The year was 1997. Pentium IIs were starting to invade the market and I was a budding college student and had scored a paid internship (yes, they still had paid ones back then!) at Tandem Computers (bought out by Compaq, then absorbed into HP) with a fellow geek buddy from school. His parents were gracious enough to let me live with them, so we had a blast playing computer games into the late night.
Being my first real venture into endless summer nights of computer gaming, I wanted to get me a really nice set of computer speakers to go with the experience. Drifting down the aisle at Fry’s Electronics, I stumbled up on a set of Altec Lansing ACS 495 speakers.
These speakers were awesome. There was a really crisp sound and the subwoofer pounded some great beats. My computer only had a basic sound card installed on it, but using the USB port and special drivers, I was able to get a surround sound experience. The design was nice too since the 4 speakers were mounted into two “towers” so I didn’t have to send wires everywhere. There was many a game, and a DVD (the quality was just as great) enjoyed on these speakers that summer.
But that was only the beginning of my relationship with these speakers. As I moved back to college, on to other colleges, got married, went to work, these speakers followed me everywhere. My coworkers would chuckle a little at me when I first brought them in to my office computer, but when they heard the sound through them, they knew why I loved these so much. It was especially nice when I worked a few late nights and could really crank the sound up.
Alas, as such things are with life, a couple weeks back the ACS 495s finally came to rest. Nothing crazy or annoying, they just stopped working. I checked all the necessary plugs and settings, but they just lasted for a good long life. Having the geekish tendency that I do, I decided to put a quick RIP out on the twitter-verse:
Today I say goodbye to my Altec Lansing speakers. They have served the family well for 13 years. Hard to find good quality like that.
8:32 AM Jan 13th from threadsy
To my utter shock and amazement I received the following reply via Twitter the next day:
@DillieO Hey Sean, you’ve been so loyal over 13 years, we would love to send you some new Altec speakers… how are you listening?
9:11 AM Jan 14th from TweetDeck in reply to DillieO
This couldn’t be real now, could it’! I checked out the profile, poked around the web a little bit, and sure enough, this was the real deal! This was the VP of Marketing and Product Management for Altec Lansing!
We exchanged a few more twitter messages, an e-mail or so, and the following package arrived on my doorstep yesterday:
That, my friends, is the Altec Lansing FX5051. A 6 speaker system (including the subwoofer) that delivers amazing performance out of some pretty small speakers that are unobtrusive to the desk in which the family computer sits. It uses a similar USB connector, but now no special software is needed. Windows 7 detects a 5.1 speaker system and away you go!
The sound is simply amazing. While testing the sound out last night and dancing with my wife, it felt as if Norah Jones was in our living room with her band serenading just us. Early this morning I kicked up some of my trance music and I’m surprised I didn’t wake up the wife, the beats were that good. Tonight I test out the movie surround sound with my the Star Wars Podracer scene, it always gives a great test for the low rumble of the engines and the zoom of the racers flying by. I’m giddy all over again!
Out of all this “geek gushing” I do REALLY want to thank the folks at Altec Lansing, and especially Bernice Cramer. I never expected in my wildest dreams that a random tweet would upgrade my computer speakers at home. More importantly, your generosity and dedication to the customers out there is simply amazing. You could of easily tossed out that initial tweet, waited for my response, then gotten busy with most important issues and lost me in the paperwork. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it for that. But the fact that you kept in contact and came through on your initial offer speaks volumes to your integrity.
I’m not sure if I’ll actually need to buy a new set of speakers again (considering the lifespan of my last set) but I won’t be going anywhere else to you guys for my next set of speakers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
P.S. My twin 3 year old twins want to thank you too. The box came with lots of bubble wrap that they had fun dancing on and making popping sounds with while I was unpacking everything. 8^D