Lansing has a long heritage of making high quality loudspeakers. My father's generation
had few good speakers to choose from and Altec Lansing speakers were among the
best in the business. Times have changed and so has the Altec-Lansing product
line. Their latest line of PC speakers are being reviewed here. The PT-6021 is
a (Powered Theater) 2.1 speaker system that includes a pair of tall narrow satellite
speakers each fitted with an array of drivers. Accompanying the main two channels
is a separate subwoofer containing a 6.5" long-throw bass driver. The satellite
speakers are well made and have a heavy metal base that allows the panel to tilt
back from the vertical upright position for optimal sound for the listener. The
satellite speakers are magnetically shielded for those using them with conventional
CRT monitors. In some cases, the user may want to attach them to a flat panel
being used for home theater applications.
accommodate this, the PT-6021 speakers include a set of mounting brackets that
allow them to be attached and centered on the display. This works well and places
the sound close to the video where it should be. The satellite speakers also include
threaded inserts on the back for surface or ceiling mounting using standard industry
mounting brackets as an alternative mounting option.
Each satellite speaker holds six 1 neodymium micro drivers
that are arranged in a unique configuration that is designed to beam the audio
at the listener and not to the floor or ceiling. This has the advantage of creating
a narrow vertical pattern that provides better focus of the sound and prevents
secondary reflections that often defuse the image. In this design, each pair of
speakers have a different high frequency roll-off. The speakers project sound
40° 60° above 1,500 Hz. The design works well, but does require
the listener to have the speakers optimally directed for proper imaging. Failure
to do so will result in a dull sounding system based on our experience with these
PT-6021 system comes with the subwoofer, satellite speakers (with bases), control
pod, a pair of extension cables for the speakers, RCA cables, mounting brackets
for the display, universal and credit-card style remotes and instruction manual.
Batteries for both remotes are also included (Two "AA" and one button
battery). Oddly enough, there is no cable for supporting the common 3.5mm jacks.
PT-6021 comes with an easy to use controller with buttons for power, bass and
treble. The knob is a simple encoder that spins freely with detents in either
direction. This design allows the knob to be used for bass, treble, and volume
level control. Two indicators above the bass and treble buttons let the user know
what level is being controlled. The main volume is being controlled when both
indicators above the treble/bass buttons are off. There is a 5-step level display
that is common for all level settings. It should be noted that the granularity
of the level control is much more than the display level indicates. Several changes
in level will occur before a change in the display is seen.
In addition to the small credit-card style remote, the PT-6021
also includes a universal remote
that allows the user to control other components in the system along with the
PT-6021 hardware. The blue buttons located in the center of the remote are specifically
for the speaker system. The manual allows users to program some of their other
components into the universal remote.
most of the 2.1 systems on the market, the PT-6021 has a subwoofer that houses
the amplifiers for the main channels while providing interfaces to the controller.
The subwoofer also contains seven discrete power amplifiers and the line array
circuitry. The subwoofer fits in a narrow-profile, low-resonance wood cabinet
with a ported design. The bass enclosure weighs just over 15 pounds and measures
16" H x 8" W x 9" D. Each connector on the back panel is color
coded to help the user when connecting the cables. A set of RCA cables are provided
for standard audio components such as a CD player, but the system lacks the more
essential 3.5mm cable. Since most users would use a 3.5mm cable, it is interesting
they have omitted this from the system contents.
PT-6021 speaker system works well with both music and movies and can be driven
quite loudly. However, when the volume was turned much above the half way point
the sound after extended periods of time resulted in some listening fatigue. Placement
of the subwoofer is important with this system because the crossover frequency
is quite high, making the bass more localized than systems with a lower crossover
point. Regardless, the system sounded good at moderate levels and revealed much
of the weakness in my PC's audio. Playing audio from a known good source using
the RCA connections made it clear that our PC's audio was limited. Few PC speaker
systems have the ability to reveal this.
The Altec Lansing PT-6021 is a well engineered 2.1 speaker system with great sound
quality. The speakers have the ability to reveal subtle issues with the source
material and shortcomings in our audio system. The design takes a fair amount
of surface area on the desktop unless the speakers are attached to the display.
The subwoofer has a relatively small footprint (8" x 9"), but does stand
15" tall. Beyond the favorable sonic characteristics we experienced, the
style and build quality of these speakers makes it worthwhile to audition even
with a street price of around $250.