Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack Review
Now with a touch of 'Concept'
What is the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack?The Q Acoustics 3000i Series is the company’s latest entry-level speaker range, replacing the earlier 3000 Series. The range is comprised of the 3050i flootstanding speaker, and a brace of bookshelf/standmount speakers: the 3020i and the 3010i. There’s also a new centre speaker, the 3090Ci, but the range retains the 3060S subwoofer that was released previously.
The 3050i Cinema Pack is a 5.1 speaker package composed of a pair of 3050is for front left and right, a 3090Ci for the centre, a pair of 3010is for the surrounds, and a 3060S subwoofer. The new range incorporates certain technologies first employed in Q Acoustics' award-winning Concept 500 speakers, specifically the use of point-to-point bracing and Helmholtz pressure equalisation.
The new range also features improved high frequency and mid-range drivers, along with an updated cabinet that uses a more solid construction and low profile binding posts. The 3050i Cinema Pack costs £1,345 as at the time of writing (June 2018), which is a very competitive price when you consider all that you get. So let’s see if Q Acoustics has done it again.
Q Acoustics 3050iThe Q Acoustics 3050i is a floorstanding speaker that uses a curved cabinet design on both sides at the top and the bottom. This makes for a very attractive speaker but I will admit that in the case of the 3050i, it also made moving the cabinets a bit tricky because my fingers tended to slip on the curved edges. There are low profile binding posts at the rear, and magnetic black cloth grilles that easily fit into place and are effective at covering the drivers.
The 3050i uses a two-way bass reflex design, with two 165mm (6.5 inch) woofers and a 22mm (0.88 inch) tweeter. At the rear there are bass ports and Q Acoustics provides foam bungs for low frequency tuning. There is an attractive chrome-finish bezel around the drivers and a choice of four matte finishes: Arctic White, Carbon Black, Graphite Grey, or English Walnut. The 3050i costs £649 a pair, regardless of which finish you choose.
Each speaker sits on spiked feet although there are also rubber caps if you don’t want to make holes in your parquet flooring. At the rear there is an outrigger plinth which makes the 3050i more stable, and thus unlikely to topple over, but it does mean the speaker is a bit wider. The 3050i measures 310 x 1020 x 310mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at 17.8kg, with the grille and rear outrigger plinth attached.
Q Acoustics 3010iThe Q Acoustics 3010i is a small bookshelf/standmount speaker that follows the same design ethos as the rest of the 3000i Series. So you get the curved edges on the cabinet, the chrome-finish bezel around the drivers, and the choice of white, black, grey, or walnut. The 3010i is slightly taller and 25% deeper than the previous model, uses magnetic black cloth grilles, and sits on pre-fitted rubber feet.
The 3010i uses a two-way bass reflex design, with a 100mm (4 inch) woofer, a 22mm (0.88 inch) tweeter and rear bass ports with provided foam bungs for tuning. Along with the bass ports, you’ll also find low profile binding posts around the back. The 3010i measures 150 x 253 x 252mm (WxHxD) and uses a revised crossover to take advantage of the larger cabinet, thus enhancing sensitivity and bass extension. It also weighs 4.1kg, and costs £199 a pair.
Q Acoustics 3090CiThe Q Acoustics 3090Ci is a dedicated centre speaker that uses a similar basic design as the rest of the range, so you get the same curved edges, chrome-finish bezel and colour choices. It’s a two-way bass reflex speaker with twin 100mm (4 inch) woofers, a 22 mm (0.88 inch) tweeter and a pair of small bass ports at the rear with matching foam bungs.
The 3090Ci has a magnetic black grille to cover the drivers, and sits on pre-fitted rubber feet for placement on an equipment rack, shelf or stand. The centre speaker is designed to match the width of most AV receivers, so it measures 430 x 152 x 216mm (WxHxD). It also weighs 6kg, and costs £169.
Q Acoustics 3060SThe Q Acoustics 3060S subwoofer is based around a slimline active design, that uses a 200mm driver and 150W of built-in amplification. The sub sits on a choice of spikes or rubber feet, and can also be wall-mounted using an optional dedicated bracket (Q 60WB).
At the rear of the 3060S you’ll find all the controls and connections, which are hidden behind a removal magnetic panel. There’s also a downward-facing port at the bottom rear of the sub, for discrete cable runs. The sub measures 480 x 300 x 150mm (WxHxD), weighs 8.5kg, and costs £329.
The 3000i Series looks lovely and boasts a superb level of build quality for the price
Q Acoustics 3000i Features & SpecsThe Q Acoustics 3000i Series is an evolution of the previous 3000 Series, and has undergone a number of innovative improvements designed to offer improvements in both performance and aesthetics. The Q 3000i Series specifically benefits from new speaker technologies and improvements in the cabinet construction, based on innovations first employed on Q Acoustic's Concept 500 speakers.
