The Altec Lansing 5100 5.1 Speakers
ever more popular are sound reproducers that offer a tremendous set of features.
Goodies such as surround sound, center channel, subwoofer, and even remote
control can be had for under $200 today. These systems can be marketed not
only to the PC user, but to gaming console users. I've often wondered what's
the difference between a "gaming" audio system and a "music"
oriented audio system. Last week, Altec provided TargetPC with the excellent
621 3-piece speakers and they performed beyond expectations. They also fit
into Altec's marketing box known as "PC Audio." Can Altec's 5100
"PC Gaming" speakers provide a top notch audio experience?
- Power Output:
58.4 Watts RMS @ 1% THD, 73 Watts RMS @ 10% THD, 100 Watts Total
Dual 4" Woofers, 1" Tweeters, No Midrange Drivers
- Input Impedance:
- S/N : >70dB
- List Price:
unit has moderate heft. Weighing in at 13 lbs., the apparent heft is quite
a welcome change from many of the welter weight cheap plastic enclosures that
seem to dominate the market. The front grill cover should not
be removed as it is glued at six points to the front panel. I removed it for
pictures anyway, but had to re-glue the posts to assure a buzz-free listening
are much heavier than most considering their diminutive size. Their weight
is primarily due to the heavy metal base, which is required to keep the vertical
1" driver array from tipping over. A fully separate audio control also
reclines in a similar heavy metallic base. The entire package is actually
quite visually stunning. The woofer is in a wooden box that stands upright
to minimize the footprint.
one of the very few companies that doesn't rate their gear based on fabricated
specifications. For example, I've tested many speakers that claim hundreds
of watts of "max power" or "peak music power" and those
numbers are completely meaningless. After all, who listens at 100% distortion?
10% distortion involves serious cracking sounds and a few others that turn
most people's stomachs, so I usually refrain from exceeding (or caring) about
distortion levels over 3%, which is where most sine waves aurally and visibly
(on an oscilloscope) commence to clip.
form let's examine Altec's power claim:
Akin to the 621 review,
I almost passed out due to overwhelming surprise when my eyes met the quoted
power FTC specifications along with useable power ratings.
The power module, which
houses the port and various connectors, appears (from the outside) to be a
similar design to the ACS-48 and 621 module. A peek into the woofer box, revealed
striking differences however.