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Logitech Z-640 5.1 Speaker System
Reviewed by Shadrach 12.20.2003

 

Design

Mountings - A very nice design for mounting the speakers if you wish to do so.  The stands can be loosened and rotated to form a wall mounting bracket. Rubber grommets are inserted into the holes in the base that server and anti-vibration function.

satellite.JPG (84676 bytes) wallmount.JPG (38591 bytes)

Shielding - Magnetic shielding of the satellite speakers help tremendously to cut down, or eliminate electromagnetic whine that is picked up by speakers.  Electromagnetic fields are produced by all CRT monitors and is the result of electron flow to the monitor. If you have ever heard it, you will know how utterly important shielding is.  This is important mostly for the center channel that is sitting atop or in front of you monitor.

Controls - Controls perform simple functions, but when used correctly can create outstanding results. The Z-640 speaker controls are overall volume, rear volume (fader), and matrix button (which is used to simulate 5.1 sound when the source is not present), and subwoofer volume (on the rear of the subwoofer). Also included on the center channel is a headphone jack.

front.JPG (98681 bytes)

Matrix button - The matrix setting works surprisingly well. Used in conjunction with the fader, the 5.1 simulation that is created is truly incredible, but you will have to find out for yourself. However, for $79.99, you can't go wrong.

Sub-Woofers volume control - Finding the correct amount of bass is key to sound.  Too much and it sounds like your watching a movie in a thunderstorm, too little and it feels like the sound it broadcast over AM radio.  Most software does not adequately allow you to control the amount of bass that is being output by your soundcard. Having control over bass reproduction is important for high end sound. The one drawback to the Logitech design is the placement of this control.  If you put the subwoofer on the floor, you will have to go down to the subwoofer for the adjustment.  The knob should have been placed with the other controls.

spkr_frnt.jpg (93752 bytes) spkr_front2.jpg (184917 bytes) cnctors.jpg (63959 bytes) sub_rear.jpg (86866 bytes)

Headphone Jack - This simple addition to a speaker design is always welcomed by gamers. It gives a simple method to plug as opposed to plugging into the rear of the PC. Unless you have your PC sitting on your desktop with front access to the soundcard output so you can switch connections quickly, you will love the headphone jack on the speakers.  

Cabling - Cables for these speakers are easily marked for setup and lengths are very generous. The source cables that run between the PC and the center channel are long enough to compensate for and odd locations you may put the speakers. The cabling is configured to run from the PC to the center channel then feed everything back to the subwoofer for further separation to each channel. It could have been more user friendly to not require two sets of wire to run to the center channel, since the latter is rather heavy. However, this would have displaced the controls from the center channel speaker. A separate module for controls, as you see on the higher end speaker sets,  would have been a welcome addition.

wires.jpg (61616 bytes)

 wires2.jpg (37274 bytes)

One feature that was overlooked in design, is the addition of a jack to pass the microphone connection.  If you have bought a gaming headset recently, it most likely has a microphone on it with the plugs conjoined close to the end. This becomes a problem, because you cannot plug into both the speaker on your desk and the microphone output on your soundcard. Addition of a microphone pass through connection should not be long in development.

 

Sound Quality

Sound reproduction for these speakers is outstanding! Crisp, clear highs. Equally impressive midrange sound and deep thunderous lows. Clarity at high volume is another indication that the power is well matched against design. Of course a consumer must remember that you have to begin with a good basis. Speakers can not fix a poor source, and usually make it worse through amplification. So if you intend to have high quality output, refer to the next page for system requirements.

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