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VINE VOICEon October 13, 2009
Style: BXR1220|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In this product review video I take a few minutes to show you what's in the box, what the speakers look like, how to plug them into your system, and a demonstration of the sound quality.

enjoy!
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on September 16, 2009
These Altec Lansings are quite a bit of speaker for the money. Having previous experience with Creative, Logitech, and Altec Lansing, I initially wanted to give those a shot, but eliminated the Creatives due to price.

The Logitech system, the X-240, was an ok set. Decent looking, similar wattage, and the sub even had a bass volume knob. Speaking of the sub, it is a great little piece, delivering deep, loud bass when asked with minimal distortion.

However, I use my computer speakers mostly for music, and here is where the Altecs take the cake. Where the Logitechs sounded muddy and flat, the Altecs are crisp, clear and open. The mids and highs are great. The satellites are far superior to the Logitech. The Altecs sub is a heavy, well built and quite attractive. I found that where the Logitechs sub boomed, the Altec nicely integrated the bass with the mids/highs. The bass is nice and controlled, and can get loud without distortion. The only plus the logitech had, musically, over the Altec was that the sub on the Logitech would get louder and had a volume control, where the Altec does not. However, for musical purposes, the Altec sub definitely has more than enough kick.

My conclusion is that each set has its own merit. For games and movies, where clarity is less important and bass is, go for the Logitech. But if you want crisp, clear sound with well rounded but not super loud bass, Altec is the clear winner.
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Style: BXR1220|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Altec Lansing's BXR1220s are not designed for those who want audiophile quality sound. So far, the sound has not really improved much over the past few weeks after breaking these in for long stretches. Considering the price it's hard to get too demanding in the sound department. Relative to many similarly priced speakers these are a small step up, and they will more than suffice for an extra computer in a guest bedroom. Yet in many ways these are a new take on basic 2.0 speakers. For starters, these are powered by your USB port instead of via an AC outlet. For those starved for outlets, that's a welcome convenience. For those running out of USB ports, that's either a possible turn-off or a reason to buy a USB hub.

If style is a major factor for you, these might win over other models on looks alone. These speakers are small and just look cool. They are about the size of 2 soda cans, turned on their sides with silver stands holding them up at about a 15 degree angle. The right speaker has a turn switch in the back of it to power them on, and there is a volume dial on the top.

My set didn't really have instructions, but instead had simple pictures on the top inside flap explaining how to connect them. Installation was very simple, but I could see some people tearing the box apart looking for the "quick connect guide" referenced on the side of the box.

THE GOOD

+ The fact that these are USB powered means you don't have to worry about heavy power adapters or outlets. This is a definite plus.

+ The speakers themselves are VERY light and compact, making them a possible choice when travelling with your laptop.

+ The pricing is definitely attractive; even though these are not the least expensive USB powered speakers, they are in the ball-park.

+ The styling of this unit is definitely cool. They are compact and do not appear to be as inexpensive as they are.

THE CONCERNS

- The sound quality is very hollow and doesn't respond well to being broken-in. Most speakers soften after extended playing, but these seem like they might take weeks of non-stop play before they would sound better.

- The volume dial doesn't provide granular adjustment. Volume seems to go from "low" to "moderate." They never really got loud and there were few levels in between. That's a sign of low-efficiency wires typical of this price range.

- All the connections are hard-wired, which partly negates their potential use as travel speakers. Travelling wreaks havoc on cheap speaker wires. I have had many a portable speaker system bite the dust during a business trip. You are going to have to really pack these up carefully if you're travelling with them to preserve those wired connections. Once they break, this set is toast.

- These don't use USB audio. The awkward way they have tethered the audio input to the USB power cable makes these speakers less comfortable for laptops. Many newer laptops have USB ports on the side and audio outputs on the front. HERE'S A TIP: You can pull the two wires apart as far down as you want, but then you will have messy wires to deal with.

- Using a USB port means those who don't have a USB hub yet may have to look to buy one. For many home PCs USB ports are at more of a premium than power outlets.

