Q Acoustics has already delivered a thoroughly impressive show with the 5040 floorstanding speakers, earning itself a What Hi-Fi? Award this year. So, naturally, the next step is to bundle those speakers with a set of bookshelf surrounds, a subwoofer and a centre channel – and now we have ourselves a 5.1 home cinema package.
The 5040 5.1 Home Cinema has certainly piqued our interest, as, after a fairly quick and simple set-up process (especially by home cinema speaker package standards), these speakers give the impression that they’re ready and raring to go. But how will this package fare when we put it through its paces in our AV test room?
This Q Acoustics 5040 5.1 Home Cinema speaker package is officially priced at £2475 / $3595 / AU$5199, but what exactly does that include? Well, we can instantly recognise a familiar face in the mix, as the front speakers are the 5040 floorstanders, which just so happen to be recent recipients of a What Hi-Fi? Award. For reference, a pair of 5040s will set you back £999 / $1499 / AU$2349 on their own.
Aside from that pair, you also get a pair of 5010 passive standmount speakers, the 5090 passive centre channel and the QB12 active subwoofer. Bear in mind that you’ll likely need stands for the 5010 surround speakers, though Q Acoustics do also produce a dedicated wall mount.
The Q Acoustics package's nearest rival is probably last year's Award-winning Wharfedale Evo 4.4 Home Cinema Pack. It’s a shade more expensive here in the UK at £2799, although at $5095 and AU$8067 in the United States and Australia respectively, it might not be the closest match in all markets.
There is also the excellent Bowers & Wilkins 606 & 607 S3 surround speaker package, which has just earned itself Product of the Year in the What Hi-Fi? Awards home cinema speakers category. It’s also priced uncomfortably close to the Q Acoustics package at £2496 / $3799 / AU$3947, although this is an all-standmount package, unlike the 5040 pack.
Build & features
The first hint that these speakers are more playful and energetic than others we’ve tested is actually found in the design. The 5040 features a distinctive yet cohesive design for all of the speakers, and we’re fans of it. While the Wharfedale Evos look more stoic and traditional with their black wood veneer finish, and the B&W go for a functional, angular design, the Q Acoustics carve out a distinct personality for themselves.
Coming in either black or white (the passive speakers can also be bought in Oak or Rosewood but the subwoofer cannot), these speakers look good in either finish. We have the white set on hand today, which looks particularly nice thanks to the black front panels around each speaker unit, adding a pleasing pop of contrast. The black finish is also a looker, especially if you fancy a sleeker and more understated look. The rounded corners on each cabinet create a modern aesthetic that will likely complement most living rooms and home cinema set-ups.
The package not only looks good, but it's usefully compact compared with the very hefty Wharfedale speakers, too.
Finishes x 2 (black, white)
Dimensions (hwd) 97 x 36 x 29cm
Dimensions (hwd) 26 x 16 x 26cm
Weight 5.6kg (per speaker)
Dimensions (hwd) 16 x 43 x 24cm
Dimensions (hwd) 40 x 40 x 45 cm
The 5040 floorstanders measure 97 x 36 x 29cm (hwd) including the detachable spikes. They also weigh just 18kg, which is a fair bit lighter than the Wharfedale Evo 4.4 at 26kg. Beneath the surface, the 5040 sports a tweeter sandwiched between two 125mm mid/bass drivers in a vertical arrangement, something of a tradition for Q Acoustics speakers at this point.
However, the design of those mid/bass drivers is new, as Q Acoustics has implemented its new Continuous Curved Cone build; something we make note of in our full review of the stereo pair. Also known as C3 (pronounced C-cubed), the basic premise is that they’re designed to incorporate the rigidity of a straight cone design alongside the high-frequency break-up attributes of drivers with a flared design.
The drive units are made of impregnated paper, which Q Acoustics favours in its other speaker designs. That’s not the only familiar aspect, as the tweeter is a 25mm soft dome that’s decoupled to reduce potential distortion through vibration, something found on many other Q Acoustics speakers.
On the rear of the speakers you’ll find a standard set of terminals for hooking up to an AV amplifier, and on the bottom are a set of four detachable spikes; two on the main body of the speaker and two on the rear protruding metal feet.
