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Logitech Z-5300 Speakers

Overview:

Welcome to the 21st century, where the line between home theater and personal computer has blurred. Part of this trend is some kicking sound systems driven by your computer or game system. To get the best out of this you really need a state of the art speaker system. If you are a person that wants the best possible sound at an affordable price you should seriously consider the Logitech Z-5300. DVDs and many video games contain explosions, crashes and other intense sound effects. The Z-5300 will put you right in the middle of the action. We no longer have to be limited to the one or two speakers that where thrown on your computer system. With the Z-5300 you can have speakers literally all around you, pumping out quality sound.

Basic Features:

My first observation when receiving this unit for review was the size of the box. It’s bigger and heavier than most of the full computers I get to work with. Most of the weight is due to the sub-woofer which also acts as the central point of connection for the unit. The back of the sub woofer has jacks for the audio inputs from your computer or game system, a connection for the included remote control, five output jacks for the front, rear and center speaker and, of course, the power cord. One aspect that demonstrates the attention to quality here is the fact that the unit is THX certified. This certification ensures the best reproduction of sound possible. The five satellite speakers are light but powerful. They are easy to mount on a wall and small enough to sit on your desk. If you do not have a discreet six channel audio source there is a matrix mode available that will emulate the rear, center and sub woofer. The wired remote control puts everything you need to customize your sound stage at your fingertips. The satellite speakers employ an aluminum phase plug driver. This permits a broad audio spectrum from a single speaker. The sub woofer is dual chamber which permits a rich, full bass ad excellent low frequency sound. There are also included connectors for most popular game systems.

Connections:

Everything you need to set up the unit is provided in the package. You may need to replace some of the cables with longer ones depending on your particular room dimensions. In most cases the time it will take from breaking open the box to enjoying the speakers will be under thirty minutes, tops.

You can connect the audio inputs in one of three ways; two channels, four channels and six channels. Standardized color coded cables are provided so all you have to do is match the colors on the cables to the audio out jack of your computer and the input jacks of the Z-5300. Above the input jacks on the Z-5300 there is a slider switch that controls the input source type. In the two and four channel modes the unit will up-mix the audio to a matrixed six channel sound.

The same easy standard color coding is used for connecting the five speakers. At the top of the unit are the jacks for the two front, two rear and center speakers. Just run the cables, secure the connections and place the speakers in the manner that provides the most direct sound to your sitting position.

The last connection to make is the wired remote control. This palm sized unit controls the volume of all the speaker groups and adjust the matrix mode.

Plug in the power cord and you are ready to go.

Remote Control:

One of the nicest features of this system is the remote control. There is a large dial that controls the volume as well as switches for controlling the audio specifications. Rather than having different volume knobs for each speaker group there is a switch that alternates between system, fader (rear), center and sub woofer. As you move this switch a LCD displays what set of speakers will be adjusted by the volume knob. There is a button to toggle between power on and standby modes. On the remote control there is also a jack for headsets. When you plug in the headset jack the speakers are automatically muted. The last set of controls permits you to switch between stereo and matrixed audio modes.

Evaluation:

I was impressed by the quality of the sound stage created by these speakers. While not up to the typical speakers of a home theater system they are very close. I played a few audio intensive DVDs through the Z-5300, films like the Lord of the Rings, Saving Private Ryan and Star Wars. In each case the matrix up-mix was well done. While there is nothing that can beat discreet six channel audio the program used to derive the rear, center and sub woofer here is excellent. There was a feeling of true surround sound. The sub woofer was placed in a natural position, under the desk. It reverberated, reinforced by the desk around it. I could literally feel the low frequencies. Most small speakers like this do well with the high frequencies although there is typically a tendency to break up a bit at the highest end of the spectrum, with the Z-5300 the highs where natural sounding and crisp. The all important mid range sound was true and clear. The center speaker did very well reproducing the dialogue; there was no muddling of the voices. The rear speakers provided a very realistic ambient sound although it did seem at times closer to Prologic mono rear than true 5.1 audio.

Conclusions:

This is a strong recommend. If you are looking for an affordable set of surround speakers for your game system or computer consider this one. The list price is $200 but I looked around and saw it for as little as $120 with an average price of $140. The speakers are light enough to mount on the wall, out of the way. The sub woofer is large enough to cramp you a bit under the desk. The system has a nice, clean look to it with the option of using the supplied grill or without if you are the type that likes to see the actual speakers. Attention to detail includes the ability to rotate the speaker for the best listening angle. The sound is rich, full and unbelievably clear for such small speakers. THX does not hand out certifications lightly, this set earned it.

Specifications:

Total RMS power: 280 watts RMS
Satellites 180 Watts RMS (2 x 35.25W front, 2 x 35.25W rear, 39W center)
Subwoofer: 100 Watts RMS
Total peak power: 560 watts
Maximum SPL: (TBD)
Frequency response: 35Hz - 20kHz
Drivers:
Satellites: 2.5" aluminum phase plug driver
Subwoofer: 6.5" high-excursion driver
Speaker dimensions:
Satellites: (H) 8" x (W) 3.75" x (D) 3.5"
Center: (H) 5" x (W) 6.625" x (D) 3"
Subwoofer: (H) 11.813" x (W) 11.75" x (D) 14.5"
Signal to noise ratio: >85 db
Input selector switch:
2 Channel (stereo)
4 Channel
5.1 Channel
SoundTouch™ remote control
Master volume
Sub, center & surround levels
Matrix surround sound

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