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Q Acoustics 2020i review

The Q Acoustics remain brilliant, beautifully put-together speakers Tested at £150

Our Verdict

The Q Acoustics remain brilliant, beautifully put-together speakers

For

  • Punchy, musical, open
  • Plenty of verve and attack
  • Solid, compact build
  • Beautifully finished cabinets

Against

  • Tough new competition

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Q Acoustics remain brilliant, beautifully put-together speakers

Pros

  • + Punchy, musical, open
  • + Plenty of verve and attack
  • + Solid, compact build
  • + Beautifully finished cabinets

Cons

  • - Tough new competition

If Q Acoustics wants to make sure its Award-winning 2020is retain their five stars after being usurped by the new-kid-in-town Wharfedale Diamond 220s, it’s going the right way about it.

After a price drop, they can now be yours for a tempting £150, as long as you want them in graphite or walnut finishes (the glossy black or white versions still carry a £50 premium).

Build and design

Either choice of vinyl wrap makes for gorgeous aesthetics thanks to the solid, curved-cornered cabinet, which is one of the most attractive and well built in the budget market. Compact, and unfussy with placement too, the 2020is should be easy to house.

You’ll get the best from them if they have a little room to breathe, but despite the rear-firing port they sound quite comfortable close to a rear wall. Q Acoustics’ own Concept 20 speaker stands (actually designed for the more expensive Concept 20s) are a match made in heaven, both performance-wise and aesthetically (though the cheaper, Award-winning Atacama Moseco 6s are more price-compatible).

If you’re upgrading your other components as well, or building a system from scratch, the Marantz CD6005 CD player (£350) and PM6005 amp duo (£280) will fit the bill nicely – and all for under four figures.

Performance

It’s always a treat pressing play with the 2020is at the end of a system – and a quick spin of Broken Bells’ eponymous album reminds us why. Their presentation is well balanced and exquisitely musical, demonstrating dynamic punch and agility that’s usually only found in pricier speakers.

There’s plenty of resolution here too. The wide-open and explicit soundstage is all-encompassing, multi-layered and precise. We play Pink Floyd’s Louder Than Words and the 2020is deliver the song with aplomb.

They give instruments body and texture, and deliver vocals with a wealth of insight. The speakers’ midrange is sandwiched by clear and refined highs, and a full, solid bass. Not afraid to reveal an attacking edge, the 2020is dig into the meaty guitar riffs.

But where there’s authority and verve, there’s also control and poise. Guitars soar through the choir, and instrument differentiation is precise.

Verdict

It’s only in a direct head-to-head with the new Wharfedale Diamond 220s that we realise the Q Acoustics no longer sit at the head of the table.

The Wharfedales are a touch more dynamic and subtle, and slightly tighter when it comes to timing and delivering rhythms. Still, sonically and aesthetically the Q Acoustics are a triumph.

Though trumped by slightly more talented competition, they remain exceptional speakers.

MORE: Best budget speakers

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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