Unlike most PC speakers, the Altec Lansing MX5020s are aimed at those with a discerning ear for quality sound. Rather than offering high volume and overpowering base, these speakers simply aim to produce the best sound for the money. And overall they do a very good job. Bass is surprisingly powerful (due to the MAXX Bass technology), but remains rich and defined throughout, a far cry from the random thumping that can plaque cheap 2.1 speaker sets. Meanwhile, the medium and upper ranges are reproduced crisply with detail throughout. Most impressively, the treble sounds clear and luxuriant, rather than sharp and abrasive, as is often the case for computer speakers.
Physically, the speakers are larger than you'd expect, but given the polished black finish the size is easily forgivable, as they look stylish alongside any computer, visual or audio equipment. Separate controls are provided for treble and bass, as well as the usual headphone socket, which prevents fiddling around at the back of a computer when you need to switch over. There's even a handy auxiliary input that allows you to plug in a second audio device (such as an MP3 player).
Overall, if you're looking for the best quality 2.0 computer speaker set then these are it. Only the relatively high asking price prevents them from achieving the full 5 stars.