Just before the Munich High-End show this year, Hi-Fi+ was invited to Copenhagen to have an exclusive preview of Audiovector’s new QR1 standmount and QR3 floorstanding loudspeaker. Recently we took delivery of the QR3. And it is every bit as good in its final guise as we heard in late prototype form in the Spring. Better, in fact.
To recap, Audiovector has a long-standing reputation for making upgradable loudspeakers, where you send back your standard issue bookshelf or tower and come away with a better version of your loudspeaker with improved drive units, crossover, even cabinet bracing and rear baffle. The QR range offers none of that – what you see is what you get and what you buy today stays bought. There is no upgrade path, but in fairness I think this fits the potential QR model buyer better; the Audiovector upgrade path is perfectly understandable to the generation of audiophile raised on a diet of Naim power supply upgrades and swapping one Linn tonearm for a better Linn tonearm. That doesn’t necessarily hold for today’s Fit And Forget culture, where the best product possible is purchased and used without any consideration to future use.
Irrespective of upgradability though, Audiovector isn’t going to make a floorstander with this kind of specification in Copenhagen: the cost of paying skilled workers a decent enough wage means the end user price would be prohibitive. So, instead the QR models are built elsewhere in Denmark, and then tested by those skilled workers in Copenhagen. This requires setting up a means whereby that Air Motion Transducer folded ribbon tweeter is made to Audiovector’s specifications away from the company’s HQ. However, the company succeeded and this increasingly popular ribbon just got an order of magnitude cheaper!
Price tag aside, there is nothing about the QR models that shouts ‘cheap’. These are nicely finished high gloss black or white tower loudspeakers, with that AMT ribbon sitting in a tungsten/titanium housing that isn’t just brushed to look good, but is brushed two ways (outer section brushed top to bottom to match the visuals of the cabinet, the inner horn brushed from side to side to match the tweeter itself) and looks stunning. The gold mesh on the front looks good, too, but is there for a reason: it helps cut plosives and siblants.