Review Price £899.95
Manufacturer: Q Acoustics
The 7000i is Q Acoustics’ answer to the age-old dilemma of how to squeeze a set of cinema speakers into your living room without a) taking up acres of space, b) compromising on sound quality or c) leaving an irreparable hole in your bank balance.
It’s a compact speaker package featuring five stylish satellites that can be dotted discreetly around the room, working in tandem with an innovative active subwoofer.
This little lot will set you back well under a grand, and having tested the company’s delectable Q-BT3 speakers we’re optimistic that they’ll deliver impressive sound quality for the money. Let’s find out if that’s the case.
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With curvy, pill-shaped cabinets that look like big Tic-Tacs, the 7000i LR satellites are incredibly stylish and beautifully made. They’re available in black or white matt finishes and both versions look stunning.
Their ‘infinite baffle’ enclosures are made from cast aluminium, with internal damping helping to eliminate cabinet resonance. Pick one up and you instantly feel its heft and solidity, easily justifying the asking price, plus there are virtually no visible joins or seams apart from the sturdy metal grille, which can be pulled off if you wish.
But the best part for space-conscious buyers is the satellites’ unobtrusive size. At 240mm high by 100mm wide, they can be perched on shelves or TV stands without requiring a massive reshuffle. The centre speaker is identical to the other speakers except it's turned on its side.
SEE ALSO: DALI Fazon Mikro
Cleverly, each speaker has a built-in ball joint stand that lets you adjust the speaker to the required angle. You can also bend it back to create a wall mounting bracket. Just like the cabinet, the stand itself is curvy and elegant, plus the mechanism is smooth and robust.
Built into a recess on the bottom is a pair of metal push-clip cable terminals, which are small and tricky to access, while a cable management system neatly guides the wire through a slot at the back. You can also buy matching floor stands for the satellites, which will set you back £125 a pair.
The 7070Si subwoofer is a little different from the norm, eschewing the common cube shape for a rectangular enclosure that looks a bit like a suitcase. The MDF bodywork is chunky but resolutely sturdy and the high-quality matt black/white finish matches the satellites perfectly. Curved corners bring a sense of elegance missing from many subs. You can even mount it on the wall using an optional bracket.
A metal cover at one end can be removed to reveal a bank of sockets and controls, including volume and crossover frequency dials, phase inversion and auto power switches, plus left/right RCA inputs.
Each 7000i LR satellite features a pair of bespoke 75mm ultra long mid/bass drivers, with cones made from lightweight coated paper and a rubber surround. They sit above and below a 25mm ring radiator tweeter, which is backed by a Neodymium magnet. The benefits of this driver tech, says Q, are a wide dynamic range, low distortion, ultra fast transients and smooth, detailed high frequencies.
The subwoofer packs a 200mm high excursion bass driver and a 150W Class D amplifier. But the real story here is Q Acoustics’ internal firing design, which fires bass against a heavy, rigid sounding board that deflects it evenly into the room through a grille running along the top and side edges of the enclosure. That makes it less dependant on room position to get the best performance – in theory you get a well-integrated, non-directional sound no matter where you put it.
The 7000i system delivers outstanding sound quality, even more impressive than top-notch systems like the KEF E305, Quad L-ite Plus and DALI Fazon Mikro. In fact, we’d say it’s the finest-sounding compact system we’ve heard at this price. It really is that good.
What stands out is the 7000i’s easy, truthful tonal character. It’s not forced or shouty, but not too laid back either – it sits right in the sweet spot between the two. With this inherent openness and neutrality, the system simply holds up a mirror to the material and invites you to jump right in.
But don’t get it twisted – the 7000i is no shrinking violet. Fire up The Desolation of Smaug on Blu-ray and the system displays big dynamics and an astonishing sense of scale for such diminutive speakers. Nowhere is this more apparent than the epic showdown between Smaug and the dwarves inside Erebor – when the dragon bellows “YOU WILL BURN!” his words sound big and authoritative, filling fill the room with their sheer volume and depth. It’s stirring stuff.
And when Smaug frantically chases the dwarves through the chamber, breathing fire and stomping on the ground as Howard Shore’s thrilling score ramps up the drama, the 7000i handles the chaos with an assured hand. Every effect emerges clearly with terrific clarity and attack, but there’s no distortion even when you turn up the volume to neighbour-bothering levels.
SEE ALSO: Quad L-ite Plus
What’s more, it conjures up a wide, enveloping soundstage with accurate placement and flawless panning between channels. Human dialogue is clear and laden with detail, while high frequencies sound beautiful – the light jingle as the dwarves tumble down the piles of gold is a particular highlight.
The subwoofer also plays a major role in this sensational performance, delivering on its promise of dynamic, well-integrated bass. Skip to any rowdy action scene and the 7070Si’s bass notes pack plenty of thump but no overhang. Bangs and explosions are deep and heavy, while rhythmic beats are handled with outstanding agility. But best of all, the subwoofer fuses with the satellites so naturally that it’s hard to tell where it ends and the speakers begin.
The 7000i is arguably even more impressive when playing music. Again the system’s tone serves songs well, resulting in a natural and crisp presentation that exposes new layers and textures within albums we know inside out. There’s terrific fluidity, cohesion and balance right across the frequency spectrum, not to mention an excellent sense of rhythm.
Absolutely. The 7000i is the best-sounding speaker package we’ve heard at this price, blessed with an easy-going, open tone but with enough power, scale and bass punch to make movies sound exhilarating. Of course you can get a bigger and more imposing sound from floorstanders but as compacts go this is pretty much as good as it gets.
There’s plenty of style behind the substance too. The 7000i’s delectable pill-shaped satellites, with their clever pivot stands and sumptuous build quality, will add a touch of class to any living room without hogging much of your precious space.
This stylish compact speaker package is hands down the best we’ve heard for the money.
Next, read our KEF E305 review
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