Interviews

Interview with Alex Munro, director of Q Acoustics

Alex-MunroDirector of Q Acoustics, Alex Munro spent the majority of his career working for the most prestigious British brands, such as KEF and Tannoy. He took the time to talk to Son-Vidéo.com about the new Q Acoustics 3000 Series.

Can you tell us about the origins of the Q Acoustics brand?
When it was decided that we would create a range of loudspeakers (the 1000 series) there was a lot of thought about whether we (ie. Armour Home Electronics) should use one of our existing brands or create a new one. After careful consideration it was decided that we wanted a fresh start and created Q Acoustics. This way there would be no pre-conception and we could have a brand new approach.

The new 3000 series is once again a success and it follows on from your upgrade with the Concept range. Can you tell us a bit more about these last two ranges?
We try to learn from everything we do and are always seeking to make improvements. Often we create an ‘i-version’ of a range to embody this. The first model in the Concept series was based on the multi-Award winning 2020i with an improved cabinet and crossover. It featured the first implementation of the Gelcore technology, Gelcore is when you effectively have a cabinet within a cabinet separated by a compound like glue which never sets – for greatly reduced cabinet coloration. The Concept 20 is often sold with a high mass optional Stand which also incorporates Gelcore technology on the speaker mounting platform – minimising stand transmitted vibrations.

Your company has been producing cables since 1979 and is one of the world leaders in this sector. How does it influence your work?
It has a very significant influence on our work. On each 3000 series carton and on the terminals of each speaker is a tag saying, ‘Designed and Tested using QED. We Recommend QED Cables.’ We often run joint promotions to emphasize this, like the one attached. Our engineers work on both sets of products and thus have a clear understanding of the interaction of the speaker cable with the complex impedance of a typical speaker. Especially since many speakers do not conform with the impedance specifications they state.

Your speakers are acclaimed by the international press, how would you interpret such a success?
The features of our product design are selected and employed to provide real discernable benefits to the listener. We aim to achieve the best balance between the appearance design and engineering for performance. Then we seek to clearly communicate what we have done to the international press. Most importantly we regularly innovate so they are always interested to hear what we have to say.

You changed woofers material in the 3000 series : what did you improve?
The addition of Aramid fibre makes the cone’s behaviour more predictable and ultimately less coloured. Having greater consistency of cone performance also allows accurate balancing with the cone mass to control the break-up modes to get a flatter frequency response and wider dispersion.
– You also replaced tweeter from 2000 series with a new kind : why is that and how does it sound?
It is a concentric ring dome design where the dome tweeter’s surround acts as a radiating element which takes over at  higher frequency when the dome’s level starts to fall. This enables the tweeter to perform up to 35kHz. Exposing the dome in front the mounting plate avoids horn effects that lead to a coloured sound. The butyl rubber isolating mount reduces the effect of cabinet vibration on the tweeter to provide a purer sound.

Are you planning on releasing any new products?
We have the next three years of products planned. An advantage of being part of a larger group is that are able to invest strongly in new products and though I have been part of doing this with other brands over the years, this is the most exciting time of my life.

Can you tell us about your own audio equipment?
I have been fortunate that in most of the homes I’ve lived in we’ve been able to have a separate rooms for listening to music and watching movies and television, with the main room being the music room. Not everyone can be so fortunate, which is why we design all our products to be just as accomplished with a movie soundtrack or a classical concert. The audio installation in my home is constantly changing. Very often I keep the best system we could produce in a previous company to act as a bench-mark for what we are producing now. I love the accurate reproduction of bass and always seek to achieve this.

What is your best musical recollection?
I have a new one almost every day, but for the very best one I need to go back to my first year as an audio engineer at KEF in 1980. I was asked to travel with the Technical Director to the Usher Hall in Edinburgh to help build and operate what has been described as the then largest public address system used in a classical concert hall, employing far higher quality components than were generally available at the time. The same day, a BBC engineer played us one of the first digital recordings I had heard, the result in this large auditorium was very life like.

This post is also available in: French

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