The Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Package is a surround sound speaker system consisting of – no surprise – a 5.1-channel setup from a company known for producing great-sounding speakers at even better prices.
This system uses technology first introduced on the brand’s high-end Concept 500 speaker, promising a level of build quality and performance that’s far in excess of the package’s inexpensive price tag.
For this price, we rate it as as the best surround sound system for most people. While you'll still need to add one of the best AV receivers and cabling to complete your setup, this package makes buying the speakers a simple purchase: if you want uncompromised sound that doesn't break the bank, here you go.
The exquisite balance and huge sense of scale are exactly what you want to pair with the best TVs, and you'll really feel the difference that proper speakers make when compared to even the best soundbars.
Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Package review: Price & features
The Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Package brings together a number of speakers that are actually sold individually, but in one well-priced deal. The package costs around £999/$1,600.
The speakers are all from the Q Acoustics 3000i speaker range, and the head of which is the 3050i, an impressive floorstander that’s 102cm high and weighs in at a hefty 17.8kg with the bottom plinths attached. Two of these are included in the 5.1 package, which will be your front left and right speakers, and give the package its name, obviously.
The 3050i uses a two-way reflex design based on a 22mm tweeter, and a pair of 165mm woofers. As a result it has an impressive frequency range that goes from 44Hz to 30kHz. The tweeter is isolated from the cabinet to reduce any vibrations caused by the woofer, which is composed of an Aramid fibre cone designed to eliminate resonances and improve accuracy.
All the speakers in this range sport a precision-cut cabinet with double thickness baffles, and improved internal bracing for a more rigid enclosure. The 3050i also employs HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equaliser) technology, which is basically a pipe that connects the highest and lowest pressures within the speaker’s cabinet, thus equalising the pressure and improving bass performance.
The 3090Ci centre speaker included here uses the same 22mm tweeter as the 3050i floorstander. There’s also a pair of 100mm woofers either side of the tweeter, and two bass ports at the rear. This speaker is designed to handle dialogue in a focused fashion, while also matching the overall tone of the floorstanders.
The 3010i is a bookshelf speaker that uses a two-way reflex design, and has the same 22mm tweeter and 100mm driver as the centre speaker. Two 3010i speakers are included, and will handle the rear channels, and since all the speakers use the same tweeters and woofers, the system sounds cohesive and tonally balanced.
Finally the 3060S slimline subwoofer handles the heavy-lifting when it comes to the lower frequencies. This ported sub boasts a side-firing 200mm driver and has 150W of amplification built-in, resulting in a bass delivery that goes down to a respectable 35Hz.
Q Acoustics also offers a 3010i 5.1 Cinema Package for around £700, which uses a pair 3010i bookshelf speakers in place of the bigger 3050i floorstanders. This system will be better suited to those with less space or a more limited budget. There's also a 3010i PLUS package arriving, with a heftier subwoofer.
Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Package review: Design & setup
The Q Acoustics 3050i surround sound speaker system might be competitively priced, but you wouldn’t believe it by looking at it. The build quality is excellent, while the curved cabinets and chrome bezels around the drivers are particularly eye-catching. There are low profile binding posts at the rear, bass ports with foam bungs, and magnetic black fabric grilles on the front.
The finish is equally impressive, with a choice of Arctic White, Carbon Black, Graphite Grey, or English Walnut. Whichever finish takes your fancy, the price is the same. All the speakers (and sub) come with spiked feet, along with rubber caps for those who don’t want to damage their floors. The floorstanders also have outrigger plinths at the rear for added stability.
The system under review uses a 5.1 speaker configuration, which means three front channels, two surrounds, and a subwoofer for the low frequencies. To drive this set-up you’ll need an AV receiver with at least five channels of amplification, and since the front left and right speakers are full-range floorstanders, they will also double as an excellent stereo pair for music.
Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Package review: Sound quality
The Q Acoustics 3050i surround sound speaker system delivers an effortless musicality, with the front floorstanders producing a dynamic and expansive soundstage. The stereo imaging is excellent, while the centre speaker ensures dialogue remains clear and focused on the screen.
There’s a detailed delivery and a deftness of touch to this system, which works cohesively to give soundtracks balance, energy and a sense of scale. The surrounds blend seamlessly with the other speakers, and the subwoofer lays down a solid foundation of bass in support of the whole set-up.
Sound effects are steered seamlessly from channel to channel, while the speakers are able to pick out the more subtle audio cues. If you crank up the volume, this system remains composed, but is equally assured at more sociable volumes. As a result, the 3050i is a very capable all-rounder.
In fact, the 3050i system is hard to fault. The slimline subwoofer is the only weak link, and although it’s easy to install and inconspicuous, it does lack seriously deep bass extension. Thankfully the big floorstanders can help out here, and you won’t find better performance for the money.
Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Package review: Verdict
The Q Acoustics 3050i surround sound speaker system is built around a pair of 3050i floorstanders that deliver power, depth and musicality. Located between them is the very capable 3090Ci centre speaker, which ensures clear and focused dialogue, while a pair of 3010i bookshelf speakers handle surround duties, and the 3060S subwoofer delivers the bass extension.
The use of identical tweeters and woofers ensures a cohesive and tonally balanced soundstage, while the system as whole is capable of an energetic delivery with plenty of scale. Whether it’s movies or music, the 3050i will produce a commanding performance, and about the only complaint is the sub’s lack of serious depth, but some might be happy that it's not too expressive anyway. Otherwise this system is hard to fault at this price.
Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Package review: Also consider
We've already mentioned that the you can save money and reduce the space taken up if you switch to the Q Acoustics 3010i 5.1 Cinema Package instead – you still get the advantage of all the speakers matching to ideal symmetry in the soundstage, but it's less imposing (and, less powerful, of course).
Our other top pick at this kind of price is the Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos package, which features five fairly compact surround speaker units (plus sub), but the first two units have upfiring drivers actually built in so you can get a Dolby Atmos experience with any additional units. You won't get quite the same scale as this system offers, simply due to the size, but it offers an alternative level of immersion from those height channels.