Two speakers, but no push-pull
Push-pull is a fairly familiar technology in the audio field, and in particular with sound systems. It’s generally used on subwoofers to reduce the overall volume of the enclosure. The concept is simple: Two speakers in opposite phase, with a closed volume between them. When one of the speaker cones moves outward, the other moves inward. Because of this, the internal volume of the enclosure remains the same and there’s no problem with port tuning as there is with a bass-reflex system. Another benefit is that the output power is increased for a given volume. The technique is fairly difficult to implement indoors because there’s often a wall behind the speaker enclosure. Here however, as you can see from the picture (it’s of the inside of the Z520, but the Z320 is the same), the two speakers are simply wired in parallel, and in fact there’s still a bass-reflex port
Logitech has used just about every possible type of design for their multimedia speaker kits. After the more angular look of the Z-5 and Z-Cinema, the latest ones are back to using curves. The first of the new crop is the Z320. To read our other speaker reviews, click here.
The shape of Z320’s enclosures is a kind of ovoid trapezoid – a somewhat bolder visual choice than with Logitech’s previous generations of speakers. Whether you like it or not is for you to decide, but it is a good way to differentiate this set from basic kits. Altec Lansing, in fact, has taken a similar approach with their new speaker lines. So your choice will have to depend partly on esthetics; but in any case the finish on this product is very good.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the connectivity on this set, which is reduced to the bare minimum: a cable with a mini-jack connector – permanently connected to the right speaker, meaning you can forget about changing it if you have a problem with length – and a headphone jack. That’s all. There’s no auxiliary input, to mention only that.
Nice concept, disappointing sound
The concept of omnidirectional sound was launched with Logitech’s Z-5 speakers, and it’s back with the Z320. But a different technique has been used here: The Z-5s used vertically-placed speakers and a diffuser cone, whereas here, two speakers are placed back to back. Not surprisingly, the results aren’t great, and for good reason. Instead of a true push-pull setup (see box), the two loudspeakers are in phase and are coupled to a bass-reflex port that adds a little to the lower end of the spectrum.
The result is sound that’s imprecise, but highly directional, with coloration clearly audible in the low midranges and around 2-3 kHz. The lows peter out quickly, too, but that’s not something you can necessarily hold against such a small pair of speakers.
The “360-degree sound” concept was an interesting one, but its realization is frankly not a big success. The Z320 isn’t a model of what small speakers can be, and earlier Logitech kits were better without being more expensive.
- Innovative appearance
- Limited connectivity
- Poor definition
- Heavy coloration
|Features||Center Speaker Power||N/A|
|Power Supply||External||Satellite / subwoofer power||10 Watts / NA|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||-||Remote Control||No|
|Frequency Response||70 Hz - 20 kHz||Connections||headphone jack (mini-jack)|
We’ve seen reasonably good entry-level speakers in the past. Unfortunately the Z320 doesn’t make the cut.