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Q-Acoustics Concept 500 Speakers and Moon 240i Amp

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This is less of a review, and more opinions and end point based on my journey over the past couple of months.  Bottom line is I have gone a little ‘new’ and am very happy with the combination of:

  • ·         Q-Acoustics Concept 500’s (their latest top of the range); and

  • ·         Simaudio Moon 240i (new integrated now available in Australia).

I was downsizing from 15” Tannoy’s and valve amplification, and mainly listen to jazz and vocal, with some classical.  Notional budget around $10k.  And room is quite large at 10m x 6m.

The speaker search came first, and I quickly found that there was little in my price range that sounded as effortless and neutral as the Tannoy’s, at least to my ears.  I was tempted by the excitement of some of the smaller Tannoy’s available now, and liked the PMC sound – but not sure I could live with either longer term.  On balance I was most tempted by the larger end of B&W CS series in terms of sound / size / look balance – but that was a tough call given the impending release of the new 700 S2 series (and their early reviews), and the Q-Acoustics Concept 500 reviews.  I had listened to the smaller Q-Acoustics Concept series and they impressed, and liked the look of the Concept 500’s.  But neither the new B&W’s or the Q-Acoustics were available in Melbourne to listen to, and that situation was worsened when someone bought my Tannoy’s.

After reading every review I could find the Concept 500’s sounded like a real option with very strong reviews and hardly a bad word said.  This was reinforced by talking to some people I tracked down in Sydney who had been on the same journey and has heard them.  They also answered the two unknowns – did they have grills (I could not find a single photo of them with grills on – but they do), and what were their actual dimensions (all spec sheets have the width as 400mm and depth 350mm – but that appears to be based on the plinth, the actual speaker body is a 200mm wide and 350mm deep). 

Then I did the unthinkable!  I called one of the Sydney dealers to see if they had any stock as there were none in Melbourne, and no forecast of when they may turn up.  24 hours later were here!

My colleagues had reminded me not to judge new speakers straight out the box – and they were right.  Initial bass response was non-existent!  But after 24 hours of running in they really began to show their potential – and continued to improve.

Now I have lived with them for a while I agree with the reviews.  My non-expert opinion is:

  • ·         At 90db sensitivity and average 6 ohm load they are very easy to drive.  I have driven them with a range of amplifiers from 10 and 30 Watt valve amps, NAD D3020 (30 Watt Class D), Cambridge Audio CXA60, my old Mission Cyrus 2 (50W pc), and a mates 140W Quad QSP.  In all cases they fill the room to ‘unreasonable’ listening levels and show the core characteristics of the speakers.  Don’t seem fussy at all about what is driving them.

  • ·         I would describe them as very clean, clear and neutral.  The Cyrus 2 and CXA60 are a little more forward and the speakers let that through.  NAD, valves and Quad not as forward.  But all sound good so it is almost pick the sound you like.

  • ·         They are rear ported and come with a two part foam ‘bung’ to manage the bottom end, as well as a cross over jumper to raise or lower the treble 0.5db.  I have them about a metre from the side walls and 400mm from the back wall.  In that position they are best with the outer ring of the ‘bung’, and crossover set to neutral.  That gives them tight and controlled bass (more than seems possible for 165mm drivers) and a clear and untiring upper end. 

  • ·         What I like most is what I would describe as their ‘presence’ – as some of the reviewers picked up they just seem to disappear and leave you listening to the music.  The sound stage and positioning is very clear.  And things stay that way across quite a long way down the volume range.

  • ·         They also don’t seem overly fussy on source quality.  Better quality source material / sources will reward with improved presentation breadth and depth, but lower quality sources aren’t punished unduly.

So very happy with them and, equally importantly, they pass WAF for downsizing.

