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View Full Version : New Altec VS2421 is amazing little speaker system



cndnc
02-23-2009, 05:10 PM
Warning I am no audio expert but I would like some advice on the Altec equipment.

I recently purchased the VS2421 for my husband who wanted to play his mp3 player at work. It was better than his co-workers docking station by a long shot and we spent so much less for the Altec. It was only 33.00 plus S&H and tax. Co worker demanded I tell him what it was and where we got it.

We didn't want to put something expensive at work just in case something happen to it and this was perfect. I think this would be great for a kids/teenagers room too.

I have had two sets of Altec computer speakers with subs over the past ten years and we really liked them.

I was looking at Altec's site for an inexpensive speaker system like the VS2421 for a small living room that would allow me to send Rhapsody from my computer, connect tv to it and plug in an mp3 player to it. I would like to add more speakers to other parts of the house or outside eventually. We had a JVC bookshelf system in the room before it died but I have to say the new little Altec speakers by far out performed the JVC bigger bookshelf speakers.

The problem with the VS2421 is the connections are located on the sub and they are bare minimum. No extra ports. :(

My budget is small just like the room. We used to have big speakers with bigger houses but they just don't fit anymore when downsizing. The theater systems wouldn't work in the room either. A couple of speakers and a sub would suffice with some sort of receiver. I wish Altec would make such a system that would run about 120.00-200.00. I think this would be very appealing to so many who want good sound, have little space and money.

All the music I will be playing will be digital downloads. It is my understanding that the VS2421 speakers have drivers in them and that explains why such small speakers have such big sound. In fact Logitech made a X-230 that had two drivers for each speaker and they were rated highly by folks but the stopped making them about a year ago and there are none to be found. The replacements x240 was not as good from what I have read. If the software drives the sound with the speakers then if I went with a receiver I am concerned that it also should have digital drivers as well to help the sound? Is this true? If so would you recommend an Altec receiver that would be best for digital music? I called Altec and spoke with a young man but didn't find the expertise I was looking for.

I know some don't think much of digital music but I have to say that I am hooked and I will never buy another record, tape or cd ever. I can download up to 3 computers and 3 devices (mp3s) for 14.99 a month. So you could play it at work (if they allow it), your laptop and home desktop. I like to send the signal from my desktop to a stereo system from another room. They have millions of songs/albums and they have these channels you can play and I have found so many artists this way that I would have never discovered. One click and it will play your music indefinately. I have lots of playlists I have created and my husband who is a teacher has found lots of music he plays in class for kids, even read aloud books. Now I want to see if I can get the best sound from it inexpensively. Can you help me figure out how to do this the best way?:)

speakerdave
02-23-2009, 05:38 PM
Warning I am no audio expert but I would like some advice on the Altec equipment.

I recently purchased the VS2421 for my husband who wanted to play his mp3 player at work. It was better than his co-workers docking station by a long shot and we spent so much less for the Altec. It was only 33.00 plus S&H and tax. Co worker demanded I tell him what it was and where we got it . . . .

It's pretty cool, all right.

hjames
02-23-2009, 05:39 PM
Ah, one of those computer speaker systems!

Understand that Altec today is just a name and has nothing to do with the classic company that built movie theatre systems and all of that. That original company went out of business and the name was bought and sold a few times since then. We're just fans and have no input on what the company puts out to market ...

Most of these smaller speaker systems for computers are self contained and designed to really be controlled by software on the computer - they don't put much controls on the boxes themselves.

Its designed to hit a pretty competitive price, so that means no extra frills, no multiple inputs, or switchers or anything. Sounds like it works well for you for what it is.

That said - you want quite a bit of technology dfor a low price. You want to send music from your computer to another room to play (either a really long headphone cord, or wirelessly, which costs some money) then have a system in that room you can control locally.

Have you thought about checking out the thrifts? I mean no insult - lots of us have had really good luck buying used gear with craigslist or the local thrifts. You can probably get something nice with a radio and an auxiliary input for maybe $100, perhaps some older cheap speakers too.
Be persistant, but something will turn up.
Then all you need to do is figure how to get sound from your computer to that receiver.
You need a local techy friend to get this all hooked up for you - I'm in Virginia or I'd help ...

cndnc
02-23-2009, 05:57 PM
Well I couldn't find any other forums for Altec. I was hoping that some of you knew about the new stuff as well as the older stuff. My husband teaches 2nd grade and he downloaded read alouds from Rhapsody to his mp3 player and then plays them to the class on this speaker system. He doesn't have to turn it up all the way at all and the sound is excellent. I think if you heard it you would be impressed at the quality of sound from such a small system and for so little. Do you know if the old receivers can play the digital music really well?

hjames
02-23-2009, 06:02 PM
Well I couldn't find any other forums for Altec. ...
... Do you know if the old receivers can play the digital music really well?

