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Altec Lansing Speaker Roundup May 2002

By: Cameron Wilmot | Speakers in Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: May 17, 2002 4:00 am

Altec Lansing 641 - King of the Hill



We will start with the most exotic and expensive, shall we?


With that being the case, I introduce you to the Altec Lansing 641. This system is the most high-end system out of any speaker system in this roundup, with a total of 400 watts (equaling 200 watts RMS) of amazing system power, being distributed through its 4.1 channel (2 front satellites, 2 back satellites and subwoofer) setup - These speakers are very loud and pack a real hard bunch to the chest as far as its ability to produce massive bass is concerned, while maintaining near-perfect clarity because of its impressive frequency response level of 27Hz to 20KHz. To utilize these speakers to their absolute best, you're going to need a modern soundcard, like the Sound Blaster Audigy for example.



While the 641 speaker system is impressive in its own right, it has a couple obvious things lacking compared to the older ADA890 speaker system which this unit is set to replace. For instance, the speaker system is not THX certified. I figure Altec Lansing have not bothered spending extra money getting them certified which ultimately saves the end-user some cash, when really, this system could easily become THX certified - It's really only a marketing ploy in any case. When the ADA890 was released, I remember them retailing as much as $900 AU or more in some stores, the 641 on the other hand are currently retailing around $650 AU while being more powerful - More bang for your buck, that's what we like to see!



The 641 lacks a remote controller, but does feature an attractive cord "digital" controller which has its own stand with options to change sound mode, bass, treble and volume levels. The ADA890 had options for about five or six different sound modes through its remote control, whereas the 641 only has sound modes for three which Altec Lansing like to call the "Tri-Mode Selector" - Stereo, Stereo x2 and Gaming. To be honest, I can't pick any audible difference between Stereo and Gaming modes, both only use the two front satellites, whereas Stereo x2 uses all four for that desired surround sound effect. The controller also has a headphone jack on it to save you messing around behind your PC.



The speaker system is packaged inside a massive box (something you would usually find a large monitor packed in) with an easy to read and understand instruction sheet and a lot of cords to connect the system up. In the past I have seen surround sound speaker systems with the two surround speakers having the same length cord as the two front speakers. Altec Lansing thankfully made the two surround speakers cord length almost double that of the front two speakers, good thinking guys! The speakers themselves are very stylish and modern looking, and are bigger (both in height and width) than the pervious ADA890 speakers with all four speakers featuring a funky Altec Lansing badge. Additionally, included are two wall mounts if you want to mount these speakers if your room is setup surround sound properly.


The wooden-built subwoofer design and style is consistent to that of the speakers themselves and could easily be mistaken for a tower computer case because of its surprising shape resemblance, measuring in at 8.3" by 18.5". Featuring two 6.5" long-throw woofers, it is what gives the 641 speaker system its threatening-like loud bark. This sub is also the only sub of any in the roundup to feature an on/off switch on the back of it. For a comparison, below is a shot of all four subwoofers from each speaker system lined up next to each other, from left to right we have the 2100's sub, 4100's sub, 621's sub and the 641's sub.



The 641 speaker system is the ultimate from Altec Lansing in every way; right now there is nothing more superior to it, at least from this company. Unfortunately, we weren't able to compare this system to other quality speakers from companies like Klipsch, but I can safely say you would not be disappointed if you choose this high quality and high performing system. During testing it has proven itself elite with music, DVD and gaming playback. However, if you can't afford the asking price of around $650 AU for the 641, which understandably could be a bit too step for some, you have an alterative from Altec Lansing which brings us to the next speaker system in the roundup, click through to the next page to find out more about it. In conclusion though, we give the Altec Lansing 641 speaker system a rating of 9.5 out of 10 and our TweakTown Editor's Choice award for an overall stunning product.


- Pros


Very Powerful


Excellent Sound Quality


4.1 Surround Sound


Easy Installation


Impressive Workmanship


- Cons


Fairly Expensive



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