Many people associate great value with a low price. We at What Hi-Fi? don’t do that. Want to know why? Exhibit 1: the Audiovector QR 7 speakers. These 114cm high floorstanders are by all reckonings an expensive product, yet after spending a great deal of time in their company we still can’t believe that they offer so much for the money.
They are the range-toppers in Audiovector’s starter QR series and offer a great solution for those with larger rooms. Our test room is a fairly generous 3 x 7 x 5m in size, and that’s the kind of space that you’ll need to hear these speakers at their best. Go much smaller and the QR 7’s considerable low-end reach and scale start to become oppressive.
Build & design
We have no complaints about the Audiovector’s build quality. Those large cabinets are superbly made and are finished to a high standard. Their bulk could have been an issue but smart aesthetics help the QR 7 blend into a wide range of rooms. To our eyes, they look expensive, classy and uncluttered. There are three finish options: Black Piano, Dark Walnut and White Silk.
These floorstanders are a three-way design, marrying an AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter to a 15cm midrange and a pair of 20cm bass drivers. AMTs use a pleated diaphragm that moves air with a concertina-type motion. Audiovector is no stranger to such designs, having used them extensively over the years. Here, the tweeter is fronted by a specially designed mesh grille that is claimed to reduce sibilance.
Type Three-way floorstander
Drive units AMT tweeter, 15cm midrange, 2x 20cm bass
Port Yes (downward-firing)
Impedance 6 ohms
Dimensions (hwd) 114 x 25 x 40cm
Finishes x3 (Dark Walnut, Black Piano, White Silk)
The midrange and bass units all use composite cones where two thin skins of aluminium sandwich a layer of damping material. The idea is to combine high levels of rigidity with low resonance, which should result in strong dynamics coupled with plenty of detail resolution.
The crossover points are pretty conventional with the bass driver handing over to the midrange at 425Hz and the mid to the AMT at 3kHz. These speakers are designed to be relatively undemanding to drive, and the numbers bear this out with a claimed sensitivity of just over 90dB/W/m and a 6 ohm nominal impedance. Take a look at the QR 7’s impedance curve and you will find that their load isn’t particularly demanding at any part of the frequency range, so they should work well with most amplifiers from an electrical compatibility point of view.
Their low frequencies are tuned by a downward firing port. This port exits near the front edge of the QR 7’s base and vents through the small gap between the main cabinet and the plinth that supports it. Such an arrangement tends to make speakers less fussy about placement within a room, and so it proves in this case with the Audivectors sounding pretty balanced from around 50cm away from the closest walls. They don’t prove too fussy about angling towards the listening position either, which points to a decently wide dispersion from those AMT tweeters. We end up with the QR 7 pointing towards the listening position, crossing a little behind our heads, which gives a broad and nicely focused soundstage.
This easy-going nature extends to partnering equipment too. These speakers are revealing enough to show flaws earlier in the signal path but don’t go out of their way to emphasise them. We use our usual reference set-up of Naim ND555/555 PS DR music streamer and Burmester 088/911 Mk III amplifier for much of our testing but also try the speakers with alternative sources such as Rega’s new Naia turntable and TEAC’s VRDS-701 CD player as well as more price compatible amplification in the form of Naim’s SuperNait 3.
It is fair to say that these Audiovectors would be considered big speakers by most standards. Add that generous cabinet volume to a pair of 20cm bass drivers and the expectations are of powerful bass and high-loudness capability. Those expectations are met with ease. The QR 7 shrug off demanding recordings such as Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight or Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. They dig impressively deep into the bass and deliver those low frequencies with authority and grip. Push volume levels north and the QR 7 respond with composure. But there is far more to these speakers than just muscle.
That powerful bass is nicely balanced with the rest of the frequency range and seamlessly integrated with the mids. Sure, put these towers right up against a wall, in a room corner or force them to work in a small room and that prodigious low-end will stick out. But take just a bit of care, which at this level is hardly too much to ask, and you will get even and articulate performers that just get on with their job unobtrusively.
These Audiovectors are wonderfully dynamic, delivering large-scale shifts in the music with control and verve. The subtleties aren’t ignored either with low-level nuances and changes in intensity rendered carefully. Audiovector has been working with AMT drivers for years and that experience shines through in the way the tweeter and midrange integrate to deliver a surprisingly transparent and insightful midrange. As we listen to the likes of Aretha Franklin and Suzanne Vega, we love the way these speakers deliver their performances with the passion and energy still intact. This unusual level of transparency through the midrange lifts the QR 7 well above the norm.
Can they dance, you might ask? We’re happy to say that they can, in a slightly understated manner. The hard-charging rhythms of the Massive Attack album are delivered with confidence and the speakers convey the music’s building momentum well. They may not be the most exciting floorstanders we have heard at this level, but they remain musically cohesive, and most importantly manage to hold our interest during our longer listening sessions.
In our opinion, the Audiovector QR 7 represent a lot of ability for the money. They do all the things big speakers are expected to do but combine that with levels of finesse, resolution and insight that aren’t common. As long as you give them the room to breathe and a suitably talented system, we think these speakers are something of a steal for the money. Good value? We certainly think so.
- Sound 5
- Build 5
- Compatibility 5
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