Logitech Z-340 2.1 Speaker System
March 2, 2003

Manufacturer: Logitech
Website: Logitech Z-340
Price: USD $49.99
Author: Brian Lee
Page: 1

Note:  All the images in this article can be enlarged to 640 x 480 in a new window by clicking on the thumbnail.

Okay, so the first thing that is probably running through your head is: why is a website that is about running your own webserver from home on DSL or Cable modem doing a review about speakers?  Good question.  Well, like many other computer geeks out there, I have a profound interest in home theater and sound equipment.  Audiophiles and computer geeks are apparently cut from the same fabric.  Anyhow, I was a home theater enthusiast and audiophile long before running servers caught my eye.  Many of you, like me, have DVD collections.  However, I have a freaking laserdisc collection of my favorite movies.  That's how old school I am.  Every time I look at my 50+ laserdiscs I cringe at the thought of how much money I have invested in there.  Damn.  Anyhow, back on topic.  Let's look at the Logitech Z-340 2.1 speaker system.

In order to orient ourselves, the retail price of this system is $49.99.  Why do I mention this so early?  I bring up the price so you'll have an idea of what range of features and functions you get for $50 bucks.  I tell you the price now so you can either be overwhelmed or underwelmed by the system.  Otherwise, if I tell you the price at the end, as you read the review, you're not sure if you're getting your money's worth or not.  Spoiler: at $50 this system is very very good.

Let's get some quick and dirty terminology out of the way first.  What the heck does 2.1, 4.1, or 5.1 mean?  The first number is how many satellite speakers the system has.  So a 5.1 speaker system has 5 satellite speakers.  The .1 refers to the subwoofer or bass unit.  I have never liked the concept of ".1".  The reason the bright audio engineers decided to give the subwoofer a number that is one tenth of a regular satellite speaker is because it handles only the low frequencies of the audio spectrum.  However, I feel that this minimizes the importance of the subwoofer since the low frequencies are extremely important in music and movies.  Also, the sub usually requires the most power of all the other speakers.  That's just my own gripe.  Moving on.

Why would anybody go with a 2.1 system when 4.1 and 5.1 systems are all the rage?  Actually, for many reasons.  First of all, with the 4.1 and 5.1 systems, there is the problem of where to place those pesky rear speakers.  In most people's rooms or offices, there simply isn't a good place to position the rear speakers.  If you do find a place, they usually end up asymmetric in some far corner of the room.  Also, many people don't need surround sound at their computers.  Surround sound is cool for some games, but not 100% necessary.  One may argue that surround sound is necessary for watching movies on your computer.  While I do have a DVD drive on my computer, personally, I don't enjoy watching a movie on my screen.  I'd rather flop down on my sofa in my home theater.  Yes, there are many reasons to buy 4.1 or 5.1 systems, but for many people, a 2.1 system fits the bill.

The system we'll look at here is the Logitech Z-340.  Logitech - wait, doesn't that name sound familiar?  Of course, they make mice, keyboards, webcams... they make speakers too?  That's right.  As we'll see soon enough, pretty good ones at that.  I guess the move into speakers is an attempt by Logitech to encompass the gaming market.  Not a bad idea.

Let's take a look at the specs of the Z-340 system.

  • Total power output: 33 watts RMS 
  • Satellite speaker power output: 6.5 watts RMS per channel 
  • Subwoofer power output: 20 watts RMS 
  • System frequency response: 35 Hz-20 kHz 
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 85 dB 
  • Input impedance: > 5,500 ohms 
  • Signal output (headphones): 3.5 mm (1/8") stereo mini-jack
So basically, the sub gets 20 watts and the satellites get 6.5 watts each.  The frequency response is rated from 35 Hz - 20 kHz.  This is a nice little stat, but it really doesn't tell us much.  First of all, most adults can't hear past 13,000 Hz anyways.  You could maybe hear 20 kHz when you were born but every year since then, you lost your hearing a bit.  At age 25 you'll be lucky to hear 15,000 Hz.  On the low end, 35 Hz is decent.  It's not going to be shaking the ground, but should be acceptable.  The main reason that I say that the frequency response is not very useful is because while the speakers *may* be able to span that range, the more important issue is how flat the response curve is.