Pros Looks stunning, powerful bass
Cons Mid range is abysmal, strongly dependent on remote
Summary I was fooled in buying the Altec Lansing VS4221.
The reviews in Cnet are usually dependable and with the speakers' average rating of 8 (before my personal rating), i couldn't help but give this product a shot. I was really excited in buying it and when i opened it, my initial impression made me extremely pleased with the purchase.
Altec Lansing products usually look great and this was no exception. The sleek, silver and black design was one of the reasons why I wanted to get it. I quickly set it up on my laptop but from then on, it quickly disapointed me.
First of all, the sound is terrible. I'm not kidding you, IT'S REALLY TERRIBLE. The complete package sounded like 2 generic computer speakers with an extremely loud subwoofer. I was really sad that i was fooled into getting this product especially that i tested it first. I'm an audiophile and i'm very very very particular about sound quality and buying the VS4221 made me feel like i failed myself as a critic. The midrange is nonexistent and i literally spent 2 days trying to figure out an equalizer setting that might fix it but to my dismay, none of it worked. I realized that the midrange isn't only nonexistent, but if you try to increase its output, it's distorted, it produces fuzzy sounds and it's very muffled. Meaning, no kind of setting can really fix it.
Don't get me wrong, I still gave it a shot (that's why i still had it for 2 days) but it really was terrible. I tried to cope with an "acceptable" EQ setting and it made my techno, r&b, hip-hop songs sound decent. However, when my player started with my rock songs, i realized there was really no way i would keep this thing. The distorted guitars were too much for the speakers and made them sound like crap (again, this is because of midrange's poor quality). This is what i want to point it, its overpowering bass easily covers the mid range frequency and deceives you in making you think that the music sounds good. The moment you stay far from the speakers, the only ranges that you can hear were the high and low frequencies. Again, the other frequencies overpowered the midrange making it sound disappointingly hollow.
Another thing that disappointed me about this product is its remote. I didn't realize that all the controls of the speakers were found only there. There was no way to increase the treble or the bass on the satellites or the subwoofer so if you lose your remote, you're screwed. But to be honest, this is something i can adapt to and just be wary of. It's not so difficult to lose your remote if you just leave it in your room but i wanted to point this out just for objectivity's sake. I honestly wouldn't mind if the sound was great but unfortunately, it wasn't.
What really baffles me is that other people think that this product is great. How can they not point the poor quality of the speakers? Maybe they thought that the louder it is, the better? But i tell you that great speakers sound beautiful even at low volumes and don't let this product deceive you.
I strongly do not recommend the vs4221. To those who still are considering getting it, i suggest that you bring your mp3 player and play rock songs. It doesn't have to be metal and it can be alternative or pop/rock just as lock as the song is heavily dependent on guitars. The party songs can deceive you into thinking that it sounds great but by doing what i told you earlier, you'll understand what i'm saying and realize that the VS4221 is a piece of crap.
Pros brilliant sound quality, crisp, clear, heavy natural bass! wireless remote.
Cons no indicator for volume level, buttons feel cheap on right speaker, sub hums all the time, input, no input.
Summary Good for the price, etc etc.. however the deal breaker here is that the sub hums like a beast. Gives everyone a headache. Input isn't properly insulated from the ac, and the sub just pumps out a low frequency buzz that drives you insane.
Altec Lansing even try to claim that this behavior is normal. Audiophiles out there know better. It's simply unbearable.
Don't purchase this product.
Pros Powerful bass
Cons There's hardly any mid range whatsoever. Anything Between approx. 500Hz & 1400Hz is a hollow, muffled faint drone that even sounds out of phase with the Bass & treble
Summary After setting out to buy some desktop speakers for either side of my monitor, I was sold, these as the speakers I wanted were out of stock. I never ever listen to the advice of staff, but this time, threw caution to the wind. It's the first time I've ever made an AV purchase without first researching it, because in this price range, I didn't think much could go wrong. Regret.Edit - The range I was referring to was 500-14000Hz, not 500-1400 !
If your idea of good sound quality is all about thumping bass, and over-exagergerated treble, then this may be for you. However, if you're an AV enthusiast, or even slightly appreciate musical clarity, range, or precision, then stay clear, very clear.
I have tried these on everything from games, DVD's, Dance music, and Rock. I can see that there is a market for them, Of course there is plenty of bass, and treble which will impress many, but that's all there is. They'd probably go down well in a kids bedroom, where he'd be the envy of his friends with his powerful bass, and treble, whether he's playing dance music, or Warcraft, and I have seen reviews posted by many satisfied customers, but I cannot stress enough how unpure, hollow, muffled and out of phase the almost non-existant mid-ranges sound. If, reading this, you understand what I am referring to, then these speakers are definately not for you. If there's one gendre they're most suited to , it's probably dance music, as the bass and treble are likely to impress, and maybe that's all it takes to impress many, but even then, those with a discerning ear will hear something wrong - very wrong. If you try to listen to Rock, Indie, or anything with strong vocals and mid ranges, you'll no doubt do what I did, after trying various adjustments, and speaker placements - Box them back up for return. However, if big thumping bass is all you're looking for, and have no intereset in any other aspect, then they may well be be just right for you.
Personally, I'm off to buy some Creative Gigaworks T20's, after doing my homework this time.
Updated on Sep 14, 2008
Pros Remote, subwoofer, price
Cons Sound is not super clear
Summary I purchased these, originally looking at Logitech, however I could not find any, in ANY stores here. So I settled on what was the highest prices set of speakers at Staples, which happened to be these. I hooked the system up to my HP Pavilion laptop (which never leaves its spot) and it has been working great for what I need it for. Also I began to do a little bit of music making, just some minimalist techno stuff, and these reproduced the sound well enough for what I needed..but not perfectly. For the price, it's definitely a great system, so if you have $100 to spend on desktop speakers, I would advise you to spend it on this.
Pros Awww man the bass is soooo deep & it makes my pc sound like a dance club !
Cons doesnt work great with a gaming console ! The bass works better with music than video games>
Summary Hey you wont be sorry you purchased these great pc speakers !!!! My guest love the sound !