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Reviews

Logitech Z-2300 THX-Certified Multimedia Speakers

By Brandon Miniman July 27, 2005, 12:00 am

Logitech claims that the Z-2300 speaker system "…combines everything you need in a sound system — THX-certified performance and quality, beautiful looks, and more than enough power to fill your room with great sound." As the title of this review insinuates, one of those claims is dead-on (come on, guess). How about the others? Read on for the detailed review!

WHAT'S HOT

According to the THX website, THX-certification "…guarantees the highest possible fidelity for your MP3s, CDs, DVDs, games, and digital audio sources, and you can enjoy a cinema-quality experience right at your own desktop." In my experience with various THX-certified products, the claim is true each time.

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In comparison to similarly priced THX-certified 2.1 systems, the Z-2300 is ahead of the group in loudness and signal-to-noise (which measures the ratio between input sounds vs. background static/noise — the higher, the cleaner the sound), and has the most affordable price. But, even with a larger, 8" subwoofer, the Z-2300 still cannot dip below 35Hz frequencies as the others are able.

PRODUCT FEATURES

The box is big and bold in Logitech green.

The ported subwoofer enclosure features an 8" long-throw subwoofer. Logitech's choice of silver and black makes for an attractive box.

The subwoofer driver is branded with the Logitech logo.

The rear of the subwoofer has connections for left and right speaker and the wired remote. Under the wire connections is a main power switch and a fuse.

The satellites continue the black and gray theme. The THX logo is displayed on the front logo marker.

I wasn't fond of the slant that was integrated into the satellites, which made it impossible to change their firing angle.

If you've seen these speakers before on various websites, it was most likely without the covers (as they appear more modern without them). Most computer satellites feature a midrange woofer and a tweeter, but in this case, Logitech used one

2.5" polished aluminum phase plug driver, with an air inlet above. Did the lack of a true tweeter hurt the speaker's ability to produce good highs? Page two will explain.

I was impressed with the look and quality of the wired remote. There is a bass adjustment nob which changes the volume of the subwoofer, and an earphone jack. A cool blue LED indicates that the power button has been depressed. Logitech missed adding an auxiliary input, which is an invaluable feature if you plan on connecting the system to two input sources (iPod and computer, for example). The oversized volume dial feels silky-smooth to turn, and is very sensitive. At the above pictured volume setting, the system was at what I consider a "loud" listening level. If 25% volume means a loud listening level, you can deduce that these speakers get immensely loud.

The speakers are plug and play and thus extremely easy to use with any computer or audio device configuration.

LISTENING EXPERIENCE

Music: In rock music, voices were natural sounding and not "tinny." Jazz and funk sounded expressive as the Z-2300 were able to recreate each percussion note clearly and accurately, even without any "true" tweeter. I usually boost the treble in Windows when using my Klipsch Ultra 5.1s, because I like the highs — doing so often makes the treble feel a bit forced. The Z-2300s were a bit more sensitive to treble, and thus required a lesser amount of treble boost to satisfy my ears.

If you've read any of my speaker reviews, you know that no speaker gets my stamp of approval unless they can pass my foundation-shaking rap test. Turning to a few tracks of the Ying Yang Twins, I was generally impressed with the capability of the subwoofer to rattle my teeth, but found that during a few super low notes, namely in Ying Yang Twins' Georgia Dome , the subwoofer fell silent as it tried to play a frequency most likely below its rated 35Hz mark. Besides the most extreme cases, the Z-2300 sub is very capable.

Games: With an outstanding signal-to-noise ratio (100dB), you can expect the Z-2300 to be super sensitive when you need them to be so that you can hear every detail. Playing Counter Strike: Source was a pleasure, as I could hear the slightest hint of an approaching enemy's foot step. While a surround speaker setup is ideal for games, the Z-2300s excellent R/L channel dispersion made for a dynamic audio environment.

Movies: 2.1 speaker systems notoriously don't fair too well with movies because they fail to create a 3D soundstage like a 5.1/7.1 system. That in mind, I was amazed at how, at times, it sounded as if voices were coming from a center channel, and background sounds were originating from behind me. This is where the THX-certification shines.

Loudness: With the capability to produce 117dB of sound, it's no wonder that during testing my volume dial never exceeded the halfway point. Any higher and I'd have to check the windows to see if they had shattered. During one brave attempt, I moved the volume to about 60% while listening to a rap song, and found the subwoofer to begin to distort at 75% bass. I turned down the bass nob about 25%, and the bass was clear again.

A minor gripe with this system is the capability of the subwoofer — for those moments where a bone-shaking frequency under 35Hz needs to be produced, the subwoofer gets quiet. Missing from the system is an auxiliary input for use with an MP3 player, gaming system, or television. And finally, the speakers fire upwards and cannot be adjusted, which could be a problem if you set the speakers above listening level.

Pros

  • THX-certified
  • Crystal clear sound
  • Great price

Cons

  • Subwoofer floor is only 35Hz
  • No auxiliary input
  • Speakers fire upwards and cannot be adjusted
## OVERALL IMPRESSION

I've always been partial to offerings from Klipsch — I've owned many of their products, and to me they represent a very high level of quality. I expected the ProMedia 2.1 THX system to remain the king on the block even with, but as indicated by the ratings above, Logitech has brought to the market the next champion in high-end 2.1 multimedia audio.

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