The good: Powerful, crisp sound; Dolby Digital, DTS, DTS 96/24, and PCM 96/24 decoder; wireless remote control; coaxial and optical digital ins; headphone jack.
The bad: Expensive; the sub could sound tighter.
The bottom line: A versatile set of high-end 5.1 speakers, Logitech's newest flagship will handle with near-perfect quality as many audio sources as you can throw at it.
Review: Logitech's latest flagship offering, the Z-5500 5.1 Digital speaker set, is an updated version of the excellent Z-680, with new styling and a few performance upgrades. The Z-5500 Digital set ($399.95) includes four satellite speakers, a center-channel speaker, a mammoth subwoofer, a wireless remote control, and a swank control module with both analog and digital inputs, all of which amounts to a package that should keep Logitech at the top of its game.
The Z-5500 Digital's control module incorporates Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS, and DTS 96/24 processing, facilitating direct connection to DVD ... Expand full review
Logitech's latest flagship offering, the Z-5500 5.1 Digital speaker set, is an updated version of the excellent Z-680, with new styling and a few performance upgrades. The Z-5500 Digital set ($399.95) includes four satellite speakers, a center-channel speaker, a mammoth subwoofer, a wireless remote control, and a swank control module with both analog and digital inputs, all of which amounts to a package that should keep Logitech at the top of its game.
The Z-5500 Digital's control module incorporates Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS, and DTS 96/24 processing, facilitating direct connection to DVD players and game consoles without using an A/V receiver. You may, however, require an adapter to add digital outputs to your game console.
Measuring 9 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide, the control module includes a tabletop stand. The unit has a backlit, two-line text display and six buttons that make it easy to configure settings. A big, easy-to-find silver knob makes it easy to adjust the volume without looking away from your monitor. Despite its small size, the well-designed remote lets you control almost all of the system's features.
The Logitech Z-5500 Digital has an impressive assortment of jacks that allow you to connect up to six source devices simultaneously. The control module's rear panel boasts optical and coaxial digital-audio inputs as well as three 1/8-inch analog minijack inputs. You can configure the three minijacks as a group to connect a 5.1-channel PC sound card or independently to connect up to three separate stereo sources. The control module's side panel hosts a 1/8-inch headphone output and a 1/8-inch auxiliary input for playing a device such as an iPod. We've seen home audio receivers with fewer inputs--a testament to the flexibility of this setup.
All four of the identical satellite speakers and the matching (though horizontally oriented) center speaker include desk stands that swivel and conveniently convert into wall mounts. Each of the speakers incorporates a single 3-inch driver as opposed to the dual-driver, two-way designs employed by Klipsch's competing ProMedia Ultra 5.1 system, but performance doesn't suffer.
The Logitech Z5500 5.1-channel computer speaker setup required a bit more effort to install because it includes four satellite speakers, a center speaker and a subwoofer. Ideally, the speakers should be mounted on the wall or at ear level -- two satellite speakers in front to the right and left, two satellites behind you and to the right and left sides -- and the center channel either on the wall directly in front or mounted on top of your computer screen. The subwoofer can go on the floor, usually under your desk. You'll have to contend with wires snaking around the room to each speaker. Some people run the wires up and along the ceiling, while others run them along the baseboards.
Among 5.1-channel computer speaker systems, the Logitech z5500 speaker consistently scores excellent ratings in reviews. At Maximum PC magazine, editors croon over its "hair raising, soul crushing power" and say the speakers deliver "killer treble and midrange." Brandon King at DigitalTrends.com reports on his use of these speakers for over a year on a daily basis: "From thumping techno to soft vocal and jazz tunes, we were always pleased with the results," he says. "The sound signature is accurate, clear, crisp and expansive."
Other reviewers are more reserved. Although Don Labriola of PCMag.com agrees with others that the Logitech Z-5500 can attain "frighteningly high volume levels and gut-thumping bass," he was dissatisfied with the balance between the ranges because bass can overpower mid and high frequencies. At GoodGearGuide.com, Andrew Kliem also noticed this and writes "[w]hen songs by Ben Folds and Tori Amos start to sound bass heavy you know there's a problem." King managed to correct this with equalizer (EQ) settings, but if you're not into games or bass-heavy music, it's something to keep in mind.
