While PC system manufacturers have routinely included speakers as part of the package, the quality and reliability of the provided audio units has been spotty at best. Those who desire a more robust, fulfilling sound and those of us in the DIY sector feel the need to upgrade those components. Your choice of acoustical accessory will depend on your needs, your space restrictions, and your wallet.
The audiophile among us may opt for the full blown 7.1, studio quality Klipsch or even the ever popular 5.1 surround sound from a variety of vendors. Others, like me, are bound by our particular work arrangements to no more than the 2.1 arena. For the uninitiated, the designation of 2.1, 5.1, 7.1 etc. describes the number of speakers and their respective types. The first number corresponds to the number of satellite, i.e. smaller, speakers in the setup. The number after the period refers to the woofer or bass unit. This is the largest of the speakers and provides that resounding thump that rattles your teeth and awakens the neighbors from their slumber.
Resting proudly around my throne today I have the Logitech Z-3 2.1 speaker system. I would like to thank Logitech for sending these to us for review. They have always been very responsive to product reviews; an extremely desirable trait in a manufacturer. I believe this shows their commitment to the customer. As you can see from the pictures, this is an attractive system that one would have no qualms displaying for all the world to see.
In the pictures below you can see the shipping carton and packaging that Logitech provides for the system. A very sturdy method of delivery that exudes confidence that you will receive the speakers in good working order. You will notice that each component has its own tight fitting, Styrofoam compartment to reduce shifting during transportation. Also, each separate piece is surrounded by plastic to eliminate scratches and scuffs.
Assembly is about as easy as it can be. The satellite speakers are connected to each other and the remote by a single cable which is inserted into the proper receptacle on the rear of the woofer. The power cord exits the woofer and is plugged into you outlet or power strip. A single cable plugs into the line in on your sound card or onboard sound and you are done. A few comments about this setup are required, I believe. The first is the length of the cabling. You are very restricted on how far apart you can place the satellite speakers from each other because of the single line design connecting them with the remote. Similarly, this also restricts the placement of the remote to somewhere in close proximity to the satellites. For me, utilizing a roll-top desk, this is not a large problem because of my space restrictions. For others, this could require some reorganization of their workspace. This is one area that Logitech needs to improve on this system. Another area of concern is the placement of the woofer volume control. It is placed on the rear of the box. If you are contemplating placing the woofer under a desk, for instance, adjusting the volume on the woofer is a bit of a pain in the posterior. Make note that the Z-640 speakers have the same setup. It is a catch-22 situation, though. Placement of the control on the front would facilitate ease of use, but would also detract from the aesthetics of the system.