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368 of 381 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional sound and design
I own several PC speaker systems that have a manufacturer's suggested retail price in the same ballpark as Logitech's Z523 system. (I also own several traditional stereo systems for use with stereo amplifiers; I've been kind of a speaker addict since my late teens.) To my ears, as well as to my eyes and hands - in other words in terms of sound quality, visual design,...
Published on September 23, 2009 by Jim

versus
103 of 127 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Real disappointing for music
I ordered these based on the generally positive reviews and had great expectations for them. I was replacing a pair of Cyber Acoustics speakers that cost much less than these, so surely these would sound better! In my opinion, they don't. In fact, I think they sound so bad that I was starting to wonder if I had done something wrong installing them, but it's pretty...
Published on November 25, 2009 by Tim Michaels


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368 of 381 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional sound and design, September 23, 2009
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I own several PC speaker systems that have a manufacturer's suggested retail price in the same ballpark as Logitech's Z523 system. (I also own several traditional stereo systems for use with stereo amplifiers; I've been kind of a speaker addict since my late teens.) To my ears, as well as to my eyes and hands - in other words in terms of sound quality, visual design, practical hands-on use/user-friendliness, and sturdiness of build - the Z523 system makes all the other PC speakers I own obsolete. If you want to know specifically what I am comparing the Z523 with, here is a list of the other PC speakers I own that are in the same price range as the Z523 system (in case some readers don't know what 2.0, etc., means in this context, a 2.0 system is one with two front speakers, one left, one right; a 2.1 system adds a third component, that being a sub-woofer; Altec Lansing uses 2.2 to refer to a system they developed that has two front speakers each with a built-in down-firing sub-woofer): Creative GigaWorks T20 2.0 system, Creative GigaWorks HD50 2.0 system, Altec Lansing Expressionist Bass 2.2 system, Altec Lansing Expressionist Classic 2.0 system, Altec Lansing Expressionist Plus 2.1 system.

With the exception of the Altec Lansing Expressionist Plus system, I can turn the bass all the way up on the aforementioned systems and sometimes feel that I wish I could turn it up even more. When I have the bass at the maximum level on the Expressionist Plus system I don't necessarily want more bass, but some folks might, and if that were the case, they couldn't get it.

In contrast, I cannot imagine ever wanting to turn the bass control knob on the Z523 system to the maximum level. The knob, which is conveniently located on the lower right front of the right speaker, starts at the 7 o'clock position and stops when turned clockwise at the 5 o'clock position. With rock, pop, and classical music, as well as with "instant watch" movies streamed from Netflix, I do not feel a need to turn the bass past the 10 or at most the 11 o'clock position. This means that there is a lot more bass to be had should I ever want it.

While I love the sound of the Altec Lansing Expressionist Plus 2.1 system, not only does the overall sound quality of the Z523 system surpass it, but the Z523 system has a much more user-friendly design. The bass control and power on/off knob (power for the whole system) on the former is on the sub-woofer, which means that if the sub-woofer is on the floor (and it's really too wide to be put anywhere else), the user must either operate it with her foot or she must bend or get down on the floor (e.g., crawl under a desk). With the Z523 system, once the sub-woofer is where the user wants it (e.g., on the floor under a desk and out of the way of feet, etc.), the power, volume, and bass level for the entire system can be controlled via two knobs on the right front speaker.

I assumed (as I did in my review of the Altec Lansing Expressionist Plus system) that instead of placing a down-firing sub-woofer above a carpeted surface, it would be better sound-wise to put a piece of wood under it. I apparently assumed wrong. I emailed Logitech about this, my email was forwarded to the Product Manager for the speakers in question, and in his (very quick) response, he said, "from a practical standpoint it really doesn't matter the surface the sub sits on - as long as we're not talking 3" shag carpet that's significantly decreasing the space between the bottom of the sub and the carpet." And so I removed the piece of wood that I had placed under the sub-woofer, and I could hear no difference in sound quality, certainly no deterioration. The Product Manager also said, "low frequency sound coming from the sub is non directional so as long as the airflow isn't materially reduced you won't notice any affect on the sound." As far as my ears can tell, he is right.

