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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [06.07.02]
Manufactured by: Altec Lansing
MSRP: $99.95 USD


Is that an Atom Bomb or something?

Have you ever been sitting in front of your TV, enjoying an intense game? Well chances are the game wasn't as intense as it could have been if you were playing through your TV's stock speaker system.

Even the best TV's out there have impotent speakers; my Sony Wega flatscreen has speakers that hardly rival a telephone.  This is usually not a problem, however.  Most movie buffs will go full out with a home theatre audio system.  After all, do we really need to hear Friends in full 5.1 surround sound?

What about those who don't necessarily need an expensive audio system, but still want some ass kicking bass and great highs for the latest consoles out there? Well Altec Lansing was thinking of you when they unveiled their latest line of speakers at E3 just over a week ago.

Upon first glance, the woofer/amp unit looks like a 40's era missile! It certainly stands out, and it's easy to tell that Altec Lansing had the XBOX in mind when designing this thing.  It looks right at home sitting next to the console, and if you happen to have a PS2 or other console, just have it face the other way, and it'll look just about as cool.

The XA3021 set certainly does not convey the refined image you might find on a set of Sony or Klipsch speakers, but that's the whole point.  This is a gaming system, and there is definitely no way to mistake it for anything else.  For some this is a good thing, for others it would stick out like a sore thumb.  I think that these would fit right at home in any video game fan's setup though.

The Specs

I am quite reluctant to compare specs in speaker reviews... There is absolutely no consistency in the way speaker manufacturers spec their systems.  That is why you get a $400 set of speakers with seemingly lower specs than a $100 set.  Nonetheless, I'll post them, because more info is always better, as long as you know the weight it holds.

  Power Frequency Response Satellites Woofer Price
XA3021 40W 35Hz - 18kHz 3" Dome 5.25" $99
Logitech Z-560 400W 29Hz - 20kHz 3" Done 8" $199
Klipsch Promedia 2.1 400W 35Hz - 20kHz 3" Long Throw w/ Horn Tweeter 6.5" $179

As you can see, considering the price, it stands up quite nicely to these powerhouse speakers.  The Z-560 are probably the most popular 5.1 set around today, and the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 are still my favourite 2.1 set.

Note that I am comparing these to PC speakers, because that is essentially what they are.  The only real differences that really make these specifically designated for Video Games is of course their design, and the fact that they have RCA inputs.  This allows you to input from either the TV (if you have a stereo TV) or directly from the console.  They DO have a mini stereo jack as an Aux input, so there is nothing stopping you from using them as dedicated PC speakers.  You will need to buy a 2 end mini stereo cord though.

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