What is it?: 5.1 THX Speakers Product Name:Z-680 Manufacturer:Logitech Price: Approx. MSRP $399 USD Availability: Now Verdict: Amazing Quality PC Speaker Setup
PC-Audio has always been flirting with challenging or, dare I say it, replacing traditional dedicated audio products. Most attempts have been good but nothing worth making you look at your hi-fi like a red-headed stepchild asking what has it done for you lately. Well, with modern games taking more and more advantage of people who do have outrageous multi-channel audio setups on their gaming setups coupled with ever growing numbers of people watching DVD's on their PC's or even who have media PCs merged with their home entertainment systems the bar is rising fast. The games, movies, and complimentary hardware such as multi-channel sound cards like the ones coming out from Creative, Hercules, and m-Audio, you have more choices for your sound delivery hardware as well as sophisticated support for DTS and SRS. The quality of speakers designed for your PC are now rivaling traditional home theatre speakers... the lines are getting really blurry. Let's take a look at a major contender.. the Logitech Z-680's.
Logitech has been making some serious bounds in audio over the last two years or so. I have some Z-340 2.1 speakers. I bought them because for the sound quality/price ratio was the best I could find. I have been very pleased with the performance of them especially since I picked them up at a national electronics chain for $40. The base from the subwoofer was full and the tiny satellites had surprisingly nice quality of sound as well for a budget set. But as good as the Logitech line has been, there has always been one name out there that has taunted them... Klipsch. It is strictly just my opinion but I believe that the Z-680 is a direct response to Klipsch's claim on the top of the PC audio mountain. Klipsch have always been outrageously priced in my opinion (even though I am definitely not going on record that they aren't amazing speakers). But lo, and behold now with some competition from the likes of Logitech, Klipsch's prices have seemed to come down to... wow... exactly the price of the Z680's. Competition is the champion of the geek, better products at lower prices. Don't get me wrong, $400 (MSRP - but at the time of writing this, I was finding them at reputable online dealers for $275) is serious money to pay for a set of speakers, but a year ago, you could have spent $100 more. I'm just trying to put the whole price thing in perspective while you're eyes are bugging out at the price tag.
The feature list reads like a who's who in audio certifications. What do they say?
True Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound with built-in hardware decoding
Dolby Pro Logic® II decoding creates a 5.1 soundfield from two-channel sound sources
THX® certification ensures top sound quality
Connects to PlayStation®2, Xbox™, DVD players, satellite receivers, PC sound cards, and more to deliver immersive gaming and movie experiences
Home-stereo style connectors use standard gauge speaker wire
Four stylish satellites stand on desk or mount on wall to provide smooth mid and high frequencies
Center channel speaker rests on your monitor, on your desk, or mounted on the wall
Magnetic shielding in speakers protects your equipment
Internal power supply eliminates bulky wall adapters
Removable cloth grills on satellites deliver improved sound and variable aesthetics
Wireless remote control, batteries included
Uses regular stereo speaker wire (included)
Two-year limited warranty
Total output power: 505 Watts RMS
Subwoofer power output: 188 Watts RMS
Satellite speaker power output: 317 Watts RMS (62 Watts RMS per channel for satellites; 69 Watts RMS for center channel)
Total peak power: 1000 Watts
Maximum SPL: 114 dB
System frequency response: 35Hz - 20kHz
Input impedance: 10,000 ohms
Shielded satellites for use near video monitors
(1) digital optical for DVD or CD player, PlayStation 2, Xbox*, or PC sound card (requires optical cable, sold separately)
(1) digital coaxial for DVD or CD player, or PC sound card (requires coaxial cable, sold separately)
(1) 6-channel direct (3 stereo-mini connectors) for 2-, 4-, or 6-channel PC sound cards
(1) Analog stereo-mini for portable CD, MP3, or MiniDisc® player
* Note: Xbox connection requires Xbox Advanced AV Pack or Xbox High Definition AV Pack, sold separately Info gathered from Logitech.com
That's right, 1000 Watts of peak power from PC speakers... where not talking your traditional set of speakers you used to have on each side of your monitor that you used to brag about because it had "bass boost" or something or other. What really sets speakers like these above your moderately nice garden variety speakers or even your nicer 5.1 sets is the hardware decoder module enabling Surround Sound and THX quality.