- Perhaps the biggest con for some is going to be that there is NO auxiliary input to connect an MP3 player to these. Many other compact speakers do include an auxiliary input. In their desire to keep costs and prices down, they have limited the potential market for these speakers.

THE CHOICE

The fact that these don't come with a subwoofer may prompt some to look into the Altec Lansing 1221 2.1 Speaker System. I wouldn't recommend that. Those sound slightly better, but adding extra bass cannot improve this model's features and tone. The only way to get that is with a better set. And if you just want to save money, there are less expensive models out there.

If you want to stick to entry level units at the lowest end of the price range you should consider the Logitech S120 2.0 Speakers, keeping in mind that those are not USB powered. The Logitech S150s are USB powered and offer USB audio as well, meaning no extra cables. Each of those speakers come with their own flaws, but if low-cost is your primary objective they should be considered.

If you want to add a sub you should look at the Logitech X-240 2.1 Speakers,Logitech S220 2.1 Speakers, the Logitech LS21 2.1 Speakers or the Creative Labs Inspire A200 2.1 Speakers. And if you don't want a sub but are willing to spend more the extra $8-10, the Altec Lansing VS2620 2.0 Speakers are well worth it. They sound pretty good for a budget pair of speakers. They are about 50% more than these but still in the affordable price category. Once again, some might be tempted to step up to the Altec Lansing VS2621 2.1 Speakers that include a subwoofer. In that case it might be worth the expense, but then you are in a price range that includes many other good options.

CONCLUSION

Even with all of that, there is still a market for these. If compact size and style are key factors for you, these might win out over other models based on those things alone. These speakers are small and just look cool. The fact that these are USB powered is nice, but the hard wired connections and lack of an auxiliary port limit their flexibility. If outlets are at a premium for you and you have an extra desktop at home (like in your kid's room or a spare computer in the guest bedroom) these will do the trick for light use as long as you don't plan on moving them too much.

Enjoy.
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on July 19, 2009
Style: BXR1221|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My laptop has XP Media Edition software, but really bad speakers. If I want to listen to anything, I need external speakers or headphones. For the price, this Altec Lansing Three-Piece Speaker System does a good job. The bottom line is good, well balanced sound for a low price.

Now the caveats:

On speakers that require an external power source, I would have expected to be able to crank up the volume a bit more. When listening to modern CDs or MP3s on my PC I can turn up the sound high enough to fill a large room without distortion, but when watching an old movie (say 1930s vintage) I can turn up the volume all the way and the dialog is barely audible. Other speakers I've used don't seem to have that issue, but they were more expensive.

This system may be compact for a shelf or desk, but it's not tiny and don't expect it to be portable. The set up is lightweight but rather bulky. The subwoofer is roughly the size of an elongated Kleenex Boutique tissue box; the satellites are approximately the size of Campbell's soup cans.

There are lots of wires, too. The right satellite, the one with the on/off and volume control knobs, has four separate wires: 1) hardwire to the other satellite, 2) hardwire to the jack that goes to the audio source (computer or MP3 player), 3) a jack to connect to the hardwire coming from the subwoofer, and 4) a jack for the wire to the AC adapter. That's a lot of wire coming out of the back of one soup can size speaker!

The wall plug is on the AC adapter. Something to consider if you are already using outlets for the PC, monitor, printer, and whatever other peripherals you need - a power strip may have multiple outlets, but this can easily use one and cover up another.

If none of these observations is a deal breaker for you, then the low price and good sound are a good value.
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on October 13, 2011
For those speaking of 'distortion' and distorted bass- NOT. If you know how to use your setup these are very satisfyingly loud AND clean. TURN DOWN source- PC, Mp3, etc., first. The volume control has a 'Sweet Spot' indicator at 3-O' Clock- Set it there and ease your source levels into it. You get PLENTY of clean Volume- I fill my average size den with sound and can literally 'feel' the low end. I actually have to keep volume in check for housemates.