Then comes part 2 of the equation.  Given they reward better quality sources, what to drive them with?  And listening to a range of amps is difficult when no one has your speakers in stock.  The majority of my music is FLAC files through Daphile running on a miniPC or direct from laptop (using JRiver)

Off the bat, my 10 Watt Audio Note amp and DAC sounded excellent.  Ample power to drive high listening levels with well-controlled bass and upper clarity all there – with the added detail you would expect over the 15” dual concentric Tannoys.  But that combo will need to find new homes in the spirit of downsizing. 

So where to start?  My 2 calibration points became my NAD D3020 and a friends Cambridge Audio CXA60 – both of which sounded remarkably similar, with the Cambridge Audio sounding a fraction more forward.  From there I listened to most of the obvious choices from Arcam, Rega, NAD, MF and some others – all of which are interesting, slightly different and ultimately a little confusing.  Having not done this recently I also learnt that DAC makes a dramatic impact. 

I experimented with some different DAC’s  - my AudioNote DAC, NAD 1050, Schiit Modi2 and a Chord 2Qute – and the amplifiers on hand.  This was very revealing.  To my untrained ear the two amazing differences were in managing the bass, and the breadth/depth of sound stage and positioning of the instruments.  Chord and AudioNote were best overall, followed by Schiit, and NAD last (very, very lean at the bottom end).  This proved to be a much bigger difference and outweighed many differences in the amplifier used. 

Best combination of the lot was the Chord with my mates Quad QSP amp – wide and clear sound stage, excellent bass.  Chord with my old Cyrus 2 wasn’t far behind, and all the others close behind that.  So is the extra power of the Quad helping?  They don’t need it for volume - 10 watt Audio Note and 30 Watt NAD are ample.

At this stage the guys at ATA were very helpful and organised for me to try a Simaudio Moon Ace with my speakers.  This is basically the new 240i I was interested in but with streaming.  And like my speaker purchase, very good reviews.  Not quite sure what it is about the Moon amplifier, but it just sounded right.  Very close to the Quad as an amp in this combo. 

To close out this story I thought the DAC in the Moon Ace was good but a little more forward than the Chord, and less bass, so based on the amp stage alone I bought the 240i.  And I am very pleased to find that the DAC in the 240i is more balanced than the Ace I tried., and pretty close to the Chord.

So the Concept 500’s and Moon 240i are here to stay, and I have some work to do to move the rest of my kit on to ensure ongoing WAF.



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Wow! The new QA's look stunning. Glad to hear they sound as good as they look too! I had the QA Concept 20's a few years ago and loved them

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Beautiful little setup mate and am also a big fan of the Q Acoustics product, haven't seen that version before, very nice.

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Hi gibbo9000. Thank you for posting the topic and the information. Very helpful.


I'm from Argentina (sorry for my english) and I also own a pair of Concept 500 (I think the first pair in South America as I was told by QA Team). 


I would like to share with you my experience.


My country has a very few dealers of Hi-Fi / Hi-End systems and all of them are in Buenos Aires, so I'm forced to buy every part of my system with out the chance to hear it and that gave me only two alternatives: to search on internet for reviews and users' opinions and to contact dealers to ask them.


Just to add an opinion, I think internet is a very powerful tool for this because if you find a lot of people with similar opinions, the chances to be true are high and that proved to be my case in everything I've bought on Hi-Fi audio.


On the other hand, I had the opportunity to hear some systems on dealers in Argentina, Chile and USA, and my opinion is that a system can sound very very very very different in the dealer's room from your room and if you change something on the chain (DAC, Amp, Speakers) the results may vary enormously. 


I've tried different similar priced equipment as mine, to name some: PMC Twenty5.23 (the closest, very nice speakers); Bower and Wilkins 702 S2 (a dissapointment); Magnepans 1.7 (nice but a little to bright and noiced background); Prima Luna valve EL-34 amp; Pioneer Elite AVR, Naim Audio amp, Kef LS-50 speakers, the most expensive Bose System (I was at the store by chance and will never walk again a Bose store :-)  ), and a few more, and none of them sound near mine.


