Tarun (aka ‘A British Audiophile’) and eCoustics EIC, Ian White, take a look at two of their favorite floorstanding loudspeakers below $1,000 USD; the Magnepan LRS and Q Acoustics 3050i.

Both utilize very different driver technology but offer superb value and performance for the money.

Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BbbzvMU8Ws

Q Acoustics 3050i

Q Acoustics 3050i Floorstanding Speakers Gray
Q Acoustics 3050i

The 3050i does not get enough respect from the hi-fi press and that’s problematic because it offers so much value for the money. The build quality is quite high for the price and they do feel rather substantial when you set them up. The feet can be somewhat wobbly on carpet and I would stick with a hardwood floor if you can. 

Ditch the foam port pucks that are designed to be inserted if the loudspeaker has to be placed closer to the wall due to space limitations. I have my 3050i set up in my dining room along the long wall and there is only 8″ between the wall and the rear of the cabinet. 

They sound more open and spacious without the pucks and the low end impact is more than enough in a room that is 16′ x 13′ x 9′ with two openings into the living room and kitchen.

The 3050i have a rather polite presentation unless you drive them with the right amplifier and they can become almost boring if the rest of the system doesn’t have some top end energy and the midrange is fleshed out. 

Pros: Easy to drive, strong bass, can be placed near walls, flexible for home theater use, excellent with vocals

Cons: Treble can be rather polite, foam pucks muddy the bass, slightly unstable base needs better feet

Where to buy: $999 at qacoustics.com

Magnepan LRS

Magnepan LRS Loudspeakers

There are a million opinions online about the topic but the simple truth is that you can drive a loudspeaker like the Magnepan LRS (Little Ribbon Speaker) with any amplifier that can double its output and is stable into a 4 ohm load. A/V receivers are not great choices in this scenario. Their actual power output into a 4 ohm load is rather iffy.

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Emotiva, NAD (not the C 316BEE V2), Schiit Audio, Bryston, Audio Research, and Pass Labs all work well with Magnepan.

The LRS need a lot of space. A minimum of 3 feet from the wall behind them. You also need to angle the panels so that the tweeter potion of the panel are further from your ears than the woofer. I have my LRS turned so that the woofer panel is almost 2 inches closer to my listening position.

The LRS also benefit from either a heavy paving stone placed underneath the legs or a dedicated stand like the Magna Risers.

Don’t expect a lot of deep bass from the LRS – that’s not why you are buying it.

Pros: Transparency, detail, clarity, deep soundstage, very immediate presentation, superb value for the money

Cons: Limited bass, require high current amplification, wonky feet, need to be placed at least 3 feet from the wall behind them

Where to buy: Magnepan Dealer Locator

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will include an in-depth discussion about the Wharfedale Diamond 12.3, and Focal Chora 816 loudspeakers.

Watch the full video discussion on YouTube.

Related reading:

System Matching Ideas for Both the LRS and 3050i

Best Affordable Bookshelf Speakers Under $1000

Best Bookshelf Speakers from $1,000 to $3,000

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Best Budget Integrated Amplifiers

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