There are simply three varieties of surround sound today — every easily recognized by their plug. Virtual surround makes use of simply simple stereo jacks, emulating a number of channels from two, whereas digital surround travels throughout optical or coaxial S/PDIF cables (or HDMI) and has to be decoded. Lastly, there’s analog surround sound — the cheapest solution of all — where you mainly just plug a pair of dumb speakers into each of front, rear and center 3.5mm sockets in your existing PC sound card. The $100 Logitech Z506 speakers use this last technique to deliver their true 5.1 sound, but that’s no cause to count them out. The question is, do they deliver enough bang, boom and tweet for the buck
Logitech Z506 surround sound Hand/Ears-on
Hardware and set-up
Fact be told, the Z506 is much from the corporate’s first analog surround sound package — it replaces the very related X-540 setup from 2006, which was itself a upgrade of the $80 Logitech X-530 from 2004 — nevertheless it’s clear the company paid a bit more consideration to aesthetics this time round. Where each earlier packages had been fairly symmetrical, boxy (within the case of the X-540) and had stands that jutted out, each of the Z506′s satellites have a space-age elliptical design with mild oblong curves. Here, the 2-inch drivers aren’t coated by metallic grates, but slightly gently protected by thin, springy mesh nets, and as an alternative of two per satellite, each has one driver and a small tweeter — except for the center, which has a pair of eyeballs that joyously remind us of Wall-E. We’re additionally a giant fan of the volume dial, for those who can imagine that, because it’s smooth as could be — simply light enough to turn with a single finger, however nonetheless sufficient resistance that we may regulate the volume in nice increments. Sure, it is a pretty handsome trying package deal, all in all.
Setting up the Z506 really takes much less time than getting it out of the box, as a result of each cable and port is shade-coded — just plug in 4 audio system and your audio sources into the back of the subwoofer, and you’re completed — but that’s assuming you do not have to rearrange your total room to set it all up. You see, whereas the X-540 had a wired remote with all of the controls plus adjustable stands that allow you to hang satellites on a wall, the Z506 places the volume control on the right speaker, the bass control on the sub, and has completely no place for wall supports. This implies you’ll must have the entrance speakers and subwoofer in your desk and inside arm’s attain if you need any control, and someway also discover flat surfaces immediately behind your desk as effectively — or else move furnishings around. Thankfully, the center satellite tv for pc still has a intelligent folding mechanism that clamps onto an LCD monitor with ease. One single connectivity advantage over the X-540 comes in the form of two new RCA jacks to connect an auxiliary audio source like a game console, however even this upside has a down — anything you plug in is automatically virtualized throughout all 5 speakers, whereas the X-540 allow you to management “Matrix Mode” with a button on the remote. We do not actually anticipate digital encompass in this price range.
For all our gripes concerning the vital features Logitech took away, one factor that hasn’t changed is the stellar sound. seventy five watts of RMS power was enough to fill a bedroom with audio and plenty to spare — we often discovered our tunes had been loud enough to get the total impact at 50 % volume. Though the subwoofer didn’t fairly shake the room from its perch on our desk, there was definitely a superb bit of bass — we could undoubtedly see the kit pumping jams at a small home party if that’s your thing — however in fact, the system really shines in surround sound films, concerts and games.
The sensation of immersion in Fallout three New Vegas was fantastic, with raindrops hitting the pavement all around, and we felt each bullet whiz by during Neo’s notorious bullet dodge in The Matrix thanks to punchy entrance and rear sound. Solitary singers got here through excessive and clear within the front and center channels, their phrases reverberating off the auditorium partitions behind us, whereas orchestral pieces and applause shared the entrance however with a welcome rear bias. Tossing grenades in Call of Duty Covert Ops, than quickly turning away, we could simply tell by audio alone in which direction they’d exploded, and the worlds of Mass Effect 2 took on an incredible sense of immediacy with futuristic commercials and alien conversations bombarding our ears from all directions at once. Wrap-up
If you happen to’ve never experienced true 5.1 surround sound, have a capable sound card or an effective way of pumping out digital audio out of your gaming consoles, the $one hundred Logitech Z506 are a incredible introduction, however we will not actually suggest them over the corporate’s far-more versatile X-540 set — the plain choice at the $ninety you may presently find them for. When it comes to analog surround sound, anyone can hook up two or three units of high quality two-channel speakers to get the same impact, so the onus is on Logitech to make combo 5.1 packages like this simple to use and set up.
I recently had the chance to try the wireless headset from Logitech and can actually say that th X540 is a great surround sound system for the value. The Z506 is a Orgasam for the ears and senses and a win for console owners on a tight budget.