RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [08.10.05]
Manufactured by: Logitech


The Best Just Got Better

When the Z-680 5.1 channel digital speakers from Logitech, gamers ranted and raved about finally getting a solid surround speaker set for under $500.

While they didn't have mind-blowing specs, and personally I thought they sounded quite dull, they were better than anything in their price range. They were a good alternative to Klipsch, who at the time only had a 2.1 channel set available. And besides; the woofer pounded, and that's all that matters to a lot of people.

Logitech has since replaced the Z-680 with a brand new 5.1 channel set; the Z-5500. Several improvements have been made, and we'll get right to them.

All of the Z-5500's settings are done through the "SoundTouch" control pod. Everything is set here, from the input mode, audio effects, bass/trebel levels, etc. There is also an IR receiver, to be used with an included remote. The LCD display is backlit (blue, of course), and is on whenever the speakers are powered on. Unfortunately, there is no way to disable or even dim the display, so having it reside next to your monitor in a dark room while watching movies may prove to be annoying.

The remote is capable of setting absolutely all of the features as you can from the front of the pod.

On the back of the pod, you'll find the various inputs for the speaker set. The three stereo inputs can be set to 6 channel direct, for use with 5.1 capable PC soundcards, or can be used as three individual stereo inputs which can be switched from the front of the pod. The Z-5500 even works with small home theater systems, so you can hook up your favorite floor standing stereo speakers.

Both digital and coaxial inputs are available, for those who wish to use the set mainly for watching DVDs. The Z-5500 can decode Dolby Digital and DTS 96/24. If you are using this with a HTPC system, you have the choice of using the digital inputs, using the Z-5500 to decode the signals, or have the soundcard decode the signals itself, and pass it through to the Z-5500 via the analog ports. It also supports Dolby Pro Logic II, for both movie and music stereo expansion (there are two modes).

Two more ports can be found on the side; an additional Line-In port (which comes in handy if you're already using the three main ports with a soundcard) and a headphone port. When a headphone is plugged in, the unit switches itself to stereo mode.

Because of the wide array of input modes, the Z-5500 is not only suitable for PC gaming, but also smaller home theatre systems, and even for music from sources like CD players and MP3 players.

Manufacturer's Specifications

  • Bass power output: 188 W
  • Satellite power output: 4 X 62 W + 69 W (center module)
  • Frequency response: 33 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Inputs: 5.1 line or 3 line, auxiliary line in, digital S/P DIF optical and coaxial inputs
  • Headphone jack: on Control Pod
  • Satellites: 3" full-range with phase plug
  • Subwoofer: 10" woofer
  • Satellite dimensions: 3.7" X 7.4" X 4.7"
  • Subwoofer dimensions: 13" X 13.3" X 18.1"

Next Page: (Subwoofer)