Logitech Z5300Jun 1st, 2004 | By Archive
: 06/1/04 – 08:13:47 AM
Page 1 : Introduction
Getting the most out of your computer depends on more than what's in it. You may have the best graphics card, sound card, and processor money can buy, but what about speakers? When it comes to movies, video games, or music its easy to argue the importance of a good set of speakers. Atmosphere is one key element that great games and movies create to entertain us and make us feel like we're really living the experience. A large part of atmosphere cant be delivered with eye candy, or words, but with sound. To get this sound the way it was intended by the producers you need a quality set of speakers.
In this article we'll be looking at one of Logitech's latest in their line of high-end speakers, the 5.1 set dubbed the
. With more than two decades of experience behind them and a great track record in the computer speaker market we look to see how the Z5300s stand up in a variety of situations and comparisons.
Page 2 : Package
The Z5300s came directly from Logitech shipped in a large box weighing more than my back would care to remember. Everything was wrapped individually in plastic, packed in molded foam. I suggest keeping the box as when you invest in speakers it's nice to transport them safely I still have the box for my Z680s and I'll be keeping this box as well.
Inside the packaging are four satellites, a wired remote, center satellite, a giant subwoofer, registration card, and a bag containing a couple cables and a short multi-lingual setup guide.
Looking first at the sub there are some noticeable changes from past designs. There is no longer a grill in sight. I prefer this change as I've put a huge dent in the one on my Z680s, however this only hinders their form and not function so the grill did its job of protecting the woofer. Second major change is the connection to the satellites. Now things connect using color coded, composite cables. Overall I think it's a good decision as it simplifies installation. The most subtle change over Logitech's other THX certified speakers is the build of the subwoofer itself. It is now what Logitech calls a 'double chamber' design as compared to the U-shaped design of the Z680, Z560, and Z2200 subs. If you were to stick your hand in both sets it would be an obvious difference.
On back of the subwoofer are the color coded connections to the satellites, switch for the channel modes (2.1, 4.1, 5.1), power switch, and connection for the wired remote. Last, there are rubber pads on the bottom of the sub to prevent movement and vibrations.
The wired remote has controls for volume, sub, center, and surround levels. Also on the remote are two buttons which function to turn on/off the speakers and the other to enable the 'Matrix' surround sound. When on, the remote indicates this with red LEDs and the adjustments for volume, sub, center, and surround are indicated with a semi-circle of LEDs that turn on/off like dominos as you lower/raise the settings. On the front edge of the control is also a convenient headphone jack. On the bottom, like the subwoofer and all the satellites, are rubber pads to keep the unit in place on your desk.
The four corner satellites are all identical except for cord length. They have a very attractive look to them and a removable guard. A side by side comparison to the satellite of a Z680 set shows the size difference.
The center channel has a similar build to the other satellites and though it looks the same it delivers slightly more power than the others.
On the bottom of every satellite is a screw, but I should make it clear that you do not need a screw driver to readjust the pedestal that holds the speaker. The speakers simply swivel when given slight pressure so that they can be easily mounted to a wall.
Overall I was very impressed with this set of speakers. The included composite to mini-phone adapter is a very nice addition that adds even more value to these speakers. Not only can they be used for your computer, but can also be used with a GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation, DVD player, VCR, etc. The only thing I wish we could see in these speakers is an optical-in so that more than just stereo sound could be experience through these other devices such as the Xbox.
Page 3 : Specifications
Total RMS Power: 280 Watts
- Subwoofer: 100 watts RMS into 8 ohms at 100Hz at 10% THD (total harmonic distortion)
- Satellites: 180 watts RMS (2 x 35.25w Front; 2 x 35.25w Rear; 39w Center) into 8 ohms at 1 kHz at 10% THD
Total Peak Power: 560 Watts at <10% THD
System THD: Better than 0.05% THD before clipping
Signal to noise ratio: >85db
Frequency response: 35 Hz 20 kHz
Driver Size: 2.5" Aluminum phase plug satellite drivers, 6.5" band pass subwoofer
- Satellites: (H) 8" x (W) 3.75" x (D) 3.5"
- Center: (H) 5" x (W) 6.625" x (D) 3"
- Subwoofer: (H) 11.8" x (W) 11.75" x (D) 14.5"
- Front satellites: 6ft
- Rear satellites: 15ft
- Center satellite: 15ft
- Input cable: 6ft
- Pod cable: 6ft
Compared to the Z680s and Z560s the Z5300s are underpowered. This is however very misleading as most other speaker makers advertise the max power output rather than the RMS power on their box. Looking at the frequency range you will find no change over the previous models compared to the Z5300s even though this new set has a different design concerning the subwoofer.