Moving on to the surround speakers, the 5010 standmounters carry on the modest theme of this package. At 26 x 16 x 26cm, these surround speakers are much smaller than their Wharfedale equivalents, which are comparatively massive at 46 x 25 x 35cm. The design language of the larger tower speakers carries over here, as does the C3 driver architecture. This time, however, it's a single 110mm mid/bass driver alongside the 25mm soft dome tweeter.
Next is the 5090 centre channel speaker, which might just provide the greatest disparity when it comes to sizing against the Wharfedale set. At just 16 x 43 x 24cm, it's nicely compact and sits neatly below a TV, whereas the Wharfedale centre channel blocks a solid chunk of the screen if not placed well below. It features the same drivers as the surround speakers, although it features two mid/bass units instead of one.
Rounding things out with the B12 active subwoofer, this cube-shaped unit continues the rounded aesthetic of this package. It’s quite understated by subwoofer standards, measuring 40 x 40 x 45cm, and while that isn’t small, it doesn’t exactly draw attention to itself. It features a 30cm driver, powered by up to 440W of Class D amplification.
While it doesn't always follow that a great stereo pair becomes a great surround package, that certainly is the case here. The excellent 5040 speakers are backed up by a capable entourage to create an engaging and energetic sound. We’ve paired this package with the Award-winning Sony TA-AN1000 home cinema amplifier for our testing.
Starting with Interstellar, we dive into the enthralling scene that parallels Cooper and Mann’s fight with Murph’s desperate attempt to evacuate her family. The franticness of the scene is conveyed with the necessary energy and pace to invoke a palpable sense of tension and anxiety. Despite ramping up the pace to deliver an energetic and vibrant presentation, the Q Acoustics package remains composed when it comes to timing.
Better yet, the 5040 package delivers wonderfully clear and detailed audio, with Cooper’s desperate pleas to Brand through the hissing of the air escaping his cracked mask sounding clearly legible, while also being layered with the crackling of his radio. Brand, on the other hand, comes across with more depth as she pilots the ship without her voice muffled by a helmet.
Interstellar does highlight one issue with this package, however. It can sound slightly lean, especially compared with the stately Wharfedales, and that might be an issue for those who prioritise a sense of warmth to their sound. It’s clear that Q Acoustics has tuned these speakers to be punchy and sprightly, sacrificing some of the richness in parts. This is evident in some of the dialogue and sound effects as Cooper and Brand regroup on the ship, which can lack some body, despite being quite an emotive scene.
Moving onto the opening scene of Baby Driver, which we often use to determine how speakers deal with fast-paced surround sound, as the gang of bank robbers zip around Atlanta in the Subaru, the sound shifts dynamically between the speakers in an even spread. As the Impreza WRX sports car glides around corners in acrobatic stunts, the sound of squealing tyres and snarling engines is well placed within the surround-sound setting.
This extends to the greater scale and projection of the audio, as the Q Acoustics package delivers a spacious arrangement. It remains well organised though, refraining from sacrificing spaciousness for directionality, instead finding a good balance between the two.
It should be no surprise that this package is also talented musically, as we found with our full review of the 5040 stereo pair. In that review, we praised the crisp and precise sound, and nothing has changed on that front. Opting for something a bit more upbeat (in tempo at least) we have Phoebe Bridgers’ Kyoto playing through the floorstanding units in Pure Direct mode and are met with a similar sonic style to that provided with movies.
That is to say, there is plenty of energy and enthusiasm behind the instrumental arrangement, while Bridgers’ vocals are crisp and emotive. They can sometimes sound slightly bright, highlighting the leaner nature of these speakers, but the infectious up-tempo presentation and solid timing make that easier to forgive.
Are we surprised that a speaker package built upon a pair of Award-winning stereo speakers is a top-notch performer? Of course we are not, but we are happy to see that these speakers are characteristically consistent whether you’re using a stereo pair or the full 5.1 system.
If you want a home cinema package that's easy to live with, delivers punchy, energetic and theatrical sound, and you don’t mind losing a touch of warmth, then the 5040 5.1 Home Cinema is easily one of the best speaker packages on the market.
- Sound 5
- Build 5
- Compatibility 4
Read our review of the Bowers & Wilkins 606 & 607 home cinema speaker package
Also consider the Wharfedale 4.4 Evo 5.1 HCP