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Ace of bass

tech-reviews Updated: Dec 15, 2009 19:08 IST
Siddharth Bhatia
Siddharth Bhatia
Hindustan Times
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There will be a day, we assume, when the desktop PC will be the centre of all entertainment. Which is why brands like popular Altec Lansing release bigger and better music systems that look and feel nothing like a puny 2.1 PC system should, but appear quite comfortably as full-fledged home systems. Take the case of the Expressionist Ultra PC system.

Design
The system includes two satellites, and one of the biggest subs we have come across in the PC audio category.
The sub is trapezoidal in front view, and rather tall. The finish is black matte all over. The wood resounds on being rapped, and I do not like that in a speaker cabinet. The front panel has a reflex port and a woofer driver making it a front firing piece. This driver is 6.5 inches, and is covered by a heavy black brace that is screwed on tightly.

The satellites also have a similar arrangement for their driver. They also contain a tweeter on the top, thus making them a two-way configuration. The design of the sat is a piece of art. The 3” woofers and 1” tweeter are joined together simply by a translucent flat front panel.

There is no cabinet and the driver enclosures are all bare. The finish for these enclosures is glossy black.
The sats connect to the sub via DIN connectors, and so does the pod. The control pod’s base is round and conical in its rise, with buttons on the top, and EP (3.5 mm) connectors on the side for headphone and aux in. The body of the pod itself acts as a click wheel, and turn both clockwise and vice versa, for increasing or decreasing levels respectively. The max power output is 200 watts, and the max SPL is 106 dB. The rated frequency response is 40Hz- 20KHz.

Performance
We put the Expressionist through the regular battery of tests comprising Sheffield Audio test Disc, Chesky’s superbly recorded music and a slew of mp3s from my playlist. Lastly we played a movie, a brand new BD of Up.

The first thing I noticed was the bass, presumably due to the size of the sub. I was also afraid it might overpower the rest of the frequency response in terms of sound, which it did in a small way. I was very impressed with the tight bass sound; the kickdrums and snares had the kind of punch that makes your face clench. Also, the highs and mids were very “present” and quite forward sounding, but not too out of control. The highs had impressive clarity. that never flopped into brittle treble.

Overall the sound was very loud, with no audible distortion, except that the bass becomes overpowering the louder you go. The frequency response is surely bumped up a bit at the low mids section. But this works well for a movie, like in the climax of Up where the house is crashing around the ship.