Q Acoustics Concept 40 Speakers Review – Affordable HiFi Utopia

Q Acoustic Concept 40

Make Life Click is reader-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. More details

Current testing methodology is v1.2

Release Date
November 11, 2016
Price
Price not available
Model:
QA2690
Weight
14.96 lb
Size
19.7 x 11.4 x 8 in

Are the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers the best value floor-standing HiFi for the money? I think so.

How did I meet the Q Acoustics Concept 40? Well, about 2 years ago I was working out of a shared co-working space in the city. One block away was a high-end HiFi store. I immediately knew this was going to be trouble.

At some point I would be pulled into the bright lights, surrounded by speakers and amplifiers to drift from one sonic experience to another until I purchased something. Until now, I’d never heard of Q Acoustics.

It happened. The Focal, Monitor Audio, Q Acoustics displayed all drew mi like a moth to the flame.

Editor’s Pick

Q Acoustic Concept 40

Floorstanding HiFI Speakers that punch above their price class

5/5
Price Range: $$
Brand: Q Acoustics
Q Acoustics Concept 40 with front grill off - speakers wear off

TL:DR;

The Concept 40 have been my main listening HiFi and Home Theatre floorstanders for the last 3 years and the still make me smile. While the audiophile in my wonders what else might be out there, I’m confident these will continue to be a part of my HiFi collection for some time yet.

The Specs

  • Crossover:  2.3 kHz
  • Frequency Response :  53Hz – 22kHz (+/- 3 dB)
  • Min Impedance:  4 Ohms
  • Nominal Impedance:  8 Ohm
  • Recommended Power/Wattage:  25 watts – 150 watts
  • Weight:  18.5 kg (quite heavy)
  • Size:  972mm x 288mm x 170mm

Stuff I like

  • Beautiful sound
  • No unwanted resonance or sibilance
  • Solid build – impressive quality
  • Price is superb for this quality of sound and finish
  • Form factor is great, especially if you want great sound for a smaller lounge or listening room

Stuff I like less

  • The piano gloss is really well finished but over time I’ve found it to be a little too sparkly for me

Comparable products to consider

Q Acoustic 3050i next to the Concept 40 and Monitor Audio Silver floorstanding speakers
Q Acoustics 3050i Floorstanding

I’ve compared them and there is a lot between them but if you want to save a few dollars and still get a speaker that is better than it’s price then check out the 3050i

Monitor Audio 200 Silver 7G
Monitor Audio Silver 200 7G

A sharp and punchy speaker. I passed on Monitor Audio but I did think they looked amazing. They didn’t have the soundstage I appreciated from the Concept 40

B&W 603 S2
B&W 603 S2

B&W have a sound signature that people like. They have always stood out as a possible competitor for my HiFi listening. Unfortunately, a step up in price though.


Living room with HiFi speakers in them
Q Acoustics Concept 40 review brought to you by the colour black (and a little Ikea furniture)

I had travelled from Canada with a Yamaha HiFi amp, Energy Connoisseur CF-50 floor-standing speaker, a CC-10 centre speaker, Velodyne subwoofer and two small energy satellite surround sound speakers. These were connected to a Mac mini, Apple TV and a small android media box I used for Kodi.

This was a surprisingly punchy and enjoyable setup, especially for Home Theatre. I was also very child-friendly for a small living room. The problem was it lacked a fair amount of musicality for HiFi listening and, being a relatively opinionated audiophile on a budget, I wanted to move up a notch – the location of the HiFI store was a sign.

Auditioning the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers

This is where it all goes downhill…well, my ability to resist the HiFi store went downhill. On a typical working lunchtime, I strayed into the store and stood stunned at the opportunities that were in front of me. You see, I had just sold my high-end headphones business so I was a headphones audiophile but I had been out of the HiFi speakers game for a while, and amps for that matter. I knew what good audio sounded like but was rusty on HiFi options.

Tentatively I was lured into the listening room, a comfy lounge chair and the offer of coffee to stimulate and heighten my hearing abilities.