For some folks mp3s are a dirty word. But not to everyone here.
I convert my CDs to high quality MP3s, put them in iTunes and feed from my Mac wirelessly to 2 different stereos in the house. There are all kinds of things to send songs wirelessly to remote speakers. Most are well over $100 for a transmitter and a wireless receiver. Then you hook the wireless receiver up to a stereo in the other room. Or an Altec VS2421 ..

I feed my MP3s through a wireless link and into an old high power Yamaha receiver and some big old JBL speakers. Sounds pretty good for what the songs are ... But its not a $120 stereo either ...

Of course there are times when I want to just sit and listen and for that I actually play the CD on the stereo - its not as convenient but it sounds a lot better.

JeffW
02-23-2009, 06:07 PM
I've been running Altec Lansing ACS 54 speakers on my computer for years and have really enjoyed them. They play really well for such small units, I remember how impressed I was the first time I powered them up. I run a splitter right out of my sound card, one side goes to the sub, the other goes to my stereo. That's the way I get "bigger" sound out of my computer.

cndnc
02-23-2009, 06:18 PM
Yes you are right about all that.
I was able to track down a 75ft speaker cable from Monoprice for $4.40. I also got a splitter for the speaker port on my computer. Then another Y connector that had two RCA connectors on one end and a speaker plug on the other to complete the connections from the computer to the stereo for less than $10.00. I tried wirelss speakers but I sent them back due to the interference. I don't think the technology is great yet for those unless you pay for the really expensive ones. I paid 80.00 for pair and they were awful. I took a Comptia class 12 yrs ago when I was 40 yrs old and have some techy inclinations. We had a pair of nice Cerwin Vega speakers but they were old and the cones were worn out and they were just too big for our place now and we donated them. We had an older JVC cd player but it stopped working and a JVC receiver that had issues and we decided we wanted something that would fit our space better and worked completely. I am thinking if Altec can make this set for so little then there is still hope for maybe finding such a system for another $100 or $200 more. I like the small speakers. I am an avid Craig's Lister for the past three years and enjoy garage saling so no worries about affending me. I already found several older systems on CL in Portland I am not sure if I need to be concerned about the type of receiver. Does it have to be digital since all the music I use is digital? I just wonder if I would get a better quality sound from a newer digital system.

Robh3606
02-23-2009, 06:41 PM
That looks like a nice little system. It amazes me sometimes how good some of those computer speaker set-ups can sound.

Rob:)

BMWCCA
02-23-2009, 06:50 PM
I've purchased three Altec computer speaker systems for my kids to have at college. Nobody has a stereo at college anymore. All the music is on the computer. When an 18-year-old asks for an external hard drive for Christmas, to store music, you know hi-fi is dead.

That being said, only one of those system is still working. One has a horrible problem that overdrives the sub and booms so hotly that my daughter's dorm-mates complained! Wiggle the wire and it quits for a while, maybe. Not worth taking apart I'm afraid. The next one I bought her sounds like crap by comparison to the previous one on a good day. I'd have to say quality is iffy if not sporadic.

All is not lost since she really prefers coming home and playing the iPod through a Soundcraftsmen/Crown PS-200/JBL L20T system. And I know she appreciates it!

speakerdave
02-23-2009, 07:12 PM
. . . . It amazes me sometimes how good some of those computer speaker set-ups can sound . . . .

Well, personally, I would phrase it a little differently: It's amazing how little it takes to make a sound that is recognizably music, or was once, anyway. I've actually listened to Vivaldi on the speaker that is in my computer at work, with the CD case leaning against the side of the computer where the speaker is to reinforce the bass. It's a little like watching a fly dance in the air or scratching a measle. It's entry level sensation.

What is also amazing is the capacity of the "ear," the auditory data recognition and interpreting faculty, to reconstruct music from merest suggestion. Interestingly, sometimes very talented musicians use second rate stereos.

However, to listen to this kind of equipment to any great extent is the aesthetic equivalent of perseveration pathology, the hypnotic repetition of failed strategy. I have a photo of one of my sons when he was very young, on a ride at the fair. The expression on his face says, "I know I'm supposed to be enjoying this, and I'm trying, but it ain't really happenin'."

Bad sound will make you groggy and dull and can file off your nerve endings irreparably.

Robh3606
02-23-2009, 08:30 PM
Bad sound will make you groggy and dull and can file off your nerve endings irreparably.

Hello Dave

That hurts just reading it. I understand what you are saying and I agree with you. It is entry level stuff. It's all relative though in the sense that for $30-40 you can get something that many people can get real enjoyment out of. No worse than some of the BOSE set-ups for a lot less money.

