by Rory Buszka on October 17, 2007 in Audio & Media
Altec Lansing grabbed some attention at the 2007 CES with their PT7031 and PT8051 ‘Powered Theater’ speakers, which created a virtual surround sound field around the listener. Their new FX3020 SoundBar features a similar concept – but does it deliver?
They’re out there. The minimalists. People who almost pathologically prefer simple, elegant solutions over larger, more complex ones, simply by virtue of their simplicity. If it’s not bad enough that modern PCs are made up of a separate tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse, just about every PC audio system capable of delivering a satisfying audio performance is made up of two speakers, a subwoofer, and sometimes even a separate volume control ‘pod’, all of which must be connected by cables. It’s enough to make a minimalist tear their hair out, or choose to forego PC audio altogether.
Now there’s help for minimalists. The new Altec Lansing FX3020 “SoundBar” is a one-piece audio system that borrows technology from Altec Lansing’s most compact audio products – their accessory speakers for portable music players â€“ to deliver a rewarding sonic performance, complete with a wide stereo soundfield. What’s more, the SoundBar features a low-profile design that’s designed to fit under the screens of most flat panel monitors.
To accomplish this, the FX3020 SoundBar relies upon DSP processing, which modifies the signals sent to the internal speaker drivers in various ways, to produce aural effects that wouldn’t otherwise materialize. The SoundBar uses Altec’s SFX (Sound Field Expander) algorithm to simulate an immersive stereo soundscape, and Altec’s XdB technology to simulate a deeper bass sound from a small speaker.
In this article, we’ll evaluate the claims of the SoundBar, and see how well it delivers on its promises.
||14.7" W x 3.4" D x 4.4" H
||2×2" full-range, 1×2" passive radiator
The Altec Lansing FX3020 SoundBar’s minimalist appeal lies in its utter simplicity â€“ though Altec also touts an ‘Immersive Sound’ experience from the unassuming little bar speaker. Here’s a look at the features of the FX3020 SoundBar that let Altec make these claims.
The SoundBar comes in an attractive cardboard carton with bright graphics and a long, slim form that’s suggestive of the proportions of the unit. It’s easy to tell what the product is, and how it’s intended to be used, simply by looking at the graphic on the rear of the box which depicts the sound bar positioned underneath an LCD monitor.