The first listen to the Q Acoustics Concept 40

There were a few speakers set up in the room on the first listen but I can’t remember much about them. All I remember is that the Concept 40 was connected to an insane $8K stereo amp which was probably total overkill for the demo experience. 

The audio salesman selected the perfect opening track to woo me with. To be honest I never got the name of that also.

All I remember is instantly accepting the cold hard fact that I couldn’t walk away from these Concept 40 speakers that were priced at less than $900.00 USD!

Getting approval to buy the Concept 40s…

Knowing that one does not simply walk into Mordor and ask for the Ring of Power, I knew I had to get my wife’s approval for this endeavour. I came up with a plan before this conversation.

The plan was that I would purchase the Q Acoustics Concept 40 – but without spending any cash. I would have to fund the purchase through the sale of many other audio items I possessed. This included the 5.1 Energy set up and Yamaha amp, and many other Sennheiser headphones, Fender IEM’s and things I had lying around leftover from my headphones business.

Once I pitched it, it was an easy sell. The game was on and the only thing slowing things down was me…and eBay…

Q Acoustics Concept 40s look good. They also come in White.

Other floor standing speakers auditioned

Here are the speakers I looked at/listened to in addition to the Q Acoustic Concept 40 Floorstanding speakers.

Q Acoustics Concept 40 vs Q Acoustics 3050i

“Q

Are the Q Acoustics 3050i better than the Concept 40? In a word no. BUT that doesn’t mean they are still not an awesome speaker. The Q Acoustics 3050i floor standing speakers and 5.1 3050i set up is a really nice bundle and is actually what I thought I could first afford. For the price especially, they are fantastic for sure. 

I nearly went for the 3050 but then thought if I liked the stereo sound of the Concept 40 so much then I should buy those and then build up the rest of the Home Theatre over time. If your budget stops at the 3050i, I highly recommend them.

Q Acoustics Concept 40 vs Klipsch Reference R-26F Speakers

“Klipsch

There were a few things going against the Klipsch R-26f when I auditioned them. First of all, it was a noisy room and second of all, there was a limited option for music to listen too. Ultimately they didn’t grab me musically enough. I liked the sound for Movies but as I knew I would invest in a Subwoofer for the Concept 40, I wasn’t that worried about getting a huge sound from them. 

I also wanted a sound that worked for a dinner party at a nice low volume and then for Jurassic Park or Black Hawk Down. The energy CF-50 felt similar so didn’t grab me as much.

Another thing that I couldn’t get past was the size of them and the physical appeal. While I had WAF for purchase, I didn’t have WAF for the look of the Klipsch floor standing units in our lounge. They were just a little too ‘bachelor pad’ in size and presence. I don’t have a dedicated Home Theatre room so these have to exist in a lounge which is multi-purpose.

So, the sound was solid but they were not as musical and quite a lot cheaper. Reviews were good but not enough to make believe they would make me happy (they were sold as price for each unit online so keep that in mind).

Q Acoustics Concept 40 vs Monitor Audio Silver 200

No products found.

These come in Black, White and Rosenut. Sold per pair.

The Monitor Audio Silver 200 were the units I felt would be most likely to win out over the Concept 40s. Everything I had read about them said good things. Fast and quick, big sound, detailed and expressive. So, on a later trip to audition all the speakers, I had them put the Monitor Audio Silver 200 in the room next to the Concept 40’s and asked them to leave me alone for an hour. I also had the 3050i in the room for comparison. 

Overall the Audio Silver 200 just didn’t have as nice a sound. They didn’t feel as musical and almost felt thin in comparison. The big kicking intro on Stormzy’s “big for your boots” didn’t hit me as hard. The depth on Linkin Parks ‘One more light’, Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Angel’ and Stevie Ray Vaughns ‘Tin Pan Alley’ wasn’t as full and the musicality on some of the Dianna Krall’s “Live in Paris’ didn’t move me.

I didn’t not like them. I really like their physical look and wanted to take them home but they didn’t perform as well over the broad range of tracks I threw at them.

I would still like to compare the Concept 40 tower speakers to the monitor audio Silver 6 but I’m happy.

