Having taken a look at many of the audio products in Logitech's multimedia speaker line, Logitech has again introduced another multimedia speaker set for gamers on a budget. It is called the X-530. The X-530 is a 5.1 speaker setup that is composed of 4 satellite speakers and a subwoofer. This speaker boasts an RMS power of 70 Watts.
Although Logitech currently has other 5.1 multimedia speakers available, this speaker set is different than the others because it contains the newly introduced FDD2 satellite technology designed by Logitech to bring bigger and better sound.
Let's find out how well this speaker set sounds compared to Logitech's higher end models such as the Z-5300.
Based on the given features and specifications below, the multimedia speakers seem to look very promising.
- FDD2 technology produces rich and uniform sound
- matching front and rear speakers to provide balanced sound
- dedicated center channel
- dynamic real-time bass equalization
- ported subwoofer design brings deeper bass
- headphone jack
- master volume control buttons on subwoofer and satellite speaker
- speakers can be easily mounted on a wall
- Sound Pressure Level: 103dB
- 70 Watts RMS
- Satellites(7.4Watts for front and rear speakers, 15.5W for center speaker)
-140 Watts Peak Power
- Satellites: 8” (H) x 2.5” (W) x 3”(D) with 2" drivers
- Subwoofer: 9”(H) x 6(W) x 9.25”(D) with 5.25" driver
What is FDD2?
FDD2 is also known as Frequency Directed Dual Driver technology. Each of the satellites contains two identical drivers. Although Logitech does not have the technical details behind the technology, basically it works by creating a uniform sound field. Conventional speakers have an uneven sound field which means that the volume levels of the sounds you hear will be different when listening at different angles. What this means is that you should be able to hear the same sounds at different angles. Overall this means better sound quality.
The speakers came in the usual box similar to other boxes we've seen in other Logitech branded speaker sets. There is the trend of displaying the the exact power of the speakers at the front of the box. The back of the box shows a nice large picture of all the speakers put right next to each other. Logitech's package box has always displayed the right information in a simple and attractive manner. Inside the box, we can expect to find the use of foam to package the speakers. Two of the satellite speakers were located at the top of the box right when I opened it. Underneath, the next layer of foam contained the rest of the speakers. There was the subwoofer and the other satellite speakers including the center channel speaker.
The package includes the usual small instruction booklet and all the necessary wires to help you get set up. Logitech has included the wires needed to connect the speakers to the sound card in your computer. Other than that, the package contained everything that was needed.
The Satellite Speakers
When seeing one of the satellite speakers for the first time, I was very impressed with the design. Each satellite speaker sports a modern black design. The satellite speakers (excluding the center speaker) stand a bit tall. Although any company can make a stylish black speaker, we now take a look at what makes this satellite speaker unique. Rather than conventionally using a grille that is placed in front of the drivers, Logitech took a different approach by integrating the grille into the speaker. There is a very thin layer of netting that tightly covers the dual drivers. You can actually see through the netting allowing you see the intimidating drivers right behind it. The 2 inch drivers are silver in the inside of cone, but has rubber on the outside of the cone. By creating the speaker this way, it removes some of the potential loss of sound when it goes through a conventional grille. With these speakers, the sound will be able to emanate more directly to you.
When looking at the back of the speaker, you will see a cord coming out from the back. Unfortunately, conventional speaker wire is not used. What that means as a result is that if the wire goes bad on a speaker, you will lose the entire speaker since the wire is not replaceable.
The base of the satellite speaker is made of plastic which is lightweight. Since the speaker is already fairly lightweight, it may topple easily with just a small tug on the wire. As an audiophile's preference, I would like Logitech to increase the weight of the base of the satellite speaker to help eliminate unwanted sounds from the vibration of the speaker itself and to give the speaker a more expensive feel to it. The front right satellite is the only speaker which has extra wires on the back because the wires are used to connect it to the sound card in your computer.
The center speaker is very similar to the satellite speakers except it has slightly more power at 15.5 Watts rather than 7.4 Watts. The center speaker sits horizontally rather than vertically. It also has dual drivers. The only other difference is that the center speaker can be tilted up and down to compensate for the listener's height.
