- Fantastic sound quality
- Great tonal balance
- Flexible placement
- Attractive design
- Solid build quality
- Slightly narrow dispersion
- Subwoofer has limited bass
- Review Price: £1345
- 5.1 speaker package
- 3050i floorstanding speaker
- 3010i surround speaker
- 3090Ci centre speaker
- 3060S subwoofer
What is the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack?
The Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack is a 5.1 speaker package based around the company’s latest 3000i-series of entry-level speakers. The system is composed of a pair of 3050i floorstanding speakers for the front left and rights, a dedicated 3090Ci centre speaker, a pair of 3010i bookshelf speakers for the surrounds, and a 3060S subwoofer.
The new range incorporates innovations first employed in Q Acoustics’ high-end Concept 500 speakers, specifically the use of point-to-point bracing (P2P) and Helmholtz Pressure Equalisation (HPE). The 3000i-series also features improved high frequency and mid-range drivers, along with an updated cabinet design that uses a more solid construction and low-profile binding posts.
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Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack – Design
Since the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack is comprised of various speakers from the company’s 3000i series, I’ll run through the design of each included model individually.
This is a floorstanding speaker with a cabinet that sports curved edges at the top and bottom. It looks attractive but does make moving these fairly large floorstanders tricky, as your fingers tend to slip on the curves.
However, there’s no denying that the Q Acoustics 3050i looks more expensive than it actually is, and the choice of Arctic White, Carbon Black, Graphite Grey, or English Walnut finishes add a touch of class.
There is an eye-catching chrome-finish bezel around the drivers, low-profile binding posts at the rear, and magnetic black cloth grilles that neatly fit into place when covering the drivers. The 3050i has an outrigger plinth at the rear, which makes the base wider and thus provides greater stability – so it shouldn’t topple over. You have a choice of spiked feet – or rubber caps, if you don’t fancy gouging holes in your floor.
The 3050i uses a two-way bass reflex design, with two 165mm (6.5 inch) woofers and a 22mm (0.88 inch) tweeter. At the rear there are bass ports, with foam bungs included for a bit of low-frequency tuning. With the grille and rear outrigger plinth attached, each speaker measures 310 x 1020 x 310mm (WHD) and weighs in at 17.8kg. If you fancy buying the 3050i separately, a pair will cost £649 – regardless of which finish you choose.
The 3010i is employed as a surround speaker in the 5.1 package I’m reviewing, but is primarily designed as a bookshelf/standmount unit. It uses a redesigned cabinet that’s slightly taller and 25% deeper than the previous generation, resulting in a revised crossover that enhances the sensitivity and bass extension.
The 3010i has the same design as the rest of the 3000i series, with a curved cabinet, a chrome-finish bezel around the drivers and a choice of white, black, grey, or walnut finishes. It uses the same magnetic black cloth grilles and low-profile binding posts, but sits on pre-fitted rubber feet.
The 3010i also uses a two-way bass reflex design, but with a single 100mm (4 inch) woofer, a 22mm (0.88 inch) tweeter and rear bass ports with provided foam bungs for tuning. The speaker measures 150 x 253 x 252mm (WHD), weighs 4.1kg, and costs £199 a pair if you want to buy them separately.
This dedicated centre speaker mirrors the design used in the rest of the range, and is a two-way bass reflex speaker with twin 100mm (4 inch) woofers, a 22 mm (0.88 inch) tweeter and a pair of small bass ports at the rear with matching foam bungs.
The 3090Ci sits on pre-fitted rubber feet and its width is intended to match the dimensions of most AV receivers or amplifiers, allowing for easier placement on an equipment rack, shelf or stand. The speaker measures 430 x 152 x 216mm (WHD), weighs 6kg, and has an individual cost of £169.
This slimline active subwoofer uses a 200mm driver and 150W of built-in amplification. The 3060S offers a choice of spikes or rubber feet, but can also be wall-mounted using an optional dedicated bracket (Q 60WB).
The controls and connections of the 3060S are at the rear, hidden behind a removal magnetic panel, along with a downward-facing port for discrete cable runs. The sub measures 480 x 300 x 150mm (WHD), weighs 8.5kg, and costs £329.
Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack – Features and specifications
The big selling point of the Q Acoustics 3000i series is the inclusion of a number of innovations first introduced in the company’s award-winning Concept 500 speakers. As a result, the 3000i series has Point-to-Point (P2P) bracing, which involves analysing the cabinet- and bracing-specific weak points rather than simply bracing the corners. This creates a more rigid enclosure. According to Q Acoustics, this approach improves the accuracy of the soundstage.
The 3050i also benefits from another technology used in the Concept 500, specifically HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equaliser) resonators. This approach is particularly effective in taller loudspeakers, and involves the highest and lowest pressures within the enclosure being analysed. These differing pressures are then connected using a resonator (basically a pipe), which equalises the overall pressure within the speaker enclosure and improves the bass performance.
Along with these various sonic innovations, Q Acoustics has also improved the construction of the 3000i series using a precision-cut cabinet, rather than a simple ‘fold and glue’ approach. The top and front baffles are also double thickness, whilst the terminal panel cut-outs have been removed. This reinforced construction results in greater structural integrity and a more inert speaker enclosure.
