Altec Lansing GT5051R Inverness

The Altec Lansing bundle includes a mini infrared remote, but that's the only accessory supplied. No wall mounts are included, and you'd need to take care not to negate the Side-Firing wall reflections when mounting the speakers anyway.

Sutherland Systems & Services
01463 234007
36, Tomnahurich St, Inverness
Inverness
 
iTek Solutions Ltd
01463 725999
1, Cromwell Rd, Inverness
Inverness
 
ITP SOLUTIONS
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4, Walker Rd, Inverness
Inverness
 
B S COMPUTERS
07745 056669
74, Highfield Avenue, Inverness
Inverness
 
PC World
0844 5610000
79A, Telford St, Inverness
Inverness
 
PC Warehouse Ltd
01463 250250
Unit 4, 23, Harbour Rd
Inverness
 
Solution X
01463 418264
Cromwell Road, Inverness
Inverness
 
Laing PC Support
07912 938019
3, Eastfield Avenue, Drakies
Inverness
 
Csrlaptops
01463 242483
5, Celt St.Inverness
Inverness
 
Computer & Network Specialist
07746 051085
23, Dellness Way, Inverness
Inverness
 

Altec Lansing GT5051R

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Altec Lansing has been producing PC speakers with subwoofers for over a decade, since back when they gave you thumping bass but a curiously absent mid-range. Despite the company's wealth of experience, Altec Lansing still tends to focus on the budget end of the speaker spectrum. The GT5051R, however, is one of the company's more expensive products.

However, the GT5051R is no generic set of five identical satellites bundled with a subwoofer. Instead of the discrete rear speakers included with the other kits in this Labs, the Altec Lansing GT5051R uses Side-Firing Dipole Surround - yet another patent-pending technology. While the front speakers face the listener directly, the side speakers sit on top of them and point outwards to the walls, using reflection to create the surround effect. This isn't such a crazy idea; Yamaha's premium YSP1 home cinema system uses an even more complex version of the concept to create 5.1 surround from just one speaker.

The big advantage of an integrated arrangement such as this is wiring simplicity. Instead of having to trail lengthy wires around the room to the rear speakers, only short wires are needed to run from your PC to the front satellites. Although you aren't likely to set up and rearrange your surround system on a regular basis, reducing cable spaghetti is always welcome.

In practice, the Side-Firing system is only partially successful. In Battlefield 2, it didn't give the sense that shots were coming from behind you, which you get from a proper rear speaker pair. The 'he's behind you' sense of fear that Doom 3 inspires was also less pronounced and the oliphant charge was less immersive. Music fared better, although more adjustment was required to get the bass thumping than was necessary with other kits.

The Altec Lansing bundle includes a mini infrared remote, but that's the only accessory supplied. No wall mounts are included, and you'd need to take care not to negate the Side-Firing wall reflections when mounting the speakers anyway. Having two fewer speakers to hook up sounds like a real plus, especially if space is limited, but, in practice, you'll have to accept a reduced sense of surround sound.

Author: James Morris

Altec Lansing GT5051R