The Logitech Z523 2.1 set of desktop speakers are aimed at those who want a no frills 2.1 speaker system that doesn’t feature a range of connectivity options, onboard processing or large satellite speakers that can be hard to place in tight spaces. If that sounds like you, read on to find out how the Z523 stacks up.
Being aimed at the budget segment of the market, the Z523 has only three possible connection options. The first is a 3.5mm audio jack coming out of the right satellite speaker which also features the volume controls for the unit. The jack provides headphones with some amplification, and allows users to control the volume via the systems built-in volume control. The bass control does not affect bass reproduction when headphones are used.
This can be plugged directly into your iPod, smartphone or PC soundcard, and carries processed stereo audio signal through to the subwoofer, which splits the various parts of the signal and distributes it to the relevant speaker.
Other connectivity options include a 3.5mm auxiliary port found on the side of the right satellite speaker, and allows devices that make use of a male to male 3.5mm auxiliary cable to be used with the system.
Finally there is an auxiliary input located on the rear of the subwoofer, allowing composite cables to carry signal to the speaker system. This means that the system is compatible with CD players, gaming consoles, televisions and more that make use of composite cables to send audio signal.
There is no switch on the unit to select which auxiliary port should provide signal to the system. When multiple sources are plugged into the system, the rear auxiliary composite source takes preference.
Speaker placement is important in high end audio systems in order to achieve optimal sound quality. Logitech have however implemented what they call “360-degree sound”, installing a second set of 2-inch dome drivers in the rear of each satellite unit. This does provide a broader sound when the unit is set up in the centre of the room, though some sound reflection is present when the set is placed in front of a wall.
As for the subwoofer, the unit needs to be placed on the floor, preferably on a carpeted surface thanks to the 5.25-inch downfiring subwoofer driver. Placing the subwoofer on wooden or tiled flooring resulted in overly “boomy” bass and ruined the overall quality of the sound.
Placing the subwoofer on your desk is also off the cards as rattles and boomy bass are the only thing you’ll end up hearing.
Sound quality is average at best, though keeping in mind the price of this system, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sound quality is on par with other systems in this price range, though the bass can get a bit overwhelming, particularly at high volume.
The set doesn’t scale evenly with an increase in volume however, meaning setting the bass volume optimally for medium volume levels will result in a very bass-heavy experience at higher volume levels.
This review might carry an overly pessimistic tone which belies the worth of this system. Any of the above issues aren’t uncommon in this price bracket, and there are far worse 2.1 systems available for the same money.
As a cheap, basic set of 2.1 speakers that can be used with multiple devices; the Logitech Z523 performs admirably and shouldn’t disappoint any customers shopping in this price range.
Pros: Price; compact form factor
Cons: Some placement issues; Sound quality is average but fails to inspire