To Start, try Treble at full, Bass- lowest to 7-O'clock- SET SOURCE EQ's tone to FLAT. No boost/cut on any frequencies. AL hit the mark with the 'balanced' sound they claim. No, it's not 'audiophile perfect' but for this price range, being a picky audiophile myself, I'm completely satisfied with the balance 'as is'- I have yet to add any EQ with any of my sources.

If you have a corner setup you're golden. Placement is KEY with these speakers, especially the Sub. With the Sub on the floor, angled across and pushed all the way back into the corner, speaker/port facing out, like ANY sub, you get the lowest 'felt' lows, resonance, and smoothest bass punch/tone- And Yes, the sub produces NICE bass TONES, not just muddy boom. (At the very least put sub on floor, against a wall, speaker/port facing out)

Speaking of low end. For this price range I was blown away. Some say it's a too 'bass heavy' system- yes, the low end is VERY strong and in your face (hence try Bass knob setting- no more than 7-O'clock with FLAT source settings to start) but not unreasonably so. With the floor/corner placement you need no bass boost on source components. It kicks and punches. It's MUCH EASIER to dial down low end, than to not have enough 'true' bass to start with, trying to add 'false' bass with EQ and distorting the sub.

As for the satellites- Spread em' apart, not just at the edges of your monitor, place on a solid surface, not crazy far from the Sub, and the overall sound is clean, very full and thick, thunderous with movies,etc., VERY well balanced with only just a slight 'edge' in the midrange at times, and FUN!

As for power, DON'T LET THE 28Watt RMS FOOL YOU. Look on AL's site at the 'SPL'/ Sound Pressure Level spec- 95db. This is a great number- the actual driver/speaker efficiency is good- Takes LESS power to drive them, and to get Full/Loud.

I use it primarily on my LCD TV, and listen to a range of stuff from Jazz, Pop, Dance, Metal, Country, with an Mp3 player. I'm totally good. It ALL works well with these speakers.

Unless you can't appreciate full, THICK, punchy low end, or are trying to 'fill' too large a room, for the eighty at the time of this post there isn't any other system I checked out that can compete for low end accuracy, clean, balanced sound, and volume. - Run your components CORRECTLY and this system will WOW you..
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VINE VOICEon July 24, 2009
Style: VS2621|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm sitting here listening to some seriously good jazz, and I'm really enjoying the sound coming from these little speakers. I wasn't expecting much of such small speakers, even with a subwoofer included. When the box first arrived, I was disappointed to see the text on the box saying the auxiliary jack lets you connect an MP3/CD player ***while linked to your computer.*** I wanted this to work independently of the computer. Guess what - it does! No computer hookup required, but you *can* listen to your MP3 while connected to the computer. (Note that the AUX adapter is not included.) This set was very easy to set up. Visual directions are on the flaps of the box, but I didn't need them.

I compared this speaker set against my current computer speakers, which were more expensive and include a bigger subwoofer. This set is definitely comparable to my current one and has the added advantage of the AUX jack. I also compared this set to a nice docking station I have that produces very good sound quality. Also comparable. I'm impressed!

The speakers cannot be spaced more than 4 feet apart and you need to be careful about the positioning of the subwoofer, or you'll lose most of your bass effect. You cannot turn the volume up very high. It will go to "loud" but not "louder." There is a tone knob that adjusts bass/treble, but too far toward the bass side produces muffled sound and too far toward the treble side produced tinny sound. I left it in the middle and am happy with the quality of the sound. This set will not please a serious audiophile - certainly not someone who likes a *lot* of bass - but they're pretty darned good! I'm very pleasantly surprised by the quality of these speakers.
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on October 30, 2009
I needed to replace my old 2.1 desktop speaker system with something new and improved. After searching and reading reviews I got Altec Lansing's MX6021. Here's my thoughts after having played around with it for a few weeks.

