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Question [SOLVED] Upgrade for Q Acoustics 1050i, budget ~700GBP

9u775

Active Member
I'm in the process of upgrading my entertainment system which includes a Q Acoustics 5.1 speaker setup comprising 1050i fronts, 1010i rears, 1000Si sub and 1000Ci center. I'd like to upgrade the floorstanders first as 70% of my listening is music in 2 channel mode. I'd like to achieve three things with a potential upgrade, listed by highest importance first:
  1. Better clarity for music reproduction; a more transparent sound with tighter bass control.
  2. Balanced and clear sound at lower volumes.
  3. Sub-bass extension.
The room isn't ideal acoustically speaking, being about 5x5.5x3(wxdxh) with wood floors and blinds and leather sofas. Hence I'm not sure it's worth going above 700 quid or so, unless people really think I could get more out of a higher budget setup in those conditions. I also have to position the rear of the speakers against the wall so rear-ported models are out.

I'm torn between getting smaller floorstanding speakers, setting them at say 80hz cut off and upgrading the sub to handle the low frequencies, or just going all out on a pair of big front speakers to run at full range. My concern with the latter is whether the low end might muddy the mids a bit, especially given how close they will be to the wall.

I'm not averse to second hand speakers if anyone could recommend models to look out for, either!

Thanks for reading.
 

Member 729553

Active Member
Hello 9u775

Firstly, thank you for purchasing Q Acoustics loudspeakers.

Secondly, you may not be surprised that we highly recommend you audition a pair of the new, award winning Q Acoustics '3050' floorstanding speakers. You'll find they are sonically vastly superior to the 1050i, whilst simultaneously delivering a similar 'family' tonal balance to the older 1000i Series. This means they will still match extremely well with your 1000Ci centre channel and rears.

Best regards
 

9u775

Active Member
My current Q Acoustics 5.1 setup has served flawlessly for 7 years looking back at the receipts and has been excellent value for money. I actually recommended Q Acoustics to a colleague a few years back who subsequently picked up the 2000 series speakers and was very pleased with them, too.

However, I am concerned by the decision to move the bass port to the rear of the speaker. My life expectancy could be drastically reduced if my girlfriend noticed I'd moved the speakers forward from the wall. How much room do they realistically require behind them to ensure an undistorted low end?
 

Member 729553

Active Member
Hello 9u775

Optional 'port bungs' are included with the speakers. When fitted, these allow the 3050 to be used very close to a rear wall.

Best regards
 

9u775

Active Member
Thanks, but using port bungs to seal speakers which were tuned to be open tends to do bad things to the overall sound, in my experience. Could you please answer my question regarding optimal distance from rear wall? It's difficult to approximate this value without knowing the port diameter. I could probably get away with a cheeky piece of acoustic foam affixed to the wall directly behind the port if that might help.
 

Member 729553

Active Member
Unfortunately, it does depend on the room. The official distance is 50cm. However I've heard them used without port bungs as close as 20cm without a trace of bass 'boom', whereas at the Bristol show, because the room is incredibly 'live' I had to use the port bungs even though the 3050 and Concept 40 speakers were 2.5 metres from the rear wall.

Often, the most important thing is to ensure the speakers aren't symmetrical with the corners of the room.

Best regards
 

9u775

Active Member
Thanks for the honest reply. I still feel that rear ported speakers would be a bit of a gamble in my particular scenario, although I'll definitely try to give the 3050's a listen. Cheers!

Anyone else have recommendations?
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
I feel a lot of what you require from the speaker change could be achieved by better placement of your current speakers. No speaker, especially floorstanders, are going to like being right against a wall. This is going to cause boundary issues which will give muddy, boomy bass which in turn will muddy other parts of the sound. Have you tried moving your speakers forward to see how they sound in a better position? If could be somewhat pointless to upgrade your speakers to put them in an equally compromised position. Is there no scope for negotiation with your GF? Surely there must be some compromise that can be met? Another option would be to go for standmounts or even satellite speakers with a good sub to fill in the low end. Something like the Monitor Audio Apex or Shadow ranges would be worth a listen as the Apex certainly get good reviews from owners in terms of their sound/musical ability.
 

9u775

Active Member
I feel a lot of what you require from the speaker change could be achieved by better placement of your current speakers. No speaker, especially floorstanders, are going to like being right against a wall. This is going to cause boundary issues which will give muddy, boomy bass which in turn will muddy other parts of the sound. Have you tried moving your speakers forward to see how they sound in a better position? If could be somewhat pointless to upgrade your speakers to put them in an equally compromised position. Is there no scope for negotiation with your GF? Surely there must be some compromise that can be met? Another option would be to go for standmounts or even satellite speakers with a good sub to fill in the low end. Something like the Monitor Audio Apex or Shadow ranges would be worth a listen as the Apex certainly get good reviews from owners in terms of their sound/musical ability.
Thanks for the reply. You're right and I could probably move them out a bit. I made a quick sketch showing that side of the living room and speakers to scale:
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

When moved forward as illustrated the space between the rear of the speaker and wall behind is about 20cm. I think my girlfriend would probably accept this, but I'm not sure how much farther I could realistically move them forward.

