The Q Acoustics brand is so young that many remember the year of its birth – 2006. It is probably worth noting the impressive brightness of this event – otherwise it would have gone unnoticed – as well as the honesty of the approach of those who stood behind it. The audiophile public was promised acoustics of outstanding value for money, and it was they who appeared on store shelves – first in the UK and then in many other countries.
Three years ago, in 2017, Q Acoustics decided to go beyond the original strategy aimed at the budget segment of the market and release more status and, accordingly, expensive speakers to declare itself as a supplier of acoustics in a wider price range. The Concept 500 has become such a model.
It is easy to discern their “family” features in their appearance: deep cases with rounded edges, the favorite D’Appolito scheme with a two-way bass-reflex design, unusual pedestals – but in the Concept 500 you can clearly feel belonging to a higher class of products. They look really luxurious. The combination finish is gorgeous (and ingenious), the rounded bezels have nothing but the speakers, and of course the eye-catching ring-shaped metal base is also quite ingenious.
The 500s are part of the Concept family, which means that they have multi-layer cases made using Gelcore technology: in this case, three MDF sheets, and not two, like almost all other Concept speakers, are laid (pressed under pressure) a special gel that converts the vibrations of the structure into heat.
Measures to combat resonances in enclosures are not limited to this. They also use spacers placed at those points where their presence is especially effective for suppressing standing waves, as well as special tubes filled with damping material, called the Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer (HPE), operating according to the well-known principle, named after this German physicist , to reduce pressure unevenness in tall speaker casings. Thus, the fight against parasitic noise arising from vibrations covers all frequency ranges.
The midrange/woofers are bolted with additional spring-loaded bolts to the internal struts, and are insulated from the cabinet with damping layers. Therefore, the screw heads around these emitters are not only invisible, but they are simply not there, and besides, the problem of loosening of fixation over time is removed.
The tweeter is also housed in a specially designed rubber cushion that provides a secure decoupling from the body. The drivers themselves – a 28mm soft dome tweeter and 16.5cm woofers / woofers made from specially treated paper – don’t look extraordinary, but every detail has been carefully crafted to deliver the best possible sound quality. The same can be said about the fourth-order crossover, which separates the bands at 2.5 kHz.
Little noise – lots of music
All serious acoustic manufacturers pay special attention to combating cabinet vibrations and standing waves in their interior. And the higher the price of the model, the more uncompromising are the measures taken.
But, as you can see, the developers of the Q Acoustics Concept 500 put it at the forefront – and they did not lose. With a fairly modest price of the speakers, positioned not without reason as a High-End-class product, they managed to achieve a very high sound quality, giving a head start to competitors at a higher price.
The lack of parasitic noise allows the 500 to create a very clear, highly detailed, deep perspective music scene with precisely and holographically convexly focused sound images. The same factor determines timbre saturation, since the whole set of overtones of the voices of instruments and vocals reaches the listener.
And in combination with tonal balance (which the creators of the Concept 500 also took care of), you get a guarantee that there will be no distortions in it – that is, the presentation of the material will be as natural and authentic as possible. And even on the dynamics it affects the most positive way: mentally compare hitting the ball with a hard table tennis racket and, say, with your palm.
To vocals – with love
We load into the CD-player “Requiem” by G. Verdi – a work for soloists, chorus and large orchestra – and a stage appears before us, where all these performers are visibly present. They are not cramped, everything is in its place. In a very quiet introduction, you can hear everything down to the smallest detail.
We would also like to note the precise and expressive dynamics: sudden changes in volume are presented very effectively, and even “Dies Irae” seems like heavenly thunder with its drums rumble and the voices of the choristers, as it were, flying from side to side.
The Concept 500’s vocals are especially favored. This is also noticeable in Requiem, where the voice of each of the four soloists is written down to the smallest detail, and their images are perfectly focused on the foreground, and on any other musical material. For example, the countertenor of David Daniels (CD “J.S. Bach. Sacred Arias & Cantatas. David Daniels”) in this case does not mislead: for a moment it is impossible to doubt that a man is singing, all the characteristic nuances of the vocals are so accurately conveyed.
The song “Sweet the Sting” from the album “The Beekeeper” by Tori Amos perfectly matches the stringy bass rhythm and the expressive, slightly cracked voice of the singer, which not every system succeeds. The lower range is perfectly controlled, it is weighty and spacious, and the vocals are full of the smallest details, ironic intonations and coquetry.
The picture is clear
The old CD “Carmen Suite” recorded by Melodiya with music by Bizet-Shchedrin for the ballet of the same name sounds excellent. Perhaps, in this case, the smooth, but at the same time confident delivery, inherent in the Parasound HINT 6 amplifier (it was he who worked on the test), affects, however, the crystal clarity of the speakers certainly makes its contribution.
Such a clear, vivid picture is rarely obtained when playing this recording. All stringed instruments play euphoniously, without dissonances that arise when their overtones are inaccurately conveyed – while their images are perfectly focused on the volumetric scene. Diverse percussion complements the melodic lines, inspired by themes from the opera by J. Bizet, making the suite an independent work of art created by R. Shchedrin.
Clicks, knocks, claps, drumbeats, gentle xylophone play – everything is recognizable, visible, divided and perfectly coordinated. The fronts of these sounds are sharp, the rhythms are honed, the top is light, mobile, pleasantly rounded, without the slightest hint of sharpness. The scale and variability of the dynamics also make a significant contribution to the emotional message of this music.
Muse’s CD “Black Holes and Revelations” is also demanding in terms of dynamics and detail – and the Concept 500 handles it without a problem. All melodic and rhythmic parts can be easily traced in the jumble of electronic instruments and effects.
Vocals are also given special attention here, so that they sound articulate and expressive. The bass is weighty and resilient, tightly controlled, and in many ways provides the groovy drive of songs such as Starlight.
Q Acoustics has remained true to itself even in the newly discovered high segment of the loudspeaker market. Its high-end loudspeakers also offer outstanding value for money – both aesthetically and sonically, and the firm has demonstrated that excellent knowledge of the laws of acoustics and their skillful application in practice can achieve outstanding results. without the use of expensive materials and design refinements.
The Concept 500 will appeal to music lovers who prefer authentic yet emotional reproduction of recordings from a wide variety of genres.
Construction: two-way bass reflex floor-standing speakers
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Frequency range: 41 Hz – 30 kHz
Recommended power: 25-200 W
Impedance: 6 Ohm Dimensions (with base): 40х117.5х37.5 cm
Weight: 42 kg