coffee.

That moment when the power of the ocean and frigid temperature shakes you out of your mental stupor is an awakening.

Which is how I would describe the Concept 30.

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The Q Acoustics Concept 30 are a set of loudspeakers that delivers exceptional sound quality and impressive design. Right out of the box, the speakers make a statement with their sleek, modern appearance. The cabinets are finished in a high-gloss black, white or silver finish with a distinctive curved shape that really catches the eye.

But it’s not just the appearance of the Concept 30 that impresses; it’s the sound quality that really sets these speakers apart. The Gelcore technology used in the cabinet construction helps to reduce unwanted resonance, resulting in a cleaner, more detailed sound. The mid/bass driver and tweeter are also expertly designed and tuned, delivering a balanced and natural sound across a wide frequency range.

Q Acoustics Concept 30 Loudspeaker Pair on in white with grille on and off

Technology

The Q Acoustics Concept 30 speakers use a 125mm (5 inches) mid/bass driver with a cone made of a proprietary material called ‘Aramid Fibre/Paper’ and a 25mm (1 inch) soft dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet system. The mid/bass driver is designed with a dual-layer voice coil and a dual-magnet system for improved power handling and control.

This tweeter is designed to provide a smooth and detailed high-frequency response, and it is integrated with the mid/bass driver using a sophisticated crossover network for optimal integration and coherence between the drivers. The tweeter has a frequency response range of 2.5kHz to 30kHz.

The Concept 30 feature a decoupled isolation base that houses the crossover network; its sole purpose is to minimize or completely eliminate any vibration that might travel through the stands into the chassis of the loudspeakers.

Q Acoustics Concept 30 Standmount Loudspeaker in White Side View on Q FS75 Speaker Stand

The optional Q FS75 Tensegrity stands screw directly into the lower segment of that isolation base and they proved to be a magnet for Tyrion “I drink from a bowl and know things” White who wanted to know how stable the floating silver cabinets were.

Fortunately, they proved to be stable enough. The assembly process takes some time so don’t get frustrated if you pass the 30-minute mark and you are still not done.

You can use other stands with the Concept 30 if you don’t want to invest $499 in the FS75 which are admittedly rather expensive.

The 87 dB sensitivity rating (6 ohms) is accurate but I would not consider something like the NAD C 316BEE V2 or Rotel A14MII Integrated Amplifiers with the Concept 30. I tried them both. Neither really clicked.

My Cambridge Audio Edge A drove these loudspeakers magnificently; resolving, authoritative, spacious, and with an iron grip on the low end.

The problem is that the Edge A is $6,499 USD. Nobody should be driving these $1,300 USD loudspeakers with that kind of amplifier. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Cambridge CXA81 would make a lot more sense. I am trying to get the Unison Research Triode 25 Integrated Amplifier back because it worked so well with the 3050i and I suspect it would be spectacular with the Concept 30.

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Q Acoustics Concept 30 Loudspeaker Rear Angle in Silver

The Concept 30 offers bi-wired or single wired configurations; we used both and didn’t find that the bi-wired setup using our QED and Analysis Plus Loudspeakers cables made that large of a difference.

Specifications

  • Bass unit 1 x 125 mm (5.0 in)
  • Treble unit 1 x 25 mm (0.9 in)
  • Frequency response(-6dB) 54 Hz – 30 kHz
  • Nominal impedance 6 Ω
  • Minimum impedance 3.9 Ω
  • Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1kHz) 87 dB/w/m
  • Recommended amplifier power 25-100 W
  • Crossover frequency 2.4 kHz
  • Distortion (120Hz – 20kHz, @2.83Vrms) <0.2%
  • Effective volume 7.0 L
  • Dimensions (per loudspeaker / HxWxD) 284 x 180 x 319 mm (11.2 x 7.1 x 12.6 in)
  • Weight (per loudspeaker) 7.9 kg (17.4 lbs)

Sound

The mid/bass driver delivers punchy and precise bass with excellent speed and control, without overwhelming or muddying the rest of the frequency range. The midrange is also smooth and detailed, providing clarity and presence with vocals and acoustic instruments.

