Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Altec Lansing MX5021
- Looks good when grilles removed, good sound quality, excellent treble reproduction
- Speakers not very sturdy, Massive sub box, lack of bass response, sub not magnetically shielded
A multimedia speaker system that produces good results when listening to an MP3 player, watching a movie or playing video games, but could have benefited from a larger subwoofer.
Price$ 299.95 (AUD)
The Altec Lansing MX5021 speakers do require some tweaking depending on what they are being used for, but they are eventually capable of good results. A larger subwoofer capable of producing fuller sounds would have made these a great set of speakers, especially for watching movies, but as it stands they represent great value for money.
On initial inspection we were rather unimpressed with the MX5021's appearance. The satellite speakers feature a mesh nylon grille, but we quickly figured out this can be easily removed, greatly enhancing the overall look and feel.
The sub box is large and heavy considering it only houses a 6.5 inch woofer, and it's not magnetically shielded so it must be placed well away from any visual displays. The satellite speakers are light and not particularly stable, so much so that subwoofer rumbles could inevitably topple them.
We tested the speakers with a range of popular, jazz and classical music, and it produced favourable results. The sound was well balanced with the depths of some rock and hip hop music testing the subwoofers capabilities. The subwoofer wasn't disappointing, but it could never produce enough response to become the standout feature of a song. The speakers handled loud volume well with limited distortion, with some impressive results in the middle ranges.
Being THX certified and considering the asking price, watching movies was impressive. We tested the MX5021 on the movie Swordfish through a range of nightclub, car chase and explosion scenes. Mid and treble deliverance was excellent, with gunshots panning from speaker to speaker sounding incredibly accurate. Our qualm with the lack of deep bass when listening to music carried over here, and we found ourselves turning the bass levels to the maximum setting in an attempt to mimic a cinematic experience. This resulted in loud, albeit thin sounding bass. For a 2.1 stereo system at this price point though, the MX5021 produces very good results for movie watching.
The MX5021 scored points for its ease of set up. The speakers are connected to the subwoofer using speaker wire instead of the usual cables used in most computer speaker systems, and a 3.5 inch cable is provided to connect to a PC or audio device. The speakers also come with an RCA adapter for use with a TV or gaming console. A wired control unit connects to the subwoofer, which includes volume, bass and treble adjustment and a standby switch. A small, wireless remote is also included, offering the same functions.
All in all, this is a simple, yet versatile system that can be moved around and plugged into a computer, TV, gaming console or audio device in a matter of seconds. It looks good (once the grille is removed) and produces above average audio results in a range of settings.
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