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Q Acoustics 3020i upgrade to Monitor Audio Silver 300

Arsenio Erico

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Jun 28, 2020
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That's my plan so far based on what I can find locally. Do you think there would be enough improvement in sound to justify the money spent?
I have a Cambridge Audio CX61 in a relatively large untreated living room. I like the sound of the QAs, nothing to complain about, they are great for the money I paid but I would like to upgrade. I CANNOT audition where I live and I haven't tried floor standing speakers before.
My hypothesis is that floor standers would perform better overall and specially on the bass frequencies in a big room (6m x 6m, 4m ceiling). My understanding is that these MA Silver series are better quality than the entry level QA 300 series.
Here's a list of speakers I can get here: Monitor Audio Bronze and Silver series, Q Acoustics 3050i and Concept series (bookshelf).
The MA Silver 300 pair is 999$, the QA 3050i 650$ and the Concept series above 1000$.
Thank you very much for any feedback you can give! =)
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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That's my plan so far based on what I can find locally. Do you think there would be enough improvement in sound to justify the money spent?
I have a Cambridge Audio CX61 in a relatively large untreated living room. I like the sound of the QAs, nothing to complain about, they are great for the money I paid but I would like to upgrade. I CANNOT audition where I live and I haven't tried floor standing speakers before.
My hypothesis is that floor standers would perform better overall and specially on the bass frequencies in a big room (6m x 6m, 4m ceiling). My understanding is that these MA Silver series are better quality than the entry level QA 300 series.
Here's a list of speakers I can get here: Monitor Audio Bronze and Silver series, Q Acoustics 3050i and Concept series (bookshelf).
The MA Silver 300 pair is 999$, the QA 3050i 650$ and the Concept series above 1000$.
Thank you very much for any feedback you can give! =)
Firstly, why do you feel the need to change speakers? Secondly, in an untreated room the gold or metal tweeter might prove to be too much of a good thing with Cambridge. It may be just a little too bright. Of course if you can buy them with a 14 or 28 days return it'll be worth trying out.
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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The MA Silver series has not traditionally had a bright signature, not like the B&W 600 series even though both have metallic tweeters.

My bigger concern would be if the CX61 would drive the Silver 300 comfortably at higher volumes - which is what I assume you want.
 
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manicm

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Firstly, why do you feel the need to change speakers? Secondly, in an untreated room the gold or metal tweeter might prove to be too much of a good thing with Cambridge. It may be just a little too bright. Of course if you can buy them with a 14 or 28 days return it'll be worth trying out.
In a room with his size I would without thinking upgrade the 3020i to the 3030i if he liked the QA sound. The 3030i offers everything the 20i does but with better scale and bass. It’s a no brainer, if no other lifestyle factors are in play.
 

Al ears

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That's my plan so far based on what I can find locally. Do you think there would be enough improvement in sound to justify the money spent?
I have a Cambridge Audio CX61 in a relatively large untreated living room. I like the sound of the QAs, nothing to complain about, they are great for the money I paid but I would like to upgrade. I CANNOT audition where I live and I haven't tried floor standing speakers before.
My hypothesis is that floor standers would perform better overall and specially on the bass frequencies in a big room (6m x 6m, 4m ceiling). My understanding is that these MA Silver series are better quality than the entry level QA 300 series.
Here's a list of speakers I can get here: Monitor Audio Bronze and Silver series, Q Acoustics 3050i and Concept series (bookshelf).
The MA Silver 300 pair is 999$, the QA 3050i 650$ and the Concept series above 1000$.
Thank you very much for any feedback you can give! =)
Are you saying that those are the only speakers you can get online?
 
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Arsenio Erico

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Jun 28, 2020
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Thank you very much for taking your time and giving me feedback!
I feel the 3020i's are small for this room (6mx6m and 4m ceiling). I hardly ever crank them up but some sunday mornings it would be nice to have a pair of speakers filling the room with more "presence". Also, the bass is quite fine with my current speakers, but they do struggle with physics laws to do their job. And most importantly, I hope the MA Silver 300s would deliver better sound quality, soundstage and clarity. the QA3020i are really good, I would just like something better.

I like brightness, not ear piercing treble, but I find them pleasing when not exaggerated. So, if the MA are a tad bright, that could be a plus.