Other units compared:

Initial concerns with the Concept 40 sound signature

I did have some concerns with how ‘well behaved’ the Concept 40’s were. From all reports, the Klipsch and Monitor Audio were faster and had more attack. I like treble, I like a fast speaker and I like impact. It’s not that the Concept 40 didn’t have it, it just wasn’t offensive or in your face about it.

I was so used to hard sharp edges on all my audio that I didn’t realise the Concept 40’s were giving me the full musical range without having to top out the treble and fatten out the bass with some poor post-manufacturing sculpting.

The truth is it will depend on what you pair with the Concept 40 floorstanding speakers. I currently have the Denon AVR-x4500h (now the No products found.) which I have reviewed here and it has a lot of power behind it. It’s still a warmer sound signature than some amplifiers though so I would recommend trialling a few out.

I do find that it can really get the Concept 40’s going but at some point, I’d like to pair them with a Marantz stereo amp and see how differently they perform using an amp switcher.

The goal of new floor standing speakers

My ultimate dream was to get a set of floor standing stereo speakers that sounded amazing when listening to music, but also sounded great when using them for Home Theatre. At this point, I can imagine a few audiophiles are choking on their coffee, but let’s not subscribe to the theory that great HiFi can’t be used for good Home Theatre. That debate is for another post. 

So, what could I get that sounded great for audio but could also be tied into a surround sound set up. The first step I took was the 3050i 5.1 Home Theatre package (Now the Q Acoustics 3030i) as it was affordable and well priced but it just didn’t thrill me enough.

HiFi Speaker shopping criteria (not that I was really looking)

  • Look good in the lounge (WAF)
  • Not be too bulky in size
  • Sounds great for HiFi but also be usable for Home Theatre
  • Be under $1500
  • Not require an overpowered amp to run it

So how do the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers sound?

Warm, silent (resonance is reduced due to their amazon gel core cabinets), and musical. I’ve always found a good pair of audio HiFi speakers can fill a room with volume without any feeling of discomfort, the Concept 40 do this. They sound amazing wide, rich and broad. 

My belief is that a good audio system makes you feel something. It’s more than just a listening experience. It’s an experience that you feel both physically and emotionally.

The treble is not lacking but there isn’t the hard edge to it that some other speakers will give you. The mids can give a superb husky vocal a stratospheric lift and the bottom end is tight and not waffly or loose. 

I did bi-amp them for a while but I’m not sure I felt any real value to it. I’ll probably commit that extra channel from the Denon to Dolby Atmos Height Speakers at some point.

The Concept 40s include 2 port bungs in the box – if you have to place them close to the wall this can help with reducing muddy/cardboard bass and offering a clear signal and sound.

The soundstage is really wide – if you listen to modern metal/rock you might prefer a tight closer signature. When you play acoustic, jazz, classical, vocal music and light rock there is an amazing sound stage that opens up. The instruments are so separated and well places in the listening landscape.

Using the Q Acoustic Concept 40 for Home Theatre

I added to the Concept 40s quite quickly with the addition of a pair of
Q Acoustic 3020i bookshelf’s for surround sound and an SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer, now the SVS SB-2000 Pro (this came in Piano Gloss Black which matches the Concept 40 Black Gloss perfectly). The results were perfect for what I wanted. The SVS SB-2000(now the SVS SB-2000 Pro) subwoofer is musical and if you don’t overdo it, it just rounds out an already lovely sound. I tend to only use the subwoofer for movies.

The Q Acoustic 3020i bookshelf speakers were wasted as surround sound units so I swapped these out for Fluance SXBP2 Bipolar Surround Sound speakers which are even better when paired with the Denon AVR-x4500h (now the Denon x4700h) Amp. 

I also looked at the Q Acoustics Concept 20s but they were clearly wasted as surround speakers just as the 3020i were.

Conclusion

The Q Acoustics Concept 40 are not my end game HiFI speaker but that’s only because one day I dream of having a large house with a dedicated Home Theatre / HiFI listening room in it.

And in this imaginary utopia, I have speakers that are up a level – maybe even the Q Acoustic Concept 500s. I’ve been avoiding the HiFi store since purchasing these just in case I get sucked in again.

