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Altec Lansing FX4021
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by Rob Williams on October 30, 2006 in Speakers/Headphones

Altec Lansing recently announced two new speaker systems, and we are taking a look at the smaller of the two. The FX4021 is a 2.1 system that promises high-end sound in a compact, and stylish package.

Introduction

Altec Lansing is a company that quickly comes to mind when discussing good audio systems at a reasonable price. Currently, I use a 5.1 Altec Lansing setup on my work computer and 2.1 on the benchmarking computer. Needless to say, their speaker sets have always fit my budget, and provide quality sound that I am looking for. Last month, they announced the release of the FX4021 and FX5051, the latter being a USB based 5.1 setup.

When you are looking at your cool 5.1 sound system, you may wonder why anyone in their right mind would stick to a 2.1 set. For me, I have everything in a single room. Bed, four computers, mini-fridge, couple shelves, ten empty cases of beer. You get the drift. In my situation, 2.1 is a far better solution simply because I do not want to make room for a 5.1. My primary computer uses 5.1, and that’s fine enough. So, I am sure a lot of people share the same situation, which is why 2.1 sets are still plentiful.

I’ve already stated that I trust Altec Lansing quite a bit, which is why I use their systems on all of my PCs. However, my faith was kicked to the ground when I took a look at their AHP612 wireless headphones recently. They were the absolute worst headphones that ever sat on my head, to say the least. But, I am not one to hold a grudge, so I am hoping that the FX4021s will more than make up for that headset.

Closer Look

Upon arrival, it was hard to believe that this wasn’t the 5.1 version of the system, because the box is quite large. Once opened, the first thing on top is the manual and a piece of paper regarding an offer for free wall mounts. That is something I would have expected to see included for free regardless. I can’t see many who buy this wanting to wait for “free” wall mounts to come in the mail, especially if that’s their original intention.

To cut to the chase, here is the set as a whole. Not pictured is the remote or computer audio cable. If anything stands out, it’s probably the huge subwoofer. Not due to it’s size though, but rather unique design. The reason for this design is thanks to dual 5.25″ drivers and also the isobaric woofer. I will elaborate in the testing.

The woofer doesn’t include a single control… no volume, no power on… nada. Instead, all of the control is left to this nifty remote. The center is a dial, which only takes common sense to figure out. You can enable a bass or treble booster, sfx or loudness. While it’s not the most technical term, loudness will simply amplify the sound. It’s not the same as simply increasing the volume… it creates a more robust sound overall. The power on/off is here also, for quick access. I do find it odd that there is not a mute button, but perhaps it was not needed due to the fact of the power button being here. Still, I’d rather simply mute the sound instead of it powering off the system each time I want to do so.

For some late night audio action, you can simply plug your headphones into the port on the side of the control.

Page List:
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1. Introduction
2. Closer Look
3. Installation and Testing