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Altec Lansing Expressionist PLUS Desktop Speaker System

Altec Lansing Expressionist PLUS

Altec Lansing Expressionist PLUS


  • Product Name: Expressionist PLUS (FX3021)
  • Manufacturer: Altec Lansing
  • Review Date: June 26, 2009 08:25
  • MSRP: $99.99
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting

Drivers: Two 2” (50 mm) full-range drivers, 5.25” (135 mm) woofer
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 93 dB
Total Continuous Power: 28 Watts RMS
Each Speaker: 4 Watts per Channel @ 8 Ohms @ 10% THD @ 180 Hz - 20 kHz Both Channels Loaded
Subwoofer: 20 Watts @ 4 ohms @ 10 % THD @ 50 Hz – 180 Hz Single Channel Loaded
System Response: 40 Hz - 20 kHz (-10 dB)
Signal to Noise Ratio @ 1 kHz input: > 72 dB
Satellite Dimensions: 5.2” (W) x 4.2” (D) x 4.9” (H)
Subwoofer Dimensions: 10.4” (Diameter) x 6.1” (H)

fx3021-sat-topThe press release for the Altec Lansing Expressionist PLUS (FX3021) Desktop Speaker system is almost comical in its desire to impress you with unimpressive stats. Let's take a look at a few quotes:

"By doing away with the enclosure and making the satellites angle-adjustable"

At first I thought he was talking about toe in but on closer examination, he's referring to the fact that the speakers can be swiveled up or down as well. While this is an interesting idea in theory, I fail to see how it will make it "...easy for the listener to enjoy a remarkably deep, precise soundstage." It might tighten up imaging, but I doubt it will make anything "deeper." What it will most likely do is force you to realign your speakers from time to time as they slowly rotate out of position. Next up:

"...sub utilizes a 5.25-inch, long-throw driver for authoritative bass that extends down to 50 Hz"

When was the last time you heard the words "authoritative" and "50 Hz" in the same sentence? Anyone? Bueller?

"The dual 2-inch full range satellites ... for natural-sounding audio performance, the way the artist intended"

OK, where to begin. First of all, 2" and "full range" are mutually exclusive. You can be one or the other but not both. If they were really full range, this wouldn't be a 2.1 system. While I may make the same claim about "natural-sounding" and 2" drivers, I'm going to let that one slide for now. But I have to take umbrage with the "the way the artist intended" statement. No artist has ever intended their music, voice, or anything else to be reproduced with 2" drivers. If that was the case, they'd be mixing and playing their music on 2" drivers. How many amps do you see these days with 2" drivers? None. Exactly.

"The entire system is driven by an impressive 24 watts of power."

A whole 24 watts? Wow! Wait, if I'm reading this right, each speaker can take 4 watts and the sub 20 which adds to 28. Hmm... maybe math isn't the marketing departments strong suit. And those are 4 watts into 8 ohms and 20 watts into 4 ohms so really it is 18 total watts with only 10 for the sub. Man what a rip.

fx3021-sub-top     fx3021-sub-bottom

fx3021-sub-rearAll kidding aside, the Expressionist PLUS desktop system does look like an pretty interesting little setup. The drivers are small and unobtrusive. The sub is designed to be set on the desk. They describe the size of the sub as frisby sized at its base so it shouldn't take up to much room. The downfiring woofer on the sub, though, may create a bit of a problem with the satellites as all the "authority" might knock the drivers out of alignment. You might also have to actually worry about vibrations with the sub on the desk - something that surely wouldn't be the case if it was place elsewhere.

The satellites have rubber pads on their wire legs but the sub looks to be sitting on plexiglas. In some of the pictures, it looks like they might be covered by rubber as well though we'll have to get a closer look to know for sure. The conical design of all the speakers is very attractive as is the gloss black with chrome accents color scheme. Each speaker has its own volume control on top including the sub. The sub actually has two inputs which is pretty unusual for this type of system. With a 3.5mm jack, you could connect your iPod directly to the Expressionist PLUS system and forgo the computer completely.


fx3021-3qtr-groupMarketing drivel aside, the Expressionist PLUS system looks to be a very interesting "add on" speaker system for your next desktop purchase. At only $99, no one is expecting the moon here. The looks alone will sell a lot of systems. Altec Lansing historically has made very decent speaker systems. The Expressionist PLUS should prove to be no different.

For more information, please visit www.alteclansing.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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