Review From PC Gamer's Perspective

A Review On: Logitech Z-5500 THX-Certified 5.1 Digital Surround Sound Speaker System

Logitech Z-5500 THX-Certified 5.1 Digital Surround Sound Speaker System

Rated # 1 in Computer Speakers
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $230.79
Dendie
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Pros: Optical input; Punchy bass; Good cable lengths supplied; Remote control; Removable speaker covers.

Cons: Display backlight failure common; Blue LED for power button dazzlingly bright in a darkened room.

The Review

It says it all that after so many years these are still the top of the line in Logitech's PC speaker range. While many will be put off with the high asking price, they are worth every penny, and I don't say that lightly.

 

I picked mine up in 2008 on a special offer from Amazon and since then have never even considered upgrading. The convenience of having my PS3 connected over optical and my PC hooked up over 3x3.5mm mini-jacks was my main reason for justifying the expense. Having used them now for a couple of years the full 5.1 audio while gaming has become something it's very hard to play with out - anyone still playing with the speakers built into their TV or monitor, or even the cheap set that came with their PC would be well advised to make the move and upgrade. Games like Left4Dead or Dead Space are completely transformed as the audio cues provided are central to the experience.

 

The speakers themselves look fantastic compared to other PC sets. The bases can be rotated to allow wall-mounting and the mesh covers removed if you prefer that look. The subwoofer is really rather large in both diameter and depth and has a large heatsink on the back, so be sure to measure your available space before you order.

 

As for the sound, the bass is punchy enough to make playing music an absolute joy - especially anything electronic like LCD Soundsystem or The Prodigy. The speakers can be set to use Dolby Pro Logic II to distribute sound from stereo sources across all speakers and this is particularly good with music. When watching films the centre provides clear dialogue, though it is worth spending a while tweaking the settings to provide the right levels for the shape of your room. By default, I found the surrounds a little quiet, and the bass a little too low for my tastes.

 

Something worth bearing in mind are that firstly, many users have experienced issues with the display backlight failing. Mine failed, but Logitech were very good about getting it fixed, so it wasn't too much trouble really. Also, the main fuse, located on the rear of the subwoofer seems to be quite easy to blow, and some users have reported blowing them on a regular basis. I myself have blown one by not switching off the isolator before unplugging the system, but managed to pick up a pack of 10 from Amazon for about £3, so again it wasn't really a major problem. It is worth picking up a pack of fuses at the time of order just in case.

 

The Good

  • The sound is excellent, and easily competes with home cinema systems that are double the price.
  • Optical input, which is very hard to find on speaker systems for the PC market.
  • Satisfying large volume control. Looks like more like a hi-fi and less like PC product.
  • Recognises Dolby, THX and dts encoding.
  • Mini-Jack inputs can be switched between 3 stereo channels, or single 5.1 input.
  • Painful volumes can be reached before the sound quality noticably decreases.
  • Decent customer service.

The Bad

  • Backlight on display has been known to fail.
  • Some report fuses are prone to blowing.

 

TL;DR

Really the best set of PC speakers you're likely to find. Pick up a spare pack of fuses just in case though.

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