Back when the Sound Blaster
was hot news, speaker companies worked hard to produce
excellent speakers for computers. They had to follow
certain guidelines, including pricing and specifications,
in order to successfully market these new speakers
as if they were designed for personal computers.
Labtec pushed hard to become well known. By designing
products for several different markets, they sold
speakers as cheap as a few dollars while still selling
higher quality models for more. Things have changed
quite a bit since this time. New speaker companies
are appearing all the time. Read on to find out
how Labtec's APX-4620 speaker system (1 subwoofer
+ 2 satellite speakers) compares.
The APX-4620 boasts impressive
features for the price. Pay particular attention
to the RMS watts below, and the frequency response.
-D'Appolito driver configuration
-3-way electronic crossover
-Laminar flow bass port
-Clear Desk™ Mounting
control panel with variable volume, treble and bass
-Power on/off switch
-Headphone output and
microphone input jacks
Frequency response: 25Hz-20kHz
Power output: 70 watts
RMS, 44W (subwoofer), 7.5 + 7.5W (midrange), 5.5
+ 5.5W (tweeter)
(1) Shielded 6" Max-X™
progressive suspension subwoofer
(4) Shielded 2" Max-X™
midrange drivers in satellite speakers
(2) Shielded 2" tweeter
drivers in satellite speakers
Cord length: 7' to source,
5' between speakers
Estimated price: $100 to
$150 US retail. Search Pricewatch
for a price in your area.
The hardest part (and what
I recommend to be the first part) of installing
the APX-4620 was finding a spot to place the massive
subwoofer. Because this box is about the size
of a 14" monitor, you had best make sure
you have the room on the floor before purchasing
this system. I had to push a lot of other wires
out of the way just to set it down.
After placing the subwoofer,
I proceeded to connect the satellites. One problem
already was encountered: short speaker cords.
It's quite frustrating to have your speakers within
inches of their desired position, and to be completely
out of cord.
I was pleased to see monitor
brackets included with the speakers. Using the
included adhesive strips, I attached the speakers
to the side of my monitor without any problems.
Some people may not use the brackets, but I applaud
Labtec for considering those who need a place
to put the speakers.
After attaching all the color
keyed cords to the proper spots, I was ready to
test these bad boys out.
The APX-4620 system had
highs and lows. Explosions
and deep, loud noises sound great, but most sounds
leave you wanting more. Most games and applications
sounded great, but a few left me unimpressed.
Here's an example: Use the
9mm assault rifle in Half-Life. Normally it has
a high pitch and sounds very clear. (using my
Cambridge SoundWorks, and a few other speakers
I have tested) The APX-4620 sounds muffled and
"muddy", almost as if the machine gun
was being fired from a great distance. When you
add explosions in the background, characters running
around, and music playing, the tone is nearly
Overall, the satellites sounded
pretty good. Most problems were encountered when
there was a lot of action on the screen, so I
can't recommend these speakers for avid gamers.
Listening to MP3s, MIDIs, and .WAV files showed
a strong side of the speakers. When cranking out
some techno beats, the speakers got through to
me. I realized they are a hell of a buy for anyone
that doesn't plan to use them for games.
The real hero of the day
was the subwoofer. From grenades in Quake II to
cannons being fired in Red Alert, I have seen
very few subwoofers with as much BOOM for the
buck. The only complaint you may have is from
If you're looking to spice
up your audio system for a little over $100, and
want all the bass you can get, nothing I have
seen even comes close to the overall quality and
performance of the APX-4620. However, if you're
into gaming or would like better satellite performance,
there are much better choices out there. The Altec
Lansing ACS48 system STILL shines over almost
anything else out there in this price range, and
the MidiLand 4030 also kicks serious ass.
It's all a matter of preference,
but I believe bass is not as important as overall
sound quality. Therefore I would personally choose
either the Altec Lansing ACS48 or the MidiLand
4030 before I would purchase the Labtec APX-4620.