There are three things to consider before you get your wallet out to buy a QB12 subwoofer: space, your budget and your neighbours. Because if you’re in the market for a plus-sized Q Acoustics surround speaker package, or aiming to upgrade the low-end response in your current home cinema set-up, those are the only things standing in your way.
It is designed to work with Q Acoustics’ 3000i suite – the 3010i and 3050i surround packages that have just won What Hi-Fi? Awards again – as well as the Concept 5.1 speaker range. Improving on a class leader is a tall task, but the QB12 proves it has precisely what it takes.
Beneath the grille is a 30cm driver powered by a 220W Texas Instruments TPA3255 Class D amplifier, more than ready to shake the floor of your living room.
A custom die-cast aluminium heat sink on the rear panel supports and cools the amplifier and power supply, while Q Acoustics has also fitted a brace inside the MDF cabinet to provide mechanical stability to the driver and reduce unwanted vibrations and resonance of the unit itself during playback.
To the rear, you’ll also find a 0/180-degree phase switch as well as level and crossover dials to help integration with the rest of your speaker package, though of course, you’ll also need to go through set-up on your AV receiver for the best results.
Take care when lifting this 21.5kg beast from the box. It’s impeccably built, with a sealed cabinet that makes positioning a little less fussy than it would be with a ported design. The price above gets you a black or white vinyl finish, such as on the 3000i range of speakers, while gloss versions to match the Concept range are available for a £150 premium.
The QB12 is almost cube-shaped and pretty big – so will take some hiding if you want it completely ignored. Part of the beauty of the 3060S, which comes as standard with the 3010i and 3050i 5.1 Cinema Packs, is its slim-line design; you can slot it tidily among the front three channels, or even beneath the sofa. The QB12, on the other hand, is liable to stick out, hence the need for space.
Q Acoustics promises power, and the QB12 more than delivers – used without care, it is likely to annoy your neighbours.
Drive units 30cm
Output power 200W Class-D
Max power 220W
Frequency range 28Hz - 300Hz
Dimensions (hwd) 40 x 40 x 44.6cm
Weight 18.5 kg
But while the 3060S is able to provide a solid sonic foundation for the rest of the package to grow from, the QB12 smashes through the action like a steam train, hitting you right in the stomach and taking your whole body along with it.
It isn’t just brute force, though: it’s precise, detailed and really rather dynamic. You can quite happily while away a few hours watching a regency costume drama and barely notice the QB12 is even there, but perhaps for some bass work in an orchestral score; it feels no shame in dialling back or sitting out when delicacy or humility is required.
But the reason you get a subwoofer this size is for the explosions, the high-speed crashes, the intergalactic space battles: it’s about feeling the action as if you were there, and that is a service the QB12 is well equipped to provide.
Integration is key of course, and that’s another area in which Q Acoustics has succeeded. We’d be more inclined to include it in the 3050i package than the 3010i, where the original 3060S does more than enough to complement the two pairs of standmount speakers, but this is the kind of performance that should slot easily into any comparably talented speaker set-up.
As long as you have the space, budget and amiable enough neighbours, we say go for it. Just be prepared to host movie nights from now on.
- Sound 5
- Compatibility 5
- Build 5
Read our Q Acoustics 3010i 5.1 Cinema Pack review