altec lansing atp-3 multimedia speakers


finding critical reviews of multimedia speakers can be a challenge if not impossible. usually, you get statements like, “the bass is awesome!” or “they play really loud!” or “it doesn’t play loud enough.”

besides system beeps and mail notifications, my speakers usually play music. accurate sound has become important to me, although budgets hold me back from putting a big audiophile music system in with the computer. 🙂

i bought a set of altec lansing atp-3’s for my brother as a christmas gift on a suggestion from a coworker. impressed by their performance and value i picked up a set for myself. i’ve owned them for about four years now. i thought i’d post my critical review.

they are discontinued now and available on overstock sites or (fl)ebay. however, they were replaced by the updated altec lansing vs4121 speakers.


2 satellites, 1 subwoofer. amplifier is integrated into the subwoofer. volume/power and bass/treble controls are integrated into the right satellite. each satellite has two 1″ front-firing tweeters and a down-firing 3″ midrange/midbass. the subwoofer appears to be of the 4-5.5″ variety. each satellite gets 12 watts and the subwoofer gets 18 watts.


the subwoofer makes a great footrest in its natural home under my desk. the (generally) omni-directional nature of bass lets you put this anywhere you want.

i have the satellites on my desk 3-4′ apart, facing straight back. this gives the speakers a wide soundstage and a good center-image. if i point them towards the center at me (the listener,) they lose the soundstage width and the center-image loses its clear definition.


the volume control also acts as the power switch. altec lansing was kind enough to include a treble and bass knob. these knobs have held up through constant use over four years, none are scratchy and maintain their solid feel.


the feeble amp tries, but there isn’t much headroom for really loud music. when it gets to the point where you have to yell at others in the room, distortion becomes more apparent. i don’t have any fancy SPL meters to give you a real measurement. another side to the modest power-output of the amp is low-frequency and high-frequencies fall off fast. this amp is no different.

from the subwoofer, low-end extention is non-existent. if i play something that has 20-40hz in it, i don’t hear it or feel it. anything above that sounds great. i usually turn the bass knob down a tad because it overpowers the rest of the sound. the sound falls off quickly. when the drummer hits the kick drum

this set is one of the only multimedia speakers that have dedicated midbass/midranges and tweeters. the 3″ midbass/midrange does a great job filling its responsibilities, providing a warm full sound. recordings with floor-toms or chellos come through wonderfully, especially given the speaker sets’ price. since the midbass/midranges are down-firing, they can have a bit of a reflected sound to them. however, the reflected sound was only apparent when listening to other direct-firing speakers in comparision.

front-firing tweeters have a bright sound but they don’t extend to a very high frequency range. high-frequency response might be the amplifier’s fault, it’s hard to tell in a system like this. the upper-midrange and lower high-frequencies are strong but not overpowering. i happen to like a bright sound though. they appear to have a wide-dispersion pattern, given how they “image” i have to turn up the treble slightly to gain some high-frequency extention.


imaging is good for a 2.1 set of speakers. in my book, if a set of speakers can perform well for music, it can perform well in movies. this speaker is no exception.

wish it had:

  • more cleaner power (less distortion) – keeps the highs clean and deeper low-frequencies
  • larger subwoofer – aid the low frequency extention
  • direct-firing midbass/midrange – lose the reflected sound

for $80 in 2002 dollars, they’re a good speaker. listening to music or watching movies, i’m still impressed to this day. the sound coming from them is almost forceful, like how a trumpet is forceful. it can take you by surprise.

Categories : reviews


i hate programming exams/quizzes/etc. 👿

Categories : about

giveth and taketh away


i don’t mind entering contracts to get a nifty cellphone for a reasonable price.

why i have to enter an “unlimited” data plan contract with any provider to get $100 off the price of a smartphone is beyond me. these plans from any major cellular provider are an additional $40/mo, in addition to your voice plan!

to me, doesn’t make any sense to spend over $960 throughout two years in order to save $100. i suppose if i didn’t have the $100, this would “finance” it at 800% interest 😆

Categories : OMG DUDA WTF

gave up the ghost


so long athlon 800. you were a good cpu during the four years i had you. i’m sure you served sean well for two years before that. kernel panics. no posts. it was your time.

you were replaceable and replaced with a duron 1000.

Categories : geek

url referrer


this picture from chuck’s unsuperbowl party seems to have gone over rather well (2) w/ people i don’t know.

Categories : photography

our love is like


thx tmbo.

Categories : OMG DUDA WTF



i didn’t drink the kool-aid.

Categories : geek



a business i do computer support for switched to macs. they seemed open to letting me fumble through but i really don’t learn much and it’s a challenge to provide support for something i know none of the nuances. using any computer is easy. administering it, showing others how to use it, helping others, not so easy.

i tried the osx86project’s tips for getting OSX booting on a PC, but no such luck.

i took some extra student-loan money this semester and picked up a white macbook, 2ghz core 2 duo, 1gb ram, 80gb drive, 6x dual layer dvd burner.. my thoughts thus far:


  • can’t right-click. I know there’s work arounds, but there aren’t two buttons. period.
  • default drivers from logitech for my mx518 doesn’t detect the extra buttons. currently, the only alternative is a pay-software called USB Overdrive. the shareware version is nagware.
  • sharp edges where the white plastic case meets the off-white keyboard tray/wrist rest. according to apple and the macalots on the discussion forums, i’m imagining it or have poor typing posture, especially when i’m using the touchpad. (2, 3) five minutes with a small file took care of it.
  • no dedicated Home/End, Page Up/Down, or Insert/Delete keys. with as often as i write (read: hack) code, i use theys keys often
  • constant sales and specials make “PC” notebooks of similar configurations 2/3 the cost
  • closing the lid suspends/sleeps the laptop. i hate it. the hack/apps out there don’t work on the macbooks (yet.)
  • constant harrassment from docah
  • initial screen calibration washes out bright-colors. a slight tweak for “Tube” worked wonders.
  • getting used to the modifier functions like apple+c/apple+v for copy/paste and how the fn, ctrl, alt, and apple + home/end page up/down arrows play together
  • window resize is lower-right corner only. c’mon apple, allow me to resize anywhere!
  • branding. not solely an apple issue, but can we do w/o all the flashy apple logos?
  • no equivilent of microsoft’s “offline files.” i tried setting up iFolder, an opensouce application claiming to do the same type of thing. a perfect example of why opensource sucks.
  • batterylife w/ wireless and bluetooth enabled


  • two-finger touchpad tapping = right-click. i tap more often than use the button anyway, so two-finger tapping is neat. i wish my work-assigned dell had this.
  • two-finger touchpad dragging is scrolling. anywhere on the touchpad. both up/down and side/side.
  • magsafe power connector. some claim to have cord issues. i haven’t yet.
  • sleek hardware design
  • exposé
  • battery life is good after i disable wireless & bluetooth
  • having a unix shell wherever i go

OS X and its nuances are less scary now. otherwise, it’s just another computer. firefox installs just fine. so does open/neooffice. there’s a plethora of opensource applications (like cyberduck) out there for macs, many of which top their commercial counterparts.

having another OS under my belt is always good for the resume.

Categories : geek  reviews



first result from a GISover the past few years, i’ve gotten letters from a company called equisearch, asking me to verify my contact information. i was thinking, “they got the letter to me, their search must be working!” equisearch claimed that a company i was invested in was trying to get a hold of me. i brushed it off, until friday. i phoned them to find out why.

some stock transfer company on the west coast was performing investor relations for a company i was invested in. proxy votes, shareholder meeting information, etc.

i got my stock certificate numbers. all two of them. i found out what company i am invested in. the company has been bought out six times since 2001 when i magically acquired the stock.

the company, now called sienna technologies, is valued at $0.29/share. i have two shares. it’ll cost me more to unload them than keep them. 😆

turns out that on april 4, 2001, my grandfather bought some tech stocks and put them in my name. initial value? no clue. initial amount? no clue.

Categories : about  OMG DUDA WTF




OU participates in microsoft‘s MSDN-AA program. i picked a copy of vista business available to me as a student.

time to load it up on a spare drive and play!

folder redirection and offline files, along with a reasonably useable interface are among my favorite reasons to use windows. the first two resons are awesome when you want to configure all your machines to use one set of “My Documents

i’ve gained some exposure to vista through work and will continue to do so. however, the only way to gain any true experience with a piece of software, i have to use it on a day-to-day basis.

Categories : geek