It isn’t just the cabinets that have been upgraded; the drivers, too, have had an update. The 3000i series uses a new high-frequency driver unit (tweeter) that’s been decoupled from the baffle via a compliant suspension system. As a result, it’s isolated from the vibrations caused by the woofer, reducing interference and improving performance.
The mid/bass driver (woofer) has also been tweaked and uses an Aramid fibre cone and a newly developed low-lag, rubber surround. The cone is designed to provide the optimum balance between stiffness and self-damping, which means it can accelerate without flexing and stop very accurately without unwanted resonances.
Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack – Performance
Over the years, I’ve had plenty of experience with speakers from Q Acoustics, and the company has consistently impressed with its ability to combine value and performance. It’s as though it’s discovered the magic formula for creating speakers that can deliver a level of build quality and performance far in excess of their price point.
So it didn’t come as a huge surprise to discover that the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack continues this trend. From the moment I took them out of the box, I could sense the thought and precision gone into their construction. These speakers look and feel more expensive than they actually are, thanks to careful attention to detail.
More importantly, they sound great too. The use of innovations first introduced on Q Acoustics’ high-end Concept 500 speakers has clearly paid dividends. The solid construction and point-to-point bracing creates a cabinet that’s more inert, and when combined with the re-designed drivers, the result is an open and very detailed sound.
If you forget the fancy name and just think of them as pipes, the HPE resonators also played their part, equalising the pressure inside the 3050i speakers and ensuring improved bass performance. The floorstander’s bass extension is fairly impressive, but so too is the smaller 3010i bookshelf speaker. Consequently, the system was able to deliver a solid bass presence, which was then supported by the subwoofer.
The 3060S sub is probably the only weak link in this package. That’s not to say it’s a bad subwoofer, and it’s slimline nature makes it easy to position, but it does lack the deep bass extension produced by some of the competition. The only other observation I’d make about these speakers is that their dispersion is a little narrow and focused, so angling them towards the main listening position would be a good idea.
Those minor quibbles aside, the 3050i package is superb. Movie soundtracks sound amazing, with clear and precise imaging that filled the room with sound. I often use Gravity as a test for 5.1 systems, because the film has a lot of very directional dialogue and extensive steering of effects around the room. Thanks to the shared cabinet design and drivers, this package was able to move those sounds seamlessly from speaker to speaker.
When it came to a reference standard 5.1 mix, such as Dunkirk, this Q Acoustics system really came to life. The score was ably handled by the 3050i floorstanders, retaining a pleasing sense of musicality, while the 3090Ci centre speaker delivered clear and focused dialogue.
The effects were spread around the room with precision, and the combination of the floorstanders and the subwoofer resulted in explosions that both filled the room and retained a degree of concussive impact.
This system isn’t just about big bombastic soundtracks, though; it’s also able to render more subtle audio effects such as the ambient sounds of the jungle in Jumanji. The tweeters can handle high frequencies particularly well, never sounding shrill to forced, while the mid-range is also well represented.
I could also drive the speakers quite hard using my Arcam AVR850 AV receiver without them sounding brittle, although they were equally as adept when listening to content at lower volumes.
When I moved from movies to TV series, the 3050i Cinema Pack continued to impress. The more complex soundtracks of shows such as Altered Carbon or The Expanse were delivered with the same precision and verve as movies.
Watching football revealed the system’s ability to deliver room-filling crowd noise, whilst keeping the commentary clear and centred – even if I didn’t agree with what the commentators were saying. The system was also at home with simpler tracks such as game shows, documentaries and the news, where the mix was primarily focused on music and dialogue.
In fact, the inclusion of the 3050i floorstanders means the system is excellent with two-channel music as well, making it ideal for fans of both movies and music. This pair of big speakers delivered a neutral and refined performance that managed to combine the tonal accuracy of the overall system with a real sense of fun.
I also wired the 3010i bookshelf speakers up as the front left and right channels, and mounted on a pair of dedicated stands. These little beauties sounded fantastic for their size.
At the end of my period of testing, I came away with the inevitable realisation that the Q Acoustics 3000i series is a remarkably accomplished range of speakers, regardless of whether you’re watching movies or listening to music.
Why buy the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack?
You simply won’t find a better-sounding set of speakers for the money, making the Q Acoustics 3050i Cinema Pack the ideal choice for movie and music fans. The speakers are incredibly well made, making a mockery of their price point, and the inclusion of innovations first seen on the Concept 500 only adds to their appeal.
The result is a well-designed and carefully thought-out package of speakers that deliver an open and detailed soundstage. The tonal balance from speaker to speaker is excellent, delivering seamless steering of effects and an immersive overall experience. The dispersion of the drivers is quite focused, and the sub could be better, but for the price it’s hard to find fault.
There are a number of excellent 5.1 speaker packages available for a similar price to the 3050i Cinema Pack, including the XTZ Spirit and Monitor Audio Bronze Series. Neither package includes floorstanding models, but they have better subwoofers, helping to balance things out. All of these speakers are outstanding when it comes to movie soundtracks, but the Q Acoustics package has the edge in terms of overall performance and price.
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Q Acoustics has delivered yet another superb set of speakers in the shape of the 3050i Cinema Pack. They look great, sound better, and are competitively priced, making them the perfect choice for fans of both movies and music.