The Altec Lansing VS2621 is a 2.1-channel speaker system that works with a PC, MP3 player or any audio device with a 3.5mm stereo-out connection.
Getting a good-sounding entry-level set of 2.1-channel PC speakers can be quite challenging, with so many known and unknown brands available in the market. The Altec Lansing VS2621 is a good example: an attractive budget speaker set that's been on the market for a little while now. Let's take this set for a ride, and see how it shapes up.
Altec Lansing VS2621: Design and build quality
The Altec Lansing VS2621 system has a clean yet stylish design. Each compact trapezoidal satellite speaker has a single 2in full-range driver that pumps out 7.5W (RMS) of power. The subwoofer has a side-firing 4in driver and it has a rated power output of 13W. The system total output is 28W, which is just enough for office use or a small room.
The Altec Lansing VS2621 speaker has a rated sound pressure level of 93dB and the frequency response is rated at 45Hz to 18kHz, which also means that the speaker won't give you those earth-shaking effects. Signal to noise ratio is rated at average >65dB.
As for build quality, we rate the Altec Lansing VS2621 as average: the satellites are made of glossy plastic with a metallic-colour plastic grill on the front. The satellites face slightly upward while placed on the desk, which helps the sound to project more towards the listener (sitting in front of it).
The Altec Lansing VS2621's subwoofer has a wooden enclosure that feels more solid than the plastic satellite speakers. It has a side-firing driver which remains unprotected without any sort of cloth or grill. The air-vent/port is located conveniently at the front, but the side-firing speaker makes placement a little critical, and care needs to be taken - you could easily kick the driver while it sits under the desk.
The cables are of average quality but the build quality of the Altec Lansing VS2621 speaker in general is satisfactory for an entry-level product.
The Altec Lansing VS2621's right-channel speaker has controls for volume and tone, an orange LED indicator and an aux-in to connect external audio source to the speaker. The two satellites are connected by a fixed cable around 5 feet long, and the right satellite has two other cables attached to its base: one to the sub and the other to a PC/audio source.
In terms of connectivity, the Altec Lansing VS2621 speaker offers two audio inputs (one via aux-in and the other via 3.5mm stereo plug) but there's no headphones-out socket. The system also does not offer remote controls, which is justifiable for an entry-level set. The back of the subwoofer has a power switch that's a bit inconvenient, and you won't find dedicated bass level control on this system.
Altec Lansing VS2621: Sound Quality
Setting up the Altec Lansing VS2621 speaker set was a simple plug-and-play process, and there were no issues with placement or wiring.
Our colleagues at PC World India tested the speaker with a PC (using M-Audio Fast Track Pro, Creative X-fi XtremeMusic and anonboard AC'97 soundcard), Acer Aspire One and iPod touch 4th generation. The first thing we noticed was the well-balanced sound output from the VS2621. The system reproduced a warm and bright sound that was very pleasant to hear with all genres of music. For a basic 2.1-channel PC speaker, the Altec Lansing VS2621 sounded more natural than any equivalent system we've heard before.
Bass - The Altec Lansing VS2621's 4in woofer driver sounded punchy and offered good mid-bass (50Hz to 80Hz) with most music we played. It has a slight delay but performs satisfactorily for an entry-level system.
We did not expect the system to shake the ground, but keeping the volume at 60 to 70 percent of its maximum, the entry-level VS2621 delivered a warm and punchy bass that's far better than what we heard with Creative Inspire T3130 or Logitech Z323. The lack of bass adjustment is a slight concern - while playing at loud volume, the bass became muddy with lesser definition. For critical listeners, the bass could be a bit overwhelming and sounded 'loose' at louder volumes. But again, this is a good bass reproduction from a basic system that is priced at £29.
Mids - The Altec Lansing VS2621's mids are clear and focused with good imaging. Female vocals sounded sharp and clear while male vocals sounded rich and crisp.
Although we wished they sounded a bit more refined and slightly crispier, we could hear most of the instruments played from the music. The lack of refinement is noticeable as vocals or guitars sounded a little harsh and coloured. The abrasiveness in the mids was quite audible at louder volumes but at moderate volume they sounded satisfactory. The Altec Lansing VS2621 has good imaging and presence but could have been more refined. All in all, it is a good mid-range audio experience from a budget set.
Highs - The Altec Lansing VS2621 sounded bright and did not sound muffled or veiled. The highs offered good brightness and did not sound harsh or piercing to the ears. It could have been slightly brighter and more projected as the mids could overpower it at times. It was not the sweetest highs and the best extension we heard but definitely brighter and better than our experience with the Logitech Z 313, and more detailed than with the Creative Inspire T3130.
The speaker played without distortion up to 80 percent of the maximum volume, which is good. Stereo imaging is good.
For movies and gaming, though, the Altec Lansing VS2621 is merely adequate - the sound reproduction wasn't as good as it was for music. Dialogue sounded rather laid-back and sound effects, including surround, were average.
Altec Lansing VS2621: Performance scores
Ease of set up: Very Good
Next page: Our expert verdict >>