Those of us who enjoy the heart pounding action of tactical games have lately been engulfed in the search for that perfect set of speakers. Speakers that will leave you quivering in anticipation to hear the dredging of feet approaching behind you; while you conceal yourself in the darkness grasping your MP5 Navy, HE grenade and Black Hawk ready for action.
The importance of clarity, bass, and rich surround sound to today’s gamer is most comparable to that of a surgeon and his scalpel. It is one of our tools, one of our extremities; encased in black plastic, adorned with a cloth grill, aluminum base and an easily accessible volume control (so you don’t wake the baby in the loudness of your firefights). Logitech claims they have the answer to OUR needs with their affordable surround sound set, the Z-640. I wonder if they will cut the mustard, or the cheese for that matter.
Enclosed in this green and white box I am staring at in the middle of my kitchen floor is a 12″ subwoofer that pounds 25.7 watts of bass through you and 5 satellite speakers that will deliver 45.5 Watts (2x 7.3w Front; 2x 7.3w Rear; and 16.3w Center) of bullets whizzing by your ear, even though they are in the box, I can imaging the sounds of my Black Hawk ripping through someone’s Kevlar, and my girlfriend yelling in the background for me to lower the volume. But I can’t, I need the sound, I need the clicks and swishes surrounding me in a whirlwind of very LOUD fire fights… I will not succumb to the daemons of half rated pc speakers.
Okay, let me get back on track here… the speakers are packed very well; there has obviously been some great effort in the packaging because there was a great effort in me unpacking them. The box is laid out fairly simple, up top you have your 3 satellite speakers and below is the rest. The first thing I noticed while pulling everything out is that the satellites use a color coded RCA like system, which makes connections VERY easy. I was a bit confused about the connection for the middle speaker; it uses a 15 pin connector, but if it works, I don’t really care how it is connected.
The center channel speaker is your control center, so to speak, it integrates the power button, volume control, fader, center speaker volume, matrix, and a much appreciated headphone jack. Remember the part with the girlfriend yelling, not anymore… Late at night I can easily plug my headphones into the center channel speaker instead of pulling my computer out, unplugging everything, plugging in my headphones, putting my computer back, playing, and then doing the process in reverse for tomorrow. I would have loved to have seen an integrated microphone port on the center channel speaker too for us gamers (if you don’t know what I mean, you don’t play HARD).
What is the Matrix – The matrix option is something for those who do not have the support for 5.1 speakers systems. To create an effect where all speakers are working, the matrix combines the center channel speaker with the front left and right speakers.
I am going to be honest with you here, I wasn’t expecting too much from a set of speakers in the sub $100.00 range. I have been under the impression at times that cheap means cheap, but I was wrong in prejudging these before using them. I am thoroughly impressed with the clarity of sound these speakers are capable of. Even at higher volumes with the bass on the subwoofer turned all the way up, I don’t get any rattle or distortion.
Music is a pleasure to listen to with this set of speakers. The bass is deep and rich with no rattle, and you can hear the high’s better than on most speaker systems. For instance, when you are listening to a song, you know the drummer is hitting symbols, right? Well, on these, you can actually hear them clearly, and I can differentiate this sound in these speakers from the other set of 5.1’s I have.
One thing that people tend to forget is that most mp3’s and wav’s are do not support surround sound, they are two dimensional. In order to gain surround sound from straight audio, it has to be recorded a certain way. This method is not usually used when we rip our CD’s to mp3.
Movies are the second most important reason for having surround sound in full effect. This is one of the only other environment one can take advantage of surround sound outside of gaming. The improvement of sound clarity aids in making our movie watching experience that much better. With the Logitech’s we don’t lose anything, we are encompassed and engulfed in the movie as if we were sitting in a theatre.
I watched 5 movies just to test these speakers, because of my small library of DVD’s, my choices were limited. The movies I used to test were as follows: Donnie Brasco, Goodfellas, Drunken Master, Snatch, and Nothing to Lose. Now, you may be wondering why I chose these as opposed to some movie by George Lucas. Well, its simple really, I wanted to see if I can hear people tinkering with spoons in the background, or a guy rustling his newspaper in the diner. You get the point. The answer: You Can!!
I have noticed with other competitor’s speakers systems currently on the market, which I own, when my cell phone is ringing I get a loud and annoying buzzing noise emitted from my speakers. This is because the cables are not shielded. Guess what folks; this isn’t so with the Logitech’s because the cables used are shielded coax. I have a minor complaint with regards to the length of the wires though; the rear speaker wires just aren’t that long. The wires only span the length of 4 meters. So the wall mount option is limited, but there are extensions available.
So what is my final verdict you ask? I am stuck in a corner, in the middle of TO-Scope near the stairs, I have 18 left in this clip, 3 more clips, 1 full Glock, and a flash bang, listening to the SWAT guy on the second floor making his way down the stairs. I crawl so he cannot hear my movements, I am behind him now. MP5 ready, I pull the trigger and suddenly swarmed by 3 more SWAT. What am I hearing all this on from now on? Logitech’s z640 speakers, sorry Creative Inspiron, you have been replaced.