Placing my order online the box arrived a few days later. I opened up the original box and noticed that the system was packaged really well. The sub-woofer's driver was covered over with a heavy piece of plastic. Then the entire sub was covered in plastic. The satellites were packaged the same way. The wired remote control, RCA adapter and audio cable were wrapped too. The entire system is then housed in heavy styrofoam. There's also a complete setup diagram located on the box. It's nice that Altec Lansing went to that much trouble with the packaging.

What you get...
1 - sub-woofer with a 6.5" driver with a paper cone, foam surround and a forward firing vent hole.
2 - Satellites have a 1" aluminum horn tweeter driver. A 3" midrange driver with a paper cone and a foam surround.
1 - Wired remote that controls power, treble, bass and volume. It also accomodates 1 headphone and 1 auxiliary input.
1 - 3.5mm audio cable to connect your computer or audio device to the sub-woofer.
1 - RCA adapter to connect to a TV.
1 - Safety instructions and warranty card

The sub-woofer is made of particle board and feels very solid. The midrange on the satellites are housed in plastic tube canisters. The tweeters are housed in plastic too. Each driver has it's own protective cover to keep your fingers out. Inspecting a little closer I noticed that the sub-woofer and satellites have rubber feet. The sub-woofer has four large ones in each corner and the satellites have three. Two up front and one large one in the rear. Even the wired remote has four small ones. The satellites and wired remote are all hard-wired. The sub-woofer has the AC cord hard-wired also. The plugs themselves are a proprietary ps/2 type mini-din except for the 3.5mm audio cable. You plug in the satellites, wired remote and 3.5mm audio cable into the back of the sub-woofer. Plug the other end of the 3.5mm audio cable into your computer or audio device. Then plug the sub-woofer into the AC outlet. Hit the wired remote to turn the system on and your done. Btw, all of the connections are good and tight. This includes those leading to the back of the sub-woofer, headphone and auxiliary inputs.

It's nice to have a 2.1 system with a small foot print and a wired remote. However, that doesn't make for a good sounding system. I tested the MX6021 while playing games, listening to music and watching movies.

Gaming with this system is simply awesome! You've got the highs from the tweeters for those high cracking sounds. The mids from the midrange when tweeters and a sub just ain't enough. The low lows from the sub-woofer for the boom boom effects. I really like the fact that the sub-woofer's speaker and vent are front firing. You can put it in any corner or tuck it away and still have the speaker and vent facing forward.

Music is pretty good and better than average. I mainly play DTS and FLAC files and I like what I hear. The system is not reference monitor quality costing hundreds more, but adequate for what this system is and how much it costs.

Movies pretty much fall into the same category as gaming. Great for a 2.1 arrangement, but certainly not equal to a 5.1 system or greater for ambiance.

With a signal to noise ratio of 75db the system can pull a maximum of 200watts. You have the ability to get alot of sound out of these. However, you can get a great deal of clarity too. Having seperate amplifiers for seperate drivers helps. This means you can send different frequencies to different drivers at the same time. At higher volume the drivers won't drown each other out. Tuning in the bass is no problem either. You can have a little or alot. When I say alot I mean alot! These speakers have the ability to shake walls and windows if given a chance. For a desktop system I was really impressed.

The wired remote is very interesting. You can control the entire system from here. This includes the power, treble, bass and volume. The treble and bass buttons act as toggle switches. Hit one or the other to activate then adjust accordingly. You can fine tune or rapidly adjust all three functions depending on how long you hold down the adjuster. There's also audio, visual and sense feedback for all three functions. The remote makes a slight clicking sound that you can actually feel when you make fine adjustments. Located at the base are these very tiny amber led lights. About the diameter of a sewing needle. They visually tell you what the treble, bass and volume are set at. The lights range from one to seven. Seven being the highest setting for these three functions. If you want to fine-tune then you can place the led's at half points. Lets say three and a half or six and a half or whatever. The led's will actually dim at the half point letting you know. During inactivity the led's loop through a five pattern led dance. Now I don't care much for large or bright led indicators on hardware. Luckily, the leds are neither large or bright. As long as the remote isn't sitting right in your face you won't notice them. There is also one headphone and one auxiliary jack located near the base. Overall, I found the remote very convenient and very easy to use.

