by Rory Buszka on May 31, 2007 in Audio & Media
When Logitechâ€™s X-540 5.1 speaker system came out, it set new standards of performance for the $99 price category. With their new X-240 2.1-channel system, Logitech once again aims to surpass the status quo. With its integrated stand for portable music players and its intelligent electronics, can Logitech manage the same feat again with the X-240?
With the launch of the X-540 5.1 speaker system, Logitech declared war on the $100 price category, serving up an attractive multichannel speaker system with a straightforward, cost-cutting design that could still hang with the competition in terms of performance, while demolishing the competition in price.
The X-540 system made news because it shattered the status quo, and redefined what consumers could expect at that price point. Would I call the X-240 system a smash success on par with the X-540?
The answer is, probably not. All around, the X-240 system’s performance was decent, and certainly competitive in its price category, but I’m far from ready to trade in my Cambridge Soundworks MicroWorks II system anytime soon. The sound of the X-240 system was lackluster, due in part to the insubstantial satellite speaker enclosures, whose sympathetic vibrations colored the sound unacceptably, and deprived the satellite speakers of their detail.
The “FDD^2” dual-driver satellite speakers included with the X-540 system could have improved the X-240 system greatly when compared to the decidedly cheap-feeling and ordinary-sounding satellite speakers of the X-240 system.
The subwoofer is another weak point. In the X-540 system, Logitech bolstered the five satellite speakers with ample bass performance from a well-built 5.25″ woofer, with a rubber surround (the flexible edge at the rim of the cone) and beefy motor structure. Rubber surrounds are typically softer than foam surrounds, enabling the woofer driver to have a lower resonant frequency, which defines the lower boundary of the subwoofer’s frequency response.
Had a comparatively beefy woofer been employed here, the bass performance of the X-540 system could have been more impressive for the price. For $50, we shouldn’t expect our socks to be blown off our feet, but it’s a disappointment to see that Logitech didn’t shatter the teeth of the competition here.
To be fair, I think it’s appropriate to temper one’s expectations in accordance with the price bracket of a particular product. For $50, the Logitech X-240 speaker system is a fantastic upgrade for the cheap speakers included with many mainstream PCs today. If you’re looking for an inexpensive 2.1 speaker system to pair with a second rig, these speakers may be just the ticket.
For anyone who’s looking for more serious music performance from their 2.1-channel speaker system, I still recommend spending $150 or more. In fact, Razer’s upcoming Mako 2.1 system is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $350, so high-quality sound will continue to command a premium price.
What you get for your additional money, however, is vastly more detailed reproduction, beefier construction, greater materials quality, and greater output potential. As for the X-240 speakers from Logitech, I’m awarding them a Techgage score of 7. While they don’t threaten the market of more expensive product offerings, they represent their price category quite well.
- Very affordable
- Decent sound quality for the price
- Intelligent electronics
- Integrated music player stand is a thoughtful inclusion
- Not particularly detailed reproduction
- Limited bass output
- Cheap-feeling construction
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