In addition to being tapered so that they sit on wide bottoms which make it more difficult for them to accidentally tip over (I've knocked over the Creative T20s a number of times, sometimes just by slightly bumping the desk or table they were sitting on), the Z523 speakers have metal grills on their fronts and backs. This means that if I do knock a speaker over or if I should clumsily poke a speaker with a finger or some object, the speakers are well-protected. All of the other speakers listed above have only soft protection, which is no protection at all, over the speakers. (As another reviewer of the Z523 system notes, the down-firing sub-woofer itself is fully exposed, and if one isn't careful one could manage to poke a finger through it when removing it from the carton.)

The Z523 system is billed as a 360-degree or "omnidirectional acoustics" sound system, and indeed it is. I have the system set up in a room that runs 17' by a little over 30' (a living room with a dine-in kitchen off of it separated only by a sofa). I have the sub-woofer on the (carpeted) floor, and the speakers on a card table where I do a lot of work on a laptop. Before I had the Z523, when I moved from my chair in front of the laptop to a place behind it, such as the sofa or the kitchen, I would turn whatever speakers I had on the card table around so they would continue to face me (assuming I was listening to them). With the Z523 360-degree sound system, it is not necessary for me to turn the speakers around, and they sound as good from behind them as they do from in front of them. This is because they have speakers facing both the front and rear.

I think it worth mentioning that the power cord for the system comes out of the back of the sub-woofer, and thus there is no power brick to deal with, and what plugs into your wall outlet or power strip is just a standard-sized two-prong plug. When the system is turned off (by turning the upper knob on the right hand speaker counterclockwise till it clicks and the light goes out), there is no little light that stays on anywhere on the system. All the other PC speaker systems I own have power bricks that have little lights on them that stay lit whether the system is on or off. I should also mention that the light on the Z523 power knob is, unlike, say, the overly bright light on the Creative T20 system, not the kind of light that you may want to cover with black tape.

The Altec Lansing Expressionist Plus system, which is the best comparison with the Z523 system of the systems I own, has a rating if 33 Watts RMS, while the Z523 system has a rating of 40 Watts RMS. The Z523 definitely has more oomph, with no sacrifice in overall sound quality. The system provides my ears with good sounding treble and mid-range in addition to its excellent bass.

As I say above, the Z523 system makes the other PC speaker systems I own that are in the same price range obsolete. It's nice to have PC speaker systems in different rooms so I can conveniently hook up my laptop or MP3 player or a portable CD player. It would be even nicer if they were all Z523 systems. With the amount of bass this system puts out, it probably would not be an option for someone who wants a system for a workspace shared with others, unless of course everyone in the workspace wants to listen to the same music, etc. But for a home workspace and for home entertainment, I think this system is outstanding.
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163 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent budget sound expansion for TV (decent for PC as well), October 1, 2009
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 1:40 Mins

I decided to take a video of the sound difference with the speakers hooked up to our TV. You will see two clips in the video, both from the Harry Potter 5 DVD. (Fair use of copyrighted material, used without permission in order to demonstrate a product, clips are well within fair use guidelines on length and content, and quality. [...]

The first part of the video is a recording of the scene with just the TV audio. I have the Logitech speakers turned off at this point. The second part of the video is the same scene, now with the Logitech speakers turned on. I have the bass on the speakers set to about 50%, and the volume set to about 75%. You will notice a clear difference in the sound quality. They ADD to the TV sound, they do not take over for it. What you won't notice (because recorded sound can't reproduce it), is the awesome bass that the bass unit kicks out. It is QUITE a noticeable, if you are in the room. It is actually a little TOO powerful for an apartment, actually. ^_^

We have the speakers hooked into our TV with standard audio composite cables hooked into the auxiliary input for the speakers. It works very well. When you have it setup this way, the sound is linked to the TV. If you mute the TV, then the Logitech speakers are muted as well. If you lower the TV volume, they lower their sound output as well (regardless of what their control knob is set at. If the knob is set to maximum, then the Logitech speakers will output a maximum boost of whatever signal it is being sent. So, if the TV volume is at 25%, then the speakers will be outputting a 100% boost of that 25% signal. Etc.)