I always loved music and sound systems (since my high school age), but I started this Hi-End journey about one and a half year ago. My first system was a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 225 bookshelves and a Marantz PM7005 stereo amplifier. That modest, but nice budget system, woke me up! It was like you've always been walking and someone suddenly  gives you a car! And this is dangerous game not having big budget issues, as it is my case!!!  Well, to make a long story short, I've made in the last year about 10 upgrades, if I count valves, to get my actual system, wich consists in:


- Tidal streaming through Dirac Audio Processor, with Digital Room Equalization ("very important"), and some minor room adjustments like foam inside some furniture to minimize ringing, a carpet and a courtain.

- Audio-GD R2R-2 DAC, wich has a very natural and analog sound, with incredible detail resolution.

- Yaquin MC-13S valve amplifier 2x35 W (very nice budget powerful valve amp).

- Valves: 2x12AU7 Psvane Mark II + 2x12AX7 Tungsol Gold Crio Set + 4xEl-34 Svetlana Winged C. I've never tought changing valves could change so much the quality of sound.

- Regular speaker cable 12 AWG (bi-wired with banana plugs)

- Q Acoustics Concept 500 speakers


A few days ago I finish setting up  the system (made new measurments and corrections with Dirac) and I found something I cannot describe exactly, but I can only refer to it as "unbelievable". As you can think, I've had some (little) experience with different hi-fi equipment, and more with my previous and actual systems, but I've never tought that I could hear music as I do now. I mean that because I learned through this Hi-Fi journey with every upgrade I've made, but I never ever thought I could get this far and that sound heaven ever existed!!!  I hear nuances, tones, delicacy, micro dinamics, beautiness and perfection I never tought possible. Every song I hear, even those I didn´t like much with all my previous system combinations (as example "With or with out you" by U2), now sounds beautiful and different. It's really magical.


I really cannot tell wich part has more impact on the achieved result, I think all of the mentioned are important (Dirac, DAC, Amp, Valves and of course QA Concept 500), but I think something is true about the C500, the reflect everything your audio chain can do and for that I think they are (as I was told by two hi-fi dealers who also sell a lot of brands) the best speakers you can get for the money, if you can afford them.


Kind regards,




PS: previously I've owned the Q Acoustics Concept 40, a Polk Audio PSW 125 subwoofer, a SMSL M8 DAC and different valves.

PS II: here some pictures of the system.

Concept 500 - 1.jpg

Audio-GD R2R-2.jpg

Yaquin MC-S13.jpg

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Another QA fan here. In my second room I have a full 7.1 setup with 2050i, 2010i, 2000i plus some diy subwoofer overkill. Can't beat the sound for the money. Value is spectacular.


Thanks for your writeup.

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big q acoustic fan here, I would love to get a go on those. I have the small stand mounts and they are great in my (small) room.

@Pedro G.Also a big lover of Argentina, I visited there a few years ago and the missus is a very passionate tango dancer. I go too sometimes! I think Buenos Aires is one of the most beautiful cities I have been to.

also I love it when people start a post with "sorry for my english" your written English is better than probably 99% of English speaking aussies mate

Welcome to SNA :)

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Thank you Benny G!!


I hope you can visit us again soon!


If you manage to go to San Juan, we can listen to some good music!  :-)


Kind regards !

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Hi Pedro - and thank you for sharing your story.  Great to meet another Concept 500 owner.  


I was going to update my experience now I have lived with them a little longer - we are on somewhat parallel paths.  The Moon 240i is great - very easy to listen to.  It is very fast and agile and follows pretty much everything you feed it, but there are times when it just sounds a little lean for my taste on some music - things like slower vocals with an underlying bass line.  From experimenting it is mainly the DAC.  So mine now get rotated through the Moon, and a Marantz HD - DAC1 (nice DAC and remote control volume pre-amp) with a mates Dyanaco ST-70 valve amp. Just a slightly warmer sound for some easy listening, and a bit more power than my own AudioNote valve amp.  Can imagine they sound great in your set up!


