- Remarkable precision
- Plenty of power
- Spacious, well organised soundstage
- Lovely build and finish
- Deep cabinet can be difficult to accommodate
- Review Price: £249
- 125mm woofer
- 20mm tweeter
- Sensitivity 88dB
- Dimensions (WHD) 170 x 278 x 282 mm
- Weight 5.5kg
What is the Q Acoustics 3020i?
In 2015, Q Acoustics released its 3000-series speakers and they were given the rare Trusted Reviews 10/10 score. That’s thanks to the exceptional performance and affordable price. Now we have the revamped 3000i series, and the Q Acoustics 3020i is the larger of two bookshelf models.
For those unfamiliar with the Q Acoustics’ brand, the company has a tendency to revisit older designs, rather than forgetting about them. It’s like Apple slapping an ‘s’ on an updated iPhone, only the Q Acoustics ‘i’ updates come after a few years and tend to feature far more drastic changes. Some of the upgrades stem from products much higher up the chain.
If you’re looking for a ‘serious’ pair of stereo speakers without the need to spend ‘serious’ amounts of cash, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll struggle to find better value for £249.
Q Acoustics 3020i – Design
The overriding aesthetic of the 3000-series speakers hasn’t changed much. The Q Acoustics 3000i range retains the blend of straight and rounded edges, giving the speakers a contemporary feel.
The trimmings are a little more luxurious. The separate front baffle has been integrated for a ‘unibody’ design. The speaker terminals go straight through the MDF cabinet instead of a terminal panel. There’s a touch of chrome in the logo and around the drivers, too. Nothing says ‘premium’ like chrome.
The speakers are available in four finishes: Graphite Grey, English Walnut, Carbon Black or Arctic White. All the finishes cost the same – you no longer have to pay extra for the black or white models.
Cabinet size has been increased: the 3020i is 25% deeper than its predecessor. That promises a more extended and powerful bass response. These may be ‘bookshelf’ speakers, but they won’t have any problems shifting large volumes of air.
Then there’s the structural integrity. These £249 speakers take inspiration from the £4000 Q Acoustics Concept 500 speakers, specifically the point-to-point cabinet bracing used to ramp up internal rigidity. This greatly reduces the unwanted structural vibrations that can cause distortion.
The 20mm tweeter is decoupled from the baffle using a silicone suspension system, to keep it isolated from the woofer’s vibrations. The 12.5cm woofer’s has a new low-lag rubber surround, which promises accuracy in cone movement.
Q Acoustics 3020i – Performance
All those tweaks and upgrades absolutely work, because the Q Acoustics 3020i sound fantastic – especially when you consider the £249 price.
I instantly recognised the familiar Q Acoustics sound: a rich, warm character with a surprising level of dynamism and agility considering the weighty delivery. I wasn’t disappointed.
Compared to their predecessors, the 3020i are noticeably more precise. The sound is more detailed. While the original 3020 speakers didn’t display any trouble in that department, these new units just sound more eloquent. It’s a little easier to tell the production values apart in different songs.
The vocals shine. It’s a full mid-range that’s direct without being too forward; emotional without being insistent or hogging the spotlight.
I’m particularly delighted with the bass response, which is nicely extended yet taut. That’s impressive considering how much of it there is – there’s plenty. You can absolutely feel the difference from the deeper cabinets.
That’s not to say there’s too much bass. While the character is on the warm side, good tonal balance remains. This makes the Q Acoustics 3020i tremendously versatile speakers, capable of tacking whatever genre you throw at them.
Timing is good, too. It’s always a danger that richer performances can become weighed down, but the 3020i are never less than snappy, with even the most chaotic tracks displaying a good sense of rhythm. That clarity, agility and dynamism combines for a wonderful sense of musicality.
It’s also a wonderfully spacious listen, but the soundstage isn’t just wide – it’s well organised, providing a firm sense of where the action is happening.
If I had to complain then I’d perhaps moan that the deeper cabinet makes these units slightly harder to accommodate. They’re pretty flexible when it comes to placement in general, but if you put them right up against the wall, the performance grows a little heavier. For smaller rooms, I’d recommend checking out the smaller Q Acoustics 3010i.
Why buy the Q Acoustics 3020i?
Q Acoustics has done it again. The 3020i are a shining example of a product done right, and then improved further with lessons learned.
For the money, this is about as complete and rounded a musical performance you can get. If you’re looking for a serious set of speakers with a limited budget, look no further.
If your pockets go deeper to stretch to a 5.1 system, check out the Q Acoustics 3050i cinema pack.
Need new speakers? You’ll struggle to find a better set on which to spend your £250.