What that means in practice is that rather than using a simple ‘fold and glue’ approach to construction, Q Acoustics use a precision cut cabinet. In addition the top and front baffles are double thickness, whilst the terminal panel cut-outs have been removed. The result is a greatly improve structural integrity to the speaker enclosure, which is 25% larger than the previous generation.
The 3000i Series also uses P2P (Point-to-Point) bracing, so rather than simply bracing the corners, the speaker’s cabinet is analysed and specific weak points are braced to ensure a more rigid enclosure and improved performance. This approach improves the focus of the stereo image, resulting in more accurate soundstage.
In the case of the floorstanding 3050i, Q Acoustics has also employed HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equaliser) technology, which is particularly effective with taller loudspeakers. HPE connects the highest and lowest pressures within the enclosure with a pipe, thus equalising the pressure within the speaker enclosure and improving the linearity of the bass performance.
The 3000i Series uses a high-frequency driver unit (tweeter) that is decoupled from the baffle via a compliant suspension system. As a result it is isolated from the vibrations caused by the woofer, thus reducing interference and improving performance.
The mid/bass driver (woofer) uses an Aramid fibre cone and a newly developed low-hysteresis, rubber surround. The cone is designed to provide the optimum balance between stiffness and self-damping, which means it can accelerate without flexing and stop very accurately without unwanted resonances.
In terms of accessories there's the Q 3000FSi speaker stand, which is designed to provide secure and sonically optimised support for the 3010i, 3020i, and 3090i, and comes in a choice of a dark or light finish. There's also the Q 3000WB speaker bracket, which can provide safe and flexible wall mounting for the 3010i, 3020i and 3090i, and is also available in two finishes.
Q Acoustics has trickled down innovations first introduced on the Concept 500
How was the Q 3050i Cinema Pack tested?I set up the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack up in my dedicated home cinema, which has been acoustically treated to ensure a neutral and consistent environment. I installed the speakers in a fairly standard configuration with the two 3050i floorstanders as the front left and right channels, the 3090i as the centre channel, and the 3010i speakers to the side rear, just behind the listening position. The 3060S was positioned at the front of the room between the centre and front right speaker, in a place I know is effective for smooth bass response. I my room I had no need to use the foam bungs in the bass ports, but I did test the flexibility of the 3000i Series in terms of placement near walls.The Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack that arrived for testing appeared to be brand new, so I ran the speakers in for a period of time before starting any critical listening. For the purposes of the review I used a mixture of material ranging from Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray, CD, DVD-Audio, SACD and music streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. My sources were primarily the Panasonic DMP-UB900 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and the Apple TV 4K, while for amplification I used my reference Arcam AVR850 7-channel AV receiver. I set-up this up in a 5.1 configuration and listened to content with and without Dirac Live room correction in order to get a better feel for how the speakers performed.
The 3050i Cinema Pack delivers a beautifully detailed and tonally cohesive sound field
Q Acoustics 3000i Series PerformanceIf you've read any Q Acoustics reviews in recent years, it shouldn't come as a surprise to discover that the 3000i Series is yet another example of the company's ability to create sonic alchemy. Quite simply this is an exceptional set of speakers for the asking price, and the trickle down of innovations originally developed for the Concept 500 speakers has clearly paid dividends. The point-to-point bracing in particular helps to create a more inert cabinet and a cleaner sound.
The attention to detail in terms of design, driver technology and construction results in a set of speakers that are able to deliver a beautifully detailed and open sound. There's also a pleasing sense of tonal balance to the entire system, thanks to the shared drivers and general cabinet design, but the speakers are quite focused in terms of their dispersion, so a degree of toe-in works well. These Q Acoustics speakers, including the smaller 3010is, are also surprisingly adept at lower frequencies, ensuring a solid foundation on which to build the overall soundstage.
Naturally the 3050i floorstanders produce a solid starting point, delivering a open and precise front sound field that has plenty of depth and clarity. The 3090Ci centre speaker blends well with the front left and right channels, helping to smoothly pan effects across the screen, while also delivering dialogue in a clear and focused manner. The 3010i surround speakers are also effectively integrated into the system, resulting in a cohesive and three-dimensional soundstage that allows for well defined steering of effects.
The 3060S subwoofer isn't quite as impressive as the rest of this cinema pack, but that's not to say it isn't a perfectly competent addition to the system. It's slimline design certainly makes it easy to install, providing a degree of flexibility that is definitely beneficial in the average lounge. It is capable of delivering some decent bass as well, but it does lack the true depth of a larger subwoofer and even some of Q Acoustics' earlier designs.
