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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clunky but funky

Altec Lansing’s glossy Expressionist Classic FX2020 stereo speakers sound as good as they look.

ARE you looking for a pair of speakers that look as good as they sound?

Then the Altec Lansing Expressionist Classic FX2020 may be right up your alley.

These speakers are more for the user who is concerned with style and design.

Bulky bricks

Before unpacking the FX2020, I was under the impression that they are small, slim speakers that would fit snugly and inconspicuously next to an MP3 player or laptop.

I was wrong because the FX2020 is by far the largest stereo speakers I have ever seen.

When they are set up, you may need more desk space than you had gauged for and they do overwhelm the objects near to them because of their sheer size.

Only when you place it next to a desktop PC with a 19in LCD monitor and a lot of table space, for example, does the FX2020 start to blend in with its surrounding nicely.

And to think with its giant ­footprint Altec Lansing could have added a remote control which they did not.

It is disappointing because you would expect a wireless remote no less for a lifestyle product that is aimed at those who want to have a laidback listening experience.

HIDDEN: The volume controls are well-hidden and difficult to reach.

It does not help that its volume controls are well-hidden and difficult to reach.

The cables and wires are thick and cumbersome. There is one wire that joins the two speakers together which means the speakers can only be set up less than 2m apart.

One more cable to worry about is the audio output cable so these speakers may look unsightly and messy when put together with your media players or notebooks.

And although the FX2020 looks like it may make good glossy bookends, it is an optical illusion as these speakers are surprisingly light and may disappoint some who are looking for a heavy set of stereo speakers to handle bass.

Grows on you

Playing a song for the first time on these speakers can be quite ­disappointing but you begin to appreciate the sound after awhile.

You will be surprised at how well it handles different types of music, giving each instrument a distinct clarity that is hard to find from a normal pair of stereo speakers.

In fact, it gives the impression of surround sound and the sound meets well in the middle of the two speakers so if placed on either side of your notebook, for example, you will like what you hear.

The sound is solid and well-spaced out but still sounds pretty muffled so they will not be good enough for watching action flicks or playing games.

Clearly bass is out of the question as these speakers emit a faux bass feeling.

Not the best if cranked up too loud or if you are into rock music as it starts to hurt the ears.

However, if you are not an audiophile and into chill-out background music then these speakers are more than enough.


The Altec Lansing Expressionist Classic FX2020 takes up a wee bit too much desk space, uses unsightly thick wires and lacks a remote.

However, the sound quality is something to appreciate at a reasonable volume and the speakers do not look that bad.

Can’t give Altec Lansing flack for trying to be tasteful with the shiny design.

Pros: Easy setup; decent sound quality.

Cons: No remote; chunky design; lacks power.


(Altec Lansing)

PC stereo speakers

Dimensions (H x W x D): 127 x 127 x 159mm

Price: RM299

Review unit courtesy of Ban Leong Technologies Sdn Bhd, (03) 7956-6300.


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