Despite being in the loudspeaker game since 1979, it’s only in the last decade or so that Audiovector has become more established as one of the main Scandi speaker players with UK audiences.
What sets this Danish company apart from many rivals is its tailored upgrades approach, meaning you can buy its hi-end R-Series models in Signature, Avantgarde or Arreté spec, with improvements at each juncture.
While this brings with it a level of customisation that’s unique to the brand, it also gives you a lot of options to pick from. For its cheaper QR-Series, Audiovector has done the thinking for you with a more steamlined model range, starting at the standmount QR 1 through to three floorstanders of increasing size, plus a sub, centre channel and wall mount speaker, making sure stereo and home cinema fans have been equally catered for.
Break from the norm
The QR 5 model is the penultimate model in the Q-Series line, being outflanked only by the larger QR 7 which boasts a bigger cabinet and twin 8″ bass drivers. But that’s not to imply that the QR 5 is in any way lacking in air moving hardware, being a three-way speaker with twin 6″ bass drivers, a 6″ midrange driver and a distinctive tweeter.
And what makes the latter so distinctive also immediately highlights that you’re in Audiovector territory, being a ribbon type tweeter which the brand is famous for. To be more precise, it’s Audiovector’s own Air Motion Transformer (AMT) with an aerospace grade aluminium fascia plate framing a rose gold plated dispersion mesh. This mesh is specifically designed to act as an ‘S-Stop’ filter, inspired by pop filters from the professional recording industry, which control sibilants and make for a sweeter sound.
The mid and bass drive units are equally well spec’d, formed from a sandwich membrane with a soft damping material at the centre of two layers of aerospace grade aluminium, beautifully shaped into a large concaved ‘Pure Piston’ inverted dome.
At a glance you’d be forgiven for thinking the mid and bass drivers are identical, but close inspection reveals differing driver surrounds, hinting at what lies inside with differing voice coils and weight. Inside the QR 5’s cabinet, the midrange unit works within its own sealed asymmetric enclosure and handles frequencies above 400Hz before handing over to the tweeter at 3kHz.
Completing the speaker’s audio output is a discrete slot shaped bass port at the front of the speaker’s underside, which fires against a fixed plinth, with an 18mm air gap. This makes the speaker less sensitive to room and rear wall placement, while ensuring a more consistent performance with a variety of floor surfaces.
Also included is a set of nicely coned and not floor-wreakingly sharp spikes to raise the speaker’s plinth from your floor. And because the 25mm thick plinth is a little wider and deeper than the speaker cabinet’s footprint, it also makes the speaker more stable.
Fit and finish of the speakers’ cabinets is excellent with the clear coated real wood veneered dark walnut being our preferred option, alternatively you can opt for silk white or piano black coatings if your tastes differ. The cabinets’ rounded corners are clearly reminiscent of Q Acoustics’ designs and give the speakers a modern look, while also making them appear less imposing, standing at a little over 1m high.
Magnetically attached grilles are part of the package too as you’d expect and when installed, make the QR 5 appear more traditional looking while also protecting their drive units (although with inverted domes and a metal ribbon, there’s less for little fingers to prod if you’ve got kids of the inquisitive nature).
Setting up the QR 5 speakers is straightforward enough and with only a single set of speaker binding posts, there are no bi-wire conundrums to face.
We obtained the best results with the QR 5s toed in a few degrees so that their crossover point is a littler behind our listening position, with the speakers placed around 600mm from my rear wall and firing down the narrower axis in my 6.8×4.8m listening room to give them plenty of breathing space. However, if your circumstances mean you’d need to place them closer to a rear wall, thanks to their cabinet design and the way they’ve been engineered, this won’t alter their sound in the same it will a rear ported speaker.
With the QR 5s on the receiving end of Musical Fidelity M6 pre/power amps, VPI Scout 21 turntable, Primare R35 phono stage and Primare NP5/NP30 streaming package, the Audiovectors are in familiarly priced territory.
Kicking off with a creamy white vinyl pressing of Gaz Coombes’ latest LP Turn The Car Around reveals the lush detail that these speakers have at their musical fingertips. The intro guitar on Not The Only Things is brought to life effortlessly, borne out through layers of natural resonance afforded to the guitar strings, with each one having just the right amount of weight, impact, separation and decay. What’s immediately clear is the symbiotic relationship at work between the ribbon tweeter and midrange driver which are not just working in harmony, but work truly as one by combining high levels of detail with an organic warmth that brings greater realism to proceedings.
And this is further underlined through how they handle Coombes’ vocals which are held back more on this track, compared to his usual material. The Audiovectors get this and are able to deliver his lyrics with a cannyknack of keeping his voice at a suitable distance in the mix, while ensuring the clarity and imaging of his vocal performance remains, without him sounding overwhelmed during the busier passages. What this highlights is how these speakers are not just about hitting you with sonic fireworks. Sure they’re no slouches, but they also focus on defining each part of the mix and making sure every element gets the focus the mixing engineer intended.
Going more atmospheric with The War On Drugs’ Thinking Of A Place at 24-bit/44kHz via Qobuz, demonstrates the expansive soundstaging skills these speakers possess. Guitar strums, percussion and bass notes are rendered with an all encompassing sense of scale that feels truly panoramic in width and depth, beyond what many rivals can deliver at this price point (or cabinet size).
With the volume cranked up, I can also hear the tweeters’ S-Stop mesh in action. This track is laced with high frequencies and lyrics that would push many a loudspeaker into harsh, sibilant territory, and the way that the QR 5s perform is a testament to their tech. For example when Adam Granduciel hisses “place” at around six minutes in, you experience every nuance and the emotion in full, but it’s not a challenging listen due to how these speakers master the detail without harshness.
At the other end of the sonic spectrum, the Audiovector’s bring equal levels of control and finesse to their bass delivery. On Counting Crow’s Ghost Train from a 24-bit/96kHz Master of their 1993 debut album August And Everything After each bass guitar note is projected with just the right amount of impact, punch and sustain to ensure there’s plenty of power underpinning the song but without any sense of it sounding bloated, as it can on lesser loudspeakers.
It’s great to see Audiovector getting the recognition the brand deserves with UK listeners, as a company which isn’t afraid of ploughing its own loudspeaker furrow with designs that challenge many preconceptions for the better.
The QR 5 is a superb loudspeaker proposition. It’s a true three-way design with a sense of energy and detail retrieval that’s reminiscent of the best electrostatics, but with added warmth, depth and scale across its midrange and bass frequencies, which makes it an outstanding package. Highly recommended.