Altec Lansing FX5051

Rating : 3.5

Good Sound Quality, Control Pod, Remote Control, Long Cables, Good Highs

Inadequate Bass at high volume, Confusing Rear Speaker Volume Adjustment, Bit expensive.

Today we have with us a proper 5.1 system from Altec Lansing, one of the best in the multimedia systems. This system is similar to Bose, it supports plug-n-play. The inbuilt audio processing and the isobaric sub-woofer, it all seems to sound good; but is it good enough? Let's find out.

4 Satellite Speakers
Center Speaker
Isobaric Sub-Woofer
Control Pod
Wireless Remote
USB Cable
Color-coded 3.5mm stereo cables
User Guide & Quick Connect

Technical specifications of the speakers:
2 Front Speakers: Two 12 Watts/channel @ 4 ohms speakers
2 Rear Speakers: Two 12 Watts/channel @ 4 ohms speakers
Center Speaker: 13 Watts @ 4 ohms
Subwoofer: 28 Watts @ 8 ohms
Total Continuous Power: 89 Watts RMS
Drivers (per satellite): One 40mm mid-range driver and one 18mm high-end tweeter
Subwoofer: Two 6.5" long-throw woofers in isobaric configuration

Speaker Setup

The Speaker Setup is a standard 5.1 surround speaker setup. I guess you all know this by now, but still a run through: Two speakers in the front on either side, one in the center, two in the rear on the either side, and the sub-woofer in the corner near a wall.

All connectors of the speakers are placed at the rear of the sub-woofer. There are two sets of connectors: input and output. Output consists of colored connectors for the corresponding colored speaker pin. The cables of the satellite speakers are quite long and can be easily setup with a computer system without any extensions. The other output connector is for the Control Pod of the system. Since the system can be used as plug-n-play as well as a Home Theater system, there are two input connectors. One is a USB for the plug-n-play aspect while three stereo jacks (Front, Surround, CLFE). Other than these, there is a switch for 2/4 and 6. With the switch at 2/4, the system automatically converts the sound from 2 channel to 4 channel. Keeping the switch at 6 can be used only when being used with a proper 5.1 sound card or a DVD Player.

The FX5051, being a proper 5.1 channel surround system, has decent sound quality. This system also had the same plug-n-play feature like the Bose Companion 5. It is also possible to use the FX5051 as a home theatre and so it also takes standard 5.1 channel inputs. We tested both inputs and here is what we experienced.

The FX5051 has decent highs, mids and lows. While testing it at low volume levels, the bass didn't seem to be present at all, but with the volume increased, you could feel it, but still not upto the mark. On the other hand, the bass produced from the isobaric sub-woofer missed thump.

The treble output was good but the bass just wasn't able to deliver the punch. The good part was that the bass never cracked, however high the volume was. The isobaric sub-woofer design could be the reason why the bass didn't crack and subsequently, could also be the reason for the poor output. The treble shattered at high volumes; i.e., at 75-80% volume, and that effected the system output. The treble was just too loud killing the bass again and again. The other problem I faced was while adjusting the rear speaker output from the control pod; it was confusing, it said that switching the system to 2/4 would give an ideal output.

The Altec Lansing FX5051 sells at an MRP of Rs. 15,500 with a one year warranty whereas, the street price for the same is Rs. 12,000. This makes it a pretty decent buy, as long as you want to enjoy the sound for yourself and not rock the entire neighborhood. Still, no punch in the bass is something that will not attract many hip-hop or trance listener