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Altec Lansing ADA890

Posted: September 30th, 2001
Written by: Tuan Huynh


It’s hard for one to decide on purchasing a new PC speaker system without an Altec Lansing product being one of the choices. Over the years, Altec Lansing has made a name for themselves in the PC audio market. They’re recognized as a multimedia speaker company offering high quality audio products at great prices. They’ve easned the brand name recognition for being around the longest since before companies such as Klipsch, Cambridge, and Midiland started producing multimedia speakers.

I remember my first set of Altec Lansing speakers 4 years ago - the ACS52. A speaker system consisting of 2 speakers costing $80, they totally blew me away when I first heard them; turning me into a loyal Altec Lansing customer. Today we’ll take a look at Altec Lansing’s latest incarnation of multimedia speakers, destined for gaming as well as PC Theatre

Enter the ADA890

In the time where 5.1 speaker systems are becoming increasingly popular, what makes the ADA890 stand out in the crowd compared to offerings from other companies such as Midiland and Klipsch? The ADA890’s are not your typical 4.1 system, rather then just having analog inputs for front and rear and having your software DVD player decode Dolby Digital into outputting 4.1, the ADA890’s make things simpler by integrating a Dolby Digital decoder into the speakers.

What’s the purpose of a Dolby Digital decoder in a 4.1 speaker system? Doesn’t Dolby Digital 5.1 use 5 speakers and a subwoofer? Rather then having a 5th speaker, the ADA890’s are capable of creating a virtual center channel in place of an actual speaker. The ADA890’s take an AC-3 signal coming from the S/PIDF output of your sound card and decodes it to the front, rear, and virtual center, creating a 5.1 experience out of only 4.1 speakers.

Let’s take a gander at what you get in the box for $279.


The ADA890’s come with 4 satellites, a subwoofer, and plenty of cables for all your connection needs. Nothing special, pretty much what we’ve expect to come with a 4.1 system. The total output power for the ADA890 is 120watts RMS.

The right front speaker is the center of control for the ADA890. Enclosed inside the front speaker is a 3” driver and 1” tweeter. There are power, mode, bass & treble buttons, as well as a volume control knob. The LCD screen is green and always on when there is power feeding into the unit. Pressing the power button puts the ADA890 in more of a standby mode.

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