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Objective Measurements

 

Data acquired and reported of this type is done without any opinion or bias whatsoever (when I can get the case open). For a quickie brush up course on audio terminology and measurements, point your browser to the Audio Reproduction Systems article.

Rated R.M.S. Power Output

As I griped earlier, a high distortion power rating is nearly useless when contemplating higher end audio. Possibly a few teenagers, especially those with some hearing to spare might enjoy massively distorted sound, but this reviewer cringes at anything much over the 1% mark (which is plenty detectable). For the purposes of all my audio reviews, I chose the generous 3% rating, which was traditionally utilized for cassette deck/reel-to-reel testing until the early 1990's. At 3%, the waveform when viewed on an oscilloscope starts to visually "flat-top" or clip.

I surmised after attempting to remove the woofer cover, that poking around inside for insight into the main power capacitors and amplifier IC's was going to prove impossible. It was. I found no reasonable method of disassembling the 5100's boom box with causing permanent damage. As a result, no measurements could be taken. At this time, I have no reason to doubt Altec's power claims, considering the company's history on that particular subject.

It should be noted that a non-audio grade non-toroidal power transformer was used as the primary supply. This type of transformer is more suited to DC circuits than AC amplifier circuits, but the cost and size are dramatically reduced.

Miscellaneous Measurements

Of note is the parallel woofer drivers. These are 8 Ohm nominal units that when put into a non-series configuration, theoretically yield a nominal 4 Ohms. The bass response could be heard fairly solidly down to 45Hz using a tone generator. A sharp rolloff below 45Hz led to 30Hz and below being nonexistent.

Satellite Cables
Controller Cable
Power Cord
Input Cables
>9.5 ft
> 9.5 ft
5.5 ft
6.5 ft

Pictures

ACS-48 & 5100 Sat
Sat & Remote
Tweeter
Remote
Subwoofer
Sub Uncovered
Sub Closeup
Sub Driver
Power Transformer
Rear Port
Inputs
Setup

 





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