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SRG Sites > NewTechReview > Reviews > Altec Lansing Premier 641 PC Speaker System

Altec Lansing Premier 641 PC Speaker System

Manufacturer: Altec Lansing
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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Sound makes the computer gaming and movie watching experiences complete. Without sound, great graphics donít mean squat. And in order to have spectacular sound, you need a great set of speakers. Playing games and watching movies on the low-quality computer speakers that come with most systems just isnít going to cut it. Altec Lansing may have the answer to your sonic prayers with their new Premier 641 PC gaming speaker system.

The Premier 641 is a 400 watt, 4.1 digital speaker system. If you donít think 400 watts is enough, you may need to get your hearing checked because this baby can blow your house down if youíre not careful. The system includes a front-firing, wooden subwoofer featuring two 6.5 inch (165 mm) drivers for extended frequency response along with four satellite speakers: two front speakers and two back speakers each designed with a 1 inch (24 mm) tweeter and 3 inch (75 mm) full-range driver. The front speakers come with dual angle stands for adjustable positioning, and the rear speakers have detachable stands with brackets so that they can be mounted on the wall if desired. In addition, there is a separate wired controller providing adjustments for power on/off, volume, treble, bass, and listening mode.

Setting up the Premier 641 is very simple. Just connect the front speakers to the front output connections, the rear speakers to the rear output connections, and the wired controller to the DIN jack. More than likely, your sound card has two speaker outputs (front and rear), so you just connect the front speaker sound card output to the front input and the rear speaker sound card output to the rear input on the 641. Everything gets connected to the subwoofer and all the required cables are included in the package. The only thing you have to be careful about is where you position each speaker component. The rear speakers, of course, go behind your sitting location and can be mounted on the wall. The front speakers should be placed on the desk in front of you or on speaker stands if you have them. You can also place the front speakers along each side of your computer monitor if youíd like because they are magnetically shielded and will not distort the video display. The subwoofer, however, should be placed somewhere below your sitting position, either on the floor or a special lower desk shelf. The subwoofer is quite large Ė almost as big as a mid-tower PC. Never place it next to your computer monitor or the computer itself because the subwoofer is not magnetically shielded and could cause problems with your equipment.

The Premier 641 is meant to be used in three different listening situations: gaming, stereo, and stereo x2. Each mode can be chosen via the wired controller. I tested the system in all three configurations, and it performed wonderfully. The gaming mode was extremely cool with sound coming from all directions around my sitting position. In this mode, all four speakers are operational along with the subwoofer. Of course, in order to experience this, youíll need to be playing games that take advantage of a four speaker system. The stereo mode is mainly for music listening. Here the subwoofer and two front speakers are operational but the rear speakers are turned off. The stereo x2 mode is also for music listening, but mainly if you have the system setup in a large room where you might be throwing a party and you need more than just two speakers playing. In this mode, the left front and rear speakers perform as the stereo left channel and the right front and rear speakers perform as the stereo right channel. By the way, there is also a headphone jack on the wired controller in case you want to do some private listening. A very nice touch.

In addition to connecting the Premier 641 to your computer system, you can also use it for your gaming console. I tested it out on my PlayStation 2 with the included Y-adapter cable. Another nice touch. The system worked very well, but this is where my wish list kicks in. Since most gaming consoles are in the living room, it would be nice to be able to mount the front speakers in addition to the already mountable rear speakers. Also, while the wired controller works extremely well in a computer desk/room situation, itís a bit cumbersome in a living room situation. It would be great if the controller were actually a radio (or at least infrared) remote. That way accessing the speaker controls while lounging on the couch would be possible. But these observations are actually minor considering that the 641 is designed to work in a computer gaming/listening environment.

Personally, I think Altec Lansing has produced another great product with the Premier 641 PC gaming speaker system. It provides enough power and versatility to make your computer gaming and listening setup the envy of all your friends. You may end up alienating a few of your neighbors, but the sonic experience is worth the risk.
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