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Altec Lansing Octane 7 review

Alan Lu
23 Apr 2010
Altec Lansing Octane 7
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
60
inc VAT

Altec Lansing's Octane 7 speakers look intriguing but sound awful.

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The Altec Lansing Octane 7 speakers look intriguing thanks to the unusually-shaped upright satellites. These are designed so that the drivers face downwards, bouncing the sound off the table they're placed on. This allows music to be heard from anywhere in the room, rather than just directly in front of them, which should make them suitable for parties as well as for personal listening. This omni-directional effect worked well, but, unfortunately, audio quality was very disappointing.

The good news is that blues and jazz tracks sounded reasonably clear and undistorted, although they didn't sound anywhere near as rich and warm as we would have liked. The bad news is that any music with any substantial amount of bass sounds irredeemably awful. The bass in our R&B and rock tracks distorted so badly that it made the tracks unlistenable. This can be partially compensated for by reducing the bass using the dials on the right satellite, but it doesn't completely eliminate the distortion and makes bass-heavy tracks sound limp and less satisfying.

Even if the bass didn't distort so heavily, rock and R&B music would still be unpleasant due to the harsh-sounding high end. Electronic music also suffered from the same pair of problems, although it wasn't as noticeable. The distorted high end was very noticeable in our classical and acoustic folk tracks though, especially in pieces with string instruments.

We wanted to like the Octane 7 speakers due to their unique appearance, but there's no way we can recommend them due to their appallingly bad sound quality, especially given that you can get some decent-sounding speakers at this price. If you want a set of 2.1 speakers capable of producing omni-directional sound go for Logitech's Z523 2.1 speakers instead. They’re a bit more expensive (£75 from www.lambda-tek.com), but their audio quality is far superior.

Specifications

Rating*
Speaker configuration2.1
RMS power output31W
Power consumption standby8W
Analogue inputs3.5mm stereo
Digital inputsnone
Dock connectornone
Headphone outputnone
Satellite cable lengths2.6m left, 2m right
Cable typecaptive
Controls locatedright satellite
Digital processingnone
Tone controlsbass and treble
Price£60
Supplierhttp://www.novatech.co.uk
Detailswww.alteclansing.co.uk

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