It seems to be a common problem with modern televisions that the built in speakers are sub standard and offer inadequate audio quality and volume to accompany the high resolution images of HD screens.
With traditional surround sound systems often retailing close to the price of a television itself, what options remain for the budget conscious consumer seeking to boost their entertainment audio experience?
Logitech produces a line of speaker systems aimed squarely at this consumer market, with a range of models suitable for computer desks up to small or medium-sized lounges.
The Z506 Speaker system falls into the latter bracket, and features 5.1 surround sound via 5 satellite speakers and a small subwoofer.
The satellite speakers are constructed from plastic, but are of fairly good quality and aesthetic design; including a nifty tilting base feature for the centre speaker should you opt to mount it underneath your TV. Connecting the system is very easy; with each speaker having its own colour coded audio plug and socket on the back of the sub unit. The right front speaker houses a volume control for the overall system along with a headphone jack. The bass control can be found on the back of the subwoofer, which is a minor gripe, because if you have the sub housed in a cabinet it would make pulling it out to adjust the bass levels an annoying task. Some other Logitech models feature a separate control pod with both volume and bass adjustment knobs, which is a far better system in my opinion.
One of the problems that I came across when installing the system was where to physically situate the surround speakers. The system does not come with any stands or mounting options, and unless you happen to have a shelving unit or other surface coincidentally in the right spot, you might need to source some stands and possibly extension audio cables to accommodate these speakers in your desired location.
At the end of the day, as with all audio systems, it comes down to the quality of the sound. In this respect, the Z506’s price point does show some of its drawbacks. While volume is not an issue – the system is certainly capable of exceeding most users’ decibel requirements – the small size of the speakers occasionally left me feeling that the depth of sound was lacking, even with the dedicated subwoofer turned up. With the design of the subwoofer being downwards firing, it may be more effective on a hard wooden floor than the carpet I tested it on.
While the 5.1 surround is a nice immersion, I can’t say that it provided a better audio experience than perhaps a higher quality 2.1 system with a larger subwoofer in my slightly smaller than average lounge. In the end, it will largely come down to personal preference, the user’s setup requirements and, most importantly, the entertainment space being used.
Nice design and finish.
Great price point.
Easy to set up.
No way to adjust volume or balance of individual speakers.
Bass adjustment is on the back of the Subwoofer.
Sound quality not as deep as more expensive systems.
Like all surround sound systems, placement of speakers can be problematic depending on your entertainment area layout.
All in all, the Logitech Z506 is a great speaker system for the price. However, the price does reflect the sound quality and while there is nothing to complain about for everyday TV or gaming use, those users seeking a ground shaking cinematic experience might be better investing in a higher level system. Users who have limited space might also want to look at Logitech’s line-up of 2.1 Speaker options.