HELP: Harman Kardon Soundsticks III vs. Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra MX6021
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pillowsk3

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So I'm a college student that wants some good speakers with powerful bass to play some heavy dubstep and loud techno music, but I'm having a bit of trouble choosing between the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III and the Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra MX6021. They both fulfill my three requirements:
  1. same price range (under $200)
  2. 2.1-channel PC multimedia speaker systems (I'll be playing music from my laptop and I want a subwoofer cuz they look cool! and they are also good footrests :p )
  3. both are aesthetically pleasing
 
Arguments for the Harman Kardon Soundsticks:
  1. cool lookin' glowing lights
  2. larger response bandwidth (44-20k vs 40-20k hz) ...but will the higher 4k hz actually make a difference?
  3. I heard the Altecs have sound distortion at high volumes? But can the Harman Kardon Soundsticks play the same volume without distortion? I probably won't be playing the Altecs at max volume anyway though..and is the sound distortion that noticeable?
 
Arguments for the Altecs:
  1. I would prefer not to get the Soundsticks because ALL my friends have that..and I want to get something different. Hence, the reason why I'm trying so hard to look for alternatives.
  2. Altecs have greater nominal power output (200 vs 40w) ..although I'm not sure exactly what this does...
  3. A review on the Soundsticks said "there's a dip in the frequency response between the subwoofer and satellites’ ranges. These speakers make up for their lack of very high-frequency detail – which nothing at this price can muster – by laying it on thick in the upper-mid frequencies. It’s a common approach, and while it gave some audio sources a satisfying sense of detail and presence, it made others sound brittle and harsh" ..Er, no idea if this review is accurate, but that doesn't sound good either.
 
I've also briefly considered the Swans D1080 and the Audioengine 2 speaker systems, but don't know much about these...and quite frankly, I think the Soundsticks and the Altecs are a lot prettier and visually striking. (And I think a separate subwoofer that I can feel thumping at my feet would be better too.) I am open to hearing more about these though, if anyone thinks they're better.
 
Can anyone help answer some of these questions, and help me make a decision?
 
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eugenius

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None of those.
 
Get a pair of Jamo C603 or a pair of Monitor audio BX2 and any old amp off ebay with at least 50 watts.
 
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YoengJyh

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Dear Pillowsk3,
 
I don't know about the Altec but the Hk Soundstick is a good speaker. If u could ignore your friends and your budget is under $200 then just go ahead.
 
But my advice is if you could save your money up to usd599 or sgd750, you could consider the Focal-xs 2.1 speaker. You could take a look at apple store and audio them.
 
Since you need a loud bass effect, the B&W MM-1 was ignored.
 
Or if you want to own an audio system, you could try the AudioEngine A5 with external DAC and Amp. They perform great too!
 
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YoengJyh

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"A review on the Soundsticks said "there's a dip in the frequency response between the subwoofer and satellites’ ranges. These speakers make up for their lack of very high-frequency detail – which nothing at this price can muster – by laying it on thick in the upper-mid frequencies. It’s a common approach, and while it gave some audio sources a satisfying sense of detail and presence, it made others sound brittle and harsh" ..Er, no idea if this review is accurate, but that doesn't sound good either."
 
Yes, this review was correct. Please do remember that the HK soundstick price was less than $200, this is the performance of speaker under $200. You could find it in certain songs that reach high-frequency part, the sound of music would become muddy and not clear. All the music instruments like mixing together and you couldn't separate them. And the HK soundstick would be distorted in high volume of sound.
 
I have a pair of HK soundstick ii but recently upgraded to B&W MM-1. Wish those could help.
 
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