Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra Speakers Review - Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra Speakers Review


Admittedly there is a line-in on the controller, which also has a headphone connector, but you’ll hardly want to leave anything hooked up to that permanently. The controller also has a standby button and two more labelled Bass and Treble. You won’t have to be a genius to figure out that pressing these swaps from changing the master volume, to adjusting the bass and treble instead.

This is where things take a definite turn for the worse though. Instead of a simple, tried and tested volume wheel, the dial on this controller rotates about 15 degrees left or right, giving a couple of clicks as you twist it just in case you hadn’t noticed you were doing so. Hold the dial off-centre and the volume will increase of decrease, the speed at which it does is determined by how far you’ve rotated the dial. As you might guess, this makes fine adjustment an effort in futility. A mute button is conspicuous by its absence, too.

Luckily while some aspects of the system are a bit sketchy, the audio quality goes a fair way to making up for it. There’s plenty of clarity and, as you’d hope given the size of that subwoofer, a decent amount of low frequency presence. Heading to the TrustedReviews Trailers folder and playing the latest trailers for The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus and Fantastic Mr Fox proved the Expression Ultras capable of creating a convincingly wide soundstage. You’d have to be particularly picky to be disappointed watching a film or two using these speakers.

A play through Origin of Symmetry (a better effort from Muse than their latest) was a pleasurable experience, too. Matt Bellamy’s skill with a piano isn’t wasted on Space Dementure, reproduced with plenty of presence but no lack of clarity, without overshadowing the crashing drums and bass guitar. The same can be said of the storming riffs in Citizen Erased, searing out with plenty of power and precision which isn’t lost even with the volume turned up to colleague-annoying levels.

Switching to The Smashing Pumpkins’ The End is the Beginning is the End, confirmed that the clarity isn’t quite up with the Creative T3s or Razor Makos, though. The extra crackles and pops that you can just about pick up with the Creative T3s were nowhere to be heard with the Expression Ultras. Plus the T3s are smaller and, I think, better looking despite being no more expensive.

Ultimately that’s the biggest issue with the Expression Ultra speakers: there are plenty of similarly priced, better featured alternatives.


Love it or hate it design excepted, there’s no complaining about the performance of the Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra speakers. Just be aware you could get more for the same money, albeit with a more conventional design.

Trusted Score

Score in detail

  • Value 7

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