A couple of weeks back we reviewed the AVS 500, the budget 4.1 speaker system from Altec Lansing. Last week, we managed to get our hands on the ATP3 model, one of their semi-premium 2.1 speakers. As soon as I got the speakers out of the box, they were an object of desire for quite a few of my colleagues even before I plugged them into the sound card, courtesy of their sleek and sexy anatomy. Some of the guys around had a 'What on earth are these things' look on their face and were convinced that these were speakers only when I plugged them in our Audigy and gave them a demo.
These semi-premium range speakers from Altec Lansing come with an MRP of Rs. 5500/-, a whole 2000 rupees more than the AVS 500 and around Rs. 3000 more than other 2.1 speakers available. Some may say that the looks alone are worth the price, but let's not forget that speakers are meant to sound good and not look good, though it doesn't hurt if they look good too. We'll soon find out whether the ATP3's performance can compliment its looks and justify the premium.
The package comprised of a pair of smartly designed satellites and a subwoofer. Each satellite has of a pair of 28 mm front firing tweeters and a 3" inverted mid-range facing the ground. The subwoofer has an inverted 6.5" driver and a built-in power supply. The Power/Volume control and the Bass and Treble knobs are present on the right satellite. The satellites have a RMS rating of 6 Watts each, while the subwoofer has a power of 18 Watts RMS. The system supports an overall frequency response of 45 Hz to 18 KHz. The wires provided are long enough, color-coded and totally idiot-proof.
I just couldn't wait any longer and plugged them in our Audigy and took them for a spin. It produced a near perfect output with our test tracks and pleased one and all. The highs were perfect and mids were pretty good too. But the lower mid range response, though very decent, wasn't the best I have heard and could have been better. The Artis Avalon B-73 has a better low-mid range response. The subwoofer is one of the best I have come across in the 2.1 system range. The bass it pumped out was an absolute treat. It was tight yet thumping. There was virtually no jarring even at peak volume.
In Quake3, the sound quality again was top class. Though serious gamers would miss the rear channels, they certainly won't complain about the sound quality. Every single click, bang and boom was reproduced to perfection. The sound reproduction was so detailed and realistic that the Quake3 starting video had one of my colleagues jumping out of his pants. The quality of bass in these speakers is truly special.
With a street price of under Rs.4500/-, some might argue that it would be a better option to opt for a good 5.1 channel speaker system like the Mercury HT-4500 selling for that price. Though the argument has a lot of weight, it's not totally correct. If you are interested in gaming with multi-channel sound or watching DVDs with surround sound, the above argument holds good. The HT-4500 would serve you better than these speakers. If listening to music with high quality sound and bass is your priority, you will love these speakers. So get your priorities right before you make a buying decision.
To conclude, these speakers appeal to your ears as much as they do to your eyes. The ATP3 are a bit pricey and will burn a small hole in your pocket, but you will barely notice it once you plug these in and blast them and especially when you see your neighbours and friends drooling over it. These beauties are certainly neighbour's envy and owner's pride.
Test Unit Sourced From: Zeta Technologies, Mumbai.