Altec Lansing VS4121 Versatile Speakers
Review

On October 13, 2003, in Review, Speakers, by Tim Robertson

Altec Lansing VS4121 Versatile Speakers
Company: Altec Lansing

Price: $129.95
http://www.alteclansing.com

More and more computer users have found that one of the best ways to upgrade their Mac or PC is to simply buy a better pair of speakers. Most speakers that ship standard with computers today do not sound very well. Computer manufactures don’t make their money on speakers; it is usually thrown in as an enticement for customers to buy the computer. This is why so many computer users who visit my home often comment on how good the sound is on my computer. For the last month, that good sound has been coming from the Altec Lansing VS4121 Versatile Speakers.

I have been really impressed with a number of features the SV4121’s sport, including an on/off button on one of the desktop speakers, a large and easy to use volume control, and separate base and treble knobs.

I reviewedanother set of Altec Lansing 2100 speakers back in February 2003 and gave them a respectable 4 out of 5 rating. I wrote “A good value speaker that sounds more expensive than they are. A true audiophile will want to look elsewhere, and spend more money. For the average computer user who wants better sound than the built-in speakers on your computer, these will make you smile.”

The VS4121 are thirty bucks more, but they are the next step in sound quality from the 2100’s. Nice, tight base response, coupled with clean mid and highs make the VS4121 a better all-around product. Where the 2100’s had a wire connected remote control, for the average computer user sitting right in front of the speaker, the multiple controls on the VS4121 build on the speaker is better option, both in less desktop clutter and versatile controls.

These speakers rock! I am really quite impressed with the overall sound quality. The two desktop satellite speakers are very stable, unlike other desktop speakers I have tested in the past. The desktop speakers use a down-firing midrange speaker, which helps create a more solid, full sound. Rather than pushing the sound directly at you, the midrange speaker, facing down at the desktop, helps to make the sound disperse over a wider area. This helps alleviate the dreaded “sweet spot” when listening to music. The micro drive tweeters are very clear, reproducing all sounds I put to them without any dropout in sound quality, even at very high levels. Of course, the satellite speakers are shielded, so there is no worry about placing them right next to your monitor.

Base is produced from the 6.5″ subwoofer, which is front-facing. While I would have liked to have seen the sub also sport the down-facing technology (deep base in unidirectional) I found the ported base unit did a fine job filling the room (and the next) with crisp, clean base.

The satellite speakers each have two 28MM full range tweeters, as well as the down facing 3″ mid.

The VS4121 speakers connect via a standard mini-plug, rather than USB. I personally find this an advantage, as USB connected speakers are very limited, and can only be used with a computer. The VS4121’s can, for instance, plug directly into an iPod for a small, but wonderful, sound system. I tried this myself before plugging them into my computer, and was very impressed with the sound quality.

I usually look forward to replacing whatever speakers I am testing with my Monsoon speakers, as I have a lot of love for those. In this case, even after the testing month was up, I kept the VS4121 plugged in. They have a smaller footprint on my desk, and I am missing none of the sound quality I usually experience when unplugging the Monsoon’s. High praise from me.

The Specifications:
19 Watts at 4 Ohms.
10% THD at 20-150 Hz single channel load.
25 Hz Ð 15kHz (-10db)
Signal to noise ratio @1 KHZ Input: >73dB
Dimensions:
Satellite 4″ (W) x 4.7″ (D) x 9.2″ (H)
Subwoofer 8″ (W) x 9.9″ (D) x 13.6″ (H)

In the end, I would recommend these speakers to anyone wanting good sound from their computer. I really enjoyed my time with the Altec Lansing VS4121 Versatile Speakers.

Highly recommended! Great looking speakers! Nice price! You cannot go wrong with these.

MyMac Rating: 5 out of 5

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