Logitech Z506 Speaker Review 2020
Audiophiles are quick to mention the umpteen flavors of Dolby, but at the chance of oversimplifying things a tad, there are simply three types of surround sound today — each easily discovered by their plug. Virtual surround uses just simple stereo jacks, emulating multiple channels from two, while digital surround travels across optical or coaxial S/PDIF cables (or HDMI) and should be decoded. Finally, there’s analog surround sound — the least expensive solution of most — where you simply plug some dumb speakers into each of front, rear and center 3.5mm sockets on your own existing PC sound card. Unsurprisingly, the $100 Logitech Z506 speakers utilize this last strategy to deliver their true 5.1 sound, but that’s no reason to count them out. The question is, do they deliver enough bang, boom and tweet for the buck? Continue reading to find out.
Hardware and set-up
Honestly, the Z506 is definately not the business’s first analog surround sound package — it replaces the similar X-540 setup from 2006, that was itself a upgrade of the $80 Logitech X-530 from 2004 — but it’s clear the business paid a lttle bit more focus on aesthetics this time around round. Where both previous packages were fairly symmetrical, boxy (regarding the X-540) and had stands that jutted out, each one of the Z506’s satellites have a space-age elliptical design with gentle oblong curves. Here, the two-inch drivers aren’t included in metal grates, but instead gently protected by thin, springy mesh nets, and rather than two per satellite, each has one driver and a tiny tweeter — aside from the center, that includes a couple of eyeballs that joyously remind us of Wall-E. We’re also a major fan of the quantity dial, when you can think that, as it’s smooth as could be — just light enough to carefully turn with an individual finger, but nonetheless enough resistance that people could change the quantity in fine increments. Yes, it’s a fairly handsome looking package, in general… but before you get too excited, understand that it’s a much less flexible one.
Establishing the Z506 actually takes less time than setting it up out of your box, because every cable and port is color-coded — just plug in four speakers as well as your sound sources in to the back of the subwoofer, and you’re done — but that’s assuming you don’t need to rearrange your complete room to set everything up. You see, as the X-540 had a wired remote with the controls plus adjustable stands that enable you to hang satellites on a wall, the Z506 puts the quantity control on the proper speaker, the bass control on the sub, and has zero place for wall supports. This implies you will have to have leading speakers and subwoofer on your own desk and within arm’s reach if you wish any control, and somehow also find flat surfaces immediately behind your desk aswell — if not move furniture around. Thankfully, the guts satellite still includes a clever folding mechanism that clamps onto an LCD monitor easily. A unitary connectivity advantage over the X-540 will come in the condition of two new RCA jacks to hook up an auxiliary audio tracks source such as a game console, but even this upside includes a down — whatever you plug in is automatically virtualized across all five speakers, whereas the X-540 enable you to control “Matrix Mode” with a button on the remote. We don’t really expect digital surround in this cost range (though it’d be nice if Logitech didn’t even advise the machine could do 5.1 from game consoles and so on) but we can not hide our disappointment at Logitech’s backward decisions here.
For all our gripes about the important features Logitech took away, a very important factor that hasn’t changed may be the stellar sound. As the Z506 satellites didn’t quite match with this aging Boston Acoustics BA7500 whenever we set them side-by-side — the latter making slightly clearer and richer sound — we didn’t really expect them to, plus they came close enough for the purchase price that people were honestly quite amazed. 75 watts of RMS power was enough to fill a bedroom with audio tracks and plenty to spare — we often found our tunes were loud enough to find the full effect at 50 percent volume. Although subwoofer didn’t quite shake the area from its perch on our desk, there is definitely a good little bit of bass — we’re able to definitely start to see the kit pumping jams at a tiny house party in the event that’s your thing — but of course, the machine truly shines in surround sound movies, concerts and games.
The sensation of immersion in Hero’s guqin courtyard fight scene was fantastic, with raindrops hitting the pavement throughout, and we felt every bullet whiz by during Neo’s infamous bullet dodge in The Matrix because of punchy front and rear sound. Solitary singers came through high and clear in leading and center channels, their words reverberating off the auditorium walls behind us, while orchestral pieces and applause shared leading but with a welcome rear bias. Tossing flaming barrels with this Half-Life 2 gravity gun, than quickly turning away, we’re able to easily tell by audio tracks alone where direction they’d exploded, and the worlds of Mass Effect 2 took on an unbelievable sense of immediacy with futuristic advertisements and alien conversations bombarding our ears from all directions simultaneously. Basically: surround sound kicks ass, and these speakers are great boots.
If you have never experienced true 5.1 surround sound, have an able sound card as well as your content mainly resides on your computer, the $100 Logitech Z506 certainly are a fantastic introduction, but we can not honestly recommend them over the business’s far-more flexible X-540 set — the evident choice at the $90 you can presently see them for. With regards to analog surround sound, anyone can attach several sets of quality two-channel speakers to have a similar effect, therefore the onus is on Logitech to create combo 5.1 packages such as this simple to use and create. We’re mystified why the firm would ever introduce a package with less bang for the buck.