Q Acoustics 5040 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review

Posted on 13th July, 2023

Q Acoustics 5040 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review

John Pickford auditions a talented new affordable floorstanding speaker…

Q Acoustics

5040 Floorstanding Loudspeakers

£999 RRP

While many loudspeaker manufacturers offer flagship models costing five-figure sums, Q Acoustics' ultimate statement of sonic perfection can be had for considerably less. The Concept series has won many friends over the past few years, and now we have something a little less expensive in the new 5000 series. It's said to combine trickle-down tech from the flagship Concept 500 with special new mid-bass driver designs unique to this range. The 5040 is the smaller of the two new floorstanding models, with two standmounters and one centre channel model completing the series.


At the heart of the 5040 is a tweeter benefiting directly from the high-frequency unit found in the Concept line; it uses the same dome fabric, compact neo-motor, symmetrical load cavity and inverted roll-surround found in the top model. Q Acoustics says that its concave roll-surround gives broader directivity and phase-coherent off-axis radiation, while the shallow wave guide improves directivity in the midband and treble region. The tweeter is hermetically sealed and mechanically isolated from the front baffle to avoid unwanted resonances from the cabinet and woofers.
This new tweeter is sandwiched between two new 125mm mid/bass drivers, D'Appolito-style. The latter has been developed specifically for the 5000 series; its proprietary C3 Continuous Curved Cone claimed to overcome what has always been a compromise in cone design.

Q Acoustics explains - “Whilst a straight conic profile has benefits at bass frequencies, it exhibits undesirable break-up modes that restrict its higher frequency range. A flared cone is a better option to control cone break-up towards higher frequencies; however, the flare shape will not hold its rigidity at low frequencies as well as a straight conic shape, especially at the outer diameter.”

The goal was to design a profile giving the best of both worlds, with the bass dynamics of a straight conic profile along with the midband control of a flared profile. A side benefit of the CCC implementation is that the cone is more resilient to modulation by standing waves within the cabinet, it is claimed. The lack of a centrally mounted dust cap gives the 5040 a thoroughly modern look.

The cabinet has nicely rounded corners, avoiding the rather four-square look of some of the latest retro-inspired speakers doing the rounds. Our review sample came finished in Santos Rosewood, although Satin Black or Satin White finishes are also available, alongside Holme Oak with its more traditional appearance. It's made from 20mm medium-density fibreboard with a 25mm high-density fibreboard front baffle. The baffle fronts are laminated with a layer of butyl rubber and acrylic trim, with magnetic fixings for the open-frame grilles. Adjustable spikes are fitted to the base of the cabinet, and protective spike covers are provided if needed. Performing the knuckle-rap test confirmed that the cabinet is impressively acoustically inert.

So much for the fit and finish, as it's inside the cabinet enclosure where things get more interesting. Clever proprietary tech is employed in the shape of Q Acoustics' P2P (Point to Point) bracing system. This supports specific parts of the cabinet that require stiffening without coupling unwanted energy or exacerbating cabinet structure modality. This is said to improve the focus of the stereo image while maintaining a wide and deep soundstage. Also featured is Q Acoustics' HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equaliser) technology, which incorporates cylindrical tubes to eliminate standing waves and tailor the frequency response.

At the rear of the cabinet, a terminal panel features metal securing nuts, compatible with 4mm (banana) plugs, spade connectors or even bare wire. The terminals are low-profile, so the speaker can be pushed closer to a rear wall if needed. However, as the 5040 has a rear-firing bass reflex port, I wouldn't recommend flush-to-wall positioning for optimum bass performance. That said, in practice, this speaker is relatively unfussy about placement and can be successfully used closer to side walls than many other designs. Vital statistics are 967x361x293mm and 18kg.

The manufacturer claims a frequency response of 39Hz to 30kHz (-6dB) and puts sensitivity at a very healthy 91.5 dB; the latter means that valve amp users should be fine as long as power isn't measured in single figures. Indeed I achieved great results with my vintage Leak TL12 Plus amps at 14 watts per channel, although the extra power from my solid-state Naim NAIT XS 3 integrated helped bass response in both terms of quality and quantity. The nominal impedance is listed as 6 ohms.