The QA 3050i are cheaper than the MA, that is interesting because I could have spare money to get a decent turntable. My concern is that it would be just like my 3020i but just with better bass response and not really delivery better sound clarity and quality overall. However, they are an option I am considering!

I live in South America, so please understand that we do not have many options here, and return policies are usually non existent. When we buy something there is no way we can return and change it and also, due to the pandemic audition is not available where I live. That is why I am turning to you lads, because I feel hand tied because of these local restrictions.

Hope you are all doing fine and enjoying your music!!! Cheers!
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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Q acoustics make a 3030i that wouldn't be to expensive an upgrade

Personally i find the Cambridge audio CXA 60 a little bright and thin sound but with an open sounding midrange, not shure how the CXA 61 sounds

Have you considered a more powerfull amp ?
 
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millennia_one

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I'd say just jumping up the line to the bigger 3050i is a good shout to fill the space a little better especially if you if like the sound of what you currently have, you'll just have more of I. It won't be night and day differences though not even with the MA 300s. Dimensioning returns happen very quickly with speakers. I'd be more inclined to add a subwoofer if you want more presence.

I'd be happy running far more expensive amplification with your 3020i, £$1500-2k worth of it! they'll just get better. Your speakers are not the weak link here id say.

The other things you mention, the sound stage, that's not necessarily created by the speaker but good placement in the room. As a starting place, stand them about 50-60cm from the wall and give them 2 meters between them, with some toe-in and just refine until you can't tell that speakers are actually making the sound. Its should sound like its all coming from the middle, a "phantom centre" but everything has to be spot on. And there's no reason why your current speakers can't do this. Most will be very surprised what there lowly "budget" speakers can do!

You'll have bass behind and dancing around the room in front of you and effects you never thought where even there, when done right, you'll be able to place instruments in the room, everything that reviewers go on about. It ghostly feeling sometimes negating the need for surround sound for some. In most living situations though it can be difficult to achieve BUT! Looks like you might have enough space to get away with it.

With your current amp don't waste your money on the MAs.
 
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manicm

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Arsenio can you acquire B&W speakers? And what’s your budget. I’m going to play mother-of-devil‘s advocate and suggest the B&W 603 s2. They’re very expensive though - look out for Black Friday specials?
 
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kukulec

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Jan 25, 2015
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That's my plan so far based on what I can find locally. Do you think there would be enough improvement in sound to justify the money spent?
I have a Cambridge Audio CX61 in a relatively large untreated living room. I like the sound of the QAs, nothing to complain about, they are great for the money I paid but I would like to upgrade. I CANNOT audition where I live and I haven't tried floor standing speakers before.
My hypothesis is that floor standers would perform better overall and specially on the bass frequencies in a big room (6m x 6m, 4m ceiling). My understanding is that these MA Silver series are better quality than the entry level QA 300 series.
Here's a list of speakers I can get here: Monitor Audio Bronze and Silver series, Q Acoustics 3050i and Concept series (bookshelf).
The MA Silver 300 pair is 999$, the QA 3050i 650$ and the Concept series above 1000$.
Thank you very much for any feedback you can give! =)
I have QA 3030i, and for 6*6m I would go with the QA 3050i. The CXA 61 will have the power to have a nice sound. Naturally for a good party level, later you will need something stronger. But first step is clearly the speaker in this case.
 
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Arsenio Erico

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Jun 28, 2020
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This is shaping up nicely! Thanks for the incredible help!!
I will definitely work on the speakers placement in the room now. I haven't paid much attention to it. I've recently bought better wires and wow, wouldn't have thought they'd make that much difference (I was using really crappy ones and not even sure they were speaker wires).
My shortlist is MA Silver 300 (999$) and the QA 3050i (650$).
I've just bought the CXA61, which exceeded my initial budget, so I will stick with it for a while. It was the best amp I could afford here in my country, the others were above 5000$, nothing in between. That's way beyond what I could spend on gear unfortunately. Maybe next time I travel to Europe I could upgrade my amp but meanwhile I'm happy with the CXA61.
 
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millennia_one

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This is shaping up nicely! Thanks for the incredible help!!
I will definitely work on the speakers placement in the room now. I haven't paid much attention to it. I've recently bought better wires and wow, wouldn't have thought they'd make that much difference (I was using really crappy ones and not even sure they were speaker wires).
My shortlist is MA Silver 300 (999$) and the QA 3050i (650$).
I've just bought the CXA61, which exceeded my initial budget, so I will stick with it for a while. It was the best amp I could afford here in my country, the others were above 5000$, nothing in between. That's way beyond what I could spend on gear unfortunately. Maybe next time I travel to Europe I could upgrade my amp but meanwhile I'm happy with the CXA61.

