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Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £180
inc VAT

Altec Lansing's Expressionist Ultra speakers have too many quality issues for a set at this price.

Altec Lansing’s Expressionist Ultra 2.1 speakers have a distinctive look, thanks to their transparent trapezoid fronts. The subwoofer looks even more striking, being almost as large as a mini tower PC.

The wired remote uses a jog dial to control the volume, so it requires only a slight twist to make adjustments. Pressing one button lets the dial control the bass, while another switches to adjusting the treble. A small series of lights visually indicate the volume, bass and treble levels. The remote includes a handy headphone socket and a 3.5mm input, in addition to the one on the back of the subwoofer, for connecting another audio source.

Although the audio quality of the Expressionist Ultra isn’t bad, we expected far better from a 2.1 set at this price. The mid-range sounds flat and compressed, so vocals and instruments in many songs sound muffled. High-frequency notes sounds harsh, too. Adjusting the treble can compensate for this, but it makes music even more muffled. The bass sounds deep and full, but if you boost it further the treble sounds even harsher.

Altec Lansing’s Expressionist Ultra speakers have numerous issues. Considering the price, this is simply unacceptable – we’d expect a nearly flawless level of audio quality and these speakers just don’t have it. We recommend Creative’s similarly priced Gigaworks T3 2.1 speakers, which sound clear, rich and detailed.


Rating ***
Speaker configuration 2.1
RMS power output 200W
Power consumption standby 3W
Analogue inputs 3.5mm stereo
Digital inputs none
Dock connector none
Headphone output 3.5mm
Cable type captive
Controls located wired remote
Digital processing none
Tone controls bass and treble
Price £180

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