I also tried hooking the speakers up to the laptop, and the desktop computers in the house. In that setup, they are a bit less impressive. We have a 5.1 audio system for the desktop, and it outshines these speakers fairly well. For the laptop, it puts the built-in laptop speakers to shame, but that isn't hard to do. ^_-

As for the rest of the bullet points put out by Logitech, I couldn't notice any difference that their supposed "360 degrees of sound" offered. The speakers seem to me to put sound out in a LINEAR path away from where they are facing. I tried putting the speakers to the sides as far away from the TV as possible. I tried putting them behind the TV and pointing them up, point them down, etc. I put them in front of the TV, and I put them up high. In all cases, the sound seemed to be strongest wherever they were POINTED. I am sure they are sending out sound in 360 degrees (due to truth in advertising laws), but I heard no appreciative results of it. I could certainly hear the sounds they were projecting forwards, but from the sides it is less convincing. I CERTAINLY didn't hear any sounds coming from BEHIND me (with the speakers situated in front of me, by the TV), like they claim they can do. "Rather than using only a forward-firing driver, Logitech speakers are acoustically engineered with both forward- and backward-firing drivers. So sound is projected and reflected more evenly and over a wider range of space. Result? Your whole room becomes a sweet spot filled with clear, rich, music--even if you're behind the speakers." [quote from amazon product page]

The speakers DO fill the room with sound. That claim seems to be a bit stretched to me. The speakers are loud, and they are decent, but they are certainly no substitute for a real 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 sound system. They are a good hold-over until you get such a system, but don't expect miracles.

In the matter of the down-firing sub-woofer, THAT claim is accurate. The freaking thing is so powerful, that we are uncomfortable using the bass in the evenings, when the neighbors are home. When/if we have the bass enabled, we keep it in the 5-15% range.

The connections, and controls are all excellent too. I ESPECIALLY like that the speakers are smart enough to take their sound level cues (including mute) from their input source! I have had some bad experiences with speakers not smart enough to do that, in the past.

Over all, this is a 5 star product for what it is. If you go in expecting a decent 2.1 sound system that is NOT going to perform miracles of sound with some sort of PR voodoo concept of "Room-Filling Logitech 360-degree sound" somehow replacing a real surround sound system, then you will be pleasantly surprised with these speakers.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good, August 21, 2009
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
Just got my Z523's today. Quick shipment from Amazon, despite my using super saving shipment. First impressions: nice attention to detail: velcro wraps for all the cords. Sound is good, but VERY heavy on the base. Had to adjust it way down to sound good. The sub seems well put together. Watch out for the down firing speaker though. It is unprotected, and you could easily put your finger through it taking it out of the box. They should put a grill of some sort over it to protect it.

The biggest reason i bought these is that it was a good price, and it offered a seperate line in, so i could hook up an ipod without having to un-plug it from the computer. You would be surprised how hard this feature is to find in a ~$100 2.1 system.

Hopefully it will last a lot longer than my Klipsch Pro-Media's, which sounded great but needed to be repaired every year. I could have bought 3 sets of Z523s for the money I spent repairing my Promedias. Enough was enough.

Z523's = thumbs up!
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103 of 127 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Real disappointing for music, November 25, 2009
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
I ordered these based on the generally positive reviews and had great expectations for them. I was replacing a pair of Cyber Acoustics speakers that cost much less than these, so surely these would sound better! In my opinion, they don't. In fact, I think they sound so bad that I was starting to wonder if I had done something wrong installing them, but it's pretty idiot-proof. I listened to numerous favorite songs, and was unable to find a comfortable bass level using the bass control knob. It's either waaaaay too much and rattles nearby items with the vibration, or nothing (same is true of the volume knob, by the way). The bass is not at all to my liking (and I do like bass), I suppose it may be good for explosions on games and movies and that sort of thing, but it's horrible for music and you'd be constantly adjusting the knob for different types of music. I also found the treble very poor, and the sound generally muddied and unbalanced. I tried to like these, I really did, especially since I hate the hassle of sending things back. These are going back. I reconnected my Cyber Acoustics. They're not great, but I like them much better than these. I may be the only one who thinks so here, but these are awful. Listen to them first before buying (and not just on explosions) and see if you agree
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of bass! No highs!, April 10, 2010
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
I will keep this short. If you like a lot of bass then you can't go wrong with this system.
The subwoofer delivers in this regard. The problem comes in the mid-range and non-existant high end.
This system do not have a tweeter only one small speaker for both mid-range and highs. And while
it does an acceptable job for mid-range it doesn't have any highs.

