Pros: easy setup, handsome packaging, good high and midrange
Cons: distorted bass
Despite my faithful portable JVC boombox was still alive and well after some 13 years of service, I decided to get some speakers with more bass to play MP3 files on my computer. Off I went to Costco and found the Altec Lansing speakers are available for $35 tax. That's $15 less compared to Fry's.
The package (i.e., the BOX itself) is well designed. It's very compact and environmental with just paper based cushioning. It was easy to unpack the individual components. Everything was wrapped properly.
Installation was a breeze. Place the satelites wherever you need them, then connect the audio in to your equipment. There is one thick cable from the right satelite with a DIN connector. Connect that to the subwoofer. The subwoofer has the AC line also, just plug that to any outlet and the installation is done! From start to starting to play music, there are only three connections.
Handy features include on/off and volume control on the right satelite. The right satelite also houses a headphone jack for easier connection.
At a low volume, the sound quality is not bad. Compared to my Grado Labs headphones, the bass is a little bit heavy, but that's probably what people want. The highend and midrange are well reproduced.
When pushed a little, the bass starts to distort (as compared to my headphones). What type of distortion? Different low frequencies begin to sound alike. When pushed even more, all bass frequencies (within a certain range, of course) become one big mess. Loud? Yes. Hi-fidelity? No.
I may look into this and replace the factory bass speaker with something better. I don't think the problem is with the amplifier or cross-over.
As is, the speaker system is suitable for personal/small office use. This is just what I needed anyway because my home office is right next to the bedroom and I work late. However, if you want to impress a crowd with music with lots of bass, this speaker system will most likely embarrass you.
At $35, I think the speaker system is reasonable. Then, again, if you only need a low power speaker system, you can consider some of the better $20 systems.