I found these speakers recently on eBay at a good price. Most of the time when I find things on eBay there is no budget available, yet this time, things came together and I was able to purchase them. I must add here that within the limits of my budget I do like to try different Hi-Fi components when I have a chance in an attempt to get a superior sound or delivery. “Superior” in this context is a sound that touches me more, but I’m also happy listening to music on my regular headphones and phone and get a degree of sufficient satisfaction this way too.
I haven’t actually heard these speakers before, but I’ve heard older Q Acoustics models and appreciated the sound. For some three years now, I’ve had a pair of ProAc D2 speakers. I was curious to see how the Concept 300 would match against them.
The ProAc D2 is a great speaker. At a slightly louder volume it brings out the character and the nuances of a song in a precise and detailed manner. I found that it works well with a warm tube-powered amplifier but is quite flexible and able to work well with other amps as well. I had them nicely sitting on a pair of Atacama HMS 2X stands, although quite close to the wall behind (20-30cm) due to the limitations of the space (a relatively small room).
The Concept 300 have now taken their place on the Atacama stands, although visually it is not a match. I’m hoping to find their own lovely stands on eBay one day soon. I think these speakers were made for Melody Gardot’s music. The voice reproduction is of a realism beyond what the ProAcs can deliver. In “Don’t talk” or “Once I Was Loved”, it is almost scary. “Autumn leaves” by Eva Cassidy has an equally lovely delivery.
Instrument separation and impact is not much behind. In a song such as “The Long Road” by Eddie Vedder, the tabla of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has a similar degree of realism.
Other songs I particularly enjoyed on these speakers where “Blue Skies” by Diana Krall, “This Girl’s in Love with You” by Rumer feat. Burt Bacharach and “The Wind” by Cat Stevens. An old LP record of the Carpenters picked up at a second-hand market (brocante) in Belgium for a few euros a long time ago sounded lovely even through the crisp sound of the scratches on the record. Not so with Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising”. That was a pure mess somehow.
There is a feeling that the song is “nude”, shown such as it is, in all its glory and with all its faults unhidden, including the limitations of the recording itself. It is really a powerful delivery that one gets with these speakers. The ProAc are different, and perhaps because these are just first impressions, the sound seems more special, but I guess that has to be revisited in light of further listening sessions I hope.
As a side note, I was concerned that the new Apple HomePod, which I’ve listened to and found very good indeed may sound good in comparison with these speakers. Perhaps at a cocktail party where the music is just background to conversation one would not notice much of the difference, yet if you stop to listen and you do so quietly and carefully, they are a world apart. I mention this because I find that sometimes Hi-Fi “audiophile” equipment is overrated and a blind listening test may find in favor of new modern smart speakers that have increased in quality in recent year.
A Tidal playlist with songs I liked on the Concept 300s is available here.