2.1 Hi-Fi Audio Bigs Up

Altec Lansing VS.2121: On Paper And To The Ear

A small system like the 2121 is obviously not capable of putting out extremely high volume levels. But at 105 dB, its result is nonetheless quite respectable.

Maximum level: 105 dB SPL

The measured response of the 2121 is quite good if you consider the limitations inherent in its small size. You can't expect very extended response in the sub-bass range. Except for occasional resonance around 11 kHz, the reproduction of the upper end of the spectrum is very linear. The bass goes down relatively low given the volume of the subwoofer and the size of the loudspeaker, but obviously you can't expect true sub-bass, which - logically - is absent.

A very good result for such a small system, though the lower end of the spectrum is less well represented than with larger models, as could be expected.

For a model of this size, the result is more than decent. But don't expect what you'd get from a bigger system...

Under practical tests, the 2121 showed very good listening qualities, with almost ideal balance. This is a good thing, since as we mentioned, no subwoofer level adjustment is provided. Timbres were also very good and the 2121 should satisfy nearly all users. But in such an idyllic picture, there has to be what you could call a hidden defect, which appears when you crank up the volume. Distortion quickly becomes evident. The levels the system can be driven at are sufficient for individual listening, but if you like very high volumes this is clearly not the choice for you. The limit (variable depending on the type of music) is quickly reached, with clearly audible distortion. That's not specific to this model, however. It's the case with all small systems. The difference is that at reasonable levels, the 2121 produces sound very good quality.