It is hard to
tell from the pictures above, but the drivers used in the
satellite and center channel speakers are constructed of
rigid paper cones, with real rubber surrounds. Rubber
surrounds are desirable because they are far more durable
than ones made of foam, that tend to become brittle and
crack relatively quickly. Visible at the center of the
speakers is something Logitech calls a "Phase Plug".
According to Logitech, these Phase Plugs help increase the
clarity of the audio output by directing sound waves from
one side of the speaker away from the other side, thus
decreasing distortion. They also claim the Phase Plug
acts as a heatsink for the primary and bucking magnets,
which helps decrease resistance when the magnets heat up
during heavy use. Lastly, Logitech claims the Phase
Plug reduces the weight of the cone itself because no dust
cover is needed, which should allow for greater sensitivity.
All of these claims seem reasonable, but it would be very
difficult to prove or refute them. Also visible are
the metal stands, which can be inverted and used as wall
mounts as well.
sub-woofer is housed in a rather large, tuned port enclosure
with the amplifier mounted directly to the rear. The
output from this sub-woofer is simply amazing considering
its size. You would never think that a single 8"
driver could push enough air to shake your walls, but that
is exactly what this sub-woofer is capable of. The
port used in this enclosure is also rather unique. It
is not a simple straight tube, but rather a curved, flared
design that helps increase bass response, without adding any
unwanted port noise. The amplifier mounted to the rear
of the sub enclosure can be considered the heart of the
unit. Visible in the shots above are the large fins on
the heat-sink used to cool the amplifier, as well as all of
connectors for the satellite speakers and control pod.
control and the control pod are the Z-680's command center.
From the remote, users can adjust sub, center channel,
surround and overall volume levels. You can also
choose the input used, and toggle through the available
effects. There is also a test button available that
was very useful, when setting the speakers up for the first
time. The test sends pink noise though all of the
channels, making it easy to verify proper speaker placement
and adjust relative volume levels. The control pod
offers all of the same controls. It is equipped with a
two-line, backlit display that shows various information
like which input is being used, the volume level and which
decoding method is currently in use. On the back of
the pod you'll find digital coax and optical inputs, and
analog inputs for front, rear and center / sub channels.
On the front of the pod, there is also a line-in jack as
well as a headphone jack. The remote and control pod
are very functional, but we do have two minor gripes.
One, the buttons on the remote and control pod should be
back-lit, and two, the control pod is bulky.
4 2.8GHz (2800MHz)
DRAGON Ultra Platinum
PC3500 Platinum DDR RAM
Western Digital 80GB 7200RPM
Lite-On 16X DVD-ROM
Standard Floppy Drive
Windows XP Professional with
VIA "Hyperion" 4-in-1 Drivers
Audigy 2 (S/PDIF Connection)
Logitech 5.1 Channel Z-680 Speaker System
Player and Winamp 2.80 (CD and MP3 Playback)
PowerDVD XP 4
Before we get to
our testing results, we have to make a very important point.
Testing speaker systems, for the most part, is a highly
subjective process. There is equipment that can be
used to test sound pressure levels, frequency response and
accuracy, but in the end what sound best to you is what's
important. Some people are partial to bright highs,
while others prefer booming bass. The best approach
when purchasing a speaker system is to head to your nearest
retailer and to listen to them for yourself. Keep in
mind though that speaker placement and even the size / shape
of the room will affect the output.
To test the
Logitech Z-680s, we used a wide variety of music, movies and
games. We listened to Enya's "A day without rain",
Eminem's "The Eminem Show" and Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits
CDs, as well as a variety of top 10 hits in MP3 format
sampled at 320kps. We watched the Star Wars: Episode
II DVD, a few episodes from the Soprano's Second Season DVD
set and we also watched the Spiderman movie. We also
did some gaming with the Z-680s using UT2003, Max Payne and
was excellent with the Logitech Z-680s. Our only
concern was that bass seemed a bit overpowering at times.
This was easily remedied, however, by lowering the subwoofer
volume, but unfortunately we found ourselves adjusting the
subwoofer volume often. Highs were crisp and clear,
but because of the single-driver, full range nature of the
satellites, highs weren't quite on the same level of the
dual-driver Klipsch ProMedia speakers I have been using for
the past few months. Vocals were reproduced very well,
and remained clear an undistorted at very low, and extremely
high volume levels.
with the Z-680s was a very pleasurable experience.
Channel separation was excellent, and the bass did not seem
nearly as overpowering as it did when listing to music.
Dialog during the Sopranos was extremely clean, and the
action sequences throughout the Spiderman movie took on a
whole new life. Watch Spiderman using your TV's
built-in speakers, and then watch it in 5.1 surround sound
and you'll understand exactly what we mean. Watching
DVDs in 5.1 surround sound is definitely the only way to go!
By far, our favorite moments when testing the Z-680s had to
be in Episode II, during the chase scene in the asteroid
belt between Jengo Fett and Obi Wan. When Jengo
unleashes those asteroid busters, I could almost feel the
experience was also top-notch. Footsteps, rocket
blasts, explosions, dialog and other ambient sound effects
were all reproduced very well, in every game we tested.
Playing UT2003 on an Audigy 2 with the Logitech Z-680s was
great. Believe it or not, I especially liked the
opening sequence in UT2003 when the six combatants are
introduced to the screaming crowd, WWE style! Of
course, the game itself is great, but there's just something
about that into! :) The sound effects in Max Payne and Quake
3 were also great. It is very tough to describe the
overall "immersion factor". Gaming in surround sound
is something that has to be experienced first-hand to be
experience with the Logitech Z-680 5.1 channel speaker
system was a very pleasurable one. The Z-680s are
arguably the best 5.1 channel speakers currently available.
As a long time owner of a set of Klipsch ProMedia's, I tend
to think the Klipsch speakers are better at reproducing high
frequencies, but the Logitech Z-680s seemed more adept at
producing internal organ shifting lows! The sub-woofer
included with the Z-680s is fantastic. The Logitech
Z-680s have more features than the Klipsch ProMedia's, and
they cost about 20% less. As of this writing the
Logitech speakers can be found for about
$280, while the Klipsch ProMedia 5.1s command about
$360. Based on their competitive price, excellent
feature set and top notch audio reproduction, we're giving
the Logitech Z-680 5.1 Channel, THX certified speaker system
9.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter, and a
coveted Editor's Choice Award. Highly Recommended.
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