Q Acoustics 1020i


From Hi-Fi World - January 2009 issue





The Q Acoustics 1020i is a very small bookshelf loudspeaker with a lot packed in. The tiny cabinet measures 250mm high, 175mm wide and just 265mm deep so it easily fits onto a standard 12in shelf, unlike most others in our group. Weighing just 4kgs getting it there is no sweat either! Encompassed by this tiny volume is a 125mm fibre cone bass unit, allied to a relatively large 25mm dome tweeter made from a polyester weave, and ferrofluid cooled for better power handling. The dome sits in a small recess which focuses forward output, improving sensitivity. I mention this because for its size the 1020i is extraordinarily sensitive, producing 87dB sound pressure level from one nominal watt. In any showroom A/B demo it will sound louder than most rivals and 40-60 Watt amplifiers should give plenty of volume. Twin ports are front mounted and bi-wire terminals are recessed into the rear panel.


The 1020is construct a wide sound stage with firm left and right images, although it lies between the loudspeakers rather than around them. Vocalists like Angelique Kidjo sounded intensely focused and detailed; backing vocalists were seemingly spotlit, the 1020is picking out the finest  nuances of expression and intonation. This intensity of imaging combined with strong detail retrieval was a delight, especially at the price. Better, the little 1020is kept vocals and instruments very well separated, making individual musical strands easily intelligible. It was an impressive  performance by any standard and also one free from box colouration, in spite of the front mounted ports.

Bass lines were fluid and expressive, but as you might expect lower bass is on the weak side. There is an audible lift to treble that adds some sting, so kick drum timed nicely in Dire Straits "So Far Away' but it lacked weight and rim shots hissed strongly. Mark Knopfler's vocals were as clear as a bell though, pushing out nicely from the mix, and the 1020is were better balanced and more insightful than most as a result, offering a delightful performance. The treble unit has some impressive strengths, but it was a little strident at times and whilst I enjoyed listening to Nigel Kennedy playing Massenet's Meditation, his violin sounded a little thin and reedy. Nevertheless, it was a passable result for a £130 loudspeaker. Our Sugden A21a didn't help ameliorate this treble emphasis; the 1020is really need a NAD C315BEE or similar, possessing a warmer sound.

verdict 4

Clean and clear, with intense imaging, they're great at the price.

Q Acoustics 1020i £130

Armour Home Electronics

+44 (0)1279501111


- intense imaging

- great clarity

- tuneful upper bass


- a trifle forward

- some sibilance

- little low bass


Detailed gated sine wave analysis of frequency response, shown, picks out a small amount of midband emphasis, but a very smooth lower midband and nicely controlled bass that extends healthily down to 60Hz - good for such a small box. The port, which measured +10dB up on forward output at 80Hz, peaks at 63Hz, so it will add speed to bass, whilst low bass is strongly curtailed to eliminate boom. The 1020i is very tightly engineered here to sound even, accurate and punchy, although decay spectra analysis confirms 63Hz as a hot region.

The impedance curve shows the loudspeaker is not especially ‘difficult’ and a high sensitivity 87dB helps in keeping amplifier power down, making 40 Watts a fair choice for good volume. With impedance measuring 5.5 Ohms and DCR 3.8 Ohms the 1020i draws current to achieve high sensitivity, but most amps can cope. This is a good set of results for such a small loudspeaker. NK


q acousics 1020i fr1

Green - driver output; Red - port output


q  acoustics 1020i z1


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