Speakers are often an overlooked component when putting together a new computer system. Too often have I seen hardcore computer setups with weak speakers. What kind of gaming experience is it when your sound is tinny and weak? Luckily, Logitech has a large selection of powerful gaming speakers that can significantly enhance your gaming experience. Today, SLCentral.com is reviewing one of these speakers, the Logitech Z-5300 5.1 THX-Certified Speakers, which provide 280 watts of power.
Opening the Box and Setting It Up
The box arrived at my doorstep on a late Monday afternoon, and, not to my surprise, it is a giant box. It also weighs a ton too, no doubt because of the giant subwoofer. After unpacking everything, I found five satellites, a subwoofer, a vast array of cables, and a remote control (wired). There was also an adapter to connect the speakers to a video game console. I was ready to install. I decided to do it myself, without following the manual, although the manual looked to be clear and concise.
Five satellites is quite a large amount of speakers on someone’s desk, and coming from a 2.1 speaker setup made things even more overwhelming. Luckily, the satellite’s cables were very long, so I extended the two rear speakers to dressers surrounding my desk, to not only make more room on my desk, but to enhance the sound quality, to give the surround sound effect. It is recommended that you do this when setting up any 5.1 speaker setup. I then placed the center speaker right in front of me, and set up the two remaining speakers on opposite sides of the desk. You can’t just put any speaker wherever you want; each cable is color-coded corresponding to the location of the satellite.
From there, each speaker connects to the back of the massive subwoofer. The subwoofer then connects to the PC via three audio plugs. In case you don’t have a 5.1 speaker setup, there is a Matrix mode, which I will get into later.
Lastly, I plugged in the wired remote into the back of the subwoofer and placed it in an appropriate location on my desk.
Paired with an SoundBlaster Audigy 2 PCI sound card, the sound was absolutely outstanding for a speaker setup in this price range. I loaded up my favorite CD, “The Wall” by Pink Floyd, and went through each track. I was very impressed. The mid-range sound was excellent. The sub did a very nice job in enhancing the sound with a nice bass, and each speaker gave the feeling of surround sound.
My next test would be to game; I loaded up Unreal Touranment 2004, and following that, Call of Duty, and played for 15 minutes each game to test the sound quality. Once again, it was excellent.
Lastly, I played The Matrix DVD to see how a DVD would sound. Not surprisingly, it sounded great.
Many people are not fortunate enough to have a 6-channel sound card, such as myself on my alternate system, a Apple Powerbook 15”. I decided that it would be best to try out the “Matrix” mode. Matrix basically turns a 6-channel input into a 4 or 2-channel input, emulating the rear, center, and subwoofer. Often, the Matrix mode severely reduces the sound quality. Luckily, that did not happen here. The sound using 2-channel Matrix mode was excellent and almost as good as true 6-channel audio. I can safely say that you can use these speakers with any 2-channel, 4-channel, or 6-channel sound card with no issues regarding sound quality.
Logitech included a handy remote control to control the sound. Previously, my speakers had controls on one of the speakers, which I can’t say I liked too much. This way, controls are right at your fingertips, which is always nice. While the remote is not wireless, it is still very convenient. In the middle of the remote, there is a large dial, which controls pretty much everything.
By selecting the mode on which you want to customize, you turn the dial to increase whatever setting is selected, and turn the dial the opposite way to reduce the setting. You can change the Volume, Sub, Fader, and Center. You can also turn on/off Matrix mode. Lastly, there is a power button to turn off the unit entirely.
These speakers have a list price of $200, which is a steal in itself considering the sound quality and sheer amount of power these speakers require. But, it gets even better. You can easily find this unit for under $150. A quick search on Pricegrabber found the speaker system for a mere $110. You cannot get any better then this when it comes to a high-powered speaker system, which is required for any true gamer.
Despite the price, these speakers sound excellent, and will surely please any movie, music, or gaming fanatic regarding sound quality. The THX certification ensures the buyer that these sound great, as well. My only real gripe with this setup is that the remote is not wireless, although this should not bother many of you.
I urge all of you looking for a nice speaker system for a low price to check out the Logitech Z-5300’s.
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