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Altec Lansing VS2721 review


It might be loud, but the imbalanced subwoofer makes audio quality suffer in comparison to other 2.1 sets.

Review Date: 18 Feb 2011

Price when reviewed: £50


Reviewed By: Tom Morgan

Our Rating 2 stars out of 5

There’s very little to separate the satellites in Altec Lansing’s VS2721 speakers and its cheaper VS2720 set, quality wise; they share the same upright design and mesh grilles. The major difference is the inclusion of a subwoofer, for more well-rounded audio and more powerful bass. It also comes with a useful wired remote control, saving you trips under a desk to change volume and tone settings on the subwoofer.

Both speakers connect to the subwoofer using 1.5m captive phono cables, which should be long enough to sit comfortably on a desk. The subwoofer is surprisingly thin, so should easily fit into most spaces.

Altec Lansing VS2721

All the controls and inputs are routed through the rather large wired remote. A single 1.6m captive 3.5mm cable easily connects to a PC, but a convertor will be required for attaching a games console. A 3.5mm auxiliary input is useful for connecting a second device such as an MP3 player and the headphone jack can be used for individual listening.

If you need to silence your music quickly, a mute button is also within easy reach. The small tone control dial is handy for tweaking the speakers to suit different musical genres, although separate bass and treble controls would be better for more accurate fine-tuning.

Using the VS2721 to play our test tracks, we immediately noticed that the subwoofer was producing frequencies that other speakers would play through the main speakers. This made our acoustic tracks sound far too bass-heavy. We couldn’t fix this using the tone control as it had next to no effect on the bass, only altering the amount of treble coming from the main speakers. Even with the dial turned to maximum treble, we still found bass to be overpowered in comparison to the rest of the audio range. Our heavier tracks sounded completely out of line with how we would expect them to sound. High-end notes were clear, but also sharper than we would expect.

Despite this problem, we had to turn the volume up to high levels to get deeper levels of bass from the subwoofer, as otherwise it lacked a powerful rumble. This could easily be a problem if you want to avoid annoying your neighbours. At its maximum volume, the speakers could comfortably fill a medium-sized room, but without decent sound quality this is a rather redundant feature.

Without an effective bass control to remedy the imbalanced subwoofer, anyone that appreciates their music will be frustrated by the VS2721. Despite its impressive volume, the audio quality issue makes it hard to recommend over the Trust Wave 2.1.

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