Altec Lansing XA 3051 Speaker Review
I know many of my colleagues and friends have an Xbox or a gaming console with good TV displays. They always express the importance of having great gaming speaker solutions to me, telling me to find a solution for them. Well Altec Lansing has been in the business for a long time knowing what people want. Altec Lansing has gone into the gaming segment and produced their line of XA Gaming speaker sets. Today we are going to look at the Altec Lansing XA3051 5.1 gaming speakers. Sporting 5.1 channel surround sound and Dolby Surround Pro Logic, are these speakers good for gaming and good for general listening? Read more to find out.
About Altec Lansing
Lansing's early technological developments in acoustical and electronic
components have earned a place of prominence in sound reproduction few
companies can match. The predominance of Altec's name over the years
in sports stadiums, arenas, theatres, airports, auditoriums, churches,
amusement parks and more recently on desktops within homes and at the
workplace attest to this fact.
The Altec Lansing XA 3051 arrived in an enormous Altec Lansing box. This thing was huge and quite heavy. The box was attractive and sexy. It sported a green and black colour scheme displaying product information and specifications. The box presented you with a picture of the speakers. It was radically different than the Altec Lansing 2100’s and 5100 designs. I now had high expectations.
Back of the box
Opening the box presented me with excellent packaging support as always with Altec Lansing. When first saw these speakers, I said “Whoa”. Whoa it was. The Altec Lansing XA 3051 was purely something different than traditional Altec Lansing speakers. It looked like something from the future. I don’t think I have seen something like it before. The material of use here is plastic.
The color scheme Altec Lansing chose with these speakers is a black and green color scheme. It definitely looks like it is made for the Xbox right?
With Xbox. Notice the similarities?
The Altec Lansing XA 3051 comes packaged with:
Upon further inspection the silver grill on the speakers look like steel or metal pieces. Actually they are plastic pieces that come off on each and every speaker that is included.
I did notice something. I noticed that these speakers were possibly checked before. Upon looking at them, there were pencil checkmarks on each speaker and subwoofer. Looking at the back of the satellites I noticed something wrong with one of the satellites. It is minor but something to point out. The cord connector with the rubber surrounding it is supposed to be in the hole, not hanging out. The others were fine.
Everyone is fine like this except..
This one. Notice at the bottom that the rubber is supposed to fit inside the hole.
The signal-to-noise ratio is rated at >76dBA’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 were loud amounts of hissing sounds/background noise present that will be heard by anyone. It was worse than the Altec Lansing 5100's and 2100's in this department.
As you can see by the specs, the system is 100 Watts total with a continuous power range of 56 Watts. The rest of the power ranges look good for the Center, satellites and the subwoofer.
The satellites look very unique because of the design and color scheme. It is upheld via metal stands that are very stable. Removing the front grill gives you one 3' full driver. The center speaker receives also a 3" driver and the subwoofer receives a healthy 6.5' long-throw driver. If you recall from the other Altec Lansing reviews, the drivers that they used were smaller. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out. The subwoofer has a huge 6.5' long-throw driver that should help it in every respects to provide a whack to your ears. The overall impression from the specs I am getting is very nice indeed. Bigger drivers means bigger, better sound, right? We'll see...
Big drivers on the subwoofer
Center with grill
Behind the center speaker
The Altec Lansing is powered via AC Adapter that is included. The unit itself is big as a brick and is also quite heavy. The remote control unit features options for you to control the bass and treble levels.
The remote has rubber feet at the back of the unit.
The remote is very attractive and has a huge dial for you to control the options. There is a Stereo, Surround and Test mode at the bottom of the controller. Also, Altec Lansing has implemented two headphones jacks so you don't have to wake up your parents when playing with a friend on your gaming console.
The Altec Lansing XA3051 supports only Dolby Pro-Logic sound. The Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube rely on different pieces of sound processors to take full advantage of the systems and the Altec Lansing XA3051 skimps out on features of sound that the PS2 and Xbox fully support such as Dolby Digital 5.1. It would be good for a GameCube I believe, but I am not really 100% sure. We will see how it sounds though.
Installing the Altec Lansing XA3051 5.1 Gaming speakers is a snap. Altec Lansing has made it fool-proof with color-coded connectors that connect to the rear of the subwoofer. If that isn't enough, the cables itself are embedded with the channel information. Depending on what you will want to connect these speakers to you will need to follow the easy manual that is included.
Manual and connectors
The easy connections you will have to make at the rear of the subwoofer. You have things such as your input, Aux In, and more.
During testing, I put the speakers through various testing. From music, DVD’s and Xbox/games.
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 excellent with great sound reproduction of Bryan Adams voice. His vocals were crisp and clear and easy to understand. Highs were very good. 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 XA3051'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 XA3051's preformed well. The bass reproduction was excellent due to the bigger drivers of the subwoofer. The satellites were awesome too because of the bigger drivers. This is with the volume really high. Again as Altec Lansing chose to utilize smaller subwoofer drivers, it may have well sacrificed some performance.
Halo – I played Halo and the Altec’s performed really well. The gunning sounds from the automatic had good bass levels and the satellites did their job providing rich sound.
NFL Fever 2002 – The speakers preformed great. Highs were highs and the commentators voice was clear. The satellites were shining.
DVD: The Ring– The satellites were very clear and the bass was very good. It added to the overall climax of the movie. This movie freaked me out.
Computer Audio – I connected the 2100’s up to my computer via nForce sound, and set the audio options to 6 speakers on my Abit NV7-133R and connected it to the Soltek SL-FRN2-L. While listening to various audio and music, the sound was very clear. The subwoofer was freaking strong and is the high point of the package..
Playing UT 2003 faired really good to with clear sound reproductions of bombs and weapons.
Conclusion - The Altec Lansing XA3051's came out to play. The sound quality was superb than both the Altec 5100'a and the 2100's combined. The sound quality of the Altec Lansing XA3051's make up for the lack of support it brings to the three game console on the market. The construction of the unit was also good with only a few problems such as the cable wire of the rear of one of the satellites not in properly. Also I did not like the background noises the system gave off. For audiophiles who want the most compatible sound system for any console, I would say this is not for you. For the average person who knows sound quality but doesn't really mind support of sound feature set, the Altec Lansing XA3051 performs great. Sound was excellent in all respects. The overall increase in drivers for the subwoofer and satellites paid off.
Overall the Altec Lansing XA3051 is a solid gaming system with some quirks.
I rate the Altec Lansing XA3051 a...
Sound quality is AWESOME