Logitech Z-3Oct 18th, 2004 | By Archive
: 10/19/04 – 01:58:36 AM
Page 1 : Introduction
With headquarters in four countries and an employee base of 6,000 workers, Logitech is a well-established company that manufacturers a potpourri of multimedia products ranging from mices and keyboards to speakers and cameras. Recently, theyve established a reputation of producing high-quality computer speakers with the budget-minded consumer taken into consideration. Today, well be taking a look at the Z-3 speaker system, the latest addition to the Z-Series of multimedia speakers meant for music lovers and hardcore gamers.
Page 2 : Package
Logitech is also known for the amount of packaging that ships with their speakers (both a complaint and a compliment depending on who you talk to). To start with, the package was double boxed for protection. Then inside, every component was individually wrapped. The satellites even had a layer of sticky plastic on the front to protect it from scratches during shipping. Overall, the entire system arrived in immaculate condition.
Whats included in the box:
Two (2) Satellites w/ 2 driver
Audio Adapter for Game Consoles
Warranty Registration Card
Page 3 : Specifications
Satellites: 17 watts RMS
Subwoofer: 23 watts RMS
Total Peak Power: 80 watts
Frequency response: 35Hz – 20kHz
Signal to noise ratio: >92db
Satellite Driver: 2-inch aluminum phase plug driver
Subwoofer Driver: 8-inch pressure driver
Satellite Dimensions: (H) 7.75 inches x (W) 3.625 inches x (D) 3.125 inches
Subwoofer Dimensions: (H) 9 inches x (W) 8.875 inches x (D) 9.375 inches
Two-year limited warranty
Page 4 : Preliminary Evaluation
The two beautiful satellites have a brushed aluminum finish with a cast-iron base. They are simply in a class of their own. In keeping with the current trend, Logitech is using a tweeter-less design with a 2 coated driver. This would mean that the satellites are responsible for both the mids and highs. I have tested the satellites with the grilles both on and off and cannot notice a difference. I would recommend you leave the grilles on though simply for protection.
The veneered finish on the side of the satellites matches the subwoofer perfectly. This is all part of Logitechs desire to create what it calls a lifestyle speaker system. It should be noted that the wires leading to the satellites are hardwired, something that is typically unfavorable.
The subwoofer is simply stunning. Logitech has chosen to use real wood here and the front grill accents this. But this system isnt just about looks. Inside is an unprecedented 8 pressure driver that delivers 23 watts of power inside an enclosure that is only 8.875 wide. It should be noted that Logitech has decided to go with a sealed enclosure for the subwoofer versus the ported bass reflex design found on the higher-end Z-560s and the Z-680s. A sealed enclosure will generally give you a tighter group delay and have better mechanical dampening properties. But a ported design will give you more power in the same amount but typically doesnt sound as good. However, a real high-end ported enclosure can be made to sound just as good as a sealed unit. Logitech went with a sealed design to give the best ratio of sound quality to cost.
On the back of the sub you will find the bass volume knob, the female DIN connection, and the 110 VAC power connection. You will not find a heatsink on this sub like you will on the Z-560s and the Z-680s simply because this sub only outputs at 23 watts RMS. However, as you will read, this is still a very respectable number. It should also be noted that what you are looking at is indeed the knob to control the bass output, so if you decide later that you want to adjust it, you have to crawl underneath your desk blindly and adjust it by feel.
This is the wired remote that bridges the connection between your speaker system and your soundcard. Leading out of the wired remote is the 1/8" TRS connector to go to your soundcard and the male DIN connector for the sub that separates to go to the satellites. Also found on the remote is a headphone connector and a standby button. The blue LED indicator for power is somewhat bright (in my opinion) but nothing that will turn your room into daylight like some people have reported.
This is the 1/8" TRS connection if you want to use headphones. I found this came in handy at night when I wanted to listen to music but didnt want to wake anyone else up with the speakers.
To the left is the audio adapter for game consoles. This adapter will allow you to go from 1/8 female to RCA female. To the right is the setup manual, but with a 2.1 system, this isnt really needed. Everything is self-explanatory.
This is the DIN plug that goes from the wired remote to the back of the subwoofer. This is typical with all Logitech speakers.
Page 5 : Installation
Ill admit installation was a bit tricky. Especially since the speakers were hardwired and you only had so much wire to work with. In comparison, setup on my four-speaker Z-560 system was fairly easily. I simply cut the wires to the length I wanted and secured them into place. In the case of the Z-3s, I had to swing the satellites around my monitor and juggle the wired remote into place. Just a small caveat.
Page 6 : Testing
After I connected everything it was time to fire it up. For this test setup, I used Winamp for music, Doom 3 for game testing, and PowerDVD for DVD playback. The Z-3s were powered by my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz soundcard with the standard 1/8" phono connection. After owning the Z-560s for several years, I had high expectations for the Z-3s.
Music, for the most part, was nice and warm. However, in rap music especially, I found the bass to be too thumpy by default. I reached around back and turned the sub down to 35% and all was well. I then played some jazz and it sounded very full and smooth. Yet eventually I noticed that overall, the highs were too bright regardless of the type of music. I played with the levels in Winamp and tuned it to my taste. Problem solved.
Now it was time for a movie. I fired up PowerDVD and played Black Hawk Down. For 2.1 speakers, it sounded pretty good. Probably as best as a 2.1 could get. But any true home theatre or multimedia enthusiast will know that in order to fully enjoy a DVD, you need 4.1 at the bare minimum, with 5.1 being preferred. If you are looking for a budget system in this category then I suggest you look at the Z-640s, which is a budget 5.1 system for under $50.
For my last test, it was time to load up Doom 3. Overall the Z-3s performed very well, but without having rear speakers its hard to create the same atmosphere as my Z560s do. Nevertheless, the Z-3s made Doom 3 fun to play. I should also note that you may want to turn up the bass for games when compared to music in order to feel the explosions and bullet sounds more.
After getting use to the Z-3s for awhile, I have a few suggestions to Logitech. First, move the bass control to the wired remote. After all, thats what remotes are for. Different applications require different amounts of bass, and continually reaching under my desk to adjust it gets rather irritating. Second, if Logitech is going to hardwire the connections to the satellites, then it is simply better to make them modular. Installation would be as easy as snapping the pre-cut wires into place.
Page 7 : Conclusion
After running the Z-3s through a battery of tests, I have to say these are very well-rounded speakers. They are relatively inexpensive, look aesthetically pleasing, and produce excellent sound. The Z-3s live up to the Z pedigree and further enforce Logitechs position as a leader in multimedia sound.
-Aesthetically balanced design
-Excellent build quality
-Good performance for the cost
-Bass control on the back of the sub
-Highs are too bright by default (needs to be EQed)
Thanks to Logitech for making this review possible.