Altec Lansing 5100 5.1 Speaker Review


Let me thank Katie from Altec Lansing for sending this unit to review.

The last time we looked at the 2100’s, we came away with a very solid impression, leaving us with some gripes that we liked to have fixed. Today we are looking at Altec Lansing’s 5.1-channel audio solution.

Introducing the Altec Lansing 5100 5.1 speakers!

First Impressions

The 5100’s are a step up from the 2100’s introducing 5.1 audio. The 5100’s look visually similar as the 2100’s, but with minor differences.

First off, the Altec Lansing 5100 offers a downsized subwoofer size. It has two 4" long-throw woofers. So we’re actually taking a small step back. I have no idea why they chose to do this except maybe pricing.

Overall total system power output has been raised to 100 watts total with 73 watts of continuous power.

Remember what I wanted done with the remote from the 2100’s? Thankfully my wish came true with the 5100. The remote is revamped with volume, bass, and treble options. This is a big plus for tweaking your sound for different situations. There are three different options of sound: Stereo x2, 4.1 Gaming and 5.1. One thing I noticed and like is the fact that each channel has it’s own memory. So if you have the bass on high on Stereo x2, and you switch to 5.1 it will not lose or reset your bass levels when you go back to Stereo x2.

The subwoofer features the required color-to-color connectors that were present in the 2100’s.


  • 73 Watts Total Continuous Power RMS (4x7 W/Satellites; 22.5 W/Center; 22.5 W/Sub)
  • 100 Watts Total Peak Power
  • Ported, Dual Subwoofer Drivers
  • 6-Speaker Surround
  • High Performance Micro Drivers
  • Full-Function Digital Controller
  • Headphone Jack
  • Auxiliary Input Jack
  • Total Connectivity
  • Tri-Mode Selector
  • Cast Alloy Stands
  • Color-Coded Cables

The subwoofer has an option of turning on the center channel or turning it off. You will have to reach to the back of the subwoofer to do so. The satellites also receives a little more power featuring 7 watts power for each speaker This should help overall sound quality when testing comes.

The manual is very neatly organized and is easy to understand. The quick start guide helps anyone to hook the system without fault.

The unit features 5 satellites, 1 subwoofer and 1-wired remote.

What is included in the package are the following:

- Four satellites with alloy stands
- One center channel with monitor grip
- Subwoofer
- AAC1 Y-adaptor
- Quick connect card
- Wired remote

The signal-to-noise ratio is rated at >70dBA’s. To test this spec out, I turned on the speakers cranking up the volume without any audio source and listened to find any hissing sound. There was small hissing sounds/background noise present. It was a little better than the 2100’s.


Testing will be the same as in the Altec 2100 review to be fair and to compare the results.

During testing, I put the speakers through various testing. From music, DVD’s and Xbox/games.

Music Testing: Source from iRock CD/MP3 Player

Installation went easy as usual. All I needed to do is use the green, 2-headphone jack (INPUT) and connect one to LINE OUT of the CD/MP3 Player and the other to the required connection at the back of the subwoofer.

CD used: Bryan Adams – Waking up the neighbours

Track 2: Hey Honey – I’m putting you in - This song was used to test the clarity of the vocals. The speakers performed well with excellent sound reproduction of Bryan Adams voice. His vocals were crisp and clear and easy to understand. Highs were also good as well. This was with the subwoofer levels adjusted to maximum and the iRock player equalizer set to FLAT.

Track 5: Not Guilty – I used this song to test out the sound reproduction of the guitar that is playing in this song. The 2100’s were yet again clear and performed really well. The remote really helped tweak the sound to your preference.

Track 10: All I want is you – This song uses lots of bass and with the subwoofer levels on max, the 5100’s preformed good. The bass reproduction was good. I was not too impressed because I felt that the subwoofer was a little weaker than the 2100’s with more power. I did notice that the subwoofer was outperforming the satellites. The satellites did better. This is with the volume really high. Again as Altec Lansing chose to utilize smaller subwoofer drivers, it may have well sacrificed some performance.

XBOX testing

The installation goes as follows. You have to use the Y-Adaptor cable for this to work. As always, plug the video cable of the Xbox into the T.V. Connect the red and yellow audio connectors in the red and yellow connectors in the Y-Adaptor cable. Now connect green cable with 2 audio jacks into the Y-Adaptor end (green).

Same as the 2100 installation

Halo – I played Halo and the Altec’s performed well. The gunning sounds from the automatic had a little too much bass for my liking, however with the remote, sound was overall very good. Overall, the bass was great and the satellites were a little unclear sometimes but for the most part did well.

NFL Fever 2002 – The speakers preformed great because of the remote. Highs were highs and the commentators voice was clear.

DVD: Joy Ride – The satellites were very clear and the bass was very good.

Computer Audio – I connected the 2100’s up to my computer via nforce sound, and set the audio options to 6 speakers. While listening to various audio and music, the sound was very clear. This time I could control the bass and treble options through the nforce sound mixer and the Altec Lansing remote. The subwoofer was strong and solid.

Playing UT 2003 faired good to with clear sound reproductions of bombs and weapons.


The Altec Lansing 5100 speakers are a great system to enter 5.1-channel audio. It provides very good sound quality, construction, and theater-like cinema sound.
The bass was also very good. I did however feel that they were a little cheaper than the 2100’s for some reason, possible because of smaller drivers. The highs were better than the 2100’s. Mostly because of the added power, highs are crisp and lows are good. The added functionality of the remote helps makes this possible.

What I felt need change was I would have liked the center channel option to be on the remote control instead of behind the subwoofer.

At $ 179.95 U.S, the Altec Lansing 5100 is a solid contender and performer. If you have the money to spend, you have to check out the Altec Lansing 5100’s. Another recommended Altec Lansing product.

I rate the Altec Lansing 5100 a…


Pros and Cons

+ Very good sound
+ Remote is better
+ Memory function
+ More power
- Subwoofer has smaller drivers than the 2100’s
- Price may be steep for some
- Plastic look at sub grill
- Some issues with satellites distorting

Thanks again to Andrea from Altec Lansing for making this review possible for you guys/gals.



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