Altec Lansing expressionist ULTRA

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Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are only my own and were not influenced in any form by employees or representatives of Altec Lansing.

I have quite a thing for Altec Lansing speakers. I had a pair of extremely old speakers which were working beautifully, and I could pump them pretty loud. But then I was introduced to these. Thanks quite a lot to Altec Lansing for sending me these speakers to review and for keeps. I really enjoy ‘em!

Design

These speakers are quite elegant, and feature a beautiful glass design that leaves absolutely no impression of these speakers being “sub-standard”, in fact quite the contrary.

Geometrically simple glass with 3" drivers and 1" tweeters

The large sub shared the same geometry as the other speakers, elegantly linking them.

Another quite interesting aspect of the system is the control unit.

Cool controller design!

To change the volume, simply twist the middle section of the control unit. You can determine your level of volume using the lights that appear. Also, while playing music, the lights flash in some cool patterns that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Press the Treble and Bass buttons to control the levels of, well, treble and bass. On the side you will find a headphone jack and an AUX input, both very convenient!

But in this side of the review I came across a pretty minor problem. The cables for the sound system had an incredibly hard time stretching across my three monitor array and back down under my desk. I was barely able to squeeze the cables to fit, but I eventually did accomplish that. This may not be an obstacle for all persons, but if you have a huge multiple yard monitor array to stretch across, you may need to find some kind of workaround (try putting the subwoofer on the desk!).

Sound

I must say that as far as speakers go, these deliver crisp, separated, clean sound. The large subwoofer delivers bass that can literally shake the ground. The best thing about the system is that you can hear each range of sound incredibly clearly. It doesn’t seem to merge them together, almost as if every range was being played from a different speaker. This thing can get up to quite a bit of decibalage… How much, I have no idea as I don’t have one. But I’d bet it’s pretty high! The sound is really amazing even when at full blast. At full blast there is no muffling or distortion. You may go deaf (EXPRESSION!), but other than that it’s quite a remarkable sound system. You really just can’t describe the sound that this amazing system emits. On bass rich songs, you can literally feel the bass drum hit you (almost). The ground shakes and it just about literally emits a shock wave of sound that will hit you with force (literally!). You might as well just be at the concert itself.

Yet I have come across a problem. When there is no music pumping through the system, you get a fair amount of quite annoying background noise. Like a hissing kind of sound… No, this is not a particular manufacturing defect, I have heard of it on many forums online.

But I actually think of it as a reminder to turn the speakers off to save energy, as that may benefit the cause of this high energy bill; after all, 200 watts is quite a bit of power sucking, plus I’m starting to get worried about the structural integrity of my floor, and I hope that I won’t be falling through anytime soon.

Conclusion

Here is a basic list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Rich, deep sound
  2. Can blast right through the floor (almost)
  3. Clean elegant design
  4. Bass rich, but not too much!
  5. Real glass, not cheap plastic
  6. 200-watt power

Cons:

  1. A fair bit of background noise
  2. Cables a bit short for multiple monitor arrays

I’m not going to count that last con as very few will encounter this same problem, and as I said, this can be worked around by putting the sub on the desk, which may result in an investment in a new desk after the sub blasts right through it (almost).

So the average score averages out to 8.7/10… OR FOUR [point 3] OUT OF FIVE STARS!

The Altec Lansing expressionist ULTRA system sells online for $199.95, which I think is a great price for this quality.

Once again, thanks a lot to Altec Lansing for sending me this speaker system for free to review and keep!

For more info and purchases, visit the links below!

Altec Lansing homepage

expressionist ULTRA

  • Kenneth

    Nice, clean review, what is a subwoofer?

  • admin

    The huuuge thing that outputs all the bass (and shakes the floor) and weighs a TON. ;-)