Rob:)

hjames
02-23-2009, 08:55 PM
Yes you are right about all that.
I was able to track down a 75ft speaker cable from Monoprice for $4.40. I also got a splitter for the speaker port on my computer. Then another Y connector that had two RCA connectors on one end and a speaker plug on the other to complete the connections from the computer to the stereo for less than $10.00. I tried wirelss speakers but I sent them back due to the interference. I don't think the technology is great yet for those unless you pay for the really expensive ones. I paid 80.00 for pair and they were awful. I took a Comptia class 12 yrs ago when I was 40 yrs old and have some techy inclinations. We had a pair of nice Cerwin Vega speakers but they were old and the cones were worn out and they were just too big for our place now and we donated them.
. I like the small speakers. I am an avid Craig's Lister for the past three years and enjoy garage saling so no worries about affending me. I already found several older systems on CL in Portland I am not sure if I need to be concerned about the type of receiver. Does it have to be digital since all the music I use is digital? I just wonder if I would get a better quality sound from a newer digital system.

Okay, so you did a splitter and a really long wire - what's wrong with that -
find a receiver you like and a pair of speakers and Bob's yer uncle!

There is so much gear out there for cheap - keep looking and you'll find something you like! Take an iPod or sansadisk or Zune player with you to check out what tyou find before you buy and - you'll be set!

And no, it doesn't have to be a digital receiver - its already analog once its coming out of the headphone/speaker jack of your computer

cndnc
02-23-2009, 09:30 PM
You guys are funny.:) So can I assume here that really it doesn't much matter if the speakers and receiver are digital. It is possible to get terrific sound from any good old receiver and speakers in good shape. If so, that is great.

I am a seasoned Craigslister and will start checking out the local listings to see what gems maybe out there. Can anyone give me some perimeters of what receivers are worthy and about how old should I go on them? About what would be reasonable price to pay? Any recommendations for smaller bookshelf speakers that are worth while and how old should I go and about what price would be reasonable? I really don't have the room for big speakers. Our Cerwin Vegas were about 15 years old and the cones were fried certainly by then and sooner. I know how to check them. But is there like a expiration time period for the cones? Anything over 10 years they need to be redone or something like that?

BMWCCA
02-23-2009, 09:40 PM
Anything over 10 years they need to be redone or something like that?Gawd, I hope not! I'd be in serious trouble.

cndnc
02-23-2009, 09:42 PM
Excellent HJames. Yes, I will bring my Sansa and a Y connector with two rca connectors at one end and male speaker connector on the other to connect Sansa to receiver. Then perhaps an pair of headphones with different adapters to plug in if they don't have speakers connected to listen to it. That would be a slick way to quickly find out if it works. But is there an equally slick way to test the speaker connections?:blink:

cndnc
02-23-2009, 09:44 PM
Bob's yer uncle?

hjames
02-24-2009, 06:18 AM
Sorry, I usually head to bed around 10 but was up late installing MS XP on my iMac
I faded out at Midnight ... (5 ayem came WAY too early today!)


Bob's yer uncle?
Google is your friend ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob%27s_your_uncle

Bob's your uncle is a commonly-used expression known mainly in Britain, Ireland and Commonwealth countries. It is often used immediately following a set of simple instructions and carries roughly the same meaning as the phrase "and there you have it"; for example, "Simply put a piece of ham between two slices of bread, and Bob's your uncle."

Etymology

It's a catch phrase dating back to 1887, when British Prime Minister Robert Cecil (a.k.a. Lord Salisbury) decided to appoint a certain Arthur Balfour to the prestigious and sensitive post of Chief Secretary for Ireland. Not lost on the British public was the fact that Lord Salisbury just happened to be better known to Arthur Balfour as "Uncle Bob." In the resulting furor over what was seen as an act of blatant nepotism, "Bob's your uncle" became a popular sarcastic comment applied to any situation where the outcome was preordained by favoritism. As the scandal faded in public memory, the phrase lost its edge and became just a synonym for "no problem."


Usage

In some places in Britain, "Bob's your uncle" is also a way of saying "you're all set" or "you've got it made!" and is used as an expression of jubilation at good fortune.

hjames
02-24-2009, 06:21 AM
Excellent HJames. Yes, I will bring my Sansa and a Y connector with two rca connectors at one end and male speaker connector on the other to connect Sansa to receiver. Then perhaps an pair of headphones with different adapters to plug in if they don't have speakers connected to listen to it. That would be a slick way to quickly find out if it works. But is there an equally slick way to test the speaker connections?:blink:

Try to buy a cheaper system with receiver and small speakers ...