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The Altec Lansing 251 5.1 Surround Speakers


What's the difference between "PC gaming" speakers and "PC Music" speakers? And why can't good sounding, musical speakers do dual duty as a solid gaming rig? Altec Lansing has somehow divided the buying public into several groups and the 251's fall squarely into the PC gaming category according to them. I'm here to say that Altec has short changed themselves with their 251 model. It should be placed in both categories as this spendthrift surround sound rig poses a serious threat to any other model in its price range.

Factory Specifications
Altec Lansing 251
  • Power Output: 45 Watts RMS @ 1% THD, 60 Watts RMS @ 10% THD, 90 Watts Total Peak Power
  • Frequency Response: 35Hz-18KHz
  • Drivers: 5.25" Woofer, 3" Satellites
  • Shielded Satellites
  • Input Impedance: 10Kohm
  • S/N : >70dB
  • Warranty: 1 Years
  • List Price: $99.95 USD

Altec Lansing

9/10 Rating

Description & Specifications

The subwoofer is not the same one as in the 221's. Upgraded not only to five satellites from two, this system has a resemblance to the 221 model in style. The boom box gets more power and a 5.25 inch driver, up from 4 inches.

As these satellites are in sealed boxes, I was unable to verify that the 3 inch mid/high driver in the very same one from the ACS-48 and 621/641 models; however, after listening to the 251's for over 40 hours, I can conclude that they do have many of the same characteristics.

Altec is still one of the very few companies that refuses to play the "boosted power" ratings game. You know the outrageous claims such as, "1000 watts peak music power" from a 30W transformer. Magic I call it... No, Altec gives realistic claims with distortion qualifiers. And remember that power output does not equate to better sound, rather a better design does.

In tabular form let's examine Altec's power claim:

Distortion Level
1% THD
10% THD
Total (Peak)
Power Output
45 Watts (RMS)
60 Watts (RMS)
90 Watts

I attempted to get a closer look into the subwoofer's internal transformer, but again it was a sealed unit, so I'll trust Altec that all power claims have been met. Considering their past record of truth in this heavily market sensitive area, I have no reason to challenge their numbers.


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