Audio is an integral part of all the fun things you can do with Windows Vista and, in practice, most people don’t have any need or room for a surround speaker system. Stereo sets cost less, create less clutter and are perfectly capable of doing justice to music playback, web browsing and the odd game or movie.
Choosing stereo speakers can certainly save you money, but the Altec Lansing VS2320 is a false economy. Without the aid of a subwoofer, the compact speaker design means there’s barely any bass below about 100Hz, while the low frequencies it does manage to emit are vague and slightly distorted. The rest of the frequency spectrum is much better, with more high-frequency detail than we’d expect at this price. The design is plain but well conceived, with a headphone output and auxiliary input on the right speaker.
However, the single tone control doesn’t do anything to overcome the sonic shortcomings. We’d also prefer the cable that joins the two speakers to be a little longer. The lack of bass means the VS2320 can’t compete for sound quality, but for situations where there’s no room for a subwoofer they are, at least, a low-cost option.
The Logitech X-230 produces a nice, warm tone. High frequencies could be better pronounced and bass could be deeper, but the overall tone is even and balanced. The only problem we encountered was that our sine tone sweep caused the subwoofer to rattle. Fortunately, we didn’t notice the same problem during music-listening tests.
With an attractive, unassuming design, plenty of volume and a lower price than many subwoofer-based systems, it’s a good choice.
1 Logitech X-230
2 Altec Lansing VS2320