Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040: pure musicality


Mis à jour le 23 May 2023.

Positioned at the heart of the British manufacturer’s catalog, the new Q Acoustics 5000 range introduces an innovative curved cone midbass driver paired with a decoupled tweeter. This Q Acoustics 2023 series has big ambitions, providing high-end hi-fi and home theater performance for a reasonable price. A feat made possible by the implementation of the technologies introduced with the prestigious Q Acoustics Concept 500 speakers. We had the opportunity to explore this new generation by testing the Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speakers (€799) and Q Acoustics 5040 floorstanding speakers (€1,299).

The Q Acoustics 5000 speaker series (here the Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speakers and Q Acoustics 5040 floorstanders) promises high-end performance at a reasonable price thanks to innovative, tried-and-tested acoustic solutions.

Q Acoustics 5000: the heart of the range

The new Q Acoustics 5000 series is situated at the heart of the British manufacturer’s range. It sits between the successful high-end Q Acoustics Concept series and the multi-award winning Q Acoustics 3000i series. An exquisite combination of these two lines, the Q Acoustics 5000s promise to set new standards for music and home theater sound.

Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040: presentation 


Q Acoustics has always taken great care in the design of its speaker cabinets. In keeping with this tradition, the new Q Acoustics 5000 Series adopts a cabinet reinforced with internal bracing. Using the P2P (Point to Point) principle, these braces connect several key points inside the cabinet to avoid vibrations and internal resonance. This is also made possible by the use of Helmholtz resonators that absorb and balance air pressure shifts. Acoustically, this results in a more focused stereo image and a more accurate spatial representation. 

The chassis of the Q Acoustics 5000 speakers (here the Q Acoustics 5020 compact speakers) is reinforced with internal braces mounted using P2P techniques to eliminate unwanted vibration and coloration.

The manufacturer’s work on the cabinet also contributes to the design of the Q Acoustics 5000 speakers. They have a rather compact format, with the Q Acoustics 5020 measuring 18 x 28 x 29cm and the Q Acoustics 5040 measuring 36 x 96 x 29cm. Consequently, these speakers are easy to install. This characteristic is also due in part to the excellent damping provided by the C3 Continuous Curved Cone driver. However, due to the bass-reflex enclosure and rear-firing port, it is still recommended to leave some space between the speaker and the wall behind it (at least 20/30cm), unless you want to artificially amplify the bass.

The speakers in the Q Acoustics 5000 range (here the Q Acoustics 5040 floorstanders) have a compact, slim silhouette to make their installation easier.

The visual impact of the Q Acoustics speakers is reduced due to their rounded edges, inspired by the 3000i series. They have an even more discreet front panel by opting for a black trim around each driver. In addition to its undeniable aesthetic appeal, this ring also acts as a deflector thanks to its butyl rubber structure. It absorbs and dampens unwanted vibrations for an accurate listening experience in all circumstances.

The drivers of the Q Acoustics 5000 speakers are surrounded by a black rubber damping ring. The latter are combined with a black lacquer baffle for an elegant look.

The acoustic fabric grille included with the Q Acoustics 5000 speakers has been redesigned for the Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speakers. It now covers the entire front of the speaker. On the Q Acoustics 5040 floorstander, only the top part with the drivers is covered by the grille. Its magnetic system means that there are no visible mounting holes or tabs.

The acoustic fabric grille fits snugly over the front of the Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speakers to emphasize the graceful curves of these acoustic works of art.

Acoustic design 

The Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040 speakers both use the same 5” midbass driver. This new model benefits from C3 Continuous Cone technology, which consists in using a single, smooth, continuous curve profile. The Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speakers are equipped with one of these drivers, while the Q Acoustics 5040 feature two. 

The unique structure of the midbass driver maximizes bass response, improves midrange accuracy and provides greater dynamics, while maintaining perfect bass damping. In order to move correctly, the driver uses substantial magnets coupled to large voice coils to increase motor strength. The result is a 50% increase in power handling and control compared to a standard driver of the same size.

Thanks to the exclusive C3 driver, the Q Acoustics 5000 speakers (here the Q Acoustics 5020) provide a detailed reproduction devoid of any distortion.

The excellent dispersion and perfectly controlled frequency response of the C3 driver maximizes the phasing with the tweeter. The tweeter is a 1” dome model. Like the brand’s most prestigious speakers, it is mechanically decoupled from the cabinet by means of a silicone suspension system. Therefore, it is isolated from the vibrations of the midbass driver that could alter its performance. As a result, the high frequency reproduction is free of any disturbance, with increased smoothness and detail. Moreover, the tweeter’s inner chamber is carefully vented for lower distortion and to improve the crossover frequency. 

The tweeter of the Q Acoustics 5000 speakers is mechanically decoupled from the cabinet by means of a silicone suspension system to ensure a smooth, natural and very detailed reproduction. The placement of this tweeter in between the midbass drivers on the Q Acoustics 5040 floorstander improves linearity and provides low distortion.

New terminals

The Q Acoustics 5000 speakers introduce new metal terminals. They have an ultra-thin profile, aligning almost perfectly with the rear of the cabinet. However, handling them requires great care to avoid unscrewing the ring entirely. Moreover, these terminals accept a maximum gauge of 2.5mm². It is therefore preferable to use cables with banana plugs.

The Q Acoustics 5020 speakers introduce ingenious ultra-thin metal terminals that barely protrude from the back of the speakers.

Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040: key specifications

  • Type: 2-way
  • Charge: bass-reflex
  • Internal braces: P2P (Point to Point)
  • Helmholtz pressure equalizers
  • 5” midbass driver
  • 1” mechanically decoupled tweeter
  • 5020 frequency response: 53Hz to 30kHz
  • 5040 frequency response: 39Hz to 30kHz
  • Recommended amplification: 25 to 100W (5020)/150W (5040)

Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040: listening conditions

The Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speakers are functional as soon as they’re unboxed. If necessary, it is possible to stick the included rubber pads underneath the speakers to decouple them. As for the Q Acoustics 5040, it is necessary to mount the elegant metal stand. The user can choose to use decoupling spikes or damping pads.

The Q Acoustics 5040 speakers are mounted on a metal stand that can be used with metal spikes or rubber pads.

For our review, we paired the Q Acoustics 5020 and Q Acoustics 5040 speakers with the Cayin CS-55A KT88, Marantz PM7000N and Cambridge CXA81 amplifiers. For our source, we used the Bluesound Node (2021) network player to listen to music on Qobuz, as well as Hi-Res tracks shared over the local network.

Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040: listening impressions

Q Acoustics 5020 

The Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speaker displayed exemplary neutrality to reproduce music incredibly accurately. Its excellent analytical abilities allowed it to extract the smallest details, which were precise and clearly audible. With Your Power by Billie Eilish, we enjoyed the many nuances of the acoustic guitar. The vocals were rendered with a beautiful presence in the center of the soundstage. They were effectively highlighted, allowing us to clearly distinguish each breath.

The Q Acoustics 5020 bookshelf speaker reproduced the slightest details and nuances of the music with great clarity.

The reproduction provided by the Q Acoustics 5020 speakers was transparent and smooth. The highs were vivid, precise and incisive. They were rendered without any harshness or sibilance. The mids were delivered in a very analytical way, allowing the speakers to reproduce the different vocal intonations and saxophone notes with the same conviction. The balance between these frequencies was perfect, with smooth transitions that gave us the impression that we were listening to a wideband driver. The lows were lightweight and soft. They were tight, but sometimes lacked impact and depth. Bassheads will probably want to use a small subwoofer, such as the Q Acoustics 7060S, with these speakers.

The Q Acoustics 5020 speakers offer a smooth, transparent sound that provides a highly faithful reproduction of the artists’ intentions.

Q Acoustics 5040 

Moving up to the Q Acoustics 5040 floorstanding speakers brought more depth to the lows without being excessive. The bass remains very firm and tense. The low-midrange became denser, gaining richness and nuance. These frequencies had more substance and benefited from perfect phasing with the tweeter. 

Like the bookshelf model, the Q Acoustics 5040 offered a pleasantly extensive soundstage. This breadth associated with the speaker’s great transparency allowed each instrument to perform its partition with freedom and ease. The attacks of the cymbals, the string instruments and the percussion instruments were crisp and very well-defined. They were lively, fast and clear. Every detail was crystal clear and accurately reproduced.

The Q Acoustics 5040 floorstanding speakers provided a wide soundstage to effectively render the instruments and ensure an efficient placement of the different sonic details.

Q Acoustics 5020: compared to…

Jean-Marie Reynaud Lucia: sold for €745, the Jean-Marie Reynaud Lucia speaker isn’t as neutral, favoring a warmer, softer sound. It is slightly richer in the mids, offering a more captivating and emotional listening experience. The Q Acoustics model is shorter, allowing it to be installed in smaller spaces more easily. 

Q Acoustics 5040: compared to…

Focal Theva N°2: available for €1,490, the Focal Theva N°2 floorstander is more dynamic and generous in the lows. The bass is deeper, more solid and pronounced. However, this Focal speaker is less analytical and neutral than the Q Acoustics 5040. The latter is more accurate, with no coloration whatsoever. 

Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040: who are they for?

The Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040 speakers are designed for music lovers looking for neutral, transparent and analytical sounding speakers with a compact format. These speakers reflect each note and vibration of the original recording with remarkable precision, without ever falling prey to an ostentatious presentation. As an added bonus, the compact and very slim format of these speakers allows them to be discreetly installed in any interior.

The speakers in the Q Acoustics 5000 range (here the Q Acoustics 5020) reproduce music and movie soundtracks with exemplary neutrality.

Q Acoustics 5020 and 5040: conclusion 

More detailed and transparent than the 3000i models while being more affordable than the Q Acoustics Concept series, the Q Acoustics 5000 speakers are an excellent mid-range solution that allows you to benefit from the expertise of the British manufacturer at a reduced price. They combine exemplary neutrality and detail to accurately reproduce music and movie soundtracks. The Q Acoustics 5000 speakers embody a quest for sonic purity, a desire for authenticity in the reproduction of recordings and a commitment to integration thanks to their compact size.

We liked:

  • The slim design
  • The impressive dynamism
  • The transparent sound

We would have liked:

  • Deeper bass
  • More convenient terminals
  • A more pronounced sound signature

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