Q-Acoustics has unveiled its most ambitious model so far in the Concept 500 floorstander. Previewed at the Munich High End show in May, this most advanced of Q-Acoustics loudspeakers is a culmination of work done by designer Karl Heinz Fink to build a high end speaker at a real world price, that being £3,599. The Concept 500 is a substantial 42kg design that incorporates dual layer Gelcore damping in between the three layers of its MDF cabinet to minimise vibration. Q-Acoustics has employed strut bracing using computer analysis, rather than putting in shelf bracing in convenient places as is usually the case they have placed struts across the box in the points where the sides are most easily excited.
The drive units were chosen for maximum dispersion in order to make results more predictable from room to room and to produce a wider stereo sweetspot, the tweeter is a larger than average 28mm unit with an inverted surround for this reason. It is mounted in a synthetic rubber gasket in order to decouple the driver from vibration in the cabinet. The two mid/bass drivers are 165mm in diameter and have 35mm voice coils, they are not fixed with bolts around the front but pulled from behind by a spring loaded clamping system that gives a firmer and more attractive fixing, from the outside at least.
Inside the 1150mm tall cabinet are tubes damped with a product called Unicorn Tail (yes way) that are designed to kill off the pipe resonances that beleaguer long cabinets , not a new idea but not one you see in many modern speakers either. Attention to detail can be seen in the acrylic laminate terminal plates on the back of the cabinet, Fink noticed how much energy was coming off the typical metal and wooden plates that are thinner than the cabinet proper and developed an acrylic and metal sandwich to minimise distortion from this source. The crossover is a fourth order type with point to point wiring that employs a very beefy air core inductor in place of the usual iron core variety, Fink explains that this type produces far better bass despite having the same specs. The top plate is necessary for driver fixing and has switches that allow treble output to be adjusted by plus or minus 0.5dB to offer a degree of tone adjustment to suit different rooms.
In order to comply with EU tilt test regs speakers need to be able to withstand 10 degrees of tilt and not fall over, most manufacturers provide a wooden plate to increase the stability for this purpose but Q-Acoustics has gone one further with a chrome plated die-cast cast base that provides the requisite stability alongside a firm anchor for the spike or ball feet supplied. The Concept 500 is finished in gloss black and white with contrasting real wood veneer, the industrial design courtesy of IDA Design who are responsible for the appearance of the majority of Q-Acoustics models. The speaker is scheduled to go on sale in February next year.