The 3020 was the budget standmount to strike fear into rivals for many years, but does the ‘i’ still have it?
PRODUCT Q Acoustics 3020i
TYPE 2-way standmount loudspeaker
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 170 x 278 x 282mm
• 1x 22mm soft dome tweeter
• 1x 125mm mid/bass driver
• Quoted sensitivity: 88dB/1W/1m (6ohm)
DISTRIBUTOR Armour Home Electronics
Even if it were new, the recently superseded 3020 would still be a fine standmount shooting for top honours.
But, as the larger of the two offerings in the new 3000i series lineup, the 3020i promises to be nothing less than formidable.
The 3020i boasts 25 percent extra internal volume, which means better low-frequency performance with enhanced sensitivity and bass extension.
The 125mm mid/bass driver uses a cone precision formed from impregnated and coated paper and mated with a newly developed, low-hysteresis, rubber surround – claimed to accelerate without flexing and stop very accurately without unwanted resonances.
The 22mm micro-fibre soft dome tweeter is decoupled from the baffle to isolate it from vibrations from the mid/bass driver and has a wide surround for increased dispersion.
There are four finishes available: graphite grey, carbon black, Arctic white or, as here, English walnut.
The neatly integrated binding posts and natty chrome driver trims look distinctly up market, too.
Group Tests are unbeatable for the juxtaposed contrasts they often pose, and here we have a big one.
After the stripped down, foot-to-the-floor presentational style of the Jamo, the 3020i is a real exhale… and relax moment.
It’s the ‘“Chill buddy, I’ve got this’” speaker of the group and whether it’s hosting Donald, Diana, Stanley or Boz, is an absolute delight from start to finish.
The night might belong to Mona, but Fagen’s laid back groove is palpably the 3020i’s.
The QA’s impressive hi-fi skillset is definitely a factor here. Its smooth, extended treble has fine inner detail and integrates seamlessly with a midband that is poised, open and articulate, which in turn, melds with the weighty, tuneful bass.
The Fagen cut is a good test here, its lower synth-generated octaves are recorded with perhaps a tad too much prominence in the mix, which can easily sound bloated and ploddy on less-disciplined speakers.
But the 3020i walks the line perfectly, its bass sounding full and firm with no sign of dissolving into turgidity.
But it’s the musicality and coherence that stuns – the sheer scale and generosity of the sound and its unerring ability to lay bare the spirit and emotional power of the music.
The Stanley Clarke Band’s sci-fi- infused workout might hit new heights of fiery, grandiose absurdity, but it’s the gentle beauty of Desperado that shows the speaker’s true class.
The deep warmth and husky veneer of Diana Krall’s vocal is exquisitely portrayed, the accompanying piano and massed strings possess a shimmering, scalp tingling presence.
Strength and subtlety, the 3020i delivers both with apparent ease
Claims for the new 3020i are predictable and straightforward: better sound and smarter looks.
Yet nudging the bar a little higher isn’t so simple, you might suppose, when the superseded 3020 was already exemplary in both respects.
But with Q Acoustics having achieved so much with its Concept 500 flagship, trickle-down is an obvious and potent gift, most critically the tech it calls P2P.
This stands for point-to-point bracing, which according to QA supplies internal support in areas of the cabinet that need stiffening, including an extra precision-cut damping panel – thus eliminating sympathetic resonance.
Cue a quieter box and more focused, accurate and low-distortion fidelity.
More than just a safe pair of hands, the 3020i has real star quality
- Beautifully judged and balanced sound quality
- Effortless musicality
- Cabinet depth will be too much for some stands