There’s been a lot of improvements on speaker set-ups for gaming in the past decades. The full spectrum includes the barely audible usb powered speakers to the souped-up 7.1 surround system. A lot of us will probably be somewhere in the middle with basic, decent set-ups that are limited by space and allowable noise-levels (yes, can’t really play as loud when there’s a room next to yours). This is where a 2.1 set-up (Left speaker plus right speaker plus subwoofer) is serviceable. It can be loud enough and has that ‘oomph’ you look for when the game calls for it. However, with so many options nowadays, where do we look?
You can start with Altec Lansing. Altec Lansing has built a reputation of stretching your hard-earned money. If my circa 1994 (not even sure of the year anymore) 2.1 ACS 55 model speakers of the same brand are any indication, you’ll be amazed on how they’ll perform for decades. I still use these death-defying speakers up to now. The subwoofer still grunts when appropriate while the main speakers still make a full sound. No wonder I haven’t had the slightest thought of replacing them through the years. When the offer came up to me to review a new 2.1 system from Altec Lansing, I thought “I was meant to review this”.
The 2.1 satellites have a premium yet edgy feel. The diamond pattern on the gray mesh panels are reminiscent of the classic diamond patterns in classic hip-high speakers of yesteryears. This one though is just a few inches high and invites you to place them on each side of your monitor or on a table top. Good thing there are black accents on the speakers so it can be paired with your black-beveled monitor too.
“it is a welcome addition to any room that is used to TV speakers as the only source of audio entertainment”
The subwoofer, as expected, has the same gray color in the front minus the diamond-pattern on the mesh panels. The front-facing subwoofer means there’s no shame in putting this sub in full-display.
To keep the sleekness of the design, on speaker buttons or dials are absent on the satellites. You adjust the volume with a pancake wireless controller. Just rotate clockwise or counter and the volume follows. The controller gives tactile feedback when you spin it which is great in telling you that you’ve moved a notch up or down. Pressing the controller for more than 3 seconds enables you to control the bass. A quick press mutes the speakers – handy when there’s someone you need to talk to urgently.
For a basic 2.1 set-up, the Altec Lansing delivers the basics. Clear, clean sound with just the right amount of thump. I’ve connected the Lozenge to almost any device that supports a 3.5mm jack. For the one-month review, it became my de facto sound system for in-room music (thru Spotify). The sound won’t fill the room and it’s not expected to. Nonetheless, it is a welcome addition to any room that is used to TV speakers as the only source of audio entertainment.
For game specific applications, I’ve played Plants vs. Zombies 2 with it on the Ipad. Actually not I, but my boys, aged 4 and 8. Now having heard the full gargle of zombies, it made their gaming more exciting. The boys even cranked the volume to the maximum level just to check on how icky the zombies’ voice could get. The Lozenge though, has its own volume limiter. I noticed that the sound won’t get any louder at a certain point despite the countless revolutions I’ve made on the remote control. It’s Altec Lansing’s way of ensuring yu don’t abuse the speakers beyond its intended limit.
I’ve also tried connecting the speakers via the 3.5mm jack of the PS4 controller and yes, it works, though it kind of gives you that feeling that your controller is wired because of the necessary connection to the Lozenge. Continuing my play as Geralt in Witcher 3, I was pleased in hearing the deeper grunts of those hideous rock trolls. The echo when in dungeons and caves is more pronounced. It makes gaming a bit more ‘experiential’ than your standard TV audio out. I would’ve hoped for a more ubiquitous wireless connectivity using bluetooth so you can control the speakers using any compatible bluetooth device. C’mon Altec Lansing, you’re in wireless territory already, make it bluetooth!
As a current owner of an almost two-decade old Altec Lansing 2.1 speaker system, I am relieved and excited that the brand is still continuing its heritage of providing us speakers, like the Lozenge, that can stand the test of time. The Lozenge is tastefully designed with just enough premium feel to make any gaming set-up look more polished. Its sound is as good as any 2.1 can give. The addition of a wireless remote control dial is a bonus and lets you control the volume without reaching for speaker knobs. Give it a go if you currently don’t have any speaker set-up and you’re in the market for gaming speakers that can last.