A wallet-friendly pair of bookshelf speakers with great sound.
I was recently sent a pair of speakers from Q Acoustic. Previously, I’d tested and reviewed Q Acoustics’ 3020 and 2020 speakers and thought they were great for their respective price points. Initially, I was intrigued by these speakers because of their design. They have the option to include stands for these bookshelf speakers, so I thought it gave them a really nice look, especially in the white version.
Getting them unboxed, the quality of these speakers for the cost was immediately noticeable. These can be purchased for $400, and for that price, I cannot think of a speaker I would more strongly recommend. I’m using them with the Q Acoustic stands, which brings the price up to $650, but I still think they are an incredible value at that price.
I personally find the stands to be stylish (my wife doesn’t agree, so they won’t please everyone).
Once I got them set up and running, I was really impressed by their sound! Compared to the 2020s, these had a much fuller sound. It was sort of like a mix between the smoothness of the 3020s, with a more dramatic punchiness than the 2020s. They have lots of clarity thanks to the evenness of the highs, mids and low-end tones.
Comparison to tower speakers (3020)
The 3020s are great, but I think at this point, I would recommend them for much larger rooms than I can currently afford to live in. This could also be a byproduct of the listening conditions I personally prefer over what is more universally considered ‘good’, but I prefer the sound of the punchy bookshelf speakers over that of the sometimes overly warm and smooth tower speakers.
I’d have to bring the towers up to a louder volume than is really acceptable in an apartment building in order to get the same fullness and punchiness of sound I get from the bookshelves at moderate volumes.
Music sounds great through these speakers. The one thing that was lost between these and the larger tower speakers is some of the finer details in the treble. The power of the mids and lows somewhat overwhelmed them, but this is a pretty standard tradeoff. Because there is less room to create the bass, you get a more forceful sound out of them, which is that ‘punchiness’ I referred to earlier.
Film and TV were also handled really well by these speakers. One of the problems I have with the tower speakers is that the smoothness of the midrange also makes voices a little less distinctive and pronounced. I think that people with large spaces and no shared walls may enjoy the larger tower speakers, but I found that the volume control between dialogue sections and more special effects-driven sections to be all over the place.
The consistent sound levels may have something to do with the more compact soundstage that the bookshelf speakers provide. But part of the solution may also come from the ‘Gelcore’ technology that allows for more evenness of volume without causing vibration noises. This allows for a pretty even volume, and I didn’t find myself constantly holding the remote to increase or decrease the volume of whatever I was watching.
Gelcore is a new technology that Q Acoustic invented and deploy in the Concept 20s. It separates the inner and outer walls of the speaker with a glue-like compound which remains viscous. The gel helps isolate the vibration into the inner cabinet of the speaker. This allows for fewer vibrations to be transferred into the room, enhancing the clarity of the sound.
An additional layer on the Concept 20 speaker stands is also used to enhance the experience for those who choose to purchase them. This new technology is absolutely effective and there is a clear and audible difference (your neighbors will also appreciate it if you have shared walls). Luckily, this will be utilized in future Q acoustic models as well; it’s the most important new addition to these speakers as compared to the previous models tested.
I think these speakers are a great purchase! These can be had for under $300 from various online stores. Anyone in the market for a pair of great-sounding bookshelf speakers will be extremely pleased with the Q Acoustic Concept 20s.