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If you are like me, you most likely spend most of your computer time using a Notebook as opposed to a desktop computer. I love the flexibility of my notebook, but even with sound upgrades – the audio quality still stinks because of the tiny, tinny speakers.

Altec Lansing comes to the rescue with the combination of the XT2 Notebook speakers and BB2001 Subwoofer. Can it turn your Notebook into a quality audio system?

Read on for my thoughts. The reality is that while graphic cards and wide screens have drastically improved the multi-media capabilities of today’s Notebook computers – Sound quality is still pretty awful. Add on Speakers are almost a must – but what about portability, you ask? This is after all, a Notebook. Well, the good folks at Altec Lansing have come up with a near-perfect solution for home and on the road with the XT2 speakers and the addition of the BB2001 subwoofer when you are at home. First we will take a look at the speakers – then we will look at the Sub.

XT2 Design:

The XT2 are two, slim and stylish speakers. They are relatively light weight and connect to the Notebook via a USB connection. Here are the official specs from the web site.

  • Full-range neodymium Micro Drivers deliver big sound in a small format
  • Built-in microphone with automatic feedback cancellation facilitates VoIP and interactive gaming
  • Connects easily to laptops and desktops via USB port. Or boost power with optional power supply
  • Optional BB2001 subwoofer sold separately
  • Deluxe carrying case included

All that being said – these are great to look at and so easy to use. On the side of the right hand speaker there are three buttons – volume up and down and power. There is also an auxiliary jack for plugging in your MP3 player or other music source.

The left hand speaker plugs into the right and the USB cable connects them to your notebook. The beauty of this design is that the USB cable charges your speakers and serves as the audio in jack – so you don’t need to plug in a separate cable to the Notebook’s headphone jack.

The XT2’s come in a wonderfully designed travel case that also includes an AC power adapter (so you can use the speakers away from your notebook with any other audio source) and enough power connectors to make sure you can travel the world and still be able to use them – a nice touch.

Sound Quality:

Sure, the XT2’s look great – but the main point is ‘how do they sound.’ Right? Well, rest assured (because your neighbors won’t) that these little speakers Rock. Wow! They can play loudly without distortion and they produce crystal clear highs, believable mids and pretty strong bass for little speakers.
The key is the full range micro drivers with Aluminum cones. Sound quality is comparable to far more expensive (and larger systems.)
Need more bass?

Sometimes, we just want more bass. Fortunately, Altec Lansing has also released the new BB2001 powered subwoofer. The Speakers have a ‘sub out’ jack at the bottom of the right speaker. Just use the included cable and connect it to the ‘sub in’ jack on the BB2001 and all of the sudden, your sound is transformed.
The BB2001 is not a large unit – the official company line is:

  • Powerful Bass – Some tunes just aren’t the same without a low-end rumble you can feel in your bones. That’s why we created the BB2001 Powered Subwoofer. This subwoofer will add serious bass to your new portable speaker system.
  • Contemporary Design – The BB2001 Powered Subwoofer looks slick in any setting. With its classy silver grille, cool-blue power indicator light, convenient power switch and volume control, the BB2001 is tailor-made for your compatible Altec Lansing or inMotion speaker system. Just plug the BB2001 into the SUB OUT port on the back of your portable speakers. It’s the easiest way to get the deep bass you’re craving!

Compatible with:

* inMotion iM5 mobile speaker system
* inMotion iMX2 mobile speaker system
* Altec Lansing XT2 Laptop Audio system
* inMotion iMT1 mobile speaker system
* Other Altec Lansing and inMotion portable speaker systems with a ‘SUB OUT’ port located on the back of the unit..

Sound Quality:

The BB2001 provided very tight, deep bass. So deep, in fact, that I needed to turn down the volume because my kids complained from downstairs (how is that for a change of pace!)

When coupled with the XT2’s – the BB2001 took the low frequency load off so the XT1’s could provide even clearer (and louder) mids and highs. There was no harsh ‘thump’ to the bass and no rattling from the enclosure at all. When people walked into my office they thought that I had at least an 8′ sub providing that bass they were feeling.

Overall conclusions:

Either coupled with the BB2001 or on their own, the XT2’s have to be some of the finest Computer speakers I have heard. The beautiful design coupled with the handy travel case makes this a truly ‘portable’ sound solution if you use a Notebook computer.

Because they are so versatile – either AC powered or USB powered with all the attachments for over seas, these speaker should meet all of your needs. When coupled with the BB2001 subwoofer – your computing sound experience will take you places you never thought possible. This is a Great combination and is highly recommended.

Overall Grade: A

Pros: Great sound quality, good looks and design, easy to hook up

Cons: on a couple of occasions, when hibernating and then restarting, the computer did not recognize the USB connection and a restart was necessary

The XT2’s are available for $149.95 and the BB2001 is available for $49.95 at www.alteclansing.com

Written by Gary