Altec Lansing MX5021 review: Altec Lansing MX5021

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MSRP: $179.95
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Lets you bring Roady or Roady2 XM receivers in from the car; solid sound reproduction; includes a subwoofer; provides line-in support for other audio devices.

The Bad Remote doesn't control the receiver, just the speakers; not a full stereo system (doesn't receive AM or FM signals); speakers take up much more room than standard desktop speakers; there are less expensive ways to hook up a Roady or a Roady2 if you already have speakers.

The Bottom Line Altec Lansing's three-piece speaker system lets you get more mileage from your Roady XM radio.

As shown: $179.95

Check manufacturer's site for availability

6.0 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 7.0

With the Roady and the subsequent Roady2, Delphi introduced two mighty-mite XM radio receivers; they're small, loaded with features, and easy to install in cars--hence the name Roady. With its beefy three-piece MX5021 speaker system, Altec Lansing lets Roady users bring their iPod-size receivers indoors so that their listening doesn't end at the driveway.

For the record, Delphi already offers a home-adapter kit for the Roady receivers. The $40 add-on plugs into your existing speakers or A/V receiver. You'd upgrade to the 2.1-style MX5021 system if you'd prefer listening to XM programming in a room of the house that doesn't already have an audio system. (Note that Altec Lansing also makes a PC version of the MX5021--except for its lighter color and the lack of a Roady cradle, it's basically identical.)

The THX-certified Altec Lansing MX5021 comes with a desktop docking station that attaches to your Roady or Roady2 and the subwoofer; left and right speakers are plugged into the sub's rear. You also get an XM antenna, which you'll need for home reception, and a small remote. The cable length is adequate for most setups, but it also creates a rat's nest of wires in cramped spaces.

The speakers offer 20 watts of power each, while the subwoofer pumps out 50 watts. The left and right speakers are larger than most PC-style models, but they are magnetically shielded, so they won't interfere with monitors or televisions. The subwoofer isn't shielded, but its omnidirectional nature means you can place it anywhere without adversely affecting sound quality. The dock has a volume knob and two buttons for bass and treble. Press either the bass or the treble button, and the volume knob will temporarily control that setting--it reverts to volume control after a few seconds of inactivity.

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