I tried using the software EQ to boost the highs but then mid-range got messed up...I couldn't get
it right. I eventually returned these for the Z520s. And while the bass is not there the sound
is much more balanced across a wide range of different material.

In summary, if you want a lot of bass get these. If you want an overall good sounding speaker
get the Z520.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb sound, flexibility and good looks at a reasonable price, October 11, 2009
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This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Logitech Z523 is a classic two satellites/one subwoofer setup at a fairly reasonable price.

The largest piece of the set is the subwoofer, which is a 9" cube with a very nice black matte finish, a large chrome-rimmed grille for the passive radiator on the side, and a down-firing 6.5" sub speaker. The subwoofer contains the amplifier and the power supply. On the back you will find the connection panel with the power cord, a D-sub connector for the right speaker, an RCA connector for the left speaker, and a pair of RCA jacks for an auxiliary input. The Z525 uses a world-compatible switching power supply (100-240V 50/60Hz).

The right satellite speaker features the volume/on/off button and a bass level control in front; on the side you will find the headphone minijack connector as well as a minijack for a second auxiliary input. Two 6 foot long cords are attached in the back, a thick one ending in a D-sub connector that plugs into the subwoofer unit, and a thinner one with a stereo minijack that plugs into the main input. The main volume control features an orange light that glows when the speaker system is on.

The left speaker looks just like the right speaker without controls or jacks, and it only features a single 6 foot cord that plugs directly into the subwoofer via an RCA jack.

The satellite speaker configuration is fairly unusual; instead of a single front-firing speaker, they have a second identical rear-firing speaker which is probably what justifies the "360 degree sound" claim. Other than this unorthodox choice, the rest of the construction seems fairly common for this type of speaker, with a bass reflex port in the rear of each unit.

The sound quality is on the upper range of what you would expect for speakers of this price. Don't expect to run a disco party, don't expect the accuracy of a studio monitor. However, they do a very nice job with music, video games and movies. The "360 degree sound" is not going to revolutionize speaker technology, but it does fill up the room as promised. The subwoofer delivers a pleasant, tight low end and complements the satellites well.

PROS
----
- Great sound for the price
- "360 degree sound" helps this small speaker set to fill up a room
- Well thought out cord system keeping tangles to a minimum (velcro straps included)
- Universal power supply built-in (world-compatible, no wall-wart)
- Two auxiliary inputs
- Auxiliary input and headphone port available on front speaker

CONS
----
- Satellite speakers look cheap
- No volume control on auxiliary inputs
- Non-standard, non-user-replaceable cords. Make sure 6' is enough for you...

CONCLUSION
----------
Despite some minor shortcomings, the Z523 is an excellent choice for many users looking to fill up a room with good sound at a reasonable price: it's the perfect speaker system for a dorm room or a study. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Value for Money, Acceptable Sound Quality, February 7, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
This product can be summed up in one simple sentence: You get exactly what you pay for. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Let me go into a little more detail.

First of all, sound quality. These speakers sound totally acceptable. I bought these speakers to use as all-purpose multimedia speakers in a medium-sized bedroom for four months, and so far, they've delivered exactly to my expectations. They sound totally okay, but nothing more. The speakers pump out good treble and midrange, but the rear-firing "every-direction"-elements tend to creep me out a little bit. They don't make any cheesy "3D"-effect, but they do mess a bit with the timing of the sound which could affect some kinds of music and speech - although they also deliver sound in all directions, as promised. In other words, if you will be listening from a lot of different positions, these speakers are a good choice. If you will be listening mostly directly in front of the speakers then you should be prepared to spend some time optimizing the positioning and getting used to the small delay change.

The midrange-bass-rollover is where these speakers don't really deliver. There is a noticeable "gap" of bandwidth between where the satellite drivers bottom out and where the sub begins where most audio simply disappears, and the frequency response of the subwoofer is in no way linear. Expect to be spending some time twiddling the "bass" control on the right speaker - I've found an acceptable setting just a hair above the nine o'clock position, but it varies as well by what volume the speakers are set at, so be prepared. There is some bass in the subwoofer, but it's mostly a bit woolly and undefinable. There's no "punch" in the sub without turning the bass so high that the distortion become noticeable or other frequencies become so high that listening is impossible.

Also note that the sub has two elements, one small down-firing and one large front-firing - but it's only the down-firing element that is powered, the other element is only a passive slave. I disagree with this design choice, but I guess that's the way to go in order to get the most out of the cheapest materials.