Thanks for the suggestions of the Monitor Audio lines, although she Shadow appears to be EOL. The Apex looks interesting but perhaps on the small side for a 70m3+ room on the occasions that I do want to go loud? Some of their other lines look amazing (and probably out of my price range!), though.
 
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PSM1

Distinguished Member
Try to have a listen to the Apex as I believe they make a lot of sound for their size. With a good sub I suspect they may more than full the space you have.
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
If your upgrading to the Concept 40's, make sure you hear them first and secondly make sure they work well with your amplifier. I've heard these speakers obliterate other speakers when they are working with the right equipment, yet sound lost and confused when used with other high class equipment.

As for upgrades, Look towards getting a better amplifier. AnthemAV will bring the full potential of your speakers out in your room and I'm sure there will be some available on the market at your price point now! look towards the MRX300, 310 versions.

Regards, Shane.
 

9u775

Active Member
Thanks for the replies. I'm definitely interested in the Concept 40's and an upgraded AV Receiver, although the budget for my TV upgrade increased by £1000 so I'm going to hold off with the speaker upgrade for now. I will need a 4k capable receiver, though, so this will be my next upgrade and will keep in mind the compatibility with high end floorstanding stereo speakers for music.
 

9u775

Active Member
Update: I upgraded the Onkyo TX-SR606 AV Receiver to a Denon AVR-X3200W (in anticipation of a 4K TV upgrade) and the cheap CCA speaker cable to OFC. Bi-amped the Q Acoustics 1050i's now sound even better to my ears. Not sure whether that's due to the slight bump in amp power, a combination of factors or just good old placebo but I'm enjoying the 1050i's again!

The bass is a tad overwhelming to my ears which is likely more to do with room acoustics / placement than the speakers but it does make me wonder whether my next pair should be bookshelfs since I can never really open up the floorstanders fully living in a flat, anyway.
 

9u775

Active Member
Having thought about this a bit more, I'm considering the following upgrades.

Exisiting components:
  • Denon AVR-X3200W
  • Q Acoustics 1050i floorstanders [Front L/R bi-amped]
  • Q Acoustics 1020i bookshelfs [Surround L/R]
  • Q Acoustics 1000Ci [Centre]
  • Q Acoustics 1000Si [Sub]
Proposed components:
  • Denon AVR-X3200W
  • Q Acoustics 3050 floorstanders [Front L/R]
  • Q Acoustics 3020 bookshelfs [Surround L/R]
  • Q Acoustics 1020i bookshelfs [Front Height L/R]
  • Q Acoustics 3090C [Centre]
  • BK Electronics XXLS400-DF [Sub]
In order to use the AVR in 7.1 with Front Height channels I will have to disable bi-amping for the Front L/R channels. Will this cause a perceptible loss in quality when listening to music with speakers like the QA3050's, or will setting them to "small" and letting the new sub handle anything below 80hz mitigate the loss of bi-amping? Or should I considering a power amp for the Front channels and simply use the pre-outs from the AVR?

Due to the placement of the front speakers almost against a wall I will likely have to bung them as suggested by Q Acoustics, along with setting them to "small" (80hz crossover) and let the sub take care of the low end to prevent boominess which I'm noticing with my 1050i's more and more. In this case, am I wasting money on floorstanders in that I could get a similar sound with a set of Q Acoustics 3020's (or even Concept 20's) up front along the lines of what was suggested by PSM1?

Thoughts, suggestions appreciated!
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
I would go and listen to the 3050 to ensure they are worth the money you will spend on them interms of the performance gain you will get. The 3050 are basically an updated version of your current speakers so are not going to be a significant upgrade over your current speakers. You would be better to save some more and actually buy a speaker that is a level above your current speakers instead.
 

9u775

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestion. I was basing my upgrade choice on reviews stating that the 2050 was a fairly significant upgrade over the 1050 and that the 3050 was a further incremental upgrade over the 2050, although any floorstander is going to be a gamble insofar as the front ported 1050i's are already somewhat boomy and I'm unsure as to whether (bunged) rearported models will suffer similarly. I guess my main area of confusion is whether higher end bookshelf speakers (eg Concept 20's) + Sub will resolve my placement woes and likely deliver an overall more pleasing sound.
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
I would say the concept 20s with a decent sub will give you a much better sound especially considering your placement issues.
 

9u775

Active Member
I'm now considering a set of XTZ 99.26 left/right and XTZ 99.25 centre, although I'm not sure how suitable my AVR-X3200W would be, power-wise. Would it be an okay pairing?

It's also a bit above my intended budget due to the additional centre which I've read should match the front left/right. I also hadn't considered the cost of stands. Would Atacama Nexus stands be suitable?
 

9u775

Active Member
Thanks for all the responses and advice in this thread. I ended up going with the XTZ's and couldn't be happier. Jag @ Epic Home Cinema was a pleasure to deal with and the speakers are a considerable upgrade from the Q Acoustics 1050i's.

The tweakable nature of XTZ's crossovers allowed me to tune the speakers for my particular listening environment and they sound wonderful. Re-listening to a lot of old music I'm blown away by how much more detail I can pick out; Instruments sound more distinct, everything sounds richer tonally. I'm very happy with this purchase.

Next stop: Sub upgrade. :D
 

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