Warranty is one year parts/labor not including return shipping. You can get a free additional one year warranty if you register within thirty days. This can be done at Altec Lansings website.

The MX6021 is a really good 2.1 desktop speaker system. Nothing about this system feels cheap or poorly made. It produces good sound with a quality build and excellent functionality.
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Style: BXR1221|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After spending big $ on Bose speakers for my computer only to have the unit die in 2 years and Bose charging so much for out of warranty repair, I'd be better off buying new ones - I vowed to never spend that kind of money again. Good thing - because I no longer have that kind of dispensable income! Enter these Altec Lansing speakers.

I like having the manual control right on the speaker if I need to suddenly turn down to hear if a phone is ringing or what the dog is barking about.

I hear no rattle when the volume is up - something you typically experience in cheap speakers. The cheap ones typically are a "you get what you pay for" experience... adequate for a small cube at work, but not much else. Not so with these little power-houses. Am I comparing these to Bose? No. These do not attempt to be in the same class as luxury end speakers. I've used a number of low-cost speakers before, however, and these are among the best I've used. I find these perform better than my JBL Duets, which tend to rattle if the volume is cranked up. The subwoofer lets you feel what you can't hear... the base that is too much for most satellite speakers is faithfully transmitted where you can feel it as much as you hear it.

For low-cost computer speakers (or even for an iPod!), the landscape is FULL of competitors - but the cheap ones are typically just that - cheap. Altec Lansing did a good job in making a set-up that's attractive, uses a small desktop footprint and has good sound that's affordable.
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on November 25, 2009
For under $20, amazing sound. I read the many reviews here before buying, and a few people complained of low volume, not enough adjustability, static and/or distortion. I just hooked mine up and am blown away by how good these sound. Listening to chamber music at good volume, the strings and piano come through with nice clear treble and mid-range, and with more bass than I would have expected from speakers the size of soda cans. I don't have any of the problems that some reviewers mentioned. Even at full volume, which is considerable, there is almost no distortion. No, they may not be "audiophile" quality, but if you're an audiophile, why are you buying $20 speakers? For the rest of us non-audiophiles who just want decent sound, you can't beat these with a stick. I'm going to buy a few more for Christmas giving.
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VINE VOICEon October 14, 2009
Style: VS2621|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have both this system and the Logitech Z313 Speaker System, so I will use this review to compare this system to the Logitech.

This system's PROS:

1. Loud and good low-end bass at high volumes. I was impressed with the sound of this system when I turn it up, especially compared to the Logitech. It sounded much better and much louder!

2. This is a Pro and Con...it has a TONE knob on the right speaker along with the VOLUME. This is a good, but not good enough. It is better than the Logitech with no equalization controls whatsoever, but it only seems to give me control of high frequencies. I would really like to have a BASS and TREBLE knob along with VOLUME.

This system's CONS:

1. I'm not very excited about the attractiveness of the speakers. The subwoofer is fine, but the speakers are just not all that exciting to display.

2. As I mentioned in PRO 2, the TONE knob is good, but there is no low frequency adjustment at all. At low volumes, I would like to increase the bass, and at high volumes have it not quite as high.

3. The power switch is on the back of the subwoofer! This is the worse strike against this system. I wish it was on the volume control knob or right speaker. If the subwoofer is under a computer desk or behind furniture, this is not good.

4. I cannot fit the headphone jack into my iPhone with it's case. I can fit the Logitech jack. This could be remedied with a trip to Radio Shack, but they should just adjust the design to make it fit more devices.

5. The system uses hard-to-fix wiring. The right speaker has three wires coming from it. One going to the left speaker, one to the headphone jack and one to the subwoofer. The subwoofer jack is like a PS/2 or S-Video jack. This would all be impossible to extend if the wires aren't long enough (except the headphone jack).

Overall, this is a nice sounding system, but the aesthetics and lack of bass controls would keep it from being my primary system.
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