I began by listening to a few of my latest rock and alternative album purchases: Red Hot Chili Peppers “The Getaway”, Bros “Vol. 1”, Demics “Talk’s Cheap”, Shinedown “Leave a Whisper” and Mondo Cozmo “Shine”. What was immediately clear to me was that the QR3 is capable of producing a large, room-filling sound; bigger than you might expect from a speaker of its dimensions. It served up a great tonal balance, smoothly blending the highs, mids and bass. The all-important midrange, where most voices and instruments play, offered a natural character and musicality. Guitars in Shinedown’s “Simple Man (acoustic version)” rang soulfully, with excellent definition and tonality. Lead singer Brian Smith’s dynamic, passionate and sometimes raspy voice was reproduced with fantastic energy and liveliness. “Go Robot” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, had me tapping my toes and dancing in no time. The heavily distorted guitars and angry vocals of the lead singer of the Demics on “New York City” made me want to take back a few beers, head down to a local bar and listen to live rock. Unfortunately I was performing these listening tests on a Monday evening. Yes, I was certainly enjoying the sound of the QR3.
Another strength of the QR3 design I quickly noticed was its reproduction of high frequencies. Most certainly this was thanks to the AMT transducer, which delivered crisp, clear and high definition playback. With jazz and classical recordings, this allowed instruments that reach into the high frequencies such as violins, flutes, cymbals and triangles, excel in performance compared to traditional soft-dome tweeter designs. The AMT design also produced a much warmer tone than you would expect from a ribbon tweeter. The highs were very well integrated with the mid and bass frequencies, and never drew my attention or sounded harsh.
The bass performance of the QR3 is another characteristic that will impress most listeners – it’s also what initially attracted me to explore this speaker in more detail. Most “hifi” speakers tend to be light in the bass department but the QR3 is quite the opposite. Despite their size, these speakers are capable of deep but tuneful bass. The bass-reflex design radiates sound down, towards the plinth at the bottom of the speaker and hence operates much more independently of the rear wall than rear-ported speakers. This allows the QR3 to achieve a much more predictable and controlled performance. Songs with great bass lines from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the TRON: Legacy soundtrack played with impressive dynamics and weight. And it wasn’t just a single-note kind of bass, no – the QR3 offered a respectable amount of articulation and low bass detail. Asaf Avidan & the Mojos’ “One Day / Reckoning Song” played with thumping, deep notes and loaded my room with enough bass to get a dance party started – just add a few friends.
Of course, no speaker in the world is perfect. Layered soundstaging is not the strongest suit of the QR3. This speaker was not capable of delivering the same level of depth or width of soundstage that I’ve become accustomed to from my system. Rather than positioned in a three dimensional space, the instruments played in a flatter plane. But let’s not forget that the components in my system cost many times the price of these speakers. And to be fair, soundstaging and pin-point accuracy are not something that floor-standing speakers are known for, that’s why many music listeners turn to bookshelf speakers if they want to hear superb soundstaging.
During my tests, I also found the QR3 to perform its best with recordings that offered fewer complex passages. As more instruments and voices were introduced into the mix, the sound became less resolved and slightly congested, in the case of large classical recordings.
All in all, the Audiovector QR3 speaker is an excellent choice for younger listeners interested in exploring what high-end audio is all about, without having to spend a fortune. It is an equally great choice for those building a hifi system with a limited budget. This speaker will allow you to peer deeper into the details of your music and provide a great level of engagement. The combination of performance and excellent build quality, make the QR3 a smart choice over any mass produced speaker brand that you’ll find in a big box store. It’s lifestyle appearance and small footprint will also make it feel right at home, even in a small, big-city condo. Give it a listen today and you just might get hooked.
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Audiovector QR3 Loudspeakers
Price: $1,800 US