ATP3 2.1 Multi-Media Speaker System
Altec Lansingís ATP3 computer speaker system has three big things going for it: (1) Itís finished in the same charcoal grey color that seems to be finding favor among the big personal computer players like Dell and Gateway; (2) Itís two-flat-panel satellite and one-subwoofer format (hence, the 2.1 designation) leaves a small footprint on the desktop; and (3) Itís cheap.
With its street price of $55 ($79.95 MSRP) and downward firing midrange design, itís a wonder that this system puts out a decent sound at all Ė but it does. The forward firing tweeter array keeps the stereo image focused. The 3-inch downward firing midrange drivers act more like miniature woofers, and also serve as stands for the flat panel tweeter arrays. The satellite speakers are magnetically shielded, and can be placed close to the computer monitor without distorting images. The slim-profile satellite design complements charcoal-colored flat panel monitors particularly well, but they are also suitable for standard monitors.
The ATP3 is an amplified speaker system, which is connected to a subwoofer with a 6.5-inch driver to handle the bass region. Audio power for the subwoofer is rated at 18 Watts RMS (at one percent total harmonic distortion) and 6 Watts RMS (at one percent THD) for each satellite (for a total audio power system of 30 Watts RMS). The crossover frequency between the subwoofer and satellites is 150 Hz. One satellite panel features separate volume, bass and treble controls.
The sound of the ATP3 exceeds what one would expect out of a $55 system. Tonally, itís well-balanced, with decent frequency response extension on both ends of the spectrum. As with many of the better Altec Lansing speakers, you can crank up the sound well beyond normal levels with the ATP3. If this system has a weakness, itís inherent in the cheap tweeters used. Compared to audiophile-quality speakers (we used BBC LS3/5As as a reference), the ATP3 exhibited greater coarseness and harshness in the upper midrange region. Tweeter ringing also robbed the treble of clarity. Triangles and other percussion sounds exhibited the most obvious sonic anomalies.
we are, of course, talking about a $55 speaker system (about the cost
of dinner for two at PF Changís). Those looking the state-of-the-art in
computer speaker systems will not find it here. On the other hand, those
not willing to spend good money for a computer sound system have a prime
candidate with the ATP3.
Review at a glance
Altec Lansing ATP3 2.1 Multi-Media Speaker System
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