This loudspeaker performs exceptionally well from the get-go without the need for a lengthy run-in, so as soon as you play music, it's obvious that this is an impressively balanced performer. It would appear that the 5040 has been voiced for accuracy rather than the sugar rush of excessive treble and bass. This works a treat when reproducing acoustic instruments, and voices in particular. Indeed, vocal intelligibility turns out to be first-rate, up there with some classic BBC designs, in my opinion. Integration between the tweeter and woofers leaves nothing to be desired, with a seamless transition at the 2.5kHz crossover point; there's no shouty treble here.

A run through of Cat Stevens' Tea For The Tillerman ahead of his magnificent Glastonbury appearance played perfectly to this speaker's strengths. The raw emotion in his voice throughout Father and Son evoked a sense of palpable realism, bringing a lump to my throat. The acoustic guitar revealed the speaker's innate smoothness, with a wonderfully extended, glistening top end and no hint of sharpness or glare.

While the high frequencies integrate coherently with the midrange, this floorstander can sound slightly lean throughout the lower midrange; there's no suggestion of added warmth, yet bass is firm enough while remaining faithful to the low-end information within the recording. Generally, well-recorded rock and pop productions sound beautifully balanced through the 5040, while some older tracks from the nineteen sixties and seventies can come across as a tad thin. This is simply the inherent tinniness of the recording being exposed.

There are some sweet-sounding sixties tracks, though, as I discovered while listening to The Band's eponymous sophomore album from 1969. Played through the more bloated-sounding speakers of the era, this album can sound dull and ponderous. However, the leaner nature of this speaker made for a more sprightly listen without the flub I'm used to hearing. It opened out this somewhat stodgy recording nicely.

This 5040's character also serves modern, digitally recorded pop music well, some of which can sound thick and cluttered with artificial effects. I noticed this when streaming – via my Leema Stream IV – the debut album Ride Or Die from guitar and drums duo ARXX. Despite there only being two of them, their recordings are packed with multi-tracked guitars and synths, yet this speaker unravelled the strands for greater clarity and musical separation. I also noted that this design is capable of reacting swiftly to sudden shifts in dynamic range, even when dealing with heavily compressed and densely mixed music like this.

This speaker is sympathetic to synthetic pop, yet time and again, I found myself returning to naturally recorded music, particularly jazz. It's as if the 5040 wants to show you how faithful it is to the timbre of individual instruments. Vibraphone master Roy Ayers' West Coast Vibe is a great straight jazz album from 1963 before he went all funky and disco in the seventies. Here, the distinction between the vibes and piano was clear, while the double bass underpinned the music with impressive musical dexterity.

Although low-end performance is agile yet sure-footed, this speaker doesn't plumb the depths that some other floorstanders do, so bass heads might feel the need to add a subwoofer to exploit that window-rattling bottom octave. The upside of this is that, for the most part, you don't miss the subsonics when the bass present on the recording is replayed with such musical aplomb. The 5040 is never less than fun to listen to.


The new 5000 Series from Q Acoustics clearly benefits from the ground-up design of the impressive new mid-bass driver, which marries with the highly able tweeter developed for the flagship Concept 500 to create a highly coherent and articulate sound. Detailed and dynamically impressive, the 5040 faithfully reproduces recordings with precise tonal accuracy and fine spatial definition within the soundstage. Those who like their music to sound sweet and warm at all times will likely crave a more colourful-sounding speaker that flatters recordings. But those who prefer their musical coffee without cream and sugar, so to speak, will surely enjoy the truthful and transparent nature of this terrific new transducer.

Visit Q Acoustics for more information


    John Pickford's avatar

    John Pickford

    A professional recording engineer since 1985, John strives for the ultimate in sound quality both in the studio and at home. With a passion for vintage equipment, as well as cutting edge technology, he has written for various British hi-fi and pro-audio magazines over the years.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi Loudspeakers Floor Standing Applause Awards 2023
    Tags: q acoustics  armour home 


    Want to share your opinion or get advice from other enthusiasts? Then head into the Message Forums where thousands of other enthusiasts are communicating on a daily basis.