Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speaker System Review

Admin - 2007-09-18 18:56:27 in Speakers/Headphones
Category: Speakers/Headphones
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: September 23, 2007
Logitech
Logitech
Price: $199.99

Introduction:

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley. Ding, ding, ding went the bells. Are you really hearing the 'clang' of the trolley wheels and the proper pitch of its bells? Or better yet, are you actually hearing your opponents’ footsteps behind you, or is it the crackling of your speakers since you have them up so loud? In any case, if you are into serious gaming, you need a serious set of speakers or all that hard earned money you spent of your gaming rig will be washed down the drain, because you just can’t hear sounds, voices and footsteps the way they were meant to be heard.

Logitech has produced a speaker system specifically for gaming and it is the Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speaker System. With a dual Matrix for both gaming (legacy) and music, you can listen to two channel sources in a 5.1 surround environment. The G51 speakers also offer FDD2 (Frequency Directed dual Driver) sound technology to eliminate hotspots and give a clear uniform soundfield anywhere in the room.

“Logitech is a world leader in personal peripherals, driving innovation in PC navigation, Internet communications, digital music, home-entertainment control, gaming and wireless devices. The company’s products combine essential core technologies, continuing innovation, award-winning industrial design and excellent price performance.”

 

Closer Look:

So you’re not an impulse buyer? You might just become one - the packaging clearly shows you what is inside and has so much information on it, you might get thrown out of your local electronics store for browsing.

 

 

The whole box has something to look at including the sides and top.

 

Closer Look:

 

The Speakers:

Upon opening the box, you will see there are two smaller boxes labeled one and two. These contain the speakers and cables. They are labeled for a reason - you really can’t pull box two without pulling out box one. You will need the room to slide the subwoofer over, that is located in the center of the box, so you can disengage the power cord that is partially enclosed in box two.

 

 

 

 

The system includes four satellites, a center monitor mountable speaker and all the speaker covers are removable.

 

 

The subwoofer is fairly large and houses all the connection points for the satellite speakers.

 

Closer Look:

 

Accessories and Entire System:

Included is a system controller, which allows you to adjust the speaker volume by channel, change matrix, mute the speakers, attach your headset and power the system on and off. The speaker to system cable is six feet long for ease of subwoofer placement.

 

 

The speaker casings are gold and black, which I felt was a good choice. Logitech has stayed with either pure black, or black and silver speakers for too long. These speakers also have an added feature - changeable skins, which will be addressed in the conclusion.

 

Installation:

The hardest part of installing these speakers is trying to figure out where you are going to mount the rear speakers. The cords are about 15 feet long, so getting them behind you should not be a problem. All the speaker cables are color coded, so there is no problem trying to figure out which speaker goes where; I also like the fact that Logitech is using conventional colors for their RCA jacks. It was a great pain in the you-know-what to figure out where things went with my last speaker system, as the color coding was horrendous: blue for center, black for microphone, pink for front etc. Once installed, you will need to adjust the speakers to your liking. You will have two options. First, the speakers control center and then your sound card's software. Once you're done tweaking, your mission is complete.

 

Specifications:

 

 

System Requirements

PC or Mac with at least 6-channel sound capability (for discrete surround sound)

Total RMS power
155 watts RMS

 Satellites: 20 watts RMS x 4 (into 8 ohms, @ 1 kHz, @ 10% THD)
Center channel: 19 watts RMS (into 8 ohms, @ 1 KHz, @ 10% THD)
Subwoofer: 56 watts RMS (into 2 ohms, @ 100 Hz, @ 10% THD)

Total peak power
310 watts
Frequency response
36 Hz–20 KHz

Subwoofer crossover frequency

150 Hz
Drivers

Satellites: (2) 2-inch laser-tuned drivers
Subwoofer: Down-firing 5.25-inch high-excursion driver

Speaker dimensions (H x W x D, inches)

Satellites: 4.2 x 5.6 x 8.5
Center channel: 8.0 x 3.9 x 5.6
Subwoofer: 7.7 x 10.4 x 13.1

Enclosure
Bass reflex enclosure with tuned port
Inputs
6-channel direct, stereo RCA

Precision control pod

Non-skid silicone feet
Master volume control
Subwoofer, center, and surround level controls
Matrix surround sound music and gaming modes
Independent audio and microphone mute controls
Headset jack (microphone and headphone)

Signal-to-noise ratio

>94 dB, A-weighted

 

Features:

Performance:

 

Convenience and Control:

 

Customization:

Testing:

For testing I will use the standard Overclockersclub method of testing sound cards and speakers, but since these are gaming speakers, I will add and extra game into the usual reptoire, that being F.E.A.R. With Halloween around the corner, I figure I’ll get the hairs raised on the back of my neck a little. In the final testing stage, I will comprise a graphical comparison between the Logitech G51, Logitech X-540 and the Creative T61 5.1 Surround Speakers.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Benchmarks:

 

Gaming:

Call of Duty 2:

I normally don't game unless I'm using headphones. I have come so accustomed to it I feel like something is missing when I'm at the computer and don't have them on. It looks like I might have to do some more gaming during the day, because what I experienced was mind boggling.

