Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speaker
- 2-way Reflex
- Bookshelf / Stand-mount
- Four Finishes
- Bass Driver: 1×5”
- Tweeter: 0.9”
- Frequency Response: 64Hz – 30kHz
My first outing with Q Acoustics was the 3050i, the largest speaker in the new improved 3000i family. I was so bowled over by its performance that I was curious about how the other speakers in the range fared. Q Acoustics sent along the 3020i finished in Arctic White, the other available finishes are; Carbon Black, Graphite Grey, and Walnut.
1 x 125mm (5in.)
22mm (0.9”) decoupled high-frequency driver with a wide surround
(2.83V @ 1m): 88dB
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D):
170 x 278 x 282 mm (6.7 x 10.9 x 11.1 in)
5.5 kg (12.1 lbs)
$299 USD/ Pair
Q Acoustics, Standmount Speaker, Bookshelf, Speaker, Review, Bass, Reflex, 3020i, Bookshelf Speaker Review 2019
The 3020i’s are the larger of the stand-mounted monitors available in the 3000i range. The smaller 3010i features a 100mm woofer and smaller overall dimensions. Curiously, I wondered why they chose to go smaller versus utilizing the 165mm woofer from the 3050i floor-standing (which I absolutely adore), and housing that into a stand-mounted speaker. Alex Munro, Brand Director at Q Acoustics had the following to say in response:
“The MF/LF drivers used in 3010i, 3020i and 3050i are three different sizes. In each case we are trying to get the best performance from as compact a cabinet as we can. The 5” driver design used in 3020i is precisely optimized for that size of cabinet. Using a larger driver would certainly have meant using a larger cabinet, without necessarily improving the performance of the speaker.”
The 3020i features a 125mm woofer and is a mere 6.7” W x 10.9” high. The depth however is just over 11” and the cabinet volume is 25% larger than the previous generation.
Like its bigger brother, the 3020i also features P2P™(Point to Point) bracing which makes the new enclosure more rigid and improves the focus of the stereo image. A new mid/bass driver and a baffle-decoupled tweeter ensures that there is minimal interference from the woofer and a more open soundstage.
All in, the Q Acoustics 3020i’s are super cute. Their rounded corners and matte-like finished cabinets are absolutely gorgeous in Arctic White. My home is mostly white, so white speakers fit seamlessly into our living space. A shiny chrome bezel surrounds the main driver.
Around back is a large bass port and a pair of fat, low profile speaker terminals. Sensitivity is quoted at 88db, which makes them an easy pair to drive.
The Q Acoustics 3020i arrived with pre-fitted rubber feet allowing for easy placement on to a shelf or stands.
I set up the 3020i’s connected to my Cambridge Audio CXA 60 and placed them into the wall unit on either side of my fireplace leaving enough space behind them for the port to function properly. They replaced the Monitor Audio RX2’s that are usually perched up there. The Q Acoustics are dwarfed by the RX2’s in both height and width. Surprisingly though when turned sideways the two speakers share relatively the same depth. My wife seemed to like the smaller size of the Q Acoustics as they didn’t dominate the shelf space and fit in with the overall white aesthetic of our room. The first few tracks were played from my Synology NAS via the CXN v2 streamer. Given the small stature of these speakers, I was taken aback by the big soundstage. Clear, punchy with a nice large-scale sound. I decided to warm the speakers up in this configuration.
Spoiler alert. These two-sound incredible together.
Once set-up with some proper break-in, it was time to put these bad boys through their paces. Out of the gate their presentation was clear, smooth and much bigger than their diminutive dimensions would suggest. Quite simply they are a fun speaker to listen to – bass was present and deep. Deeper than I would have expected, and the music was clear and well presented.
Pitted up against the Fluance bookshelves I reviewed previously, the Q Acoustics are fuller, warmer and smoother. This would undoubtedly be from the deeper cabinet dimensions. On the movie front, the Q Acoustics didn’t miss a step with Spiderman Homecoming and were well at home through the dialogue to the explosions.
Taking a trip back in time, this track sounded brand new via Spotify. The deep dimensions of the cabinet allowing the 3020i’s to push more air, are a boon for tracks like this where the music is made to be played loud. The music isn’t too bright nor is the bass exaggerated – I found it enjoyable and satisfying.
The intro is atmospheric, featuring distorted bass the low end is full and substantial. Since the speakers are tucked into a shelf the bass is accentuated a bit but by no means is it muddy. When mounted on stands, a slight loss of the bass is made up for in clarity. Ideally, placement in free space will benefit the sound. In this case when the drums kick in, the 3020i’s sound a bit more open.
This has been on rotation in our home a fair bit these days. It might have something to do with it being cold outside. Reggae reminds me of warmer weather. In any case, Bitty’s voice is clear and rich and the bass is deep enough to make this really enjoyable.
Sweet. If I was pressed for an overall description of the sound, that would be it. They’re not overly aggressive, nor are they harsh or clinical. Compared to similarly priced speakers like the Fluance bookshelves I reviewed previously, the deep dimensions of the 3020i’s allow for a fuller, more robust presentation. Here the piano and subtle upright bass that come in midway through the track are full and lush sounding.
Listen, these speakers retail for about $299 USD. At that price, you get your money’s worth and more. A beautifully finished speaker, wide-open soundstage and a great sonic character. It’s the kind of sound you would expect from a much more expensive speaker.
- Beautiful fit and Finish
- Lightweight and small
- Ample bass weight, and open soundstage
- Can listen to these for hours on end
- Everyone buying a pair.
I tried my best to mitigate any lofty expectations coming off the review of the 3050i’s. The smaller driver on the 3020i’s does make for a smaller scale of sound but so do the smaller cabinet dimensions. Providing that you’re not looking to fill a massive room, you will be well served by the 3020i’s. On good looks alone, I picture these being the speaker of choice in hipster coffee shops and boutique stores, or people looking for their condos or offices would do well considering the Q Acoustics 3020i. Bass fiends may come away disappointed, however if it’s bass you’re looking for, pair the 3020i’s with a sub. Either way, the 3020i’s are every bit a bargain.