Live-gig sound, Brit-designed speakers

Q Acoustics’ Concept 500s: close your eyes and you could almost be listening live

Q Acoustics Concept 500, £3,999 for the dual finish; £3,559 for full gloss
Q Acoustics Concept 500, £3,999 for the dual finish; £3,559 for full gloss | Image: Hugh Threlfall

Q Acoustics of Bishops Stortford, Herts, is a favourite loudspeaker company of mine. Building in its factory in China, in a market where most upmarket speaker makers manufacture in their own country, means it is able to sell speakers for around a fifth of the price (not its estimate, but that of a contact of mine in the same sector) they would cost if they were built in the UK or US. 

So Q’s glossy new Concept 500 speakers, which sell at just under £4,000 a pair, should sound like a £20,000 product. And I have to say, they do. Designed in Woking, Cambridge and Essen and available in gloss black/rosewood or gloss white/light oak, the Concept 500s are not exactly handsome, but sound five-star near perfect. 

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The set I listened to was fed by a very fine £34,000 worth of kit, only the £1,760 speaker cables being Q Acoustics’ own. I played high-def, 24-bit recordings by the wonderful Jason Isbell, as well as Fleetwood Mac, Rickie Lee Jones and Elton John. 

The bass the Concept 500s presented was juicy and rich, but not silly and overdone. Fleetwood Mac, in particular, sounded amazingly alive – close your eyes and you could almost believe they were playing in front of you. These are truly top-class speakers for a mid-market price.

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