One curious complaint voiced by owners of the logitech z5500 speaker is interference from other electrical devices on the same circuit as the speakers. Even turning lights on and off can produce popping noises, reports say. One user reported interference from a washer and dryer. Logitech recommends plugging the speaker system into its own circuit, but users grumble that no other speakers they've owned had any such problems.
The Logitech Z-5500 PC speaker system is THX-certified, meaning it conforms to the digital sound standard established by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. This six-piece speaker system has 505 watts of total power and has processing circuitry that can create realistic surround sound from two-channel (stereo) sources. There's a handy wireless remote, and the Z-5500 also includes coaxial and optical digital inputs; that's useful for connecting to a video game console or to home theater components, such as DVD or CD player, but optical and/or coaxial digital outputs are also found on some sound cards.
The lower-priced Logitech G51 also gets some positive attention from experts. Jamie Lendino of PCMag.com gives it a general thumbs up, stating that although it doesn't match the Logitech Z-5500's sonic accuracy, its 155 watts is powerful enough for gamers and movie buffs on a budget. Reviewers are fairly unanimous that this speaker system rocks for gaming and movies due to its surround-sound capabilities.
Music, though, doesn't fare so well. At TechTree.com, Frazier Barretto says highs and lows don't perform well when volume is pushed beyond 60 to 70 percent. Most reviewers are unimpressed with the Matrix (surround sound) settings for
In One Word... Astonishing
I think i'll take this professionally:
The speakers come in one very large box approximately 100x60x60cm (LxWxH) and has carrying handles on each side, and quite easy to move about, but it takes two people if you're taking them upstairs.
Everything is well packed, the sub being surrounded by polystyrene and a big plastic bag.
In a separate internal box are the other satellite speakers, control pod and instructions (multiple languages, good diagrams).
Moving the sub into place is quite easy, as so are the other satellite speakers. The centre channel lies on it's side on a tilting stand, while each other speaker can sit on a flat surface or can be wall mounted by swiveling the stands 180 degrees.
Each of the speakers uses the classic red-black wire combo to connect to the amp on the back of rhe sub, but are not colour coded for each channel.
The cables are 5m and 7m long i think, and i had to ravel mine up behind the tv as some were too long.
The cable for the control pod is about 2m, but i struggled finding a place for it on my desk, it's bigger than i thought, being bigger than a satellite speaker.
However, all audio cables go to the control pod, and then to the sub, then other speakers, reducing the clutter on your desk or wherever you put the control pod.
The speakers can accept:
-6 channel direct PC input (most built-in pc sound cards)
-digital optical input (toslink)
The 6ch supports Dolby digital and 5.1 emulation from your pc, working with my Realtek software on my PC.
The Digital output works out-of-the-box with an xbox 360 elite, but a standard xbox may need a separate HDMI and Audio kit. Also, you could just use an optical out if your TV has one.
---Ease Of Use---:
The system has a very large volume dial on the front, also showing what level it is at.
The screen on the control pod shows what effect is being used on the audio (e.g. music or Movie or just 2xstereo)
There are also 5 buttons:
Input, effect, settings, level, and mute.
the surrond, sub, and centre can be changed separately and you can also set difference levels between digital and analogue inputs to stop volume change.
The system comes with a remote which allows for volume control, muting, changing of audio levels, and input selection, as well as the standby.
The quality of audio from this system is simply amazing. It allows me to hear sounds in music that i had previously never heard, and the bass is a lot better than i expected, though you may have to turn the sub down if you live in a terraced or semi-detatched house, as i nearly got a noise violation order at 3/4 volume. But nonetheless, this doesn't stop me from turning it up at the weekends.
Surprisingly, the system can handle clipped signals very well, and the slow blow fuse will stop any major damage to the system.
