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Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker Review

Wattage Ainít Everything!

by Josh Walrath



            Altec Lansing has seemingly been a permanent fixture in the computer audio market since its inception.  Many years ago they released one of the first subwoofer based speaker systems for the PC, and they havenít looked back since.  Altec has always mixed a great amount of style with the functionality of their speakers, and sometimes this fusion brought impressive results.  Looking at Altecís current product selection, it appears that they are concentrating on the 2.1 market, while leaving the 5.1 (and higher) products to companies like Logitech, Creative, and others.

            The VS4121 can be considered the highest end product of the second tier in terms of overall quality and price in Altecís lineup.  The extreme high end FX6021 retails at $299, and the next product down is the MX5021 which sells at the $199 price point.  The VS4121 itself sells at $99, and it brings some very interesting technical advancements to this market.

            Style is first and foremost with these speakers.  The slim satellites look sculpted and are very visually appealing.  When a person walks into a room their eyes are quickly drawn to these twin towers and the piercing blue LED that indicates the power is on.  The volume knob is very smooth to turn, and the user is most often tempted to turn these up well beyond the halfway point.  The subwoofer itself is not terribly large, but it is also not unattractive.  It would sit unobtrusively behind any desk, and the simplified wiring scheme makes it easy to route.

            It seems that Altecís goal with these speakers is to make them as visually appealing as possible, without sacrificing sound to a great degree.  For the most part they succeeded, but there are some drawbacks to this design.  Not to fret though, the overall package is still well worth a userís time to research and possibly buy if it fits their needs.


Note that the flaps quickly show the user how to set up the speaker system.

Initial Impressions

            The box these speakers are housed in is neither overly large nor heavy.  The design is an appealing collection of blues and black mixed with graphics and photographs of the product.  Everything is well protected and packaged in foam.  The directions are very clearly labeled, and the color coded wiring makes setup very easy.

            The subwoofer has some good heft to it, as it is a fully enclosed wooden box.  The 6.5Ē long throw woofer promises to unleash a good amount of bass, but cannot match other subwoofers with more power and larger woofers.  The amplifier is housed in the subwoofer cabinet, and all external connections are located there.

Everything is nicely packaged in foam.

            The satellites also have a good amount of heft to them, and they do not feel cheap at all.  The portion facing the listener is comprised of two 28 mm full range drivers, and the base houses the down firing 3Ē mid-bass driver.  The right speaker also has the speaker controls built into it (volume, power, bass, and treble).  The user can adjust these to their liking, and it does allow quite a bit of flexibility with tuning for a room.

            Overall the package is very appealing visually, and the construction is very solid.  Fit and finish are excellent on the speakers, and they would find a happy home in many computer settings.


Next: Specifications



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