This May, Sean and I made our annual(ish) pilgrimage to Fry’s Electronics in Chicago. If you haven’t been to one, these places are the mecca of consumer electronics. Huge walls dedicated to motherboards, CPUs and RAM are on one side, TVs on another, console and software on the other and host of awesome goodness sandwiched in between. I think Sean and I spent a solid eight hours there over two days – unlike Menards, there is a good reason that this place has a cafe.
That said, neither of us were really shopping for anything in particular when we went there. I came back with some speakers, a case, and a card reader. The case is still in the garage (I will use it soon, I promise…) and the card reader has been working really well. Now, the speakers are what I am having an issue with. I bought them at Fry’s because they seemed like a solid deal. I’ve always like Altec Lansing in the sub-$100 level category for PC speakers as I believe(d) they consistently provided better sound and longevity for the money. These be the guys in question:
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Inexpensive, yet decent speakers for use in the office that is going to get done someday. They should have fit the bill nicely. Well, to be honest I should have done a little more research. As you can see they are no longer for sale at NewEgg and there are a lot of bad reviews that mention the defect, like the one here…
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My set, as with many of the reviewers, got *horrible* interference unless I held my hand on the control knob. Well, come to find out they neglected to magentically shield that component and anything and everything that emitted crap would interrupt it. This makes them unusable around computers, which is awkward given they are computer speakers. I finally gave in and called Altec Lansing as they have no way of submitting issues online.
*Waited on hold for 15 minutes+”
Guy: “Hello, thanks for calling Altec Lansing, how may I help you?”
Me:”Hi. My name is Nat and I have an issue with my speakers, they are model VS2421 and they”
Guy:”Yes, they are not magnetically shielded.”
Me:”Yeah, in order to use them I have to keep my hand on the control or”
Guy:”Cover it with tin foil.”
Guy:”I need you to give me a little information, then we’ll send you a new upgraded set once you have shipped yours in.”
Guy:”Yes, free. I’ll just need some information…”
Of course this issue is so well known that the guy recognized the model number of the speakers and just decided to upgrade me to the $50 speakers in the same line that are shielded (VS2621 for the curious out there.) Yet, Fry’s still sells them. That’s bogus – it’ll probably cost me $15 to ship the darn things because they are so heavy, which is normally a good thing in PC speakers.
I can’t decide who is at fault here, Altec Lansing or Fry’s. One thing is for sure; unless these new speakers are *nice* I am taking a break on buying Altec Lansing products.