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Modern sounds and the Q Acoustics Concept 300 speakers: Review – CNET

The Q Acoustics Concept 300 speakers

Q Acoustics

The first Q Acoustics speaker I heard was just a couple of years ago with its little 3020, and that one's spunk really clicked with me. Then a year later, I heard the improved 3020i and the 3050i towers. All of them contenders, but they didn't prepare me for this one: the Concept 300 aims higher -- a lot higher. It's $4,499 a pair in the US, £2,999 in the UK.

The sound is unerringly precise, the Concept 300 stays out of the way and lets the music speak for itself. Right away I noted it's a "fast" speaker. The music's leading edge transients and subtle inner details were exceptionally clear, so brass instruments sounded crisp, cymbals shimmered and sparkled, and piano's harmonics sounded just right.

It's a stunning thoroughly modern design -- I really love the look. The Concept 300 is a two-way speaker that sits on a skinny Tensegrity tripod stand. The cabinet feels supersolid and features a 1-inch (28mm) soft dome tweeter, 6.5-inch (165mm) woofer, and a rear-mounted bass port. Impedance is rated at 6 ohms, and the beefy custom biwire connectors are very impressive. The Concept 300 comes in two-tone finishes: Gloss Black/Rosewood, Gloss White/Oak and Silver/Ebony.

Modern sounds

Vocals sounded clear and immediate, an amazingly direct connection to what went down at the recording session. Take Gregg Allman's terrific 2011 solo album Low Country Blues; its meaty sound was music to my ears. Allman's growling vocals blasted through the Concept 300s with startling presence.  g

The Q Acoustics Concept 300 speakers, those tripod stands look cool. 

Q Acoustics

As I listened to my Mongo Santamaria at the Village Gate LP from 1963, I realized how little progress has been made in recorded sound over the last 50-plus years. Santamaria's conga drums and his big band's brilliant dynamics shone through, and the cymbals and percussion had plenty of snap. I could also hear the club's atmosphere, which added to the sense of being there.  

For a round of comparisons I set up a pair of Harbeth P3ESR 40th Anniversary monitor speakers. The Concept 300 is a much larger speaker, and it handled dynamics with greater ease. The P3ESR countered with a richer, more full-bodied tone that goes down easy, but the Concept 300 won on transparency and a bigger room-filling sound.

It tells the truth, but can you handle the truth? If the recording is harsh or bright, the Concept 300 will let you know in a hurry. The P3ESR's sound is more forgiving.

One downside, I found the very low bass lacking -- it quit at around 50 Hertz in my room. If you need more bass, add a subwoofer or step up to the larger Q Acoustics Concept 500 tower speakers, which run $6,000 a pair in the US, £4,000 in the UK.

The Q Acoustics Concept 300 speakers are designed with the discerning audiophile in mind, but one who also appreciates a cutting-edge look.