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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.13.08]
Manufactured by: Logitech


To My Ears

Whenever I review speakers, I try to focus on the design, and features that make them unique. However, the bottom line is always this - do they sound good or not? All of these nifty features are meaningless if they sound like crap.

I don't exactly have the equipment necessary to find out exactly what the frequency levels and response specifications are, so I can't go there. What I can do is discuss my personal experience with them, after using them for several months.

I've been using the G51 speakers as my 'main speakers' for the past 3 months, and during that time I have logged quite a few hours playing games, listening to music, and watching movies and TV (yes , I know). Here's what I think of them:


Just like other Logitech speakers I've had experience with, such as the Z-5500 we reviewed, the G51 set has superior imaging. In other words, when used as desktop speakers in stereo mode, the sound stage is perfectly centered and clear. The dual drivers are tuned for lower distortion, and it shows when listening to music.

My only gripe is that the subwoofer is incredibly 'sloppy' sounding. Beats aren't nearly precise enough, and if you turn the levels down to rid the overly loud bass, overall volume is lost. I'm not sure if I am explaining this sufficiently, but basically, the bass seems too 'loose'. You can attempt to 'tighten' it up by lowering the subwoofer volume, but then it's no longer loud or 'punchy'. Yup, sound is quite hard to describe.

Overall, I'd give the G51 a "B-" for its music capabilities.


Again, the imaging is quite good with the G51's, and the matching center speaker is allowed to shine. However, the sloppy bass once again gets in the way of an otherwise solid experience.

Also, I had some problems with the crossover, as it seems that it allows too much dialog sound to go to the subwoofer driver. This ends up giving you muffled 'bass voices' that can really overpower the rest of the soundtrack of movies, television, and even podcasts. Again, in an attempt to relieve this problem, you may find yourself turning the subwoofer level down. And again, it will then be too low to kick in when you *want* to hear bass.

For movies and TV, the G51 gets a "C+"

Video Games

Now this is more like it! In an area where bass precision simply doesn't matter, and louder is better, the G51 truly shines. Crysis never sounded so good on a $140 set of speakers, I can assure you. Because of the clear imaging, you can easily hear exactly where sounds are coming from in games. The loud, sloppy bass is allowed to take over during intense fire fights. After all, if you are having grenades lobbed at you from futuristic Koreans, are you really going to hear what they're saying over the sound of explosions? Didn't think so.

G51 gets a "B+" for gaming.

Overall, the G51 is an excellent option for someone looking for a pure gaming surround speaker solution. While it doesn't exactly excel in sound quality, what do you expect for $140? The addition of gamer-specific features like skinning and the control pod make the G51 even more impressive.

Because it's available at such a low price point, I hope that more gamers upgrade to surround systems. This will encourage game designers to focus more on sound as they develop their games. Some games do an incredible job of creating an immersive sound scope, while others tend to fall a bit flat, as if they don't even care.

One thing that holds this G51 back is the fact that its big brother, the Z-5500 is so affordable now that you may want to look at upgrading. A look at our price search engine reveals that the Z-5500 can be found for as low as $200, occasionally even cheaper. This puts it at just $60 more than the G51 - the price of a video game. We reviewed the Z-5500 a while back, and in my experience the sound quality is superior to the G51 in every way. Although the G51 does have some nice gamer-centric features, there is no way I'd recommend one over a well-priced Z-5500.

  • Quite affordable
  • Identical satellites
  • Good sound imaging
  • Control pod has microphone and headphone inputs
  • Individual mute buttons for speakers and mic
  • Auxilliary stereo input for MP3 and handhelt gaming
  • Clean design with all cables going to subwoofer
  • Skinnable speakers with custom software
  • Bass is loud

  • Bass drowns out the rest of the sound in most scenarios
  • Subwoofer crossover seems to be set too high
  • Cables are permanently attached to speakers
  • Z-5500 is just $60 more, and so much better