Question about Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

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Altec Lansing VS 4121

My Altec Lansing VS4121  stopped working when i play my dvd. I can only hear very very faint sounds. It is totally fine when i watch tv. So obviously the speakers are not damaged. What could be the problem?

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It is unlikely that this is a problem with your speakers more likely that it is a problem with the DVD player itself. I would recomend trying another DVD player.

Regards, Andrew

Posted on Sep 17, 2008

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Is there a way to use the Altec Lansing VS4121 Subwoofer as a stand alone?


Normally these low end systems components that depend on each other and cannot be interchangeable from other system. So if one of the components (sub woofer or right control satellite speaker) breaks or gets lost the whole system is unusable...
I was in the same situation. Got a sub woofer from VS4121 without original satellite speakers. I acquired satellite speakers from Altec Lansing 251 which used same connectors but the internal wiring was different and incompatible out of the box. Speakers are also glued together so it is impossible to open without damaging it. Not to mention there is no service documentation anywhere..
But if you like electronics you can try to make something based on the information bellow:
Altec Lansing VS4121 connector pinout
If you take the male connector (from right satellite speaker) and look at the pins and number them first row from left to right pins 1-3, second row pins 4-7, the bottom row pins 8-9 and the circle enclosure as 0
0 - Ground
1 - Speaker Right
2 - Treble (seems just like voltage control but may need to be confirmed: Min=0V; Max=voltage from Volume control Pin 9)
3 - Head Set Right
4 - Bass signal (not sure what the exact original design is as I have not opened the speaker) But seems like they use 50K potentiometer and some sort of RC low pass filter configuration. When potentiometer is set to Min it is shorted with ground. When set to Max it is taking signal from Right and Left Head Set (pins 3 and 5) combined through some larger resistors and low pass filter.
5 - Head Set Left
6 - Ground for Head set (grounds 0 and 6 seems to be connected in the subwofer but within the right satelite speaker they seem to be isolated with separate leads to sub)
7 - Power ON/OFF. When OFF or head set jack plugged = 0V; When ON and head set jack unplugged = 5V
8 - 5V Power in
9 - Volume (min=0V; max=5V). It seems they use 50K potentiometer but probably anything >10k should work.
At minimum for standalone sub woofer you will need to implement:
- Power On.Off (switch between pins 8,7)
- Volume control (50k potentiometer (probably anything beteen 10k and 50k will do)between pin 7 and 0 with variable output to pin 9
- Bass control - join two resistors R (I used 7k) and lets call this join point A. Attach other ends of the resistors to pins 3 and 5 respectively. Attach 50k potentiometer (I used 10k) between point A and ground 0. Attach Variable pin of the potentiometer to pin 4 (Bass input signal). Attach capacitor C between Pin 4 and Ground pin 0 (I used Electrolytic 1uF with negative end to ground) . Resistor R and capacitor C should make simple passive low pass filter (Google for formula) that should bypass anf frequency higher than 80-120Hz to ground and feed frequencies lower than 80-120Hz to pin 4.
PS: I managed to hack 251 control satellite speaker to somewhat work with VS 4121 Subwoofer but that is another subject. All electronic parts were salvaged from old broken TV so total cost was $0 but took several days of tinkering for speakers that I could buy used for $10-20 :)

Jun 25, 2012 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

1 Answer

Altec lansing vs4121 speaker boom sound


you may have blown out the speaker or there is a miscommunication between the laptop and the woofer

Jun 15, 2012 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

1 Answer

Altec Lansing VS4121 speakers stopped working for no reason????


I had a similar set and they drove me mad because they hissed when they were switched off. I bought a pair of Bowers and Wilkins MM1 instead. Fabulous.

If you want yours fixed you would have to take them to an electronics engineer or return them.

Altec Lansing VS4121 Specs

Bowers Wilkins MM 1 Computer speakers Hi Fi Speakers for PC laptops Bowers...

May 14, 2017 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Computer Speakers

1 Answer

My speaker altec lansing vs4121 is just humming


Check the audio amplifiers Ic´s maybe are burned

Aug 10, 2009 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

1 Answer

Static but no music from the satelite trebble speaker


Try to reconnect all the wires, the problem seems to be with connection. Instead of spending lot of money on speakers, you can buy just the wires, they are pretty cheap. Hope this helps.

Jul 25, 2009 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Computer Speakers

5 Answers

Subwoofer making load humming noise


The reason for the hum in the Altec Lansing VS4121 speaker system is the stray field of the power supply transformer. This stray field is strong enough to affect the amplifier. All other reasons given by numerous reports on the web do not apply. If you are handy and have got the time you may mitigate the problem by physically moving the amp away from the power supply or turning it 90 degrees. I managed to lift up the amp in my subwoofer by about 50 mm, which was difficult to achieve and did not cure the problem perfectly. I don't see any other way to solve this problem except you feed DC in from the outside and do not use the internal power supply. That would be really odd indeed

Gerhard Weber.

Jan 29, 2009 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

1 Answer

Altec Lansing VS4121, New Speakers, No Sound


If the speakers are brand new it makes me wonder how you know they worked fine in the States? I am also wondering how they were transported due to them probably being intolerant to extremes of temperature/humidity and probably vibration.

I am also wondering if you are using the correct supply voltage and type of supply.
If you are using the power adaptor supplied for use in the USA, it would probably be incompatible with your supply even though you are using a transformer.

If you are certain the speakers are in good order I suggest you obtain a power adaptor designed for your 220 volt 50Hz supply. I have browsed a little and cannot find a note of the power requirements for the integrated amplifier but this is presumably marked on the adaptor, the speaker or in the manual and so the power adaptor could be checked on and off load with a suitable voltmeter. I would be surprised to learn the supply is adequate

Apr 01, 2017 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

1 Answer

Altec lansing vs4121


u dont need any driver to play the speakers, yes the sound card does, take down ur sound card modle no. and try looking in www.driversguide.com let me know.

Feb 12, 2008 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

1 Answer

Altec Lansing VS4121 no sound


If removing and reinstalling the driver fixed your problem then there was nothing wrong with the speakes. There was probably a problem with your soundcard drivers.

That being said, you should double check that you speakers are plugged in to the right sound board connector and the power supply is plugged into the wall outlet.

Does you computer have a headphone jack? If it does, you might try plugging a headset into it to see if you can hear sound there. If you do then you'll know the soundboard is working properly and maybe the speakers really are part of the problem. CD/DVD drives usually have a headset jack, but this will only work if a cable was run inside the computer from the CD/DVD drive to either the soundboard or motherboard.

What kind of computer do you have? Do you know if you have on board sound or a seperate sound board?

Nov 19, 2007 | Altec Lansing VS4121 Speaker

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