Logitech Z Cinema Surround Sound Speaker Review

gotdamojo06 - 2008-03-07 17:45:00 in Speakers/Headphones
Category: Speakers/Headphones
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: March 18, 2008
Price: $299.99

Introduction:  

Have you been looking for a new speaker setup for your computer? Do you play a lot of computer games? How about watch DVDs on your computer or listen to music while you surf the Internet? If you answered yes to any of those questions, Logitech may have an answer for you; its new speaker system, the Z Cinema Surround Sound speaker system. This speaker system has everything that you would love, from a massive subwoofer to a remote control. Let's take a closer look at these speakers.  

Closer Look:  

The front of the cardboard packaging shows a picture of the entire setup (subwoofer, two speakers, and the remote control). The next side shows all the specifications of the Logitech Z Cinema Speaker system; everything from the cable size to the system requirements for the software included. When you turn the box again, you will come to a panel that shows you some of the neat features and highlights that Logitech wants to show off to the consumer. The final side of the package contains some information about the technology behind the Logitech Z Cinema Speaker system.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer Look:

When you go to pull the Z Cinema system out of the packaging, you'll see that the subwoofer is wrapped in plastic and gets added support from two black, molded-plastic pieces. The one on the right is just there for support, but the one on the left is where the two speakers are located, along with all the accessories.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you pull the subwoofer out of the plastic wrap, you'll see how beautiful it really is and how elegant Logitech wanted the Z Cinema speaker system to look. The front has a glossy black paint job with a silver border. The bass port on the side of the subwoofer is very large and is painted black to match the rest of the box. On the rear of the subwoofer is where you plug in your speakers, as well as the power cord. The heatsink on the back of the subwoofer is very large, so you know that this speaker must be working hard.  

 

 

 

Now let's take a look at what was in the black plastic mold that was protecting the subwoofer during the shipping process. When you open it up, you find the two speakers, as well as the remote control, instruction manual, USB cable, and included software.  

 

The speakers are very elegant looking and match the subwoofer very well, which helps make the Logitech Z Cinema speaker system more desirable to consumers. The remote control has a bunch of buttons on it that you will need to review before claiming to be a pro at using the remote. The speakers do not have buttons or knobs on them; they are controlled only by the remote and the included software. Plugging in the speakers is the same as with any other three-speaker setup.  

 

 

 

Enough with merely looking at the speakers, let's get the software installed and listen to these things in action!

 

Installation:  

From the looks of the speakers, I am very anxious to see what the included software looks like and how well it works. The installation of the software is very easy; all you need to do is pop in the installation CD included in the packaging. When you do this, there will be an autorun option screen that comes up. On this screen, you are able to choose which language you wish to install the software as well as read the Readme. I am going to click the "Install" button. The GUI for this software looks very nice and very "techie". The next screen that will pop up is letting you know that you are about to install the software.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the screens are very typical of any software installation; you get the licensing agreement screen of which you must choose to accept the terms, then you get a screen asking you to choose the location to install, and finally you get a screen asking if you really want to go ahead with the installation.  When the installation process is complete it will let you know and give you the option to launch the program when you click the "Finish" button.  

 

 

 

When you click finish, you are taken to the main screen of the software, however you will also get a popup saying that you need to restart your computer before you do anything else. After you restart your computer, we will be able to take a look at the configuration.  

 

Configuration:  

Now it's time to configure this amazing looking software, right? Well lucky for us, we don't need to do anything to make the software work with the remote control. In the main screen, you are able to select which audio player you prefer to use. The included options are Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player, iTunes, WinAmp, RealPlayer, Yahoo! Music Jukebox and Pandora, but if there is another player you prefer, all you have to do is let the software know where the player's executable file is located.  

 

Now let's listen to the speakers and see how they compare to my old Logitech x230 Speakers.  

Specifications:  

 

Features:  

Testing:

Testing a speaker system is not an exact science. The best way to do it is by comparing what you hear coming from one set to another set. This is what I will be doing, though I will be doing it in a few different ways. I will be testing how the speakers sound in different situations; listening to music, playing a first-person shooter, and watching a DVD movie. I will let you know what I think of the results of each category and then give each speaker system a rating on a 1-10 (10 being best) scale. Let's see how these speakers sound! These speakers will be compared to the Logitech x203 speaker system.  

Testing Setup:

 

Benchmarks:

 

Gaming:  

Most people know that the better your speakers are when playing a computer game, the better chance you have of killing your enemies. The Logitech Z Cinema speakers system have the integrated surround sound in the speakers, which actually makes it feel as though you have been grabbed out of your computer chair and pulled into the game. These speakers give you a whole new feeling of what you are doing inside the game and give you almost life-like reflexes in the game! They give you a better sense of what is going on in the game while sounding great. The x203 speakers are good for playing games, but they lack the ability to produce the surround sound feeling the Z Cinema is capable of. The Z Cinema is also able to produce better sounding foot steps, which allows you to hear your enemy coming up on you before you see him, which is a great advantage in gaming.  

 

Music:  

I have been using Foobar 2000 to listen to my music for the longest time and it is pretty much the only software I use to listen to my digital audio. So I fired up Foobar and began playing a wide range of music, from country to rap to death metal. I was able to feel every bass note and hear every guitar stroke with the crispness of being at a concert. I have never heard such clean sounding music come out of a pair of computer speakers before. The bass notes are not distorted as they seem to get on other computer speaker setups, nor do the speakers crackle when I turned up the volume to the max. The x203 speakers subwoofer would sound distorted when I turned up the bass all the way and played certain songs with deep bass notes. The Z Cinema on those same songs with the bass turned to the max and the volume to the max would sound just as good as when I had the volume at 1/4 of the way up.  

 

DVD Movie:  

One of my all time favorite movies is Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage. This movie has everything from drugs and guns to money and sex. The movie has some very sound intense scenes that have a lot of things going on, which always seemed to give my old speakers problems, such as too many explosions going off in the background, adding too much bass, while people are shooting and screaming adding a lot of highs, the x203 speakers would begin to distort and sound scratchy. However, with the Z Cinema speakers, I was unable to experience this problem, as the speakers were able to handle all of these scenes with the bass turned all of the way up, as well as with the volume turned up. All of the sounds were coming out sounding very clean and crisp. Not only that, but with the surround sound option enabled, it seemed like I was grabbed from my chair and dragged into the computer screen and into the movie. I could hear everything going on in clean crisp detail from all around me.  

 

Conclusion:  

The Logitech Z Cinema Surround Sound speaker system is one of greatness. Not only do they look great, but they are also able to live up the their looks by providing clean bass hits and crisp high notes. They sounded great in all the different aspects of computer sound; they are able to suck you right into a movie and bring you right in the thick of battle in games. All music sounds great on these speakers, whether it be country music with the subtle guitar strokes and clean vocals or some rap music with the deep bass hits. Being a bit on the pricey side for computer speakers, the Z Cinema system is completely worth every dime if you are looking for the best performing speaker system for your computer. While space is always at a premium on the desktop, making room for two speakers is much easier than making room for five. That alone is worth the price of admission. These speakers are able to generate surround sound by using just two speakers, which not only provides amazing sound quality, but is also a great way to save space. I will be using these speakers for quite some time; they work great and look great. What else is needed?

 

Pros:

 

Cons: