These $300 bookshelf speakers are the best in their price range – here’s what they sound like at home

Putting together a great home audio system can not only take a lot of research and effort, but a lot of money too. Not everyone, however, has either of those things — not to mention the fact that not everyone wants to dedicate all the room required for a serious audiophile setup with multiple speakers and subwoofers around the house. That makes a simple pair of stereo speakers a great option — and if you’re looking for a great pair of inexpensive stereo speakers, then the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers may well be the way to go.

Q Acoustics has a track record in building great-quality speakers for your home that aren’t overly expensive — and the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers are only the latest in a long line of products.

The first thing to note about the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers is their design, and they’re pretty good-looking speakers. They come in a few colors, including white, black, grey, and walnut — and all the color options look pretty good. They also come with speaker grills — so if you prefer a more simplistic look and the slight change in sound that comes with it, you can use those too.

The speakers aren’t overly big, which is helpful for those looking for an out-of-the-way setup. The speakers themselves come in at 10.9″ high, 11.1″ deep, and 6.7″ wide — enough to give them some serious oomph without taking up a ton of space on a shelf or on your TV stand. They have a sensitivity of 88dB, which basically means that they’ll produce 88dB of volume when 1mW of power is supplied to them. While that’s not huge, compared to some other speakers, we found it was enough to produce quite a loud sound — and certainly enough for the vast majority of users.

On the back of the speakers, you’ll find basic speaker inputs, and that’s it. There’s no power switch here — these speakers are passive, meaning you’ll need to connect them to an amplifier of some kind in order for them to work properly. We tested the speakers with an Onkyo stereo receiver, and they worked perfectly well with it.

In general, we were able to get the speakers up and running in under 15 minutes. As long as you know the basics of setting up a some audio system, you’ll find it simple to connect everything together and enjoy the sound that the speakers have to offer.

For a few weeks, we’ve been testing the speakers in a variety of different ways, and for each test, we were impressed with how great the speakers the sound for the money. Are they the best-sounding speakers out there? No — but for the price, you really can’t do much better. We used the speakers for watching movies and TV, as well as for listening to music during the day, and for listening to podcasts while doing things like cleaning and cooking.

The mid-range on the speakers was also pretty well-tuned. The low mids provided plenty of warmth, without getting too muddy or overshadowing other aspects of the frequencies, and the high mids offered enough bite for vocals and guitars to shine through a mix decently well. We did feel like there was a slight cut in some of the high mids, but it never took too much away from our listening experience.
Last but not least was the high end, which again, we found to sound pretty good for the price that these speakers come at. High end is usually the first frequency range that cheaper speakers sacrifice, but these sounded great in that department. Cymbals shone through, while vocals had a crisp tone to them, usually reserved for higher-end and more expensive speakers. We did find that the lower highs seemed to get more attention than the upper highs, but the clarity and detail was still far better than what we would expect for the price here.
So what about volume? For most, there’s plenty of it — these speakers can get loud. And they do so without distorting too. At risk of giving the neighbours a headache, we turned up the tunes a few times while testing these — and safe to say, if you want to frustrate the neighbours with these, you can. Of course, we recommend trying to stay on your neighbours’ good side.

In general, the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers seem tuned for audiophiles. They don’t try to impress too much with extra boosted bass or overly scooped midrange — instead, they aim to offer accuracy, and they do so quite well.

The Q Acoustics 3020i speakers are clearly an excellent option for those who want a great pair of speakers but don’t want to have to reach too deep into their pockets. The speakers come at $299 for a pair — which really isn’t much compared to the competition. There are other options out there, like the Elac Debut B6.2 ($250), which come at a similar price and offer similar sound quality. But if you have $300 to spend, and want a great pair of speakers for day-to-day listening or connecting to your TV, then these are the way to go.

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