Altec Lansing MX5021 2.1 Speaker System

Introduction:

 

Altec Lansing is back and bigger than ever- literally. Their THX certified MX5021 2.1 speaker system comes with two 10" tall satellites, a 15.7" tall subwoofer, control module, and a wireless remote. As compared to the 5100's reviewed in the past, the MX5021's are packing much more power with a total of 90 Watts ( 2x20W satellites + 1x50W woofer). The MX5021's differ form the 5100's in that is  a dual satellite system designed to play music, so surround sound obviously won't be a possibility.

 

Features:

- Each satellite features two midrange drivers with polypropylene cones and a horn-loaded tweeter
- THX Certified
- Wireless Remote and Control Pod Control of bass, treble and master volume levels with both the wireless remote and the control pod
- Auxiliary Input Jack
- Headphone Jack
- Shielded Satellites For use near video monitors.

TOTAL CONTINUOUS POWER- 90 Watts RMS
Front Speakers: 20 Watts/channel @ 6 ohms @ 10% THD @ 150 - 18000 Hz 2 Channels Loaded
Subwoofer: 50 Watts @ 4 ohms @ 10% THD @ 40- 150 Hz Single Channel Loaded

SYSTEM RESPONSE:
30 Hz - 22 kHz (-10 dB)

SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO @ 1 KHZ INPUT:
> 80 dB

DRIVERS (PER SATELLITE):
One 1" horn loaded tweeter and two 3" full-range drivers
    DIMENSIONS:
    5.2" (W) x 2.5" (D) x 10.2" (H)

SUBWOOFER DRIVER:
One 6.5" long-throw woofer
    DIMENSIONS:
    8.7" (W) x 12.2" (D) x 15.7" (H)
 

Since there are only two satellites it should make installation easy and make the 'pile of cords behind the subwoofer' mess less of a nuisance. Lets set these puppies up.

Overview/Installation:

The two satellites are pretty big but most of their size comes from height and not width. This makes them very nice for a college student's desk in which space is worth its size in gold. You can see the black and red spring-loaded inputs for the satellites in the bottom picture. Each speaker comes with one 1" horn loaded tweeter, which handles the highest frequency sounds, and two 3" full-range drivers, for the mid-range frequencies. The speakers look great however one minor complaint is that due to their black color and plastic covering, dust and finger marks are easily noticeable; weekly or monthly wipe downs would be a good idea.

Here is the control module. It can be used to change the basic's like volume, bass, and treble. The lights are a sharp blue and look very cool against the black covering. The volume wheel has a circular base which also spins, making it quick and easy to change the volume using only one finger. At the bottom of the picture you can see the sensor for the wireless remote.

On the side of the control module is a headphone jack and auxiliary input jack (for your CD or MP3 players). Being in college and using headphones a lot- I love the headphone jack being so close and accessible. I find myself constantly sliding on the headphones whenever my roommate goes to sleep or turns on the TV. Not having to plug my headphones directly into the back of my soundcard is a big plus in my book.

The lower picture is the back of the  6.5" long-throw subwoofer and you can see how easy it is to setup this system from the small number of inputs. Just connect the two satellites to the left/right jacks and the control module to the controller input. Then connect your sound card to the sub via the input labeled 'input'. Badaboom-badabing, you're done.

Performance/Conclusion:

The MX5021's are definitely 'in the house' when it comes to booming sound. Especially when sitting right in front of these puppies- they can crank out some serious noise. When turning up the volume, it gets loud very fast and then increases less and less the higher you go. Whether or not this is a good thing depends on the person listening. I always have the setting on 1 out of 5 and when I want to listen to something at a level slightly higher then normal I go to 2 out of 5 and that is plenty loud. Levels 3, 4, and 5 are for party settings or when I want to dance around my room when no one is around. On the loudest setting, there is very slight distortion but nothing to shudder at.

I have a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 sound card and that is what I used to test with.  First, some gaming. UT2003 was used for testing. The sound quality was very good for all types of sound, high frequency sounds like the metallic 'ching' of the chain gun, mid-range sounds like the primary fire mode of the flak cannon, and low-range sounds like the explosion of the secondary fire of the flak cannon. The bass for explosions and other booming sounds was awesome. I cranked the bass setting up to 5/5 and it was sweet- using the rocket launcher was never so much fun. Even though the system is dual channel and not surround, I was still able to easily decipher which direction my enemies were shooting from.

Watching video was also very pleasurable. I loaded up Cirque du Soleil: Quidam and turned up the volume. The music sounded rich and powerful. There wasn't a whole lot of bass used, so I changed over to Matrix: Reloaded. Once again, the sound was very good and the woofer really kept my heart racing during the action. And, using the wireless remote control, I was able to fine tune the sound without ever having to move my feet (big plus for lazy college students like me).
 

The Good(s):  
    1. Great sound
    2. Big bass
    3. Wireless remote
    4. Look great
    5. Easy installation

The Bad(s):
    1. They get dusty and smudged; it is noticeable

 

At 200 green bananas , the MX5021's are a great mid-range sound solution. A job well done by the Altec Lansing crew to make another super sounding system, within price range for most consumers.

SLRating: 9.0 / 10



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