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


To My Ears

The best I can do for you on this review is give you my personal opinion on how I find the Z-5500 set to sound. Note that these comments are purely subjective, based on my personal opinion.

The first thing I had to do after the speakers were set up was to tone down the subwoofer a bit. At default level, the bass essentially drowns out the other speakers. Mind you, many people might actually prefer this, but my recommendation is to level it out a bit, to try to maintain the same level of sound the original composers intended.

Once that was done, I spent the last few months using the Z-5500 as my 'main speakers' for everything from music, to movies, to gaming.


First and foremost, the thing that stands out most about the Z-5500 set is the imaging. When listening to a stereo source, with absolutely no enhancements, the staging is wonderful. At first, I actually found myself putting my ear to the center speaker, to see if any sound was coming from it.

However, when at the other side of my considerably large office, the wonderful imaging was all but gone. The speakers sounded weak and the sound was dispersed. So when set up as a desktop speaker configuration, the Z-5500 exhibits superb imaging and staging. However, they are not suitable for filling a large room.


Again, when set up on a computer desk, the Z-5500 sounds wonderful. Imaging is perfect, and the five identical go together to make a perfect sound stage once again. Just be sure to turn down the subwoofer a bit, or the dialog may be drowned out in some scenes.


Gaming is where the Z-5500 is allowed to truly accel. Go ahead, crank up the bass! This woofer can take it. Paired up with a Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS, the Z-5500 are really something to behold when playing Doom 3 or Half Life 2. Unfortunately, this is the one case where a 7.1 setup would have advantages over this 5.1 setup. Of course, such a speaker set would be a lot bigger, require more power, would be a mess to set up, and probably would be quite a bit more expensive. Still, although 5.1 is sufficient for movies, games can really make use of the extra sound sources.


Besides the imaging issues when not situated perfectly in the middle of the speakers, the drivers produced a clear, precise sound perhaps lacking a bit in the crispness you'd get from using 2 way speakers. The bass, once tuned properly, is deep and strong when in its element. The 10" woofer may have issues in larger rooms, but again, when you're comparing to entire setups for around $300, this is tough to beat.

First of all, you have to consider the scenario these speakers will be used in. For a computer setup, where space is limited, I think you can't do much better than the Z-5500. Just sit in front of them, and listen to a stereo source. The imaging is absolutely stunning.

If you're the type who watches movies on the computer, again, these would be just right for you. Possibly because they were designed with gaming in mind, the subwoofer provide more than enough punch to make action movies even more exciting, and games absolutely exhilirating.

However, take the Z-5500 out of their element, and their deficiencies show up right away. When the satellites are placed farther apart than most desks would require, the perfect imaging is all but lost. Also, while the subwoofer fares okay, the sats just don't have what it takes to fill a larger room with their usually-clear sound.

That's probably just as good too; the speakers won't exactly be easy to install in a non-computer environment. The stands only swivel one way, and while they support wall-mounting, you won't be able to direct them exactly how you want. This is even a bigger problem due to the fact that the speakers are so directional; if they aren't seated just right, say goodbye to the precise soundstage.

Overall though, there are quite possibly no better solutions for surround gaming than the Z-5500 from Logitech. You'll have all the power you need when seated at your desk, for under $300. Wow.

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  • Supports up to 6 inputs; 2 digital
  • Decodes Dolby Digital and DTS, and supports Pro Logic II
  • All the power you need for a PC; sounds great in such an environment
  • You won't do better than this at $300

  • Sound quality is lacking outside its element (PC desks)
  • LCD display cannot be disabled or dimmed

Final Score: 93%