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Altec Lansing Speakers Powerful But Awkward To Move

Reviewing: Altec Lansing Vs2621  |  Rating:
Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Audio & Visual Expertise:
profile of the satellite Altec speakers

I need computer speakers that can be added to my laptop when I give programs. Sometimes the audience size is 10 people, sometimes 150 to 200 people, so the speakers need to be powerful, but also able to be toned down for smaller groups.

My husband has an older set of Altec speakers hooked to his computer that have very good sound, so when I saw this Altec Lansing VS2621 speaker system on sale I decided to buy it. The salesperson knew nothing helpful, so I was really on my own as to choices.

There are three components to the system: a bass unit and two full-range speakers. The cord from the small speakers detaches from the bass unit, but the small speakers are hard wired together, and the cord that goes to the computer is also not detachable. The bass unit has a sub-woofer on the side, while the primary bass speaker is on a narrow end. You need to plug the bass unit in to an electric outlet. This provides the power for additional amplification that an internal computer speaker cannot provide. There is a master on-off switch on the bass unit.

There is an auxiliary input jack port for plugging in an MP3 player or whatever, in addition to the computer. I have not tried this.

I have been happy with the sound and delivery of the speakers, with some reservations. They do produce enough sound to fill a large classroom or average meeting room, without distortion. For only $55, I think that I solved the problem of bringing good sound to my programs quite reasonably.

I can actually hear some changes when adjusting the Tone button. With some speakers I think they just add this button for looks without connecting it to anything. The only other adjustment you can make on the speakers themselves is volume.

That said, this set would be a better choice for using at your computer desk and not moving around all the time. The set-up is awkward and annoying.

The satellite speakers are very lightweight with only 6 feet of cord between them. First of all, this means that unless I decide to cut the cord and add jacks and additional footage, I can’t separate them more than the six feet. For programs, I would sometimes like this distance to be longer. Also, the cord, although thin, seems to have a great memory of being folded up, and the speakers seem almost weightless. If I separate the speakers by even the six feet allowed, the cord acts like a spring and pulls the speakers closer together (or off onto the floor). They are an odd trapezoidal shape as well (footprint in inches: 4.25 deep x 4.5 front x 5 high), and since they are so light, they tip over easily. The company claims that the angled shape of the front directs the sound better than a perpendicular front. I would think this would depend on where you have them mounted. Because the cords are mostly not detachable they are always in a terrible tangle when I take them out of the box, and I don’t want to fold and strap them repeatedly as this can fatigue the wire.

The bass unit is very nice. It is solid and stays put. This is a good thing, because it has the task of holding the whole set in place given those springy cords. It is, in inches, 10.5 x 5 by 8.75 high. You do need to be able to expose two faces because of the side mounted sub-woofer.

Since I need to continually break this down and set it up, these annoyances are significant. Also, once removed from the original box the small speakers don’t go back in nicely. It’s clear where the bass box fits into the packing, but the small speakers are pretty much on their own. I had to add some foam around them for protection.

In order to write this review I hooked it to my computer and put in a CD that I love, but which is difficult to listen to in the car (not a great system) because the stereo switches from side to side a lot, and the volume varies considerably. I figured that if I could tell a big difference in the sound with this system it would be a good mark for these Altec Lansing VS2621 speakers. I have to say that I’m enjoying this Broadway original cast recording (the Fantasticks) for the first time in a long while. The sound is bright and full, and the bass is booming nicely. I still wish I could get the small speakers more than six feet apart (which is really more like four feet unless you hold that springy cord somehow).

If you are a true music fanatic, these might not be good enough for you. I’m probably not a truly discerning listener. However, I think the sound is quite good.

No printed directions come with these at all! There is a pictorial set of instructions on the box flaps. You are supposed to first turn off the speakers, then plug the speakers together, then insert the jack into the computer output. Finally plug the whole thing into the power, turn on the master switch on the bass unit, and then turn the speakers on. I have trouble remembering this exact order, so it’s a good thing I transport it in the original box. Maybe after I do it a few more times...

I’ve had these Altec Lansing VS2621 speakers for about 5 months now, and have used them in rooms of various sizes and shapes with good results for my programs. If I were going to put them around my desk to use with the computer for home use, the only thing I’d want to change is to be able to separate the satellite speakers more. I think these are well worth their price.

Specs:

2 2-inch full-range drivers

1 4-inch sub-woofer

sound pressure level 93dB

total continuous power 28 watts RMS

small speakers: 7.5 watts per channel @ 8 ohms @ 10% THD @ 200 Hz- 20 kHz

sub-woofer: 13 watts @ 4 ohms @ 10% THD @ 50- 200 Hz single channel loaded

system response: 45 Hz - 18 kHz

signal to noise ratio @ 1kHz input > 65 dB

Altec Lansing