Premium Two-Channel PC Speaker Roundup

Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass FX3022

We start in alphabetical order with Altec Lansing, a company that has been manufacturing speakers since the 1940s. The Expressionist Bass FX3022 speaker system has a big name, but it’s actually the lightest product in our roundup, composed of two 1.15 lb enclosures.

The FX3022 definitely sports a unique and attractive configuration. The 1.5” drivers are mounted at the top of the cone-shaped enclosures, aimed at the listener. 

Each 4” "subwoofer" is positioned at the bottom of both satellites, pointing downward to reflect bass off of the desk. This approach works well, but just don’t jam your hand into the driver when you’re picking it up. The enclosures are 10” tall, the second-tallest in our roundup.

The speakers come with a six-foot long, 1/8” mini-jack input cable; the relatively long length affords some flexibility in placement. Other than the warranty card and input cable, the box contains nothing but the speakers and an A/C adapter for power.

The Expressionist Bass’ inputs are on the rear of the right enclosure, above the power input and left speaker cable. The inputs are labeled Input and Aux, but they're technically identical. Both inputs work at the same time—that is to say, you can listen to music from your MP3 player and listen to the in-game glory of Call of Duty simultaneously.

When it comes to I/O, the absence of a headphone jack is perhaps the most notable and grievous omission. As a PC gamer, I often find myself plugging in headphones when I don’t want to disturb anyone else, or when I need to use a headset with a microphone. The FX3022s do not accommodate this option, forcing you to look for a front-panel headphone jack on your enclosure of choice. Frankly, this may not be a convenient solution in some cases.

This product is the only in our roundup that has a permanently-integrated cable between its enclosures. This is an odd design decision that could lead to cable routing challenges. Fortunately, it wasn’t a problem during our tests.

I’m a fan of using knobs to dial in audio control. Thus, I’m not particularly impressed with the '+' and '-' buttons that Altec Lansing uses to specify volume. They do the job, as does the large power button in between, though. What’s missing here are bass and treble controls. Then again, perhaps we need to cut the Expressionist Bass kit a little slack here. At $105.31 on Newegg, this is the lowest-priced two-channel speaker system we’re reviewing by at least $45. Despite the low price, it comes with a two-year warranty.

  • Has the reviewer heard of Audioengine A2 speakers? They are outstanding 2 channel speakers for $199.
  • Randomacts
    No love for the budget minded folk?
  • Harby
    jdmiHas the reviewer heard of Audioengine A2 speakers? They are outstanding 2 channel speakers for $199.
    Indeed, A2s are really good, though a bit on the weak side with 30 watts. But since you went with B&W you could have tested Audioengine A5s which are insanely awesome and cheaper than B&W's at ~$325.
  • gostumpy
    Large knob that feels quick robust? ;)
  • dEAne
    I like that Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 - but yes theirs a bit lacking to the design.
  • sparky2010
    I'm really happy with my 4 year old creative soundworks 7.1 system... until now it still offers great sound, and having true 7.1 really rocks, especially in FPS... although i'm considering the logitech z5500.. hat sounds amazing and looks even better...
  • icehot
    Nice review, I bought the Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II about 4 months ago, and have loved them, the sound is superb.
  • titaniumsquirrel
    The AV 40s were the first speakers I've ever owned that failed on me. I don't care how good they sound if reliability is an issue. I'm never purchasing another M-Audio product. Decided to go with a pair of Gigaworks refurbs for a fraction of the price afterward and have been very pleased.
  • hardcore_gamer
    2.0 is way too low.For gamers, a 5.1 is the minimum requirement.
  • megatron46
    Nice Speakers but i like my Monitor Audio RX8 teamed with Definitive Technology Supercube I sub and Cambridge Audio Azur 840A Amp.......