Appearances, as we should all know by now, can be deceptive. And while the VS4121, 2.1 channel speaker set from Altec Lansing is no slouch in the looks department, in all honesty this reviewer wasn’t expecting the high quality output it generated. Still, life is full of nice surprises.
The main reasons for initial doubts were the satellites. There’s an increasing trend in speaker design to sacrifice performance for aesthetics, and the two satellite speakers included with the VS4121 at first glance reinforced that suspicion. Further inspection, though, quickly revealed that there was more going here than met the eye.
While it initially appears that the sound from the satellites is exclusively generated from their top half, the base unit of each of them also houses a downward-facing speaker. It doesn’t quite touch the surface the speakers are perched on, and it goes to make the end output that bit more full.
Mounted onto one of the satellites are controls for volume, treble and bass and after much playing around with these, variable results were achieved. It was hard to pinpoint a consistent setting that would ably work for all source material, although we found best results when we opted for volume over subtlety.
Nonetheless, the performance was in excess of what we’d expect from a 2.1 channel set in this price bracket. That’s especially so of the capable sub-woofer, which is arguably the best thing in the box. What’s missing is a remote control, although how big an issue that is to you rests entirely on where you choose to locate the satellite with the manual controls on it.
A few other points are worthy of merit. First, thanks to some thoughtful colour coding, the VS4121 is a system that’s an absolute breeze to set up. Literally, you’ll have it up and running in a minute or two. Second, the setup is really quite economical on space, and should fit easily even when room space is at a premium.
And then there’s the fact that the VS4121 setup is designed to work as easily with the likes of a games console or television as with a PC. However, the limited power output (31W RMS total continuous power) suits them best to small environments.
In all, the VS4121 is a capable, aesthetically strong, 2.1 channel speaker system. It may not be the cheapest on the market (far from it, in fact), but it does still represent good value for money.
Company: Altec Lansing
Contact: 020 8847 9478