While playing my favorite map (Stalingrad), I notice a sound in the background that I never heard before, even with headphones on. Wind, although it was very subtle, was there. I thought I was hearing things, but after asking my girlfriend and one other friend, they both agreed that it was wind. I also became more confident as I played, as the sound was properly distributed through the channels and I knew if I was being attacked from front, behind, left or right.

F.E.A.R.:

Do you want to be scared? Play this game with the lights out and the speakers on at night. Doors open and creek, that little girl brought me totally out of my chair. Yup, I got what I was looking for - a hair raising experience. I think too many of us have been drawn away from true full-room surround sound while gaming since the advent of surround headsets. With these speakers, I think it's time to revert back.

 

Music:

iTunes:

Well I'm not sure if it's because of the FDD2, or just the quality of the speakers, but I listened to many different genres of music and was most impressed with electronic (as in Techno and Synth Pop). Why? Because of the bass. When you feel the air blowing the hair off your legs, that is something spectacular. Music fills not only the room that the speakers are in, but also the rest of the house even at a distance of 100 ft. With walls blocking sound transfer, the music sounded crisp on my lanai. Even while on the phone, the person on the other end was able to hear the music just as well as if I was in the office. The technology used in these speakers direct the sound waves to encompass a room, not the usual "let's use the walls to add to the enjoyment".

 

Voice:

Team Speak:

If you want everyone around to know what you are talking about, go ahead and try it. The sound quality was very clear and can wake up your significant other in the other room, having them think you are talking to them.

 

DVD Movie:

Godzilla "Final Wars":

What can I say? Everyone knows I'm a Japanese monster movie buff, but many do not know that the last Godzilla Movie was made in 2005 and since the 1960's, the sound and action effects have come from cheesy to almost outrageous. I thought Godzilla was in the room with me - his footsteps made the room shake and his breath whistled the hair on the back of my neck. The action of the movie was brought to me and again, the sound carried throughout the house, as when I was playing music. When my HTPC is finally completed, I just might have to use these speakers.

Testing:

Below, I will compare the Logitech G51 speaker system to the two other systems I have chosen. I am aware that this is truly subjective, but it will give an honest perspective on how I felt the G51 speakers performed against the others. I will be comparing sound quality, ease of use, bass, distortion and total volume (with Clarity). The scale will be a one to ten, ten being the best and one, the worst.

 

Sound Quality and Ease of Use:

 

 

Bass and Distortion:

 

 

Total Volume:

 

Both Logitech speakers ran just about neck and neck, with the Creative speakers falling way behind. The bass on the X-540 was just a little better than the G51's - at the highest point, it could stop your heart. I am very dissatisfied with the Creative speakers, as I could never get enough bass or volume with out a snap, crackle or pop. Hopefully some of their higher-end models can perform better. These Creative speakers do not have control modules like the Logitechs do, which bring down their ease of use qualities. The X-540s do have a control module, but it does not control as much as the G51s do. The G51's out of all three tested, were the most stable and even though they are made more for gaming, I think they work just fine for other applications.

Conclusion:

The Logitech G51 Surround Sound speaker system should not be passed up if you are in the market for a new groove. As I mentioned earlier in the review, the system has two matrix's - a gaming and music matrix. I was forced to use them when I first installed Vista on my computer, because I was having problems with the drivers for my sound card and could only get two channel sound out of it. Although it was not as great at true 5.1 surround sound, the matrix's did work flawlessly and trick the ears into believing it was 5.1.

I also mentioned that the speakers can change skins - the satellite speakers have a clear plastic cover on them, which can be removed and a skin can be placed underneath. You can download the program to create the skins from Logitechs website.

I have always liked the fact that Logitech speakers as of late have utilized a control module, as it stops you from having to look for the speaker that has the volume control and it saves your head from getting banged around when adjusting the volume on your subwoofer. The fact that the center speaker can be mounted on your LCD monitor is also a tremendous plus. There is no need to hang an extra shelf to clear up desk space and you won’t get in trouble for putting more holes in the walls.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: