KEF LS50 Meta vs. Q Acoustics 3020i

Note: the 3D models above approximate the external volume of the speakers, and may not accurately reflect their shape.

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speakers
$1600 $450
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.90” × 7.90” × 11.00”
302mm × 201mm × 279mm
10.90” × 6.70” × 11.00”
277mm × 170mm × 279mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
79-28,000 Hz 64-30,000 Hz
ASR Score
4.6 4.0
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
6.7 6.4

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the quest for the ultimate bookshelf speaker, the KEF LS50 Meta and Q Acoustics 3020i present two distinct sonic philosophies. The LS50 Meta, with its innovative metamaterial absorption technology, offers a pristine and detailed soundstage, while the 3020i delivers an impressively warm and full-bodied performance at a more accessible price point. The KEF commands a premium, justified by its precise imaging and advanced engineering, whereas the Q Acoustics shines as a value proposition, boasting a rich tonal balance that belies its modest cost. Each speaker excels within its niche, catering to the discerning listener's preference and budget.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity audio, there's an undeniable charm to bookshelf speakers. They are the darlings of the audiophile world for their ability to produce a grand soundstage and musical detail without commandeering an entire living room. Today, I'll be delving into the comparison between two such beloved speakers: the KEF LS50 Meta and the Q Acoustics 3020i. Each of them has made a considerable splash in the audio community, but for different reasons and at different price points. It's a battle of refinement against value, of cutting-edge technology versus tried-and-true design.

The Contenders: KEF LS50 Meta vs Q Acoustics 3020i

KEF's LS50 Meta is a successor to the revered LS50s and comes with a pedigree of innovation. The most significant addition is KEF's Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), which claims to absorb 99% of the unwanted sound coming from the rear of the tweeter, thus reducing distortion and yielding a purer sound. The Q Acoustics 3020i, on the other hand, is a champion of value, offering an impressive performance that punches well above its weight class without the same level of technological pomp.

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta arrow (at

Design and Build

The KEF LS50 Meta is a marvel of modern speaker design, with a Uni-Q driver array that positions the tweeter in the acoustic center of the woofer, aiming to create a more detailed and integrated sound. The build quality is impeccable, with a dense, curved cabinet that both looks and feels premium. The 3020i boasts a more traditional aesthetic but has made significant improvements over its predecessor, the 3020. It has a larger cabinet that provides a broader scale and deeper bass, and while the finish is simpler compared to the LS50 Meta, it still delivers a sleek look that can easily blend into most room decors.

Sound Quality

In terms of sound, the LS50 Metas are nothing short of outstanding. Their ability to extract minute details from the music is almost magical, and they can throw a soundstage that's vast and three-dimensional. The MAT really does its job in creating a sound that's clean and distortion-free, even at higher volumes. The 3020i, while not as transparent or as finely detailed as the LS50 Meta, still delivers an incredibly musical performance. It has a warm and rich tonal balance with a full-bodied midrange that makes vocals stand out beautifully.

Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speakers
Q Acoustics 3020i arrow (at

Bass response is another area where these speakers diverge. The LS50 Meta produces tight and controlled bass that is well-integrated with the midrange and highs. The 3020i's larger volume aids in delivering a more substantial bass presence, which is impressive for its size, though it may not match the precision of the LS50 Meta. Nonetheless, the 3020i can fill a medium-sized room with ease, making it a suitable choice for those who prefer a bit more warmth and body to their bass.

Imaging and soundstage are the forte of the LS50 Meta. Listeners can expect a holographic experience where instruments and vocals are placed with pinpoint accuracy within a three-dimensional space. The 3020i, while not as expansive in its staging, still offers a coherent and immersive listening experience. The speakers are forgiving in terms of placement, making them adaptable to various room sizes and setups.

When considering dynamics, the LS50 Meta outshines the 3020i with its ability to handle complex musical passages with aplomb. There's a sense of ease with which it renders dynamic swings, making it a thrilling listen for any genre. The 3020i might not possess the same level of dynamic prowess, but it still manages to convey the ebb and flow of music compellingly and engagingly.

Finally, the topic of value cannot be ignored. The KEF LS50 Meta speakers are an investment, appealing to the enthusiast willing to pay for top-tier performance. The Q Acoustics 3020i offers a remarkable value proposition, giving users a taste of high-end audio at a fraction of the cost. While it may not match the LS50 Meta in outright performance, it delivers exceptional sound quality that exceeds expectations for its price bracket.

In conclusion, the choice between the KEF LS50 Meta and the Q Acoustics 3020i will largely depend on the listener's priorities. If absolute performance, cutting-edge technology, and premium build quality are your guiding lights, the LS50 Meta is your speaker. However, if you're seeking a balance between cost and performance, with a warm and engaging sound signature, the Q Acoustics 3020i will not disappoint. Both speakers stand tall in their respective arenas, embodying the spirit of what makes bookshelf speakers a staple for audiophiles around the world.

Check Current Prices:

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speakers
Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speakers

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.