Inputs. These speakers have plenty of them, and I love that! The speakers have inputs for three simultaneous audio sources - one male minijack cable on the right speaker, one minijack female input on the right speaker and double RCA connectors on the sub. The speakers mix these inputs together so that you can listen to multiple audio sources simultaneously - e.g. music from an external CD player or TV while still hearing sounds from an attached computer. This is a really nice feature and improves usability greatly.

Controls. There are only two controls on the speakers: Volume and bass. The volume knob also controls power, and has a yellow LED on it which lights up when the speakers are on (I wish it was blue...). The volume knob is not linear! The speakers turn on at the 7 o'clock position, but there is no audio until you turn it to 9 o'clock, but then the audio suddenly get's really loud up until 10 o'clock, and then there's just a little more volume to be heard between 10 o'clock and 5 o'clock. This means that fine-tuning audio volume often is a little bit tricky. The bass control suffers from a few of the same symptoms, in addition to what I mentioned above.

Interference! Note that these speakers are highly affected by cellphone interference! I can't have my iPhone within 10 cm of the right speaker (where the inputs are), and I can't have my iPhone connected to the speakers at all when not playing music. Playing music covers up most of the noise, but it's really noticeable when it's quiet.

Finish and build. The speakers and sub are visually appealing, and build quality seems good. The sub does suffer from internal resonance, but that is to be expected at this price. The satellite speakers are prone to attracting quite a lot of dust and finger marks on the front finish.

All in all a good speaker package for the price. I do wish that Logitech would have dropped the useless rear-firing speaker elements and put the money into making a separate high-range and midrange element in the front of the speakers instead, so as to improve audio quality. Recommended for casual listening, listeners looking for a short-term solution, office desk speakers or as a second or even third set of speakers for the home. Not recommended for critical listening, surround sound systems or larger rooms.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Set of Speakers for the Price., March 25, 2010
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have worked in the professional music industry for years and have listened to many different brands of high end studio monitors. I would never expect these to come even close to the capabilities of reference monitors as they weren't designed for that. I can say these are well designed and do sound good to my ears. I was not disappointed. From the high to the mid and the low end I thought these were a bargain for the price. For your computer, secondary TV, or small room study these will work just fine for easy listening or rock music as long as you aren't trying to crank up the decibels too much or hear the faintest nuances of the music your listening to then these will suffice and do a good job in my opinion.

I wouldn't use these for my main home theater, my main home entertainment party speakers, or critical listening speakers. For that I would spend a little more money and get something better suited to those tasks.

I like the build quality because the fit and finish are excellent. The built-in power supply on the subwoofer keeps cables and clutter to a minimum. They look good and sound good too! 5 stars for me.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the cost., April 27, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
There are several lengthy reviews on these speakers already, so I'll keep this short. I think the four and five star rated reviews are pretty much spot on. Yes, the woofer can easily overpower the desk speakers. That's why there's a separate volume control marked "bass". Look, this is not a home stereo system. It's a set of good quality computer speakers with a woofer footrest. By any measure, they're better than whatever came with your computer, and most likely better than whatever came with your TV. This is the 5th or 6th set of computer speakers I've bought over the last 25 years. They're the best thus far.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Sound Only!, December 26, 2010
This review is from: Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer (Personal Computers)
I purchased this item expecting great sound from the 3 components. I was disappointed. The sound is good at best. I was expecting great as others have implied in their reviews. I have played dozens of music via Windows Media Player and iTunes with the same average results.
I will also mention that upon arrival, the speakers would not operate. I would only get static/interference with the system. The speakers and subwoofer would only produce a low droning humming noise. I contacted Logitech and the consultant was fantastic. He asked me to try several troubleshooting steps. When none of them corrected the problem, he immediately placed an order for me to receive a new system. I received the new set in 3 days and was not required to return the original speaker set. The new set worked with no issues.
Setup is simple and takes only a few minutes. I think the other attributes of this speaker set are great but their intent is to produce great quality sound. Therefore, that is why I only rated it 3 out of 5 stars. However, here is my breakdown of the system.

Appearance: 5 out of 5
Size: 4 out of 5
Simplicity: 5 out of 5
Sound Quality: 3 out of 5
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Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer
$99.99 $81.46
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