Logitech has done an exceptional job in recent years, growing from a computer accessories company known for mice and keyboards into a go-to multimedia audio brand. While their designs don't deliver audiophile-quality performance, or even the characteristics of such, they do provide reliable, easy-to-use solutions for the set-it-and-forget-it users who occupy a significant part of the computer and gaming market.
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The $199 (MSRP) Z-2300 provides 200 watts of total RMS Power, 80 watts RMS (2 x 40 Watts) into eight ohms at one kHz at 10 percent THD (total harmonic distortion) for the satellites and 120 watts RMS into eight ohms at 100Hz at 10 percent THD (total harmonic distortion) for the subwoofer. Logitech claims a signal to noise ratio of greater than 100dB at 1kHz and a frequency response of 35 Hz - 20 kHz (albeit with no +/- dB spec, which really tells the tale - the unit might technically play up to 20kHz, but if you can't hear it, it doesn't do much good). Buyers should keep in mind that audio specifications rarely represent real-world conditions; they merely provide a brief snapshot of a product's performance under stable conditions. Once you press "Play" and the material begins making demands on the product, the real specs usually differ.
The Z-2300 also offers THX certification, which basically means it passed a general set of specs that many designs could pass anyway without playing the politics and paying the fee to Lucasfilm. However, the badge means a lot for marketing purposes, especially in the small-speaker world of desktop audio.
The 6.75-inch tall, 3.5-inch wide and six-inch deep satellites employ a 2.5-inch polished aluminum phase plug driver with a port on top. As the single driver on the satellites, the phase plug driver must reproduce all of the high and mid frequencies before the woofer takes over. This often proves more difficult than with dual driver designs. The 11 x 11 x 15-inch (HxWxD) subwoofer employs an eight-inch long-throw woofer, also ported.
Setup and Operation
As with most Logitech products, you will find set-up easy. The Z-2300 provides an outboard wired remote control with a System Volume knob, Subwoofer Volume knob, Power LED, headphone jack and a Power/Standby button. If your source outputs via a single stereo mini-plug (as do most computers and MP3 players), simply plug the remote's 3.5mm cable into your source's audio output. If your source outputs via a pair of stereo RCA plugs, Logitech provides an adapter to convert these two plugs into a mini-plug for connection to the remote. Then plug the remote's D-SUB connector into the back of the subwoofer, making sure to line up all the pins before pushing in the plug (they can bend and break easily). After placing the two satellite speakers, connect them to the back of the subwoofer. Finally, plug the subwoofer into the wall.
After making sure your source is turned down, turn on the subwoofer's power switch. The Power LED on the remote control should light. Press "Play" on your source and you're ready to go. Use the remote's volume knob for master volume changes and its convenient subwoofer knob for bass output changes. To avoid having to turn the unit on and off via the subwoofer's rear switch, use the remote's Power/Standby button instead - much easier. The remote's headphone jack is terrific for easy headphone hook-up, automatically muting the main system while providing volume control through the master volume knob (the subwoofer volume knob is disabled). The Z-2300's relatively short hardwired cables (on both the satellites and remote) also may present a challenge during set-up and will likely limit your placement options.
The Z-2300 plays loud, which will benefit many types of material, such as movies and games. The subwoofer packs a nice punch, although the forward-firing woofer means you may have to find a location where a leg doesn't block it or the side-firing port. The subwoofer kept up with increases in the subwoofer volume knob, but at the extremes, it clipped a bit and distorted. Overall, the subwoofer provided good performance, considering the price. The overall quality of the remote's volume controls could also be improved, but when considering the price, it's hard to argue.
The satellites offered more of a mixed bag. The single driver could not reproduce the entire range of frequencies sufficiently, creating somewhat rolled-off highs and a barely acceptable midrange. A clear sonic gap existed between the satellites and the subwoofer, indicating a lower crossover point that the satellites just couldn't handle. The satellites also exhibited fairly directional characteristics, meaning that as they pointed away from the listening position, the sound degraded significantly. Keep this in mind when drawing the balance between overall sound quality, imaging and soundstaging.Read about the high points and low points of the Z-2300 on Page 2.