Hardware Report by Sean
Murphy, of PCFuel.
For a long time now we have been at odds about the speakers for the system. I have always used monitor mounted speakers or cheap out-board units. I always walk by the Altec Lansing display and point, nod, smile, or out right say gimme-gimme-gimme. Nope, nothin', she held strong.
Now it is my Birthday and for the last week there has been this big (heavy) box wrapped up in the middle of the living room floor. I had my suspicions but I finally got to open it. I was right, my new subwoofer and satellite speaker system. Hee Hee Hee.
Now down to business The Altec Lansing line is quite impressive. Their main focus is 3-piece, subwoofer and satellite systems. They offer digital surround systems and analog-stereo systems. Prices range from around $50 to over $200 for a 3-piece kit.
The ACS45.1 is an analog setup only one step from the bottom of the line and they absolutely pound. They shake the walls and make the neighbors mad.
The speakers connect to your PC through a supplied Stereo cable (1/8" headphone jack). This line is plugged directly into one of the two audio inputs. The second can be used to mix multiple sources (2 computers?). The sub woofer contains the amplifiers and sends the amplified signal to the speakers. This signal sends to the right speaker over a midi-type cable that allows left and right audio and return volume control to pass through one cable. The third cable runs from the right to the left speaker. The setup took less than 3 minutes and that included moving furniture and scanning the instructions.
The volume and power on is controlled by the right speaker. On the top is a volume up and volume down button. If you press both buttons at the same time, the power will turn on or off. On the back of the sub-woofer is a subwoofer level dial. For the first time in my history I had to lower the subwoofer gain knob at less than 1/4 volume.
Now that they are hooked up, it's time to run the usual sound tests. First came the audio CD. This is when I found out that the sub-gain level was way to high. The system has great low end response. It has very tight bass too, not like the rattling 'boom boom' you may hear coming from an overblown car stereo. It held together well with volume also. Even at neighbor annoying levels, the bass remained tight and there was NO distortion.
The next test is, of course, Doom 2. This game is out-dated but the shotgun sounds are amazing with good sound, or at least I thought they were. I had no idea they could sound this good. The sound quality was extremely good. I then moved on to NASCAR Revolution and actually had to alter my review of it because the sound quality that I was not impressed with was now much better.
Caution must be used with these monsters though because if you are not careful with you sound levels you will blow out your ears. It took a little while to get the proper mix of CD audio, system sounds, and Wavetable sounds. Once it was set up though, it was perfect.
In conclusion, Where have these things been all my life? Awesome.
Rating (horrible=87, 89, 92, 93, 94=excellent)
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