The high frequencies are clear and detailed, without being overly bright or harsh, allowing for a comfortable listening experience over long listening sessions.

The overall sound signature of the Concept 30 is natural and engaging, with excellent resolution and detail retrieval. The speakers can handle dynamic shifts and complex arrangements with ease, providing a sense of scale and dynamics that is impressive for their size.

I want to focus on three specific parts of its performance that really make the Concept 30 stand out.

We stayed up one night for almost 4 hours (which is unusual when you wake up at 4 a.m. each day to run and get the day started) listening to Depeche Mode, Erasure, Bob Seger, and Nick Cave and the overwhelming consensus was that the Concept 30 don’t gloss over bad recordings, but they are not unduly kind to them either.

The 3050i gloss over bad recordings because the treble is rather restrained and that is one of the reasons why I use them in so many reviews; one can really judge the top end performance of any component with greater accuracy.

The Concept 30 are exceptionally more open sounding and can create a rather wide soundstage depending on the size of your room.

Q Acoustics Concept 30 Standmount Loudspeaker Pair on in silver with grille off lifestyle

We set them up on the FS75 stands and placed them 36-inches from the wall to begin and never used the supplied bungs because they have never worked well with any of the Q Acoustics loudspeakers in my room in the past. The bass loses definition and I would rather pull the speakers out further into the room.

Our den is 16′ x 13′ x 9′ with two openings into the kitchen and front foyer; the Concept 30’s soundstage extended from one side of the room to other which has not been my experience with other loudspeakers over the years.

I have also never been overly obsessed with imaging; timbre, clarity, and overall presence rank much higher in my playbook.

Listening to Bill Frisell, Donald Byrd, Art Tatum, Jason Isbell, and Ella Fitzgerald through the Concept 30 turned me into somewhat of a convert when it comes to imaging.

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Q Acoustics Concept 30 Bookshelf Loudspeaker in Black Grille Off beside turntable

The precise nature of its imaging combined with a very firm degree of control in the bottom end and warm midrange overall — kept my attention for hours.

Electronic music pulsated throughout the space and was well defined and spacious; Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream are utterly mesmerizing through these loudspeakers.

Conclusion

Overall, the Q Acoustics Concept 30 are an excellent set of loudspeakers that will appeal to audiophiles and music lovers alike. They deliver exceptional sound quality and are well-designed, making them a stylish addition to any home audio system. While they may be a bit pricey for some, the Concept 30 speakers are a worthwhile investment for those looking for a high-quality set of speakers that can deliver great sound across a wide range of music genres and movies.

When listening to music through the Concept 30, the soundstage is wide and expansive, with instruments and vocals clearly defined and separated. The speakers excel in reproducing acoustic and vocal performances, with a warm and natural sound that makes you feel like you’re right there in the recording studio or concert hall.

The Concept 30 also handles dynamic music genres, such as rock and electronic, with ease. The bass is tight and controlled, without overpowering the other frequencies. The treble is crisp and detailed, without becoming strident with poorly recorded music.

The stands will certainly raise a few eyebrows but they must be considered essential if one wishes to extract everything out of the loudspeakers that they support. The price is certainly a drawback.

What impressed me the most throughout my listening time with them was their incredible presence in my listening space; they may not offer the same degree of transparency as the Magnepan LRS that they replaced — but they offer so much when it comes to resolution, bass impact, and overall dynamics.

Q Acoustics have elevated their game to another level with the Concept 30. If the price doesn’t scare you off and you are willing to spend the time truly listening to what they can do with the right amplification — prepare to open your wallet.

A strong candidate for my “Best Bookshelf/Stand-Mounted Loudspeaker of 2023.”

Where to buy: $1,299/pair at Amazon | qacoustics.com

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. ORT

    April 7, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    Hello the house!

