It’s 12 years on since the first range of speakers by British brand Q Acoustics made their entrance into the Audio market and boy has it been successful.
Everything they produce seems to have the magic touch to it and whilst time has moved on, the company hasn’t been shy with keeping up the pace that they themselves set in 2006. The original 3000 series was a resounding success, taking the popular 2000 series range of speakers and improving on nearly every aspect of them sonically and aesthetically. No surprise then to see Q Acoustics do the same thing here with their new 3010i series. Still distinctly “Q Acoustics-like” to look at, they’ve nevertheless managed to add a touch of extra style to an already rather dapper looking range of speakers.
The 3010i are a pair of 2-way bookshelf speakers that mark the beginning of the 3000i range. A 20mm soft-dome tweeter placed in a suspension system to isolate it takes care of the high frequencies whilst the 10cm woofer is in charge of mids and bass. Small in stature but packed full of evolutions from its predecessors, it recently just gained a coveted 5 star What Hi-Fi? Award and looks sure to carry on the excellent reputation Q Acoustics have quickly built for themselves.
Four finishes are available (Graphite Grey, English Walnut, Arctic White and Carbon Black), all of which come with magnetic grilles and four rubber feet to protect the bottom of the cabinet. Our demo pair has the English Walnut finish and looks utterly gorgeous. The chrome-finish bezel around the drivers add a contemporary feel whilst the almost rose-like hue of the walnut will mean the 3010i really rack up points on the looks front. The cabinet depth has increased 25% over the original 3010 but the banana plug speaker terminals on the rear are low profile and don’t stick out too much. The increase in cabinet size also means that the company’s proprietary point-to-point bracing of the cabinet has been improved for extra rigidity, which the company says results in more focus and accuracy of the stereo imaging.
After delaying a few moments to marvel at the lovely finish and build quality, we hook a Cambridge Audio CXA60 amplifier and matching Cambridge Audio CXC CD transport up and let rip with a bit of “Lithium” by Nirvana. The fullness of the rhythm section instantly makes itself known as we kick into the main riff and it’s noticeable how much that increased cabinet has made a difference to the richness of the low and midrange frequencies. There’s not quite the same amount of airy spaciousness in the mid to high end in comparison to the previous version of these speakers, but that often translated into brashness on the original 3010 when the volume came up so the overall improved balance is much preferred. In fact, when doing a straight A/B comparison between the two versions, the older 3010 sound rather thin and less full bodied than their successors.
It’s the same story when we try “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae. The warm bass line is complimented well by the horn section and guitar but they never become too in-your-face or piercing. However, due to this restraining of the higher frequencies there is a slight softness to the impact and attack of instruments, especially drums and percussion but not enough to make them ill-defined or sounding sloppy.
For some who may be looking for a slightly more dynamic sound, the 3010i might not provide quite as much excitement as required but for an all round performance it’s pretty hard to fault them. As per usual with Q Acoustics, there are specific wall mounts and speaker stands to accommodate the unique curved cabinet of the 3010i as you may find them a little deep to fit on certain shelves or counter tops. So, if you’re on the lookout for a new pair of small bookshelf speakers you’d do very well to check out the new 3010i at your local Richer Sounds store. Give us a ring and book in a demo to see for yourself.
Author: Steve, Bristol store