Q Acoustics Concept 40 Floor standing speakers

The notion is clear - to produce a speaker that is good fantastic. Another way is to work on the cupboard, and this is even more essential compared to the motorists, which can not do their best if they are spoiled by boomy cartons should you think about it.

In a way, cabinets can do no right, as all they can do is the performance possibility of drive units by accentuating standing waves - blurring and smudging the sound from inside.

Before seemingly reaching on the alternative Q Acoustics has worked hard and long to get around this issue. Designer Karl Heinz Fink has taken a revered inexpensive standmounter - the 2020i - and made it extra special by mounting its motorists in a first-class, stiffer, better- carton that was damped, and calling it the Concept 20. Unexpectedly, the restrictions of the 2020i - which I 'd ascribed to the drivers - have evaporated.

And we have this, the floorstanding version of the Notion 20. Rather than doing a tweaked variant of the present (and excellent) floorstanding 2050i, the Concept 40s are basically extended 20s with spikes on the end. And fascinatingly, when you slam the cabinets of the Concept 40s, it feels like you have just hit lead- lined concrete. Really you haven't, of course, because they are made from Gelcore, first seen on the 20s.

This cabinet is said to be "ultra low resonance", thanks to its "cabinet in a cabinet" layout, as Q Acoustics' Steve Reichert puts it. The inner and outer cupboards are pulled together by a special adhesive (Gelcore) that binds the two cabinets, but which never places. The point is the energy created within the enclosure excites the inner cabinet, but this kinetic energy doesn't degrade the performance of the drive units as in conventional loudspeakers because the Gelcore layer disperses the energy by converting it into heat. The Concept 40 adds a tough three way spike arrangement too. So the speaker sits on whatever surface it's put on securely.

Unlike the Concept 20, which uses rehoused 2020 drivers that are i, the Concept 40 uses two new bespoke 125mm bass/midrange drivers place into an aluminium fascia plate. They appear visually identical to the single one in the Concept 20, but the motor has been enhanced and also the magnet reinforced. Like all Q Acoustic speakers, the drivers are not off the shelf designs, but bespoke for the exact application. This is topped off by an aluminium facia plate with a butyl clamp. Crossover is a fourth-order 'Linkwitz-Riley' layout to ensure there are no phase inversion problems across the crossover frequency, the organization tells us.

Available in a selection of high gloss black or high shine finishes that were white, the Concept 40 is a nicely presented product in the price, but lacks the stunningly sophisticated finish of Monitor Audio's Silver 6 GBP1,250, The issue is that Q Acoustics loudspeakers have ever been exceedingly well turned out at their respective price points, but never before has the business faced the big lads in the GBP1,000-plus sector. It definitely doesn't win hands down as the GBP500 2050i 'd, for example, although the 40 doesn't compare poorly to most in this segment of the marketplace in terms of finish. Things toughen up in the loudspeaker world rapidly, as well as the Concept 40 includes a fight on its hands.

Quoted sensitivity is 90dB, and in practice I don't think this is unrealistic; although a good 50W per side from your amplifier is always nice to have it is not a particularly difficult speaker to drive. I discover it works especially well with solid state (Creek Destiny) and tube (World Audio K5881) amplifiers equally. The speakers include foam bungs, which removed or may be fitted according to flavor; as they seem more open and expansive with their ports breathing but faster and tighter when they're foam. Everything comes right down to your music tastes as well as your room, in the end. Inside my room I discover they work best at around 30cm out from the back wall, slightly toed-in on their tripod stands that are incorporated, using the bungs set up.

Sound quality

Any GBP1,000 Q Acoustics speaker is constantly to be an interesting proposition, not least because the GBP500 2050i is not far off the standards of many speakers of this cost. The Concept 40 proves a good deal better in relation to the 2050i, propelling it at a stroke up to the positions of the top at the purchase price, as it transpires.

If you have heard the 2050i, you'll know it is a really clean and musical device, without too much nature of its own; whatever music you play it merely gets down to work and lets rip using a warm, open and gratifying sound. You get an abundance of extra musical insight, which takes it, although none of this is lost in the Concept 40. Truly, in terms of transparency, it is like night and day. It's possible for you to hear instantly what the cabinets in the 2050i are doing wrong, because none of it is present in the Concept 40.

Cue Air's All I Need up, and also you could hear the difference in the opening bars. The Concept 40 carries the guitar part on the lead in a delightfully subtle manner, revealing the delicacy of the finger work with the strings, while the instrumental timbre is more naturalistic. When the lead vocal line kicks in, it has a wonderfully silken sound - cozy, confessional, psychological. The percussion that is gentle pushes out more forcefully, the 'quieter' cabinets with this new speaker better in a position to carry accenting that is dynamic, which brings with it a greatly increased sense of rhythmic flow. Instead of ambling around, the song looks to have a trajectory that is real, to be going somewhere. All this comes in the abundance of subtle musical clues which might be lost by loudspeakers that are lesser; it is not the touches that are loud that impress, it is the quiet ones.

Feed the Concept 40 some punchier rock, plus it shows itself in an even better light. Saxon's Strangers is a robust section of crashing drums, all power chords, eighties soft metal and close-miked vocals. Through lesser loudspeakers it can sound congested, but the new Qs are wonderfully clean and open, throwing the sound out as if they've dissolved out from the room, retaining just a ghostly vestigial presence. Bass is surprisingly powerful for this sized floorstander, and pleasingly even too - devoid of any bass peaks that are false. Notes start and stop fast and are played. Treble is not bad too, the crashing cymbal work sounding metallic that is decently, although not grating. However, you'd ideally need only a bit more space and smoothness; the golden dome tweeter of the Monitor Audio Silver 6 does better here, using a more openness and atmosphere.

The first movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony is wonderfully carried, again the Concept 40s showcasing their excellent sound staging, pin- sharp picture place and tonal evenness. This isn't an easy piece of music for any loudspeaker; complete, dynamic and spectacular range, it's throws weaknesses up and a veritable assault course fast. Even on crescendos, massed strings stay clean and never get shrill; at precisely the same time outstanding spatial precision is shown by the Concept 40, and impresses with its low-level detail too. String timbre is brilliant, you really can hear body and the bite of the cellos. The result is an utterly convincing performance of the classical music standard that is truly amazing. The only real criticism is that you had ultimately desire more power, scale and physicality - something you will certainly have to shell out more to achieve.


The Q Acoustics Concept 40 is excellent value even at GBP1,000, and a tremendously competent loudspeaker It is amazingly well rounded, having virtually no apparent weaknesses, as well as a great deal of strengths. Right throughout the range - from detail and dynamics it scores very highly indeed.

And that is its brilliance, since there is so little and so much to like that disappoints. It is only in its functionality that is treble it is not among the best in category; it's certainly not bad by any means, but some similarly priced rivals do a much better job here. But that's more than made up for by its outstanding skills in virtually every other region.

Most of all, what I enjoy relating to this floorstander that is new is its naturalness; it fall over itself trying to impress you or does not shout out at you. Truly, it does not present much of a character at all, which is just as it should be. And for that reason it's well worth an audition. Highly recommended.

Q Acoustics Concept 40 Floor standing speakers photo