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Altec Lansing Expressionist Plus review

Altec Lansing Expressionist Plus
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £80
inc VAT

Although they look striking, Altec Lansing’s Expressionist Classic sounds unremarkable at best

Altec Lansing’s Expressionist Plus is a compact set of speakers with a subwoofer that’s designed to sit on your desk rather than under it. The set’s cone design, makes the spakers and subwoofer look fantastic.

The bass control dial doubles as the power button and is located on the top of the subwoofer, while the volume buttons are found on the right satellite, although they feel a little cheap and unresponsive. The right satellite also doubles as the hub for the subwoofer and left satellite cabling connections which adds desktop clutter if you decide to put the subwoofer on the floor; using the subwoofer as the hub would have been tidier.

The satellites can be tilted up and down, but this does little to improve their shoddy sound quality. Compared to other 2.1 sets we’ve heard, the Expressionist sounds tinny and lacks volume. Instruments in jazz and blues tracks sound flat and muddy, lacking the warmth and richness we’d expect.

This muddiness is also apparent in pop songs, where subtle details in both backing vocals and instruments are hard or impossible to make out. The subwoofer produces a reasonable amount of bass, but it’s not nearly as deep or thumping as we would expect at this price and is downright weedy compared to other 2.1 sets.

These quality issues would be easier to swallow at a lower price, but are unacceptable for an £80 set of speakers. At this price we would expect far better, consistently good audio quality.

Although we were quite taken with the Expressionist’s appearance and the easy tilt satellites is a neat design touch, you’d have to be a fashion victim to overlook its dismal sound quality and fall for its good looks. Logitech’s X-230 is much better value. Although these speakers look plain, they sound far superior in every respect. Best of all, they cost £50 less than the Expressionist Plus.


Speaker configuration2.1
RMS power output33W
Power consumption standby3W
Power consumption on5W
Analogue inputs2x 3.5mm stereo
Digital inputsnone
Dock connectornone
Headphone outputnone
Satellite cable lengths1.5m between satellites, 1.4m to PC
Cable typecaptive (proprietary DIN cable)
Controls locatedvolume on right satellite, bass on subwoofer
Digital processingnone
Tone controlsbass

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