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2 Logitech Speakers: Z320 and Z520

Logitech Z320

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.

UFO-like

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.

Pros

- Compact

- Innovative appearance

Cons

- Limited connectivity

- Poor definition

- Heavy coloration

Features

Center Speaker Power
N/A
Power Supply
External
Satellite / subwoofer power10 Watts / NA
Signal to Noise Ratio-
Remote Control
No
Frequency Response
70 Hz - 20 kHzConnections
headphone jack (mini-jack)

We’ve seen reasonably good entry-level speakers in the past. Unfortunately the Z320 doesn’t make the cut.

  • The_Blood_Raven
    You basically nailed it. Tom's should do a comparison with some REAL speakers.

    Budget ($100-$150):

    1. Swan DK1080 MKIIs http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php/loudspeakers/swan-active-desktop/p/swan-d1080mkii/cPath/21_24/products_id/113

    2. M-Audio AV 40s: http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studiophile-AV-Powered-Speakers/dp/B000MUXJCO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1253051315&sr=8-1

    High end ($200-$300):

    Swan M200MKIIs: http://www.theaudioinsider.com/product_info.php/loudspeakers/swan-active-desktop/p/swan-m200mkii/cPath/21_24/products_id/80

    Audioengine A2: http://www.audioengineusa.com/a2_home.php

    M-Audio BX5a: http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studiophile-Bi-amplified-Reference-Monitors/dp/B0014IEBM0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1253051315&sr=8-3

    Audiophile ($300+):

    Audioengine A5: http://www.audioengineusa.com/a5_home.php

    M-Audio BX8a: http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studiophile-130-watt-Bi-amplified-Reference/dp/B0014ID03Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1253051601&sr=8-1

    I understand how expensive and inconceivable this is, but its nice to dream.
    Reply
  • The_Blood_Raven
    Oh, I use the Swan DK1080MKIIs with my PC, I donated my BX5a speakers to my friend's band, great for studio work. I used to use some Polks with my Outlaw Audio amp, but that is now my home theater.
    Reply
  • audioee
    I use a pair of hand built prototype M&K Pro MPS-1611P 6.5" two-ways, with a real tweeter. 100 Watts to the 6.5", 50 Watts to the 1" tweeter. Maybe a bit overkill.

    MSRP...$1299 each. I got them as a Christmas gift from M&K when I worked there.

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov05/articles/mkmps1611.htm
    Reply
  • audioee
    Tom's hardware... Where is the edit function?

    MPS-1611P were $1199 MSRP.
    Reply
  • audioee
    The reason the drivers are not set up as push pull is because the drivers in the picture are tweeters... no low frequencies. I have seen this before in some speakers.

    High frequencies are very directional, and putting a tweeter on the back of a cabinet provides more reflected high frequency sound in the listening room. This, some manufacturers say, leads to a more spatial soundstage.
    Reply
  • matt87_50
    God damn it Logitech! why don't you update your digital 5.1 sets!! you brought out the z5500 5400 and 5450 (wireless rears) and they are the most popular and awesome speakers ever! you got a base 5.1 home theater for $300AUD that would kick the shit out of the base $1000 to $1500AUD home theaters from the home entertainment companies. more power and more features (all the dvd formats decoded)! they were just awesome. and how do you respond to this popularity? you discontinue the 5400s and 5450s! and leave the same 5500s in the line for like 5000 years without update!

    why don't you bring out an update to them? the only speakers of yours i've ever cared about. like maybe 7.1? with hdmi audio/decoding?? and av sync maybe?
    Reply