by Rory Buszka on March 12, 2008 in Speakers/Headphones
Logitech unveiled their Z Cinéma speaker system at this year’s CES, to plenty of fanfare. The system blends a refined two-way satellite design with a robust, powerful subwoofer. We take the latest high performance Z-series PC speaker system for a spin, and find lots of cause for excitement.
To be honest, my time with the Z Cinéma speaker system left me feeling fairly vindicated in my earlier view that virtual-surround algorithms would be the next major advancement in high-performance surround sound on the desktop. The Z Cinéma system truly delivers a spacious, enveloping surround sound experience, and an enthralling performance with two-channel music as well.
The Z Cinéma’s performance in my listening testing proved that in addition to its great looks and advanced technology, this system has it where it counts – impressive audio performance with enough punch and power for rock, and enough finesse to handle the subtleties of even the best recordings. In addition to having the grunt to deliver bass lines and explosions with sickening impact and pants-waffling volume, the Z Cinéma system is eminently listenable – at all volumes.
There were some things Iâ€™d change, however. The on-screen display of the Z Cinema software is intrusive, and its opaque background obscures a sizeable portion of the screen. In addition, I found that the tone controls didnâ€™t offer quite the range of adjustment Iâ€™d expect.
I was able to dial in ‘enough’ bass for my listening tastes (usually 10dB of boost) with the “Bass” control set to its maximum setting, but I’d like to have enough adjustment range to overdo things if I want to, and I don’t feel that +20dB of adjustment range is too much to ask for in a high-end product. Lastly, I felt there was a bit too much midbass leakage into the subwoofer for my tastes, which could impart a false sense of ‘boominess’ to the bass of this system.
For $299 MSRP, Logitech has introduced quite a contender for the 2.1-channel category crown, giving Razer’s new Mako 2.1-channel system a real run for its money. The Z Cinéma system blends svelte styling with some serious audio hardware for a system that has what it takes to please both the hard-rockers and PC audiophiles of the world.
I’m pleased to award this system a Techgage score of 8 – yet despite its few faults, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a super-high-performance 2.1-channel speaker system to bring their music and movies to life.
- Crisp, balanced full-range sound
- Beefy subwoofer delivers knockout punch
- Integrated IR receiver and included Media Center remote
- Stays clean at high volumes
- Surround sound from two speakers
- Limited tone adjustments
- Clunky software and on-screen display
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