Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra MX6021

Laldinfela Pachuau 2010-05-10
76 Good
Price: Rs 8,610

Full Review

After the successful MX5021 PC speakers, the Expressionist Ultra MX6021 is a premium 2.1 PC speaker system from Altec Lansing.  Like other speakers from the Expressionist series, it is a stylish speaker system and being the top-end model in this line up, the MX6021 has a sound as hefty as its size.

Features & Design
Aesthetically, the Expressionist Ultra MX6021 has a striking design that would draw anyone’s attention. From the translucent front panel on its satellite and the futuristic control pod to the monstrous subwoofer, this Expressionist from Altec has a synergistic build and design. The build quality of the satellites despite their glossy plastic finish is quite sturdy and doesn’t feel cheap. The glossy finish attracts dust and fingerprints though. The control pod is the most interesting part of the system unit and has controls for volume, treble and bass. It is a wired remote control that has buttons at the top. Adjustment is made by turning the textured knob that is accompanied by a mechanical clicking sound and the level is indicated by the LEDs lights at the base. These LEDs blink at random while music is being played.

The system’s whole output is very loud and the soundstage is quite wide and it was easy to get immersed in the music.

The trapezoidal subwoofer is big and stands tall at 18 cm. It has a long throw 6.5-inch subwoofer pumping out 68 watts RMS of power. The subwoofer has all its connectivity ports hidden behind. Here, you can also find the power switch, ports for left and right satellite speakers, control pod and 3.5mm stereo audio input. Each satellite has a dual-driver design (one 3-inch mid-range driver and one-inch neodymium tweeter.) and has a rated power of 33 watts (RMS).  The system’s total output is rated at 200 watts (RMS) which is good enough to have a blast with even in a large room. The system has a frequency response of 40 Hz to 20KHz and SNR of > 75 dB. The total Sound Pressure Level is also rated at 106dB. The package included a 3.5mm audio cable and RCA adapter. It did not take long to set up the system as the ports are clearly labelled and the cable is of good quality.

Sound Quality
I connected the iPod Touch to the aux-in on the Control pod and my PC (powered by Creative X-fi XtremeMusic soundcard) to its audio-in at the back of the subwoofer and started the tests. There is no audio source selector, so whatever is being played on any audio source connected to the system will be heard together from the system.
The MX6021 when played at moderate volume is pleasant with very bright highs and warm bass. The system’s whole output is very loud and the soundstage is quite wide and it was easy to get immersed in the music.  At maximum volume, the distortion level is not bad but the system sounded best at around 80 percent of its loudest volume.
The MX6021 has a good overall sound quality compared to many 2.1 PC speakers in the market. It may not have a dynamic sound and clarity as the older MX5021, but it is a good sound system for its asking price.  Our test tracks across different genres sounded bright and sharp and at times too bright so that we had to keep the treble level to 40 percent of its maximum level. The bass reproduction was warm, deep and huge. It was not as strong and taut as what we heard on the Creative Gigaworks T3 but it was huge without sounding too boomy. If there was one thing to complain about the bass, it was that we would have liked it to be more analytical and defined. For the middle frequencies, the MX6021 sounded quite thin and they were not prominent enough. Across different tracks I tried that included Smooth Jazz Guitar and Rock Guitar riffs, the mids were not as crisp and rich as what we heard on the Creative Gigaworks T3 or even the older Altec Lansing MX5021. However, looking at what the competition offered in this price range, the MX6021 offered big sound that was pleasant to hear and also offered a decent immersion effect for a 2.1 speaker. While watching Transformers 2 in HD, the bass and highs were adequately reproduced though the dialogues could have been crispier and richer. This is true for gaming as well. I plugged in the system to the Alienware Aurora and played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the mids were thin and the bass could have been tauter. However, the overall immersive effect was good for a 2.1 speaker system.
Priced at Rs. 8,610 which is much cheaper than the price it was launched at, the Altec Lansing Xpressionist Ultra MX6021 is a good sounding 2.1 speaker set up that will immerse you in sound filled with huge bass and bright highs.

Bottom Line

The Altec Lansing Xpressionist Ultra MX6021 has good sound quality for its asking price. Even though it may not be as good as the older MX5021 and the Creative Gigaworks T3 in terms of resolution and details, the overall sound is quite warm and pleasant. It’s also a speaker system that has enough power to fill a large size room.

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