Another Black Friday has come and gone, and I’ve been shaking things up around the household – much to the dismay of my wife. But that’s the way things go sometimes. I feel this is especially true when it comes to audio equipment. We’re all looking for that “end-game” system, but it’s hard to know if we’re there without having heard a fair majority of offerings.
As I’ve talked about previously, kids had forced me to put away my reference speakers in favor of something more “baby-proof”, if such a thing can exist for Hi-Fi speakers. That requirement is hard to fill while still getting the sound I crave.
And thus, this Black Friday was the perfect opportunity to try something new. I would be lying if I said I was looking for new speakers prior to Black Friday. I wasn’t. But I would also be lying if I said I was entirely happy with my Klipsch RP-8000F speakers.
And what about them?
It’s such a shame, since they have so much going for them. As a recap, each RP-8000F houses a 1″ titanium tweeter loaded by a Tractrix horn accompanied by dual 8″ midwoofers. They’re rated (by the manufacturer) at 98dB of efficiency, and clock in at roughly 60 lb each.
Speaking of, those dual 8″ drivers had a tremendous ability to pressurize a room. They dug far deeper than any tower I’ve ever heard at that price. They did a pretty good job of making you second guess whether you really needed a sub for pure music duty. Their measured response is also pretty good, both on and off-axis. Really, they are well engineered.
It’s such a shame, though, that it had to be topped off by that rather disappointing tweeter. Okay, it’s not the tweeter’s fault. It’s the horn. Classic to Klipsch, there is an elevated response starting at 10kHz. For most people, this is probably non-issue.
But I couldn’t handle it. I had to use the EQ within the receiver to tap down that response by a good 1.5db at 10kHz and 3.5dB at 20kHz. Looking back on it, I imagine that the room had some to do with it, but I’ve never experienced with this with any of my other speakers.
Okay, let’s get onto the juicy details.
Did someone say Q Acoustics?
Yes, that’s right. I’ll be honest, prior to this I had never heard a Q Acoustics speaker in my life. I’ve certainly heard a lot though. They seem to like to send samples to reviewers and get as much press as possible.
Can you blame them though? They make reasonably priced speakers and if they weren’t good you’d be reading about it.
I ended up purchasing their 3050i towers and 3090Ci center. The center was a last minute, but the combo price made it near free and I had always wanted a center channel for our living room setup.
If you’d looked at the specifications, the build quality is about what you’d expect. The towers aren’t heavy speakers, like the Klipsch’s that came before. If you’re used to carrying around 80+ lb speakers (like my reference Regas), the 3050i’s will definitely make you second guess your purchase.
In fact, I would say that the build quality is about average for the price paid. I got mine in the English Walnut finish, and while the veneer itself is excellent, the edges of the cabinets feel a little bit messy.
Don’t take this as saying the speakers are poorly put together. I still expect them capable of taking a little bit of punishment and still carrying on. I guess the takeaway here is that you do get what you pay for, though it would have been nice to see a little bit more attention to detail.
How do they sound?
In a word, great! As long as you’re not solely looking at the bass response, they definitely punch above their weight.
The towers are armed with two 6.5″ drivers flanking a .9″ tweeter. For my more astute readers, this is commonly referred to as a MTM setup (Mid-Tweeter-Mid). It’s very popular in designs across the industry – hifi, professional, and diy.
I knew before I turned them on that they would never win against the previous speakers in bass response and extension. That’s just physics. That said, there are other (more important) benefits that smaller drivers and a dome tweeter bring to the party. And that is cohesion.
It didn’t matter the genre of music I listened to, these speakers kept my attention. And that’s the most important part. No hurting my ears, no messy sound-stage. These babies have it all.
Except for that bass. Look, it’s not that the bass is bad, just that the extension isn’t there. But it’s not surprising for their size, so that’s okay.
Movies, Movies, Movies
I’ll make this short. I haven’t had the pleasure of watching too many movies, but so far I have really enjoyed the 3090Ci. It does a good job matching with the towers and brings the clear dialog.
My only complaint is that I wish it had bigger drivers for a little bit deeper response. But Q Acoustics had a goal in mind when they set out to build the center; make it the same dimensions as a standard receiver. Given their constraints, I think they hit it out of the ball park.
Out with the old and in with the new. I can say that the Q Acoustics will be here to stay for a while. I like how they sound for music and so far find them to be quite adept at movies
I may find myself getting a subwoofer to flesh everything out in the near future, but that’s another topic for another day.