A relatively new brand, Q Acoustics was invented by Armour Home Electronics, itself a recent operation that brings together and distributes a number of well-known British names like Alphason, Myryad and QED.
Armour is particularly strong in the budget sector of the market, and wanted a speaker brand to go with its electronics and accessories, so decided to create one, using a combination of its own staff, outside engineering consultants and Chinese factories.
We've previously raved about the 1050 floorstander and 1010 standmount. This time around it's the turn of one in the middle, the 1030 floorstander, which sells for a very modest £230 per pair. It looks very like a 1050, but is a little shorter, uses just one bass/mid driver instead of the 1050's pair, and costs £100 less.
Inevitably, the finish is mostly vinyl, in a choice of cherry or beech woodprint, or graphite black, though a thick and attractively sculpted front panel is (on our cherry samples) painted dark grey. The whole thing feels very solid, as confirmed by its total net weight of 15.5kg - ours actually arrived with mass/ damping material already loading the separate lower chamber, though.
One very impressive feature, especially in view of the very modest price, is an alloy plinth that lifts the speaker a few centimetres off the floor, extends the stability footprint, and generally tidies up the appearance. It has top-adjustable spikes, but no lock-nut provision.
This is a two-way design, based around a 165mm bass/mid driver with 115mm doped paper cone, mounted below a 25mm woven polyester fabric dome tweeter. The enclosure and main driver is loaded by a front port, while the rear houses twin zig-zag terminal pairs integrated with a cable-tidy; a fabric-covered perforated metal grille is also supplied.
Both our in-room measurements and our hands-on listening tests indicate that this speaker is best kept clear of walls, to avoid excessive mid-bass output. If domestic circumstances dictate wall proximity, it would be worth considering blocking the ports (rolled up socks work well).
Despite its modest pretensions and price, this is an impressively engaging loudspeaker, due in part to its innate simplicity, yet also in part to the fundamentally good sound quality of that 165mm main driver, which delivers the broad midband with fine coherence and even a measure of transparency and delicacy.
That said, there are also obvious limitations, especially outside the midband and towards the top and bottom ends of the audio band. The bass is weak on weight and authority, and while it seems agile enough, it doesn't have a great deal of grip or drive, and also suffers from thickening of textures.
The presence is rather restrained, even 'shut in', which takes a little off the 'edge' off voices. This is not always a bad thing, given the vagaries of modern recording practice, but it does make it a little harder to make out speech and lyrics, especially when playing the system at very low levels.
The treble proper doesn't sound particularly sweet, which is maybe why it too is a little more restrained than the norm. This all makes good sense, as a strong treble coupled with a weak bass would sound unbalanced. Instead the 1030 plays to its strength, which is that impressively coherent midband. This too might have been smoother, but does a fine job of communicating the musical messages.