Pros Musical and natural sounding
Cons unshielded sub
Summary 2.1 Speaker Comparison - Logitech Z-2300 vs. Altec Lansing MX5021
In searching for a 2.1 speaker system, my goal was to find something with favourable reviews that met my $100 budgetary constraint.
After doing some shopping I found two systems that met my parameters. Both of these systems normally sell for more than $100 but were on sale. If only one of these was on sale at the time I was ready to buy I would have probably bought it and not even consider another model. Since they were both on sale I decided to bring both sets home, test them, and return the set that I didn’t like as much. The Logitechs were $120 minus a $20 mail-in rebate while the Altecs were on sale for $100. Although there are other high quality 2.1 sets from manufacturers such as Klipsch, Cambridge SoundWorks, and Bose, they weren’t considered due to price.
What really caught my attention about the Logitechs was how highly they were rated by CNET. CNET awarded these with “Editor’s Choice” at 9/10 which is the highest rating CNET has for any PC speaker system. In contrast, CNET only rated the Altecs at 6/10 (although by a different individual). Based on the CNET ratings, they favour the Logitechs by a significant margin. However, the CNET “User Ratings” tell a different story. The Logitechs rated an average of 8.2/10 while the Altecs only marginally edged out the Logitechs with an average rating of 8.9/10. What was interesting about the User Ratings is that the Logitech ratings were all over the map from 3/10 to 10/10. I would conclude from this that users either loved them or hated them. In contrast, the User Ratings for the Altecs ranged from 8/10 to 10/10. User’s were much more consistent in their ratings for the Altecs.
The Altecs and the Logitechs both have THX certification but that's where the similarities end. The design philosophies behind the 2 systems are quite different. The Logitechs use an 8" subwoofer while the Altecs use a 6.5" subwoofer. The Logitech’s satellites use a single 2.5” full-range driver whereas the Altec’s satellites use three drivers (two 3" mids + one 1” tweeter). Power ratings are 200W total for the Logitechs and 90W total for the Altecs.
Based on the design alone, I already had a preconceived notion of how these systems would differ from each other and after my listening tests most of my suspicions were confirmed.
For my listening tests I used various high quality variable bit rate MP3 tracks encoded using LAME. The speakers were placed side by side and hooked up to separate computers so that I could play the same excerpts from a particular track and toggle between speakers quickly. Test tracks included jazz, rock, pop, and rap.
With the Logitech’s more powerful amp along with its 8” subwoofer, it isn’t a surprise that they blow the Altecs out of the water in sheer bass output. That's not to say that the Altecs are lacking in bass, they actually do surprisingly well for using only a 6.5” subwoofer driver. In fact, according to the manufacturers’ specs, the Altecs go down to 30 Hz where as the Logitechs go to 35 Hz. If the specs are correct, that would mean the Altecs are capable of producing lower bass frequencies. It is very apparent that the Logitechs have greater bass output but not necessarily the ability to reproduce a lower octave.
Using a single full-range driver to produce all the frequencies above sub-bass levels is a challenge in speaker design. The Logitechs have very strong lows and sharp highs but lack a lot in between. This is where the Altecs dominate in performance. The Altecs have much better midrange performance and this most apparent when listening to any music with vocals. Overall, the Altecs are much more balanced sounding. That is, they do not emphasize the highs and lows as much as the Logitechs.. For musical applications, the Altecs outperform the Logitechs. To reconfirm my opinion, I sat two other individuals in front of my test set-up. They both chose the Altecs handsdown using descriptive words such as warmer, more neutral, more musical, and more depth.
Most of my preconceptions on these two speaker systems were correct except for one thing. Since the Altecs have a dedicated tweeter (whereas the Logitechs have a single full-range driver) I assumed that the Altecs would produce highs that would be much brighter compared to the Logitechs. The opposite was true. The Logitechs have a bright and somewhat tinny sound where as the highs on the Altec’s are more neutral and smooth. The Altecs are definitely easier to listen to and don’t pin your ears back compared to the Logitechs.
For applications that demand powerful bass such as action movies, games, and rap music, the Logitechs really deliver the punch. If you like bass, you’ll like these speakers. These speakers are definitely more exciting to listen to.
The bottom-line is that both of these systems are good in their own way depending on the application. For music it’s the Altecs and for bass intensive apps, it’s the Logitechs. Even before I listened to these systems I was drawn toward the Altecs because of design execution and also because Altec’s expertise is speakers whereas Logitech is more of a computer peripheral company. As I will use the speakers predominantly for listening to music, the Altecs were the obvious choice.
