Our Verdict 
The Concept 40s build on the brand’s strengths to deliver a wonderfully inviting sound
For 
Smooth, refined balance
Consistency across frequency range
Fine stereo imaging
Surprising sonic agility and composure
Impressive build
Against 
Slightly polite sonic balance may be a little smooth for some
Reviewed on

It’s amazing what Q Acoustics has accomplished in eight years. 

The brand came from nowhere to take on, and in most cases beat, the established competition at budget price levels. Its reputation has also been reinforced with excellent sub/sat and full-sized speaker packages.

The Q Acoustics Concept 20 standmounters marked the company’s first move upmarket and delivered exceptional performance for £350. The success of those speakers pretty much guaranteed a floorstanding version.

Perhaps the biggest surprise with the Concept 40s is their ambitious price. If Q Acoustics had positioned them between £700-£800 it would have seemed logical.

At £1000, we’re wondering why the premium over the smaller model is so large, and also whether the brand – known for budget speakers, remember – will be accepted by potential buyers at this price.

Construction

Q Acoustics Concept 40

As expected, these towers build on the technology used in the smaller Concept 20s.

The highlight is an unusual sandwich-cabinet construction that gives these speakers what is in effect a box-within-a-box structure.

The idea is that any vibration in the internal box doesn’t radiate to the outside world to distort the sound produced by the drive units. 

It’s done with two thin layers of MDF separated by a material called Gelcore. The Gelcore layer turns any movement (vibrations) in the inner cabinet into heat, leading to an unusually quiet cabinet.

This layered construction is used on all the panels apart from the front and rear, which use more conventionally thick MDF panels.

For the front, there’s a large aluminium plate that not only makes the front of the speaker look elegant but helps with rigidity and damping too. The cabinet is internally braced for increased stiffness as well.

The 40s’ drive units are similar to those in the smaller model. The soft-dome tweeter is identical, while the twin mid/bass drivers – the Concept 40 is a two-way design – have been reworked to deliver the performance a speaker of this size and price deserves. 

More after the break

Build quality and set-up

It’s impressive. These 97cm-tall floorstanders have quality from their deep-gloss finish – there are black and white options– to the elegantly machined aluminium faceplate.

Positioning is straightforward – give them a bit of space to breathe with just a touch of angle towards the listening position to focus the stereo image.

Take a little time to optimise things and these floorstanders deliver a nicely layered soundstage with a pleasing degree of precision.

The Concept 40s aren’t fussy about partnering equipment. As long as the rest of the system is suitably talented all will be fine. 

We’d avoid anything that sounds too laid-back or relaxed though – the overall presentation may lack a bit of excitement in this case.

Sound quality

Once up and running, the Concept 40s stick with the family sound.

Tonally, that means a smooth and refined presentation that trades outright excitement for ease of listening.

When it comes to energy, the Tannoy Revolution DC6T SEs offer more excitement and greater precision, but the Concept 40s rarey seem lacking.

They could be accused of being a little polite, but it would be a mistake to assume they're too laid back. It’s the kind of presentation we could listen to for hours on end. 

There’s enough dynamic punch to keep us entertained. There’s a pleasing degree of agility here, plus the kind of low-end punch that will have your neighbours banging on the walls if you push it.

Listen to Nick Cave’s Babe, I’m On Fire and its unbounded energy is communicated superbly.

Detail is good – helped by that well behaved cabinet – and there’s consistency to the way these speakers deliver all parts of the frequency spectrum.

Switch to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and the Qs take it in their stride. There’s plenty of scale and authority. Orchestral crescendos are delivered with enthusiasm, and there’s attack when required.

Verdict

The B&W 683 S2s offer a greater sense of texture, but the Concept 40s offer greater integration between the frequencies, and greater overall consistency of sound.

Once again, Q Acoustics has delivered the goods.

 

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Breakdown 
Sound
Build
Compatibility