The Concept 30 is an extraordinary bookshelf speaker with innovative technology and aesthetics. [+] It catches the eye.
Over the past decade, British speaker brand Q Acoustics has produced some groundbreaking loudspeakers that strike the perfect balance between price and performance. Last year, I reviewed the company’s flagship Concept 300 bookshelf speakers, and this time around, the more affordable Concept 300 shares many of the more expensive Concept 300’s features, including an innovative quadruped stand. We continue our review of the Concept 30, a pair of bookshelf speakers.
Design cues and acoustic technology based on the flagship Concept 300 allow this new pair of speakers to deliver audiophile performance at a relatively affordable price. A key feature of the Concept series is the cabinet design, which is designed to be as quiet as possible. Hardly affected by internal and external resonances, these gorgeous looking speakers produce a tightly focused soundstage that gives the impression of a live performance.
The construction of these new loudspeakers is based on the more expensive Concept models, and there is a wealth of technology that makes the Concept 30 a superior performer. The Concept 30 speaker, for example, is based on a Gelcore construction that cuts high frequency noise.
The Q Acoustics Q FS75 speaker is the aesthetic and… [+] Acoustically. Price is 375 / $499 / 449 per pair.
Gelcore was introduced in the original Q Acoustics Concept speakers and is a proprietary non-hardening gel sandwiched between two layers to absorb the high frequency vibrations produced by the speaker drivers. The energy output of the driver is dissipated so the sound remains focused.
The cabinet structure is reinforced with point-to-point (P2P) internal bracing. This technology was first used in the high-end Concept 500 to increase resistance in areas of the speaker cabinet that were particularly susceptible to reverberation at low-end frequencies.
Another way to reduce vibration is to use the suspension system as a spring-loaded baseplate. The two plates are separated by a suspension sphere that isolates the cabinet from interference caused by external vibrations, producing a tighter stereo image and broadening the depth of sound.
Each Concept 30 speaker has a 5 inch (125mm) mid/bass driver and a 1 inch (25mm) tweeter. Both drivers are a brand new design, secured in a very rigid 3mm aluminum baffle plate before being installed in the speaker cabinet. This construction creates a tight acoustic seal that dampens vibrations and reduces structural coupling.
Two sets of binding posts allow you to wire your Concept 30 however you want.
The Concept 30 tweeter is hermetically sealed and mechanically separated from the supporting baffle. This reduces distortion and lowers the crossover point. The mid/bass driver voice coil has also been strengthened, allowing him to handle 50% more power than a 25.4mm voice coil.
Finally, the crossover circuit that routes the audio signal between the tweeter and woofer is mounted on an isolated base to ensure that there are no vibrations that can affect the sound. Isolation also helps shield the crossover circuit from electromagnetic effects from the driver.
The Concept 30 speakers are forward-thinking, but they also look great. To test the speakers, we borrowed a pair with a premium high-gloss white finish.The Concept 30 speakers are available in black, silver, and white lacquer and feature Q Acoustic’s signature aluminum front baffle plate. It’s a feature. The finish is beautiful and the overall look is completed by an attractive textile grille that attaches magnetically to the front of the cabinet.
To get the best performance out of the Concept 30, Q Acoustics created an impressive four-legged stand strung with wire cables. You can use the stand with spikes or rubber tips to create the perfect mount to enhance your stereo soundstage. Stands are pretty expensive, but they not only look great, but they make a big difference in how these great speakers sound.
Each Concept 30 loudspeaker has a 25mm tweeter and a 125mm woofer.
I set up the Concept 30 speakers using the Q Acoustics Q FS75 stand that was loaned to me for this review. We also tested the speakers without their stands to measure the difference in sound. The rear two sets of binding posts can be bi-wired if desired. The speaker is shipped with the conductor installed between two pairs of binding posts. You can bypass the crossover circuit by decoupling the posts. I tried both methods and the difference between them was minor at best. The crossover Q acoustics used in the Concept 30 speakers are excellent.
The Concept 30 sounds incredibly energetic and tight. The woofer/tweeter separation is outstanding, especially the soundstage with the stand. These speakers sound as full and dynamic as a pair of floorstanders. And while the bass doesn’t get as deep as a pair of floorstanders, you can still hear all the bass, though you can’t always feel it. If you like thumping bass, you might want to consider his one of the Q Acoustics subwoofers that underpin the sound.
The overall sound is nice and tight and punchy. The midrange is perhaps slightly sunken in the treble, but the tweeter provides sharp focus and clarity that establishes an excellent soundstage.Gelcore, use of Point-2-Point bracing, and cabinet build ‘s robustness delivers a tight, coherent sound that brings music to life and injects an irresistible energy into the sound. I doubt Q Acoustics tried to make these speakers tighter. The overall sound is coherent and the listener can concentrate on the music.
The finish of the Concept 30 cabinet is exemplary. Comes with removable magnetic tape… [+] grill.
Verdict: Q Acoustics’ Concept 30 loudspeakers perform great for the price. I think it’s comparable to the more expensive Concept 300 models. The cabinet construction quality is exemplary and beautifully finished. Mounting on the Q Acoustics Q FS75 Speaker Stand completes the look and sound of these great speakers. They are well worth the extra expense. If you want a pair of speakers that don’t take up much space but produce a large, perfectly formed soundstage, the Q Acoustics Concept 30 are worth auditioning.
Pricing and Availability: Q Acoustics Concept 30 speakers are available now for 899 / 1,199 / $1,299/ per pair. Q Acoustics Q FS75 speaker stands are also available now for 375 / $499 / 449 per pair.
For more information: www.qacoustics.co.uk (UK) and www.qacoustics.com (US)
Base unit: 1 x 125 mm (5.0 inch). Tweeter: 1 x 25 mm (1.0 inch). Frequency Response (-6dB): 54Hz 30kHz Nominal Impedance: 6 Minimum Impedance: 3.9 Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1kHz): 87dB/w/m. Recommended Amplifier Power: 25 100W. Crossover frequency: 2.4kHz Distortion (120Hz 20kHz, @2.83Vrms): <0.2% Effective volume: 7.0 liters. Dimensions (HxWxD): 284 x 180 x 319mm (11.2 x 7.1 x 12.6 inches). Weight (per speaker): 7.9 kg (17.4 lbs).
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