Q Acoustics has gone and released a brand-new subwoofer, the Q B12 which is the first in a new range of subwoofers. The Q B12 is designed to work alongside the 3000i and Concept 5.1 speaker range. It is available for purchase individually or paired with Q Acoustics speakers in three home cinema packages.
Q Acoustics Q B12 Subwoofer
- 12-inch driver with high sensitivity and superb dynamics
- Sealed box design
- Ultra-low distortion 220W Texas Instruments TPA3255 Class D amplifier
- 50mm voice coil for minimal thermal compression
- Beautiful curved edges and a great finish
I recently reviewed Q Acoustics’ newly released 3030i Speakers and supplemented part of that review with the Q B12 subwoofer filling in the lower regions of music. But this beautiful beast deserves its own spotlight. The Q B12 is a bit of a departure from the sort of subs that Q Acoustics has traditionally offered. The 3060S for example is a slimline subwoofer designed to hide on the side of a media unit or couch, or just to the side of your main speakers in a cinema set up. The Q B12 on the other hand is here to make a statement. It’s a big boy. This is not a bad thing mind you, big subwoofers usually lead to big bass. Its sealed design helps with positioning and integrating it into a hi-fi set up, but it’s still big, measuring 15.75″H x 17.56″D x 15.75″W without the included floor spikes. In our small city home, it has taken place of where our 120lb dog Homie usually sleeps, on the floor, just to the right of our built-in media unit. I stupidly made no provision for a subwoofer when designing our media unit as I thought it wasn’t going to be the center of our family’s home. But it is the center of our home entertainment, so we now have an unattractive subwoofer cable snaking from the back of the Cambridge CXA60 integrated amp to out in front of the cabinets and back around the wall to the connections on the back of the Q B12. Yuck.
But it sounds great. I really should look into a wireless subwoofer solution for the future. This is just the first hi-fi set up though. The second and more high-end set up is on our sideboard, where the speakers sit to either side on stands, and the Q B12 is to the right. The associated equipment was the new Cambridge Audio CXA61 integrated amp paired with a CXC CD transport. The third setup is downstairs in the basement where the Q B12 takes on the .1 duties in my B&W 683 (s1) 5.1 theater setup in place of the B&W 610 sub. The receiver used is the Marantz SR6009.
The Q Acoustics Q B12 consists of a long-throw 12-inch driver with high sensitivity and superb dynamics, powered by an ultra-low distortion 220W Texas Instruments TPA3255 Class D amplifier. As mentioned above, it’s the largest and most powerful subwoofer from Q Acoustics so far, with an active limiter and the amplifier’s proprietary PurePath Ultra-HD technology ensuring unwanted distortion is minimized across the board, resulting in a taut but forceful sound.
To help maintain performance levels, a subtly engineered, custom die-cast aluminum heat sink on the rear panel supports and cools the ultra-low distortion power amplifier and power supply. Elsewhere a 0°/180° phase switch allows the user to optimize the integration with the left and right speakers for seamless and balanced fidelity.
Given the powerful nature of the large driver unit, effective cabinet and driver bracing is crucial for a smooth low-end sonic performance. Q Acoustics has fitted a ‘dart brace’ internal design inside the subwoofer’s reinforced MDF cabinet. Not only does this provide superior mechanical stability to the driver but the reinforced rigidity reduces resonance and vibrations for a more accurate response.
Adjustable spiked feet provide additional support when the Q B12 is placed on carpeted floors, with optional rubber caps for wooden and other hard surfaces also provided. I used those as we had our floor done a while back and my wife would kill me if I damaged it.
I like the rear of the Q B12. It’s thoughtfully designed, with a removable magnetic cover that hides a recessed area where all plugs are concealed, and channel cables can pass cleanly out through the subwoofer’s base.
Peak – 440 watts, Continuous – 220 watts
The Q B12 is available in matching finishes (Carbon Black and Arctic White vinyl) to the Q Acoustics 3000i range, or in a matching finish (Black and White gloss) to the Q Acoustics Concept range. My review sample arrived in Arctic White to match the 3030i speakers. Unboxing it is no small feat; it takes a bit of effort and thankfully I have been doing my squats and deadlifts. I unpacked the Q B12 on my couch as a precaution; should I slip and drop the sub, I wouldn’t want to dent or scuff this beauty.
