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Altec Lansing XA3051 Speaker System
Page 3 - Features, Quality and Conclusion
Author: Philip Lam (Phirewerkz)
Editor: Dan Podhola (WebMasterP)
Date: October 27, 2003
Category: Audio
Options: Printable Version 12 pt Times New Roman 10 pt Times New Roman 12 pt Tahoma 10 pt Tahoma

These speakers are versatile and they can be used for many different types of media. With the 3-Meter stereo audio RCA cable, these speakers can be used to provide sound for your TV. A 3-Meter composite video RCA extender cable was also included to allow the AV Input to be split between the TV (video) and the XA3051 (sound). Users can also purchase an audio cable and plug it into the auxiliary socket to play music from their walkman, CD player, or computer.

The remote included with the system is equipped with eight feet of wire. Eight feet of wire may or may not be enough wire for your stereo setup. Although a wireless remote would be a great improvement, I am already impressed by the fact that a $100 US system is equipped with one. The remote allows the user to change volumes, and adjust bass and treble settings using a innovative rotating disc rather than buttons. This is a nice option because certain individuals may prefer more bass over treble or vice versa. The remote can be used to toggle between stereo and surround sound mode. In stereo mode, the speakers act like a 2.1 System and turn into a 5.1 System when Surround Sound is enabled. Along with the surround sound settings is the option to change the front and rear volumes individually. This is a very helpful feature for those who require more sound from the front or rear due to the available speaker positions in certain rooms.

The Remote Control
The Remote Control
Dual Headphone Jacks
Dual Headphone Jacks

The remote also has two headphone jacks that allow the user listen to music without disrupting others. This is my only concern: the fact that the headphone jacks are positioned so closely and surrounded by an elevated rim means that any earphones with a 90°C angle at the plug will not be able to fully inserted into the socket. The only way to dodge this obstacle is to turn the headphone plug so that it overlaps the other jack, meaning only one set of earphones can only be used. Altec may want to change the design for maximum compatibility.

To begin testing the system's sound quality, I checked for any white noise. Surprisingly, there is less hissing than the 251 system when the speakers are turned to full volume, but a blurb of sound is emitted by the subwoofer right when the system is turned on.

I decided to go to the Loudspeaker Test to ensure that the frequencies documented on the box were accurate. Based on my sense of hearing, all of ranges of frequency (32Hz 18kHz and more) were heard clearly and without distortion.

Leading the bass intensity test off with Intro Machi, it is clearly noticeable that this 100 Watt system is capable of delivering powerful sounds to the listener. More importantly, the long-throw speaker seems to dish out a "rounder" more intense bass than the 251 system. Even at full volume and the bass setting increased to the maximum, the bass is clear and no vibrations can be heard. It seems as though the 10 Watt increase or a change in subwoofer design made a audible difference in performance.

Turning to a more balanced bass-treble genre, I hooked up the system to a CD Player with some classical music. The high and low frequencies of all instruments sounded clear without any distortion or problems. I was completed thrilled by the enormous sound output when it was playing Butterfly Lovers Chen Gang.

When testing the sound quality of DVD playback, I found that the system presents great surround sound quality. With the volume turned to the maximum level the user is in the driver's seat experiencing all the explosions, gunshots and dialogue as if they were amid all the action. It would be great to see this system compatible with surround sound from an ordinary PC. This would make it one of the most astounding versatile pieces of sound equipment that the bargain shopper only dreams about.

Overall, the Altec Lansing XA3051 system is an excellent example of an economic sound system that will please any user. Priced at $100 US, this system has all the basic prerequisites (and more) to satisfy a budget consumer. On the other hand, many aspects are lacking, such as the wired remote and the reduction of power. Altec should also reconsider their headphone jacks on their remote as well as the length. It would be great to see this system become computer surround sound compatible. This system definitely ranks a 4.0 along with the 251 System.

Final Score

4 out of 5 Weird Blue Faces

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