Altec Lansing's motto for its Expressionist Bass FX3022 PC multimedia speakers is, "All the bass in half the space". The concept is a good one -- they've taken a subwoofer that normally sits on the floor, shrunken it down, and integrated it into the bottom of each speaker. That way the user gets an ample amount of bass without having to deal the extra gear and wiring. The striking Expressionist Bass FX3022s are available now for around £110.
These speakers have a retro, futuristic look that's reminiscent of something you might see in the video game BioShock. The flattened-cone enclosures are just a little over 250mm tall with a diameter of about 125mm at their base. They're finished in a glossy, piano black with some silver trim around the speaker port, which covers a 38mm driver. Altec's new logo is tastefully printed on the front in bronze lettering and stamped into the plastic on top of the left speaker.
As for the volume controls and power, they're on top of the right speaker. The buttons are rubberised and easy to access if you're sitting at your computer. That said, some PC speakers these days come with a remote, and it would have been useful if the FX3022s did, too.
The two speakers are actually hard-wired to each other. That's unusual, though arguably a good thing because you don't have to worry about the cord falling out or not connecting properly. The cord that joins them is about 1.8 metres long, so you do have some degree of flexibility in terms of placement and separation.
Around the back of the right speaker is a port for connecting the speaker to your computer with the included 3.5mm minijack cable. You also get an auxiliary input for connecting any device that has an audio output or headphone jack (a second 3.5mm cable isn't provided, however).
In terms of sound, the first thing you notice about the Expressionist Bass FX3022s is that they indeed deliver a good amount of bass. The treble, however, is another matter. It's pretty brash and at higher volumes it comes across as being very aggressive, which will irritate some people. With music, the sound just isn't as tight and clear as we'd have liked it to be.
When it came to gaming and movies, however, we felt the speakers hit their stride. The big bass was a plus for action sequences, and explosions in first-person shooters were delivered with gusto. The 3022s performed better than your typical multimedia speakers in this price range.
The FX3022s are impressive-looking speakers that perform well when it comes to gaming and movies, but not nearly as well with music. Then again, the tech-obsessed will most likely have a different sound system for their music and won't be listening to their tunes on their computers, but it's still something to keep in mind.
We certainly wouldn't recommend them if your main aim is to listen to music on your PC -- but that shouldn't rule them out for everyone.
Edited by Marian Smith