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Altec Lansing ADA890

By: Cameron Wilmot | Speakers in Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: Jul 30, 2001 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 10.%Manufacturer: Altec Lansing

The Features


With a product like the Altec Lansing ADA890 speaker system, where am I meant to start telling you about all the impressive features of such a stunning product? I think running through the specifications would be a good start, to give you an idea of the technical side of the product.




- Frequency Response: 27Hz to 20kHz


- Total Audio Output: 120 Watts RMS


- Input Impedance: >10K Ohms


- Analog Input Sensitivity: 300mV for full output


- Digital Input: S/PDIF


- Drivers (satellites): Four 3-inch full range, Two 1-inch tweeters


- Drivers (subwoofer): One 8-inch Long-Throw Woofer


- Satellite Power: 60 Watts RMS (15 watts per driver)


- Subwoofer Power: 60 Watts RMS


- Signal-To-Noise Ratio: >80dB


- Power Requirements: USA/Canada model (120V/60Hz)


- UL/CUL (CSA)/CE Approved


Pure Power


I'll be honest here, a lot of the terminology used above isn't very familiar to me, but basically it all makes for some excellent sound quality and earth shattering bass. All up the entire four-speaker system (It's a 5.1 speaker system, but I'll explain more about this shortly) produces an outstanding and extremely powerful 120-watt of bass - Yes, indeed capable of making the windows in your house shake, quite literally. If Godzilla were to choose a set of speakers, he would have chosen the ADA890's. :)


The Speaker System


While the system has only a total of four satellites and sub, as doubtful as it sounds, the system is still a 5.1 speaker system - Despite the lack of an extra middle front satellite. The two front speakers emulate the fifth middle front speaker, making it a 5.1 speaker system, while actually only physically being 4.1 - But for this to work correctly, you need to sit in the middle of both of the front two speakers, that being not much of a problem really.


Unlike many other speaker systems, the two smaller satellites are detachable, or you have the option of placing them on top of the two front speakers - After testing both modes, I feel putting the satellites physically behind you is far better, at least in my opinion. These two "surround sound" satellites are placed behind you to create that stunning surround sound environment, like we have in all modern cinemas today.


The sub is truly amazing, and quite breathe taking when you first pull it out of the box and admire it in all its glory for the first time. It's not unlike a big black box, but with of course much more style. According to the sticker on the top of the sub, the frequencies are "non-directional" meaning it doesn't have to be placed in any exact position in relationship to the satellites. Altec recommend the sub to be placed under a desk in front of you, so that's exactly what I did - After testing different sub positions I found this one to be best after all.


Different Sound Modes


Yet another impressive feature of the ADA890 speaker system is the different sound modes that you can choose from. All up there are five different sound modes - Prologic, Quad, Dolby Digital, Stereo and Stereo 2x. All the different modes mean something different, basically in the way that they process the sound through the system.


Prologic and Dolby Digital modes are fair similar, or at least sound similar. The Dolby Digital mode being for when you are using games or applications that utilise Dolby Digital for it's sound processing. Stereo is a more clearer mode, Stereo is the same except is uses all four speakers instead of just the front two as in the case of "Stereo" mode. The final mode, "Quad", is used for 4-channel gaming and use of 3D positional sound cards, such as the Sound Blaster Live! Digital series.


It's got a Remote too!


After unpacking the ADA890 speaker system, I found a surprise and pleasing inclusion - A remote control that interacts with an LCD panel on the front right speaker to handle volume, bass, treble and so on. It's these little extras that give Altec Lansing the edge over its competitors, I feel. While I don't personally use the remote control all that much, it does come in handy when you aren't actually sitting at your computer desk. Keeping in mind that these speaker systems can also be used with the Sony PS1 and PS2 gaming consoles as well as home entertainment units, such as your TV for example.


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