Review Price £649.95
Manufacturer: Q Acoustics
The 2000i Series 5.1 is a compact speaker package that comprises two pairs of 2010i speakers for the fronts and rears, the 2000Ci centre and the 2070Si subwoofer.
At under £700, it’s more affordable than the brilliant 7000i package we tested recently, but with the company proclaiming the 2000i Series as “sonically the best affordable speakers ever produced” when it launched, we’re optimistic that it’ll deliver similarly impressive performance.
The 2000i system gets off to a great start with a stunning design. The entire range is available in Graphite and Walnut finishes for £649.95 but for £50 more you can upgrade to Piano Gloss White or Black. We were given the Gloss White version to test and it’s utterly gorgeous, with the luxurious, gleaming exterior forming a striking contrast with the black cloth grille on the front.
The 2010i’s funky curved edges cater for contemporary design tastes, and at 234mm high by 203mm deep the cabinets don’t take up much space. They’re differentiated from Q’s original 2000 series speakers with tweaked baffle mouldings and tweeter rings.
You could easily perch them on shelves or furniture, but Q Acoustics’ unique ‘Tilt and Turn’ speaker bracket (2000WB, £19 each) allows the 2010i or 2000Ci to be mounted almost flat to the wall and angled down or sideways. Alternatively, Q also sells classy 2000ST speaker stands for £100 a pair.
Unusually, the 2010i and 2000Ci’s binding posts are found in a recess on the bottom, which makes the cables a little trickier to connect than usual but allows the cable to neatly poke out from underneath, rather than the back. When used with the 2000WB bracket, a plate covers up these terminals.
The 2000Ci centre, which is configured horizontally to aid placement under a TV, is fairly bulky but manageably so. Like all the speakers in the package, build quality is outstanding – weighty and solid, with no visible joins or screws. They’re all equipped with rubber pads on the bottom to quell vibration when placed on a tabletop.
The 2070Si is a curiously-shaped subwoofer, barely wider than the 2010i but measuring a whopping 560mm deep, which presents an interesting installation challenge.
At the rear end of this long cabinet is a panel of controls, including three dials – volume, crossover and phase – plus four switches to control sound mode (Music or AV), phase invert, auto power sensitivity and speaker type. The speaker type switch optimises performance for sealed or ported satellites in ‘Music’ mode (all the speakers in this system are ported).
Lower down the rear panel is a recess housing left/right line-level phono inputs, line output (for daisy-chaining extra subs) and speaker level binding posts. The recess is covered by a plate with a hole at the bottom for the cables.
The 2000i Series’ drivers have been optimised specifically for this system. The 2010i and 2000Ci’s 25mm dome tweeters incorporate advanced multi-layered cone material (as opposed to treated fabric), which have been ‘super-decoupled’ from the baffle. The company claims this results in low distortion, sweeter treble, improved imaging and a wider soundstage.
The 100mm mid/bass cones use a carbon fibre and ceramic-coated paper material in place of the paper/mica mix used by the previous 2000 Series. The sats and centre are also equipped with foam bungs that can be inserted into the rear port when mounted close to a wall, which stops them sounding too boomy.
The 2070Si is a completely digital signal processing-driven subwoofer, which is why you get extra functionality like the ‘Speaker Type’ switch. It’s equipped with a pair of front-firing 170mm drivers, and the Class D amplifier musters a quoted 150W of power.
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Just like the 7000i system, the 2000i package delivers a sensational performance for the money. Listen to the big action sequences during Hellboy II: The Golden Army on Blu-ray, for example, and you simply won’t believe the sense of scale it achieves, or how clear and composed it makes everything sound. There’s a level of sophistication and sonic confidence here that beggars belief for a sub-£700 system.
When Hellboy takes on the Elemental at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, the 2000i’s impressive speed, clarity and punch really brings the creature to life. As it bursts through the ground, the subwoofer’s hard-hitting yet tightly-controlled bass makes a forceful impact.
Then, as it starts lobbing cars and stomping on the ground, the system cranks up the jeopardy with deep, pounding footsteps and a bellowing roar, which give you a real sense of the creature’s size and heft.
The 2000i system’s dynamic, attacking tone never strays into hardness. The crash of a car hitting a helicopter or the blast of Hellboy’s gun are crisply and clearly dispatched without bashing your eardrums, while the use of identical satellites means there’s no variation in tone as effects pan between channels.
That also ensures an absorbing surround soundstage, with quick, smooth panning and crisp detail. Dialogue is clear and realistic too, allowing voices to cut through busy scenes with terrific detail, depth and volume.
The icing on the cake is the system’s sweet treble reproduction, which rivals systems costing twice as much. Throughout the above scene, the speakers effortlessly tease out tiny details like the fizz of raining debris or the tinkle of shattering glass, making them sound light and airy. It even teases out the leading edge of the score’s brass section, which lends the music extra urgency.
And like the 7000i, the 2000i system is effortlessly musical, handling our gamut of two-channel test tunes with refinement and rhythmic prowess. Its neutral approach makes instruments and vocals sound as natural as possible, while the agile subwoofer keeps pace with tricky basslines. This is the perfect system for lovers of movies and music alike.
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If you’re in the market for a sub-£700 speaker package, then your search is over. This 2000i package represents outstanding value for money, backing up its sumptuous modern design with the sort of polished, powerful performance you normally only get from more expensive speakers.
The only question is whether you opt for the 2000i package or the pricier 7000i system, but for our money the 2000i is more appealing – its sound has slightly more presence and we prefer the design – but either way you’re laughing.
The 2000i’s epic performance and delectable design make a mockery of the sub-£700 price tag and cements Q Acoustics’ status as one of the best affordable speaker brands around.
Next, check out our full range of Surround Sound System reviews
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