I moved Homie’s bed out of the way, vacuumed up his hair (he sheds so much!), and slid the QB12 into place, making sure that the supplied rubber feet were on. Next was connecting the cable and getting this baby warmed up.
Like I mentioned earlier, I used the Q B12 to supplement the lower depths of music in my review of the Q Acoustics 3030i speakers, so there will be a bit of overlap here if you have read that review already.
Marcus Intalex (Rest in Power sir!) “Universe/Cabal/Jupiter/How You Make Me Feel”
The first few weeks of usage was as part of the hi-fi setup in the living room. And to be perfectly honest, the first day (after letting the Q B12 break-in) was spent streaming tracks off Spotify via the Cambridge Audio CXN. The first batch of tunes was courtesy of the legend himself Marcus Intalex. Marcus was one of the more influential artists in Drum & Bass and his music is among the best examples of the genre.
‘Cabal’, originally released on Ingredients Records, is one of my favorites. While the larger cabinet and 6.5″ driver on the Q Acoustics 3030i I was reviewing at the time delivered a large soundstage and dug considerably low given its small size, the Q B12 took things to another level. The kicks had way more impact and when the bass dropped, it slammed. The key was to not let the Q B12 overpower the soundstage. I started with the cutoff set to 80Hz then slowly decreased it until I stopped hearing any exaggeration in the mid-bass. I finally found comfort at just around the 60Hz mark; volume just under half on the dial. Now, bear in mind that my house is a small old city home, so the effects of a large subwoofer are accentuated greatly. This configuration, while not scientific, netted out to a great sound and overall listening experience. At a moderate volume, the oomph was just perfect and when turned up to levels that would make for unhappy neighbors, it was deeply satisfying. After this listening session, I’ve started seriously looking into a wireless solution to integrate a subwoofer to my main room listening set up. To quote UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal, “It’s super necessary.”
Photek “Modus Operandai”
Yes, it’s still technically Drum & Bass, but there is enough musical variance and technical brilliance (for Photek’s time) in this recording. The bass isn’t as heavy-handed as expected in this effort and because of that, I got to test how good my setting was and how well the Q B12 integrated with the speakers. This portion of the review took place in the secondary hi-fi setup with the album playing from the original CD.
To my surprise, I found that my original subwoofer settings were fine. On some tracks, the Q B12 all but disappeared, and it was only when I switched off the sub that I noticed any difference in weight.
I paired the Q Acoustics Q B12 with a B&W 683 S1 Cinema package, with an HTM61 as the center and 686 S1s serving as surround channels. Once I got the Q B12 down to the basement (with help) and properly connected, it was on to running the Audyssey setup on my Marantz to get everything sounding cohesive. I set the cutoff to 80Hz and turned the volume to just under half. I haven’t bought a movie in forever but luckily, I have a few Marvel Blu-rays (read big explosions, gunfire, and things crashing) on hand to run some tests with.
“Avengers and Avengers: Infinity War”
I couldn’t resist really. Both movies provide enough firepower and wall rattling bass to make the watcher/listener quite happy. The Q B12 did well to surpass the grunt and depth of my B&W 610 that usually handles the sub duties. I found that I had to reduce the volume on the QB12 as the low end was a bit too apparent in the mix. This again is also most likely due to my small space. The step up to a larger 12″ driver makes a world of difference when it comes to getting the most out of the LFE channel in your 5.1 or 7.1 system.
Surely you can settle for a smaller sub as I did but the reward for going bigger is worth it if you’re a fan of the boom.
The Q ACOUSTICS Q B12 offers a lot of bang for the buck excelling equally at home theater and hi-fi. Its size requires some consideration, but if you want more bass, this one should be on your list.
- Good looks
- Powerful deep bass
- Well designed and engineered
- Great value
- I need a bigger house.
Seriously. I think I need a bigger house. Most of my serious listening was done with the kids out of the house as I didn’t want to damage their hearing. Lots of things rattled and fell off shelves and when I wasn’t alone, I was warned more than once to keep it down. But it’s a subwoofer, it’s just doing its job! And what a fine job it does. The Q B12 is a welcome addition to the Q Acoustics lineup and blends in seamlessly with the 3000i range of speakers. Moreover, it assimilates convincingly with other speakers and speaker packages to fill out the bottom end. Q Acoustics has knocked it out of the park yet again. It begs the question, what’s next?