This year Altec Lansing offers a quite original speaker set. They thought some potential customers weren’t interested in 5.1 speakers because of complicated installation (lots of unpleasant cables and tricky satellite positioning) so they released the GT5051, a 3.1 system which emulates six channel sound. We use the word “emulate” and not “replace” as the GT5051’s ambition isn’t to replace real 5.1 speakers, but simply to provide a minimum surround sound effect with speakers positioned in front of the listener. With this in mind let’s move on to the tests.
The GT5051 includes two satellites each with two 3” speakers. Frontal speakers point directly to the listener, while the patent-pending Side-Firing Dipole speakers are situated at an optimal angle to emulate surround sound. The central voice is horizontal and provides 10 Watts RMS like other systems. The subwoofer is equipped with a 5.25” woofer and provides 80 Watts RMS. Altogether the speaker set provides 30 Watts RMS. The unit comes with an ultra flat infrared remote to adjust general volume, speaker by speaker and a stand by mode. These controls and the on/off button are also located on the top of the right satellite.
Connexions are equivalent to those found on 5.1 speaker sets. There are three mini jack analogical inputs for frontal, surround, central and low frequency sound. There is also an auxiliary RCA input for connection to a TV or a game console.
The overall design is quite sober and satellite height is 7.8”. The subwoofer is relatively small compared to other Altec products. Its dimensions are 9.2” (D) and 12.5” (H). The speaker guard is removable.