When it comes to high quality room filling speakers, Q acoustics stands at the top of the list in most cases. Since the series 1000 it has managed to get a 5 star rating on most of the speakers it produces. The Q 2020i was so popular that it managed to win a lot of awards over time. The main attraction of the Q acoustics speakers come because of the compact design and sturdy, classic yet modern looking body. Not to mention the superb, distortion less audio reproduction. The basic differences in the 3010 and the 3020 models is the power handling capacity and the size, while everything else is quite similar.
It is no doubt that the build quality is going to be excellent on these speakers. Out of the box, you get two nicely packed speaker boxes wrapped in a white plastic bag. The feel heavy and solid thereby giving a premium feel. The edges of the speakers are curved. You will have the choice to choose the finish of the speakers at the time of buying. There is Matte Graphite, American Walnut, Black leather, Black lacquer and White Lacquer. My personal choice would be to go for Matte Graphite finish because I do not like my electronic equipment to be a finger print and dust magnet. A matte finish will help keep finger prints away, although I do like the shiny, glossy look of Black lacquer and white lacquer. American Walnut is completely out of my likings, although for those who want their speakers to have a classic look should definitely consider this finish.
The speaker terminals on the 2000 series were located at the bottom of the body, which was obviously an inconvenient location. The 3000 series has those speaker terminals moved to the rear, a much better location.
The design improvements are mainly done based on the Concept 20 and Concept 40 speakers which kind of stand as a base for 3000 series.Take an example of the non-resonant cabinet design that first featured in the Concept 20 and 40 speakers. It came with dual layer front and top panels that improved on sound quality and prevented distortion in audio. The depth of the cabinet seems to be reduced in comparison with the 2020i speakers. The height and the width remain the same.
Another major change to note in this 3000 series is that the connectivity is no longer biwire. For those audiophiles, this is a bad news, but do not worry because there is something interest up ahead in the sound performance section of this review.
Let us understand why biwire connection is used in the first place. A single wire connection has a single cable carrying all the audio frequencies through it and that drives the speakers. If there is a large amount of bass in your audio, it will distort the treble and that will not be very pleasant. In fact, that would not yield “natural” reproduction of sound. To combat this trouble, the power amplifier driving your speaker unit will use couple of filters to separate out the treble, the mids and the bass. While treble and mids will run over one cable, the bass will run over the other. Eventually, inside your speaker cabinet the treble carrying cable will drive your tweeter, and bass will drive the bass driver. According to Q Acoustics’ engineers, having biwire setup requires an extra pair of connectors and that is not really good for maintaining the good acoustic behaviour of the cabinet making them shift over to single wire connectivity. How they manage to eliminate the aforementioned problem will be an interesting thing to look at.
First thing to notice is the concentric ring tweeter which has wide dispersion and low distortion. The distortion arising due to single wire connection is well compensated and eliminated by using this tweeter. Additionally, the bass driver also causes the cabinet to vibrate quite heavily and this can add in to the distortion at higher frequencies by vibrating the tweeter itself since, both drivers are attached in the same cabinet. This problem arises in biwire setup as well and in order to eliminate this problem, engineers isolated the tweeter by suspending it with anti vibration material, mostly butyl rubber. This way, the vibrations and shocks arising from bassy punches are absorbed by the suspending material and reducing high frequency distortion. This clever idea was adopted from the Concept 20 / 40 speakers with minor improvements.
Additionally, the driver cones are made from a better, stronger material which seems to be a combination of paper and mica, they call it Aramid Fibre.
Now speaking of the actual sound performance, 3020 speakers provide a vivid sound stage with clear mids, punchy bass and an interesting emphasis on the instruments. Every little detail in the audio is audible with these speakers. Although, that does not necessarily mean you will always need high bitrate audio. The speakers have an intrinsic characteristic to not enhance anything undesirable making it play low bit rate audio quite well. One can get decent audio from a low quality mp3, but having a better audio source will definitely pay off.
The 3020 and the 3010 both perform equally well, while the 3010 has a higher power output capacity, but the 3020 has a larger size. If we have to compare the two, there is not really any difference that sets them apart greatly.
Both the speakers perform beyond expectations and you can make them sound even better by mounting them on wall bracket. Alternatively, you can place them on your bookshelf, besides your TV or even buy a dedicated stand.
For a sub £300 price point, you are getting extremely high quality, premium looking speakers that will last for years to come. The Q Acoustics 3000 series speakers will definitely bring life to your living room. The reason why 2020i earned so much praise and won so many awards is because of the constant improvements and refinements. The 3020 and 3010 are no exception and are definitely the best speakers on the market you can find today.