Sounds like a plan to me! you may find you dont need new speakers, i find things like this boil down to placement
 
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manicm

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Sounds like a plan to me! you may find you dont need new speakers, i find things like this boil down to placement
I somewhat disagree. As far as soundstage goes QA 3010i<3020i<3030i.

The 3020i is an excellent speaker but it’s doing a disservice to the amp and room size.

If Arsenio wants to stick to a standmount I’d seriously look at the B&W 606 s2, or a Dynaudio in the same class. The CXA61 can handle both.

Why stick to a GTI when you can comfortably have a Porsche or Ferrari?
 
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millennia_one

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I somewhat disagree. As far as soundstage goes QA 3010i<3020i<3030i.

The 3020i is an excellent speaker but it’s doing a disservice to the amp and room size.

If Arsenio wants to stick to a standmount I’d seriously look at the B&W 606 s2, or a Dynaudio in the same class. The CXA61 can handle both.

Why stick to a GTI when you can comfortably have a Porsche or Ferrari?
You’re welcome to you opinion. But jumping up to b&w doesn’t guarantee sound improvements far from it. Especially if the speakers are poorly placed to begin with. Which the op has stated he hasn’t payed much attention to. The Qs are more than capable of filling that space and If the op wants more impact as I stated a subwoofer will do the trick and more so than adding another stand mounts in the space or even a floorstander.

The differences will not be night and day.
And your analogy is not right it more like going from a Ford Fiesta ti to and sti line x not a lot different just a slightly firmer and tighter ride. Certainly not a a farrari that would be the 800 series.

Better to sort out the free things first and go from there and see what really needs to be changed.
 
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plastic penguin

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In a room with his size I would without thinking upgrade the 3020i to the 3030i if he liked the QA sound. The 3030i offers everything the 20i does but with better scale and bass. It’s a no brainer, if no other lifestyle factors are in play.
That would seem a logical upgrade, assuming the OP is totally happy with QA's presentation.

I'm no QA expert but the ones I've heard are great VFM
 

newlash09

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I've been through 3 sets of qacoustics speakers, and I simply love their sound. They have a very smooth and non fatiguing house sound. Which I would add, is slightly laid back.

Where as the monitor audio silver 200's that I've heard several times at my friends place, are more in your face, more dynamic and bass is bigger. Though I didn't find them bright, their top end was definitely not as smooth as the QA. That said, my friends room is treated with acoustic panels. But from what I've read of the CA CX60 ( not the newer 61 ), in a untreated or minimally furnished room, the pairing of Monitor Audio with CA, might make the top end bright. But iam no expert, so please take my opinions with a large pinch of salt :D

I understand that you don't have the option of auditioning sadly. So i would prefer to err on the safer side if it was me. All the best.
 
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manicm

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You’re welcome to you opinion. But jumping up to b&w doesn’t guarantee sound improvements far from it. Especially if the speakers are poorly placed to begin with. Which the op has stated he hasn’t payed much attention to. The Qs are more than capable of filling that space and If the op wants more impact as I stated a subwoofer will do the trick and more so than adding another stand mounts in the space or even a floorstander.

The differences will not be night and day.
And your analogy is not right it more like going from a Ford Fiesta ti to and sti line x not a lot different just a slightly firmer and tighter ride. Certainly not a a farrari that would be the 800 series.

Better to sort out the free things first and go from there and see what really needs to be changed.
Firstly I'm not against the QAs - I'm for bigger ones! I maintain the 3020i specifically is selling the OP short in his system/environment. Why sell yourself short when you can go further up the chain to acquire larger scale and soundstage? I suggested the QA3030i or 3050i as a start. But the 3020i is not doing it from what I imagine.

He has a 6m x 6m room - so any B&W will have more than ample room to breathe. And the reason I suggest he get a B&W 606 s2/ 603 s2 is because he now has the improved CX-A61 amp, and he wants a bit more punch in both the high and low ends, if you read his posts again.

Free things? He has the room for any positioning - not going to much of a difference with the 3020i, cabling will not get you a better sense of scale at this level. So what else?
 