    These are some very nice looking speakers that read as though they live up to their looks and reproduce sound exceptionally well!

    Last year I nearly bought a set of Q Acoustics speakers when they went on sale and perhaps I should have but being a Klipsh Enthusiast I did not and was set on getting a pair of the older Gen RP600M. But…I did not but decided instead on a pair of R-820Fs.

    I have grown to like the term “stand-mount”. It is fitting, more so than “bookshelf” and to my way of thinking it adds an touch of class to what some may feel are “lesser” speakers. In the case of the Concept 30s, less is definitely more.

    This morning is a Sarah Vaughan morning. She was truly the Divine One.

    Don QuixORTe’

    • Ian White

      April 7, 2023 at 2:24 pm

      ORT,

      I did find that they respond very well to more power and better quality watts. My Edge A is clearly not what 99% of listeners would use with them, but they really took off with the amplifier.

      The stands are a tad fiddly. The assembly process needs to be easier. But they definitely look cool and work.

      Q Acoustics has some other items in the pipeline that we can’t discuss until next week. I’m listening to them as I type this out.

      Best,

      Ian White

  2. Catherine Lugg

    April 8, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    Ooooooooo. We’re in the midst of renovating our home, and I’m eyeballing replacement speakers for our DISMAL system in the master bedroom. Hmmmm. I do love the 3030i’s to pieces and they are in my office/listening space. The KEF LS50s (wireless 1) are in our living room. I was dismayed for a few years because the treble can be brutally bright, but once I finally got that tamed, I do appreciate their prowess. But I really like Q Acoustics design approach. So, hmmmmm. Thanks for this review. And I need to avoid floor standers since I’m a life member of the bad back club. Thanks again for this review. I have a lot to think about, which is always a good thing.

  3. NJP

    April 12, 2023 at 10:31 am

    Hi Ian,

    Great review I’ve been looking at these Q Acoustics in the UK where the list price is £899, but they have recently had a dropped in price to £699 (circa US$875), so they seems something of a bargain!!

    Any thoughts on good amp matches I’m thinking of the new Rega Elex or one of the new Audiolab amps most likely the 7000. I know you have experience of both of these brands, so your wisdom is very much welcome.

    Keep up the great work.

    Cheers

    • Ian White

      April 12, 2023 at 11:21 am

      Neil,

      That is a great deal on the Concept 30 and thank you for reading my review.

      The Audiolab might be too thin sounding. Cambridge and Rega might be a better match. They definitely need to have a firm grasp of the low end to be a good match. The Concept 30 have more bass than you might think and it all goes to you-know-what if the amp can’t control the mid/bass driver.

      The CA CXA81 and Elex would be great places to start.

      Best,

      Ian White

  4. Pier

    March 10, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    Currently i use a 3050i pair with nad c316bee but my thing is classical. So i value midrange the most, tonality, timbre, texture, and a speaker that comes closer to the real thing without fatiguing issues.Body in mids also is nice. Piano, violin and vocals..this!
    Financials are not as it used to be,so Harbeths and esl 988 with manley snappers and GamuT d200 is what i miss, but Q3050i with nad is a nice combo, never fatiguing,and i agree , these speakers are way better from what people think. Give them space and some work and they are good.
    What is your views on the comparison between concept 30 and ls50 meta ?

    Thanks for the review Ian!
    Hope for more moments at the cold ocean !

    • Ian White

      March 11, 2024 at 9:31 pm

      Pier,

      Totally different speakers. The Concept 30 is a more open sounding version of the 3050i. Not sure it has the same level of bass impact.

      I prefer the top end of the Q Acoustics.

      The Q Acoustics 5040 with a warmer sounding amplifier and source would probably best them all. But getting the amplifier correct is the most important with these speakers. They need more color.

      I’m not selling the 3050i though — they sound so good with the NAD C 316BEE V2 in a good room that I’m hooked.

      Best,

      Ian White

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