Also, ther is NO BASS DISTORTION AT ALL compared to other pc surround sound systems i have used.
The system is easy to use, well packaged and by far the best i have ever used. I recommend this to anyone who likes high-quality audio products and is easily worth it's price tag. 5/5
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
z-5500 PC and SKY use.
I had logitechs x-530 connected to my pc, which i liked but I was annoyed I couldn't get the 5.1 optical out of my games console/skybox into them. So I bought this as it has optical and coaxal in, as well as the jacks for the computer. As far as I know this is one of the few options to do this as there are few PC sound cards with 5.1 optical or coaxal out.
First thing to keep in mind is the subwoofer is BIG and heavey. Approx 33 34 39 cm.
A good feature is you can choose what the speakers do with the sound input. Stereo, stereo x2, 6 channel direct, PL II movie and PL II music. These depend on what source you'r using. You can have 6 channel direct for the PC, and PL II movie for your dvd player/skybox.
I was very pleased with the PL II music. Plugged my mp3 player into the special audio jack in designed for the purpose [next to the headphones jack]. Great to hear the stereo sound converted to 5.1 bouncing around my room.
I found the rear speaker cables could've been longer. I believe I read that the front and center cables are 5 meters and the rear are 10 meters long, but don't take my word on that. The cabling is the new red and black HD stuff. Don't know what it's called.
Included was a optical toslink cable and the three colour coordinated 3.5mm jacks for the PC.
Jokingly, a negative is they are too loud. I'd love to crank them all the way up, and then further into the booster settings but i don't think my neighbours would be happy when their homes start shaking.
You can individualy control the subwoofer, center, surround speaker volume and the volume in general. Wish the rear speakers could be controlled seperately from the front, but you can't have everything.
Right now I'm trying to work out if I can get my sky remote to control this setup. Wish me luck.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Logitech z-5500 5.1 speakers: Why you should have them.
It is firstly important to take into account the sheer size of this system, especially the sub woofer which is truly enormous and unsurprisingly heavy as a result. This limits where you can place it. On one hand you wish to place the sub woofer in the corner to achieve the best sound, this is complicated, however, by the fact that the unit requires direct connectivity to the 'control hub' by leads which are, quite frankly too short. Furthermore, the fact that the sub cannot be within 1 meter of another electrical item further complicates the matter of where to place it. I tried to place it under the bed, however, the sheer size of it prevented me from doing this.
However, the 'control unit' is a nice addition and allows you to control the overall system volume as well as the volumes of the sub, the centre and the rear speakers. This is done via a dial which adds to the professionalism of the system giving it the pro-audio look.
As for the build quality of the speakers, they are amazing. Although bigger than anticipated, they are built to last and are shipped, not with complicated cables which limit where you can place the speakers, but with generic audio-wire which means if one isn't long enough, you can simply buy more and extend it.
The system also has handy features, the wireless remote control for example, although not up to par with the rest of the system (for it is rather small and simple), is perfectly adequate at letting you control the system at the convenience of not having to move a muscle. Also the optical port, which allows a fibre-optic cable to be plugged into the system, is a must for either the intensive gamer or music buff. There is also an input for ipods and other music players (although the cable is not included)
Most importantly, the sound quality. It is a common misconception that more watts means a better system. This is not the case for this system though. At 1000 watts there is enough power to have the police ringing on your doorbell. Furthermore the sound quality is by far the best I have heard on a system of this price range. It is comparable to a theatre-quality surround system, but at a fraction of the price. The volume produced is truly one that has to be heard to be believed suffice to say that at 75% I could no longer hear myself (or others) talking and the shelves vibrated so much the DVDs fell over. At this point it is also important to mention the max-volume of this system is not 100%. No, this powerhouse has an overdrive system which allows you to crank the volume up to 150%. Useful if you have some audio that is quiet, or if you want to play drum and bass so loud the town can join in too.
Overall, if you have the money, then this is by far the best speaker set you can buy on the market at the moment as it is perfect for either a desktop-Pc or gaming system or home-theatre system.
I rate it: 94%
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.