Depending on your work/entertainment environment, you may find the cables too long or too short. In the event they are too short you can use composite extension adapters and cables found online or at your local Radio Shack to extend the connections.
Page 4 : Features
- High power output
- THX certification
- Patented dual chamber subwoofer plays louder and goes lower for unbelievable bass
- Subwoofer delivers twice the bass energy of conventional designs
- Polished aluminum phase plug satellites combine two drivers into one: the clarity of a tweeter with the richness and fullness of a separate mid-range
- Removable grills
- Video game console adapter
- SoundTouch wired remote control with headphone jack
- Matrix surround sound
- Pedestals rotate easily for wall mounting or desk placement
- Two year limited warranty
The features of the Z5300s are all self-explanatory. Of note is the THX certification which does in fact mean something as they are not handed out to every set of speakers on the market. From THXs own site you can read more about the required testing that has to be passed to earn their approval.
Page 5 : Installation
Installing these speakers was quick and simple. A big part of that is thanks to the composite connections of the speakers that simply plug into the back of the sub. Deciding which satellite is right, left, front, and rear is also simplified with color coding of the jacks. Connection of the wired remote to the sub is much like connecting a serial device to your computer and is done in seconds. The only other wires left to connect were the analog mini-phone jacks colored the familiar orange, green, and black to the sound card. Its a good point to make sure the channel selection on the back of the sub is what you intend on using. That is it to the setup of this speaker system.
Next thing most users will do is adjust the levels either on their sound card or the speakers themselves to suit their senses. As with all of Logitechs THX certified speakers, I find it best to turn the bass down quite a bit because it is that powerful. Through usual use I find that anything more than three LED levels high on the master volume was more than loud enough. If cranking these is in mind, you will have no problem as they get very loud and with no distortion.
Page 6 : Testing
The system I use to test with is my workstation comprised of the following:
Dual AMD Athlon XP 2400+
M-Audio Revolution 7.1
Hercules 64MB 8500LE
Maxtor 60GB 7200RPM 2MB IDE HDD
1GB PC3200 Crucial & OCZ RAM
First thing I tested for was noise. I listened for noise in a typical volume state and in max volume none was audible. If you find you have noise, it may very well be your sound card. The only sound card Ive tested to produce zero noise like this is the Revolution 7.1, as this is a test M-Audio gives attention to when comparing to competitors cards. The Z680s on the other hand will produce slight noise if you listen for it.
The remaining testing of these speakers was an entertaining experience. Why would I say that? Simply because I played lots of video games, watched movies, listened to music, used them with my GameCube, and also used them with my Xbox.
The movie in particular I like to run through when testing sound cards and speakers is The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This movie features a wide range of action, adventure, and love sequences which do a good job in covering many different situations where audio quality is pronounced. Overall the Z5300 speakers delivered incredible sound.
The music I listen to relies a lot less on bass, but I still find it important. I listen to a lot of punk rock, particularly emo (please dont hate me). Music was tested in stereo and New Found Glory, The Used, and Yellowcard as very good. I would not be able to discern between the Z5300s or my Z680s.
The games I played on the computer portion of testing were UT2K4 and Battlefield 1942. Both games are of the online multiplayer variety and really rely on audio positioning. One part of this depends on the audio card and the other on the speakers. The Z5300s are truly a gamers dream here. You cant go wrong with these as they produce a very accurate environment with a very rich sound.
On the testing of the units stereo output using a GameCube and Xbox I found the experience every bit as enjoyable on the computer. On the Xbox I played a load of Fight Night 2004 which has plenty of bass delivered in the music and punches. On the GameCube it was up to Zelda: Ocarina of Time as well as Metroid Prime these speakers did not disappoint and will remain my choice for console gaming.
Using Matrix surround sound you can take advantage of the 5.1 speaker setup in your console gaming. For this I used the Xbox and the game Kill.Switch. The extra speakers definitely add to the game and the effect produced is more accurate than I anticipated. Definitely a great feature that I hope Logitech continues using on future sets.
Page 7 : Conclusion
In all my usage I am very impressed with these speakers. Not only are they great looking they sound even better. Logitechs high-end speakers have been known for their powerful bass and the crispness of their highs. The Z5300s fail to be the exception in terms of quality and performance. There are things that could be improved upon, namely the inputs could be increased to at least include an optical-in. It would also be nice to have a wireless remote though if these speakers had it all theyd also have a price to match. At this time of writing you can find these speakers for $147 shipped and for these speakers I believe that to be a steal. In my book Logitech has done it again and reigns supreme in the PC speaker market.
Impressive sound quality
Id like to give a big thanks to both Mike and Susan at Logitech for their contributions.