Date: July 1st, 2004 (Happy Canada Day!)
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: Altec Lansing
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From start to finish, the installation should take a whole five minutes and it fool proof.
The power supply is integrated into the subwoofer and all that is required is for you to plug the unit into your closest wall receptacle. Just as a side note, do not plug your speakers into the same receptacle your computer uses for power.
The plugs for the sound input and the speaker connections are also on the rear of the subwoofer. Everything is color coordinated and keyed for a trouble-free install. You would technically have to break your system to install it the wrong way.
OK, all the connections are made and everything is fired up and operational. How does it sound?
PRODUCT BREAKDOWN & OPINION
So, what did I personally think about this system?
Product Aesthetics (Layman Terms: Product's Visual Appeal)
Aesthetically speaking, I really do like the VS4121's unique, modern and stylish appearance. With the dark brownish gray and black color configuration, this speaker system would nicely compliment a system with a dark LCD or a black CRT monitor.
Product Sound Performance
Sound quality testing consisted of playing many high quality forms of music from classical to hip hop.
High Frequency - Higher frequency reproduction is exceptionally strong thanks to the two 28mm drivers incorporated into each satellite. When I say strong, I mean you will not want to have the treble turned all the way to 100%. Anything over 80% will be uncomfortable.
Mid Range - Middle frequencies is where the VS4121 is lacking. Although it does have one 3 inch mid range speaker per satellite, they could only be barely heard over the high and low responses. The cause of this deficiency has to be because both mid range speakers are firing directly down into the desktop surface. If they could some how re-engineer the speakers to face forward, mid range would definitely be improved.
Low Frequency - I have always been a fan of Altec Lansing's small, yet powerful subwoofers. In this particular case, I am a little disappointed. All subwoofers I have seen from this company have been housed in a MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) enclosure much like you would see in a home theater/car stereo setup. In this case, the material is still the same but it is entirely too thin for such a large subwoofer.
The subwoofer in this review is OK at its best. The 6.5" long throw woofer's dedicated 19watts is just not enough power to push this larger speaker. It performs great at lower volume levels, but once you start to crank it, distortion comes into play and you will be left with no choice other than to turn the bass level down. In another review example, the Altec Lansing 251 System (Review: Here) has a 5.25" long throw woofer and is rated and powered at 25watts. The 251's subwoofer is smaller, more powerful and absolutely pounds the this woofer into the ground.
My suggestion is to lower the subwoofer enclosure and speaker size, feed it enough power to actual let it do its job and beef up the enclosure material.
This complete speaker system has no problem handling higher volume levels as long as you adjust the treble and bass settings accordingly.