New Generation PC 5.1 Speaker Systems

Altec Lansing FX5051, Continued

The Altec Lansing satellites are also the only ones in this review with a separate tweeter and driver. They are equipped with a 40 mm driver and an 18 mm tweeter in each satellite, as opposed to the larger, single drivers in the competition's offerings. Each satellite takes about 12 watts of power, much less than the other competitors in this review that take about 40 watts each. The FX50551's satellites are consequently much smaller than the G550's or Z-5450's.

As far as the speaker hardware goes, the Altec Lansing system sets itself apart from the pack even more here. The subwoofer box actually contains two 6.5" long-throw drivers in what's called an "isobaric configuration". This design places both drivers facing each other in a unique fashion that is supposed to maximize bass output. What's interesting is that both of the FX5051's subwoofer drivers take a combined 89 watts of power... compare this with the single 6.5" driver in the Logitech's Z-5450's sub that takes 116w of power all by itself.

Aesthetically speaking, the Altec Lansing FX5051's are appealing, with a metallic look to the satellites, stands and subwoofer. The wireless remote is uniquely shaped with a bend at the top, kind of like a Star Trek phaser, but it's comfortable and works well.

Our only complaint is the rather ambiguous display on the control box. Setting levels are represented by a few lights in a circle, but it's not really clear which way is increasing or decreasing. It's also not really made to display finer adjustments, so you get no visual feedback if the adjustment is subtle, even if you can hear the difference sometimes. It's not the end of the world, but it really made me appreciate the simple, effective display on the Logitech control box.

  • asheesh1_2000
    For me partially wireless is worse than wired so instead I am considering Logitech Z-5500. This article is 2 years old so I am assuming that Primal 5.1 was not released then otherwise I think it also would have been included.