For this time in my life and budget, I’m delighted with the Concept 40s. For the price, I honestly believe you will find it hard to find better. I know B&W and Klipsch and many other brands are better known in the USA but more people need to listen to these and then you’d find more people stock them.

Q Acoustics is a UK based company that is doing big things in audio, making big speakers at affordable prices. 

Knowing there is always room to improve these still get a solid 10/10 for the price, quality of build, sound quality and overall musicality.

Questions? Ask below and I’d be happy to help. 

Technical Specifications

Q Acoustic Concept 40 Tech Specs
Frequency Response53Hz – 22kHz
Impedance (Nominal)8 Ohms
Impedance (Minimum)4 Ohms
Crossover Freq.2.3kHz
Weight18.5kg (heavy suckers)
Sensitivity90db
ColoursBlack Gloss/White
Bass drivers2 x 125mm
Treble25mm
Q Acoustic Concept 40 Speakers
Q Acoustic Concept 40 Review
Q Acoustics Concept 40 Speakers
Sound Quality
Build Quality
Aesthetics & Look
Musicality
Value for Money
What we like (Pros)
Price
Sound
Finish & Build Quality
Available in White & Black finish
Bi-amp poles
What we like less (Cons)
None at this price.
5

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

This post was last updated on 2024-06-15 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


Helpful? Sign up and get more interesting posts like this. No Spam.

Get access to insights, deals, competitions and giveaways. Unsubscribe anytime.

* indicates required

18 thoughts on “Q Acoustics Concept 40 Speakers Review – Affordable HiFi Utopia”

  1. I usually don’t buy speakers based on reviews, but for some unexplainable reason i bought the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers based on reviews. Something in my brain said “Just buy them, you won’t regret it.” I have these speakers in my living room hooked up to an NAD C316BEE v.2 integrated amplifier. I believe one could spend thousands of dollars and not get better sound for music. And i have owned speakers from KEF, B&W, and other name brands that cost more, but the Concept 40 speakers simply sound better and don’t require expensive partnering equipment to sound good. I also really like the size and classy appearance of the speakers. My only wish is that Q Acoustics doesn’t have more models of speakers at different price points, lie a pair of floor standers for $2000.

    1. Steve, that’s a great story! Well done for taking the plunge and even better that you enjoyed the end result. I just love my Concept 40s for music also and find it a pleasure to listen to them every time. And your comment on the pairing with inexpensive gear is spot on.

      Can’t agree more on the additional floor models thing also. I feel like there is a gap between the Concept 40s and Q Acoustic 500s that could have something in it.

      Welcome to the Q Acoustics Club!

    2. Welcome to the Concept 40 owners club!!!

      Like you I was hesitant about buying speakers (specially hundreds of dollars) without hearing them first. But after reading all the reviews (both pro and “otherwise”) I decided to go for it. Was really leaning towards the B&W 606’s but really didn’t want to hassle with stands as my wife likes to put things on top of our speakers.

      I got mine in early August 2019 and have totally loved them from the start. They REALLY opened up after the first month. I also bi-wired them recently and did hear “some” improvements. The bass is so strong for only have 5 1/2 inch drivers. The imaging is to die for, Instrument and voice separation is fantastic. SMOOTH also.

      ENJOY, Glen

  2. Hi I am from India, I purchased concept home theatre with xtz 12.7 sub,and atmos speakers with Marantz 6013 AVR six months back . I really enjoy music and movies . I buy this on reading reviews without audition as in my city there is no Hi Fi audio stores .Music on pure direct mode has wide stage and good tonality and natural. The price in India is also reasonable comparatively. I wanted to share my thoughts

    1. Hi Mayank – thanks for your comments on the Q Acoustic Concept 40. Sounds like many others you made the decision without hearing the speakers but it paid off. Nice one! Mark