Thankfully the 3050i floorstanders are capable of producing a solid bass performance on their own, so the sub is really just there to provide a degree of support below 60Hz and to give greater impact to the whole system. The smaller 3010is can also deliver more bass presence than their size might suggest, providing greater presence to the surround channels and helping to create a more immersive experience. Q Acoustics have taken a range of speakers that were already excellent, and simply moved them up a notch.In terms pf their actual performance with movie soundtracks, the 3050i Cinema Pack proved to be a stellar system. A superbly mixed 5.1-channel soundtrack like Dunkirk, sounded impressive through these speakers. The noise of the dive-bombing Stukas sounded terrifying, with the high pitched whine nicely rendered by the upgraded tweeters. The revised mid-range drivers also did their part, while the combination of the floorstanders and the subwoofer gave the exploding ordinance a suitably concussive kick. Since there were less demands being made on the subwoofer, the bass had a more three-dimensional aspect that really filled the room.
The system wasn't just able to deliver the big action set pieces, it also had the ability to clearly delineate the more subtle effects: be it the rain and surf on the beach, or the feeling of being inside a cockpit or a beached fishing vessel. When I cranked up the volume, something that I can do with ease thanks to the Arcam AVR850's Class G amplification, the 3000i Series remained assured, with a detailed and poised performance that retained a pleasing degree of refinement. The careful deign and construction of the cabinets ensures that there is plenty of detail retrieval in these speakers, while the system as a whole retains a nicely integrated sense of cohesion.
The 3000i Series doesn't only sound great with big budget movies, but also handles TV shows with an equally assured sense of precision. Watching Lost in Space on Netflix, the system delivered the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel mix just as well as it did the lossless soundtracks on Blu-ray. Less challenging broadcast material was also rendered with poise, and the system sounded just as good at lower volume levels as it did when driving the speakers hard. The 3090Ci proved to be an excellent centre speaker, doing its part to fill out the front soundstage, while always delivering dialogue in a coherent fashion.
The inclusion of the 3050i floorstanding speakers in this system also means that it can double as a top-notch stereo system as well. The performance remained excellent, and listening to Resistance is Futile by the Manic Street Preachers the floorstanders delivered the music with a pleasing urgency. The drums had plenty of low-end kick, whilst the guitars were nicely delivered by the mid-range drivers. It's a neutral and refined performance, that manages to also combine a tonal accuracy with a genuine sense of fun. The Q Acoustics 3000i Series are an accomplished range of speakers, whether you're watching movies or listening to music.
Once again Q Acoustics has combined great performance with exceptional value
- Great sound quality for the price
- Well balanced soundstage
- Flexible in terms of placement
- Excellent design and build
- Dispersion is slightly limited
- Subwoofer could be better
Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack Review
VerdictQ Acoustics have done it again, sprinkling more of their sonic magic over yet another package of competitively priced and superb sounding speakers. The attention to detail, combined with the attractive design and solid construction, results in a set of speakers that would happily grace any room. The trickle down of innovations first introduced on the Concept 500 is also nice to see, translating into an impressive performance.
The speakers are led by the excellent 3050i floorstanders, creating an open but detailed front soundstage. The 3090Ci centre speaker blends with them to create a solid front trio, while also delivering dialogue clearly. The 3010i bookshelf speakers make for a decent set of surrounds, creating a tonal balance that results in smooth steering of effects from speaker to speaker. The dispersion of the speakers could be a little wider, so some toe-in isn't a bad idea, but otherwise they're hard to fault at this price.
The front floorstanders, and even the surrounds to a degree, are capable of a surprising amount of bass extension but the 3060S slimline subwoofer backs them up, providing a good foundation. The sub could be better in terms of getting down deep, but the combination of the 3050i and 3010i speakers means the entire system has a good low frequency presence. In fact the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack is a cracking set-up for movies, TV and music, making it well worth a Best Buy badge at this price.
What are my alternatives?The obvious alternative is another Best Buy winner, the XTZ Spirit Series. This package is composed of four identical bookshelf speakers, a centre speaker and a great subwoofer. The result is a superb sounding system, that delivers a dynamic and highly entertaining performance. The fairly compact speakers can still sound surprisingly big, and the sub will provide all the bass you need. The 3000i Series is cheaper and I definitely liked having a pair of floorstanders for listening to music, but as a 5.1 system for movies the XTZs take some beating.
By comparing the 3000i Series and the XTZ Spirit Series, this is fast becoming the battle of the Best Buys, so let's throw another winning package into the mix. The Monitor Audio Bronze Series is a great alternative, providing a combination of front bookshelf speakers, a dedicated centre speaker, dipole/bipole surround speakers and a subwoofer with a 10-inch driver. They delivered a convincing cinematic performance that produced real excitement and a sense of the action on screen. They're also some of the best built, most attractive and musically satisfying speakers at this price point.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £1,345.00
Value For Money10
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