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Objective & Subjective Listening Results

When I initially powered the ACS-45.2ís, I was greeted not with a "slam" or "crack" of sound, rather the volume gently rose until maximum was attained. Called soft on, Altec took advantage of the native TDA 7375 abilities. When powering the speakers down, they also exhibit a soft off type feature, gently turning the sound down until only computer fan noise is heard. This feature activated and de-activated over approximately a one second interval.

I used several musical selections, ranging from classical to dance and also made use of various 3D hardware accelerated games such as Unreal Tournament and Quake2. Immediately, I was aware that the high frequencies, particularly in the 10KHz-20KHz range were completely missing. Quickly switching back to the 48ís, I verified that tweeters do indeed make the satellites sound more "airy" and lifelike. Not much actually happens in that range though, so donít think that lack of extreme highs knocks this contender out.

The 45.2ís have what many, but not all, speakers haveóa "fun" frequency response. A fun frequency response is one that deliberately deviates from flat in order to emphasize particular aspects relating to their intended application. If executed properly, this curve mangling can give the user a feeling of closeness or excitement when using the product. What is to be avoided at all costs, is a sound that provokes the listener to turn them off. Headaches after several hours of listening usually indicate problems. The Altecís had no such problems, even after 3 hours of stupidly high level listening.

Initially, I listened with the woofer placed in free space approximately 4 feet from any wall. The bass was satisfying and extended sounding, but the overall volume lacked sound pressure levels (SPLís) in the 100dB range. The best I could muster was an undistorted 96dB SPL at 18 inches. Placing the sub at the juncture of two walls produced a dramatic increase of 10dB, which effectively doubled the volume. This 10dB figure is very close to the theoretical increase of 12dB for a bass driver placed at the intersection of two large surfaces. The 106dB maximum now jibed with the satellites 106dB maximum and was within 4dB of the ACS-48ís total output.

Now this was getting exciting. Here we have speakers listing for $79.95 comparing favorably to a set costing nearly double, same midranges and same woofers--hmm. Altec, in an effort to save money and create a new speaker, merely dipped into their parts bins and presto! Killer speakers at a killer price.


After listening to several speakers in the $80 price class, Iím declaring the ACS-45.2ís a best in class rating. Modeled after a longtime classic, the ACS-48 three way speakers, the little bother two-way 45.2ís clobber the competition and give many more expensive sets a run for their money. While itís impossible to hear every single entry in that tightly guarded arena, I have heard at least 4 examples, including the Sonix S-2000 flat panels. If missing extreme upper range highs donít give you fits, then take a close look at the Altecísóa very close look.

William Yaple


Web Target PC


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