There were two other minor factors I like about the Altecs. The first is that the speaker wires are connected at both ends by standard spring-clip connectors. This allows for an easy speaker wire upgrade if you choose to do so. The Logitechs have their speaker wires hard-wired into the satellite end and uses an RCA-type connector on the other end. Incidentally, after my listening tests, I replaced the original speaker wire with some entry-level Monster Cable wires. I bought two 6 foot segments at $0.99/ft and I’d guess these wire are approximately 14 gauge. This $12 upgrade did make a difference in clarity and detail of the music and was well worth it. The second nice feature the Altecs have is adjustable bass and treble control whereas the Logitechs only have adjustable bass.
Pros Crystal highs, Enriching mids, Soothing lows
Cons makes a slight current noise when turned on without any sound playing
Summary was deciding between a Logitech Z2300 and this. After reading all the reviews and hypes about the Logitech, I was leaning towards the Z2300, but after actually hearing the Z, I was disappointed with how it followed the regular Logitech traits: boomy and powerful sub, but lower-toned mid-range, and lower-toned high-range, making it great for movies, club mixes, and mostly beat oriented music. For all around performance, MX5021 was spectacular: melodies sound soothing and rich, club mixes were bumping, hip hops were enjoyed with every beat. In summary, even though MX5021's power rating doesn't seem that impressive compared to Z2300, but the sound quality is just wonderful, and it's still powerful enough to make your room shake and more without distorting the sounds
Pros Excellent quality, beautiful design
Cons Very annoying noise, non shielded sub
Summary Note: This review is for the non roady version (whatever that thing is)
I was in the market for a new set of speakers for my pc, and after having a 5.1 set, that I didn't use as such for five years I decided I wanted a very good stereo system.
I was looking for a way to get some junk off of my desk, and a set of speakers with hifi screws on the back for speaker stands was what I was looking for.
I listened to several logitech sets and a few creative ones but the logitech had to much bass without proper midrange or highrange.
And most of the sets nowadays are 5.1
So I went looking on the net.
Soon I found these from Altec Lansing.
after having read some reviews I decided to order them online, since there were no stores that had them on display.
This set produces excellent sound quality.
Full, but not bombastic bass. Goosebump inducing highs and good mids.
They look very nice, and look especially cool when on speakerstands.
There was one thing that really annoyed me.
Whenever switched on, the speakers and especially the satellites would produce a very loud hiss, or noise.
Volume level didn't matter, neither did using better cabling or settings.
The noise was even there when I unplugged the main jack or with a different set of satellites.
Plugging it in directly to the wall socket made it slightly better, but still irritating.
This hiss was not only there when there was no sound, but also when music was being played.
I have seen more people complain about this on a Dutch site.
Also, when plugged in, the sub produced a low hum, wether it was on or off.
So there probably could be some work done inside the sub.
I have returned it after using it for almost a week to see if something can be done about this, because it is an otherwise very good quality and good looking set.
Pros Wired and Wireless remotes, Aux input, headphone jack, Doesn't use 1" Drivers
Cons Some could say the price, but I find them worth it.
Summary Note this review is for the Regular Non-XM set of speakers.
I've always loved Altec Lansing. This is my third pair, and by far the best set of PC speakers I've ever owned.
The sound quality is fantastic. They get loud without distortion, and keep the entire sound spectrum at even volumes. Low volume quality is great too.
They have the nice feature of having a wired remote with volume, bass, treble, and power controls, and an Aux in, and headphone jack, as well as a wireless remote that controls the same 4 things. It stores nicely behind the wired remote.
I think the thing that drew me in with these speakers the most was that they use two 3"(I believe) drivers and a 3/4" tweeter as opposed to those little 1" drivers that are becoming very popular on speakers such as the JBL Creatures, Harmon Kardon Sound Sticks, and even a High end set of Altec Lansings. Don't get me wrong, those speakers all sound good, but I'm more of a traditionalist who believes an appropriately sized driver should be covering it's respective sound frequency. There is nothing bad to be said about the subwoofer. It's in a healthy sized box which leads me to believe that AL did their research and put some time and effort into properly porting the box for the best sound quality.
Also included are removable speaker grilles, and mounting hardware for the speakers. All in all, this set of speakers is a great investment.
Pros Amazing sound, amazing looks, removable grills, non-fixed speaker cables
Cons Hiss noticeable 2 feet away when not playing any sound, satellites tilt downwards, volume control changes by large steps
Summary Amazing sound. The best sound I have ever heard from computer speakers. These sound even better than the acclaimed Logitech Z-2300. The bass is accurate and not boomy like other speakers that I have heard. Midrange is actually present, again unlike other speakers. Treble is near perfect.
Satellites have a tweeter and two midrange drivers, which allow them to achieve great sound.
Hiss is not noticeable really. Tilting downwards is easly fixed by placing something underneath the front half of the satellites. Volume control is mildly annoying if you don't have a volume control shortcut on your keyboard and you play games.