Still love them - they just disappear and let you immerse yourself in the music.



Edited by gibbo9000

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Hi Gibbo

Thank you for your reply. 

I would suggest you to try Digital Room Equalization if you play music with your computer.

It makes a noticeable improvement in sound quality IMHO. 

You can try Dirac for free for 30 days (I think others softwares have similar offers) and make your own conclusion. 

Just make sure you get the USB mic before starting the trial period. 

I think you will only risk USD 75 or so and you can be nicely surprised. Its a small amount  considering your system price.

Take into account that room acoustics and system interaction affect the final sound and the software can correct them almost entirely. 

On the other hand, I would also suggest, if you have valve amp, to use premium tubes. The ones I changed made also a nice upgrade in sound quality and I also think you dont have to buy expensive NOS tubes, there are very good new ones like Psvane or Tungsol.



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Hi Gibbo,

I think I read on your post that you've tried the Concept 500 with a SET valve amplifier. Am I right? 


If so, please I would like you to tell me your experience, as detailed as you can.


If not, has anyone tried the C500 with a SET amplifier? 


Kind regards,

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On 1/27/2018 at 3:50 AM, Pedro G. said:

A few days ago I finish setting up  the system (made new measurments and corrections with Dirac) and I found something I cannot describe exactly, but I can only refer to it as "unbelievable".

Pedro, your post describing your journey to audio nirvana is an interesting read, thanks.

It seems you have achieved a big improvement ("unbelievable") from using the Dirac processing to improve acoustics, while you don't really have much  physical room treatments (you mention foam inside some furniture, carpet and curtains). 


I am wondering how well Dirac processing can work on it's own in a typical domestic living room, and whether room size matters to it.  May I just ask whether you have a large or small room - can you roughly indicate the size of your listening room?



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Hi Marten,

My room size is about 4x8 m and because the sustem is in my living room and I'm a married man, I cannot put physical room treatment, only the foam inside the furniture because we don't see it!  :-) 


I will send you a picture of my living room as soon as I can.


My wife and I changed the entire living room in the past 3 months and the pictures you see posted above are old. It doesn´t look like that any more and, of course, the furniture changed and with it, the sound.


Now between the speakers and me there is a carpet (almost the entire way), a sofa on the left side (with a picture above to help highs reflections) and a thin courtain (roller) on the right (also to help with the highs). The furniture (with the foam inside) is at the back of the speakers and it covers almost the entire back wall. 


I felt, after changing the living room, some frecuency bodering the entire sound. I guess around the bass-mid region. Then I read about Software Room Correctors and their good results and I took the chance because it wasn't expensive to try it (only the USB Mic). Well, the software not only removed the frecuency ringing, but also brought alive a lot of detail to the music. The other thing I like about it is that you can customize (equalize) the music according to your taste.


One thing I noticed is that the bass got much more controled, but may be a "little bit" weaker and that's because a lot of ringing was eliminated, or lowered at least, and that's why a lot of detail maskered by it came alive. I corrected this lack of (inaccurate?) bass increasing the bass region frecuencies with the software. That gave me the bass I wanted with out compromising the detail on the mids and highs. 


I hope it helps. Regards,


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Here the pics of my living/listening room!


At the back of the listening position  (white small sofa triangulated with the speakers) the room continues for about 4 m more.


You can see a piece of foam next to the amp and the DAC! Everywhere!  :-)





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Thanks for the info Pedro, 4x8m is quite a good length room for lower bass.  

Nice looking room; very cool colour scheme, and a lot of hard surfaces and corners for room modes to establish, so I'm very impressed that the software (assume it was Dirac) could so effectively treat the ringing you describe without needing much other changes to the room.


I'll butt out now to let the thread continue its focus on the very worthy Concept 500 speakers.

Edited by marten

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