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Arsenio Erico

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Jun 28, 2020
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First of all, I really appreciate all your replies! I'm learning a lot and getting ver specific elements to consider what to do.
Unfortunately I can't get B&W in my country and if I buy them online the shipping cost would skyrocket.
I will try the speakers placement this weekend and see how it goes.
If I still feel like I want a more dramatic upgrade, I'd still be torn between the 3050i and the MAS 300. I can get the MAS200 too, but the price difference isn't much and I assume the 300 is better.
To make things even more complicated (which can be fun! ha!) I thought maybe I should upgrade my cheap Pioneer PL990 turntable first. There isn't really an increíble difference when playing records or well recorded albums from spotify which is an alarm! Maybe I should go that way first!
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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First of all, I really appreciate all your replies! I'm learning a lot and getting ver specific elements to consider what to do.
Unfortunately I can't get B&W in my country and if I buy them online the shipping cost would skyrocket.
I will try the speakers placement this weekend and see how it goes.
If I still feel like I want a more dramatic upgrade, I'd still be torn between the 3050i and the MAS 300. I can get the MAS200 too, but the price difference isn't much and I assume the 300 is better.
To make things even more complicated (which can be fun! ha!) I thought maybe I should upgrade my cheap Pioneer PL990 turntable first. There isn't really an increíble difference when playing records or well recorded albums from spotify which is an alarm! Maybe I should go that way first!
If you listen to a lot of records, defo upgrade the Pioneer tt. If not, just ditch it and switch to a Tidal or Qobuz or anything that streams at least CD quality upwards instead.

And for the record I wouldn't pair MA with Cambridge Audio either. Even B&W would be a "maybe", and I'd certainly look for specific models that are known to be rolled off in the treble. Maybe Dali, Mission, Wharfedale (besides Q Acoustics, obviously). PSB is also well worth considering.
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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If you listen to a lot of records, defo upgrade the Pioneer tt. If not, just ditch it and switch to a Tidal or Qobuz or anything that streams at least CD quality upwards instead.

And for the record I wouldn't pair MA with Cambridge Audio either. Even B&W would be a "maybe", and I'd certainly look for specific models that are known to be rolled off in the treble. Maybe Dali, Mission, Wharfedale (besides Q Acoustics, obviously). PSB is also well worth considering.
Monitor Audio Silvers are not bright speakers. And getting rolled off speakers would be the last piece of advice I’d give, because you may reduce brightness but you’ll probably introduce other problems like harshness at the top end. That may seem a paradox, it’s not actually.
 
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rainsoothe

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Monitor Audio Silvers are not bright speakers. And getting rolled off speakers would be the last piece of advice I’d give, because you may reduce brightness but you’ll probably introduce other problems like harshness at the top end. That may seem a paradox, it’s not actually.
I confess I haven't heard the current Silver range iteration, I just assumed they were brighter because of reviews saying they're more upfront or "detailed" than the previous Silvers. And I'm basing most of my experience on the old Bronze BX, which I found pretty annoying with CA and Yamaha.
 
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manicm

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I confess I haven't heard the current Silver range iteration, I just assumed they were brighter because of reviews saying they're more upfront or "detailed" than the previous Silvers. And I'm basing most of my experience on the old Bronze BX, which I found pretty annoying with CA and Yamaha.
That's ok, I actually had the older BX2 once , and it didn't quite do it for me either.
 
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Arsenio Erico

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Jun 28, 2020
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Ok, if it isn't too much asking, I'd like to try a bit of a U turn after considering all the great feedback you've all given me.
I've tried playing around with speakers placement, it worked! There has been an improvement!
Now, U turn question is: Would it make more sense to upgrade my turntable NOW instead of the 3020i?? I mostly listen to records, not much of a streaming lover. My budget is under 1000$. I've just started looking at Rega Planar 1 plus ( benefits from phono preamp built in), Rega Planar 2 ,(780$ plus a phono preamp which I don't know its price range), Pro ject debut carbon (670$ plus phono preamp) and Pro ject essential III (520$ plus phono preamp)

I've read somewhere in this forum that one has to focus on the weakest part of the chain to decide where to upgrade next. I think my Pioneer PL990 is the weakest part now. I will eventually upgrade my speakers, I think I will try the MA Silver 300s and hear what happens! (999$).

Maybe a TT upgrade now would have more of an impact on the overall sound. Does that make sense?
 

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