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 in to the bright lights, surrounded with speakers and amplifiers to drift from one sonic experience to another until I purchased something. Until now, I’d never heard of Q Acoustics.
- Are the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers the best value floor-standing HiFi for the money? I think so.
- Auditioning the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers
- The first listen to the Q Acoustics Concept 40
- Getting approval to buy the Concept 40s…
- Q Acoustics Concept 40 Photo Gallery
- Other floor standing speakers auditioned
- Q Acoustics Concept 40 vs Q Acoustics 3050i
- Q Acoustics Concept 40 vs Klipsch Reference R-26F Speakers
- Q Acoustics Concept 40 vs Monitor Audio Silver 200
- Other units compared:
- Initial concerns with the Concept 40 sound signature
- The goal of new floor standing speakers
- So how do the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers sound?
- Using the Q Acoustic Concept 40 for Home Theatre
- Technical Specifications
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 were 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 40 Photo Gallery
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
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
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
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:
- Elac Debut 2.0 F6 Floorstanding speaker
- Klipsch Reference R-6000F Floorstanding Speakers (Available in Black and Walnut)
- Bowers & Wilkins 683 S2 (A lot more $)
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 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 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 (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 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 Amp.
I also looked at the Q Acoustics Concept 20s but they were clearly wasted as surround speakers just as the 3020i were.
|Q Acoustic Concept 40 Tech Specs|
|Frequency Response||53Hz – 22kHz|
|Impedance (Nominal)||8 Ohms|
|Impedance (Minimum)||4 Ohms|
|Weight||18.5kg (heavy suckers)|
|Bass drivers||2 x 125mm|
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.
This post was last updated on 2020-01-25 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.