  3. Thanks for the review. I enjoyed the less techy approach to this more casual review, and the personal experience added to it. Whilst there are loads of techy reviews with the specs for many products, ultimately what you want is a genuine personal opinion of the end result, that is to say, the sound quality. I’ve already ordered the Concept 40 speakers and Concept Centre, along with the recently released Q Acoustics QB12 subwoofer, to replace my current Q Acoustics 7000i set-up. The 7000i’s are very solid speakers for the price, but there were some issues at slightly higher volumes, particularly with spoken dialogue from the centre channel. With 0% finance options available and some really solid prices (one UK vendor selling the Concept 40 for £699.00 per pair!), I went all out for an entire upgrade to my Hifi/Home Theatre set-up. In the end, I need my speakers for music, movies, and gaming. So thanks for the honest review. I’ll endeavour to post my own opinion of them once I’ve received mine, got them set-up, and “run-in”. Until recently, I actually never knew that speakers, apparently, need a run-in first before they sound better.

    1. Thanks Frank – much appreciated. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

      There are certainly different camps for the run-in philosophy but I think it make sense if the cones etc need to settle in to a movement and rhythm.

  4. Hi Mark,
    thanks for this review.
    I’ve been enjoying my concpet 40 with Rega Brio, which I am about to replace with Denon PMA 2500 NE and was thinking to upgrade the speakers as well. But after having read youre review I’ve decided to keep them, at least for a while 🙂

    1. I believe they will be excellent. That is not too dissimilar than my current room although mine might be a little bigger. I feel they fill the room nicely. I also have Fluance Bi-Polar speakers for surrounds (affordable at under $300) and the Concept center speaker.

  5. Great review!
    I recently went from the 3050’s to 2nd hand but barely played Concept 40’s and I’m still adjusting to the change to be honest. They’re paired with a Rega Elex-R integrated, which was a really good match for the ballsy and solid 3050’s. I think because it’s a more refined sound with the 40’s it’ll take me a bit to tune in. I mainly listen to jazz on vinyl in a dedicated 4.3 x 4.3m room with a Linn Sondek LP12 as my source. The speakers are about 33cms from the wall, well clear of the side walls, toed in a little and a generous 2mts apart.

    I’ll circle back here with an update soon!

    David

    1. Awesome! It might take some time for your ears to adjust but I think you’ll appreciate the finesse of these. Placement sounds great too. Look forward to hearing how you go!

        1. That’s great to hear Davy. Nice one. I still love mine too. Just wish I could get them wider apart in the room I have so there is better stereo imaging. It’s a little too narrow. Might need to get a new house…. 🙂

  6. Hi Mark, thank you for the great review. These concept 40s can currently be had for £499. Im considering them as my first sound system which will include the concept surround package with an SVS Sb3000 sub. At this price range, are there any better alternatives or should I bite the bullet and order the concept range without listening? Thank you, Usman

    1. Hi Usman – thanks! IMO – for affordable and well-presented HiFi listening, the Concept 40 are still awesome and at that price, still great value. I am still really enjoying mine. I have the SVS SB2000 but I kind of wish I had gone to the SB3000 as my listening room is quite large. I might upgrade soon.

      In saying that, I like the SB2000 mostly for movies and don’t tend to add it to music listening. I like the Concept 40 on their own and they reach pretty deep without the SVS Sub.

      If you purchase them without listening, and if you don’t have a decent set up now, you’ll have no choice but to be impressed when you power them up.

      1. Hi Mark, I really appreciate your response, thank you!

        As I said, this’ll be my first system, so I’m a bit unsure as to where to start. I don’t really know where to start when it comes to powering the speakers, streamers, speaker wires, AVRs etc. I’ve picked picked out the 40s based on positive online feedback and just pure aesthetics – I love the styling!

        In regards the sub, the sb3000 is what I hope to get eventually once my budget allows for it. My room is 6m x 4m so I might need the extra power. Again, I won’t be able to to test any subs, so ill be buying that based on online reviews.

        I’ve seen a used bluesound powernode 2021 listed for £500, which is almost half the RRP. My only concern with that is it only powers 2 channels with 80wpc. Im not sure I could link my center and surrounds if I wanted to do so later on.

        Any thoughts on the above is greatly appreciated. Thanks again!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.