Well, this is one of the latest product from Altec Lansing, the FX4021. At first, I don’t see anything special from this speaker, until I see the subwoofer’s design.
Altec uses isobaric design for its subwoofer. Quite nice idea since not many vendor chooses such design.From the photo, the subwoofer consists of one enclosure (the solid wood). On the top, you can see an open enclosure (not really open, just another enclosure made from plastic (or steel?) with small holes).The woofer is mounted on isobaric position. The two woofer is facing each others, as the picture below shows you.
The first woofer (on the bottom) acts like a normal woofer with enclosure (the Altec uses ported enclosure, not sealed). Then, the second woofer added on the top of the first woofer. The second woofer has no enclosure (just a fancy fence with holes). Both woofer work in phase (the first woofer push, the second will pull, and vice versa), while the distortion will cancel each others (out phase).
I’ve got chance to evaluate this speaker. I will not discuss the quality in detail, just a brief. The subwoofer is capable to produce deep and well rounded bass. The low extension is good enough consider this is a 5.25″ driver. I pump the volume near maximum while playing a very aggresive full-of-bass track (20-60 Hz). On the low to medium volume, the subwoofer is excellent and very musical. It will shake you at no problem. But on the near maximum volume, you will hear the limitation of a 5.25″ driver. The driver has reached its maximum physical limit. No more bass though the driver throws its cone into maximum distance available.
The satellites are not impress me (it’s not bad, just consider this one is not for me). I prefer the Altec classic 621/641 or even the MX5021/CS21.
All I can say is the isobaric design of this system is excellent. It produces a very musical low extension. But sadly, the satellites performance can’t match the subwoofer in terms of musicality. Just hope Altec will release a better satellites to match this kind of subwoofer. I don’t mind if Altec design 6.5″ or 8″ in isobaric and a pair of excellent satellites.
I’m waiting for the successor of Altec 621/641. Altec MX5021/CS21 almost got me, but that just almost 🙂