Altec Lansing 5100: Test and Review

All 5100 Altec Lansing may be the solution for anyone who wants to offer his computer surround sound quality 5.1 surround without the horrible bulky speakers. Designed for PC and game consoles, the system includes four identical satellites, a center speaker, subwoofer and remote control. The resonance chamber has two engines with direct transmission of 10.2 cm. With their unique style, all satellites are equipped with double engines of 2.5 cm with aluminum cone crimped inside a black plastic casing end mounted on a curved base in brushed aluminum. The amplifier 5100 subwoofer is supposed to deliver 23 watts to the subwoofer, 7 watts to 22 watts each satellite and the center speaker.

Very simple to use, the wired remote control to adjust the levels and choose between stereo playback modes, 4.1 and 5.1. However, we regret that it is not with a text or numeric display rather than the status lights. Connectivity to a PC 5100 is 100% analog, which is ideal to complement a 5.1 soundcard, such as Creative Labs Audigy 2 Platinum EX. The cables of the speakers to the center speaker and satellites, they are equipped with RCA type jacks identifiable by color for connection to the subwoofer. It is important to note that, in the interests of greater flexibility, other multimedia speaker systems are compatible with standard speaker cable.

Though slightly lack of power, the 5100 system offers good sound quality. During our test with the game Quake III, the accuracy of the return offered by satellites allowed us to locate our enemies. However, even pushing the subwoofer maximum lacked explosion astounding quality achieved with more powerful systems, such as the Logitech Z-680. For DVD playback the center speaker has distinguished. The surround effects are well mixed. However, a richer medium register would have to gain in realism.

If the amplifier has adequate capacity to produce good performance at moderate volumes, some of the test MP3 files, which were not fully standardized, showed abnormally high background noise when we increased the volume to compensate. The hardcore users should consider a more powerful system, but the general public will surely appreciate the compact design and good sound quality of 5100.