The subwoofer is rather compact and slim, therefore it looks like it stands tall. In actuality, the subwoofer is very close to the size of a standard shoebox. The front of the subwoofer has a very small port which is where the air is redirected. The 5.25 inch driver is located on the left of the subwoofer which is behind a solid non-removable grille. The back of the subwoofer is where all the connections are made. There are connections for each channel of the speaker. There is also a volume knob to control the volume of the subwoofer directly. The subwoofer is powered with the attached AC plug which is integrated with the subwoofer.
Installation of these speakers was very easy. The installation of many multimedia speakers these days is so simple, that it really should no longer be considered a complicated issue. I'm glad that the manufacturers have mastered this part. To install these speakers, you will have to note the color of the plug connected to each satellite speaker. Then you match each colored plug with the color on the back of the subwoofer. Even though the back of the satellite speakers themselves are not labeled indicating where it should go, you can't go wrong matching the colors. Once you have all the speakers in place, you just have to plug the AC cord from the subwoofer to an outlet. Don't forget to connect the wires from the front right satellite to your computer to make the connection.
I tested these speakers with my Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 sound card. Based on my overall experience, these speakers were extremely clear. With the FDD2 technology in place, I was very surprised at the clarity of these speakers. Subtle sounds in games, music, and movies were more easily heard. When I placed the speakers appropriately in a 5.1 configuration, gaming was incredible. Equipped with my Sound Blaster Live! card, I could easily distinguish the direction of sounds and where they were coming from. When playing one of my favorite Half-Life mods, Natural Selection, the bullets shot from my gun were precise and clear.
The subwoofer is the part of the system I would really like to commend Logitech for. From the shoebox size sub, I had expected poor bass and response. I was blown away at how much bass this extremely small sub could produce. Unlike the other budget speakers that Logitech offers, Logitech was able to bring their signature 'thump' from the Z-5300 and Z-680 speakers to their budget X-530 series speakers. The gun shots in Natural Selection had the same 'thump' and bass that I had grown used to with the Z-5300. I was simply impressed!
When playing Doom 3, the directional sound worked just as well. Again, the bass did not give up easily and provided satisfying sounds. This subwoofer will certainly please those looking for budget speakers that are interested in gaming and for those who like to listen to music heavy in bass.
Although the subwoofer had bass that rivaled the Z-5300 at moderate volumes (the bass knob on the X-530 subwoofer was turned all the way up), it is obvious that the small size of the subwoofer does prevent it from doing much lower bass sounds. Since the subwoofer on the Z-5300 is much bigger, by nature it can produce deeper sounds. I am still certainly impressed that the bass can go from 40HZ-20kHZ which is only 5HZ different from the Z-5300 which goes from 35Hz-20kHz. With the automatic equalization built in the subwoofer, there was very minimal distortion at the highest volume levels.
When playing music using Windows Media Player 10, I did notice that the music would only play on 4 of the satellite speakers. The center channel was absent of sound when playing my MP3 files. I would like to see Logitech integrate the matrix effect into these speakers to allow music lovers to be able to hear their music in the important center channel as well.
The volume control on the satellite speaker is very accessible. This is where you can also turn the power on and off as well as plug in your headphones if necessary. As a 5.1 speaker system, I would very much prefer the volume control to be accessible via a remote just like the Z-5300 speakers.
With the style and clarity of these speakers, I have found it difficult to go back to the Z-5300 speakers that I have been using. These speakers are very compact, especially the subwoofer. The small sizes of the speakers makes it ideal for those who have limited desk space or for those college students who are on the move. These speakers are simply superb for gaming, music, and movies. The only thing these speakers lack is the power of the Z-5300 which is capable of up to 230 Watts RMS. I would like to see Logitech include this technology in their higher end speakers. At the price of $79.99, these speakers are definitely worth the money. I would say that the quality of these speakers are excellent for those purchasing their first 5.1 multimedia speaker system or for those who want the clarity that are present in Logitech's higher end models but just can't afford them. I really could not really find anything wrong with these speakers for the price you are paying. Yes, the subwoofer doesn't have the depth of bass that the Z-5300 or Z-680's but it does come close. I have reviewed quite a few budget 5.1 multimedia speaker systems, and I would have to say that this stands above the rest!
Get more value for your money by having the best subwoofers compliment your surround sound speakers system.