Ever since Klipsch introduced its bone-shattering, gut wrenching ProMedia v.400 speaker system, many other speaker companies have been trying to follow suite with little success in duplicating what Klipsch has done. While other manufacturers were busy scrambling to figure what to do, Klipsch continued its assault with one successful release after another. Was it the sheer wattage that Klipsch packed into its speakers? Was it the mammoth dual-firing subwoofer or was it the crisp, clean elegance of the speakers themselves? Or maybe it was the fact that the ProMedias used high-end cinema components like the MicroTractix horn and a BASH amplifier. Whatever it was, Klipsch became a superstar in the PC audio community overnight – a rather humorous statement because its products are anything but “PC” audio
To be fair, Altec Lansing did produce a lot of killer PC speaker systems – my favorite being the PowerCube Plus system.
For a while, PC users were stuck in audio oblivion, doomed to mediocre quality speakers. At the time, niche manufacturers like Cambridge SoundWorks and Bose exploded into the scene with their petite satellite systems with beefy subwoofers but they were quite expensive. The Bose Acoustimass system sold for a painful $600 at retail and failed to drop much lower even two years later. After Creative Labs acquired Cambridge, its respected heritage of high-end speakers degraded to value status and it looks like Cambridge will remain a low to mid-range PC speaker maker.
Then there were the "other" speakers, ones from Labtec, JBL, and those odd ones that claimed 200 watts of power even though they were $20 (sometimes even less). Gaming and MP3 really smashed into the scene heavily a year or two later and audio on the computer changed forever. When things seemed like they weren't going to improve much, Klipsch helped move the definition of computer audio into an entirely new dimension. Today, two other companies have sent systems of their own, designed to directly compete with Klipsch. It's great that everyone wants to take a swing at knocking Klipsch off the throne because we're continuing to see better and better speaker systems from many manufacturers and even from some that we never thought would make speakers.
The mélange of speaker products began to grow rapidly as one system was released after another. Companies were foaming at the mouth when they realized how much people actually cared about the audio pumping out of their sound cards – and of course, how lucrative good speaker systems could be. Klipsch had created a phenomenon almost overnight and became a pioneer in high-end PC audio, per se. However, being a pioneer in a field doesn’t necessarily mean that Klipsch is the best or will remain the best. Today we take a look at two systems from Altec Lansing and Logitech that attempt to reclaim the spotlight.