|Min OS X: Any Version Requires: Minijack Audio Port|
Surround sound on the Macintosh is still a fickle new child, sometimes working like a charm, sometimes no better than stereo, and sometimes breaking games entirely. For the games that do embrace surround sound, however, it can be a sort of rebirth for gamers, breathing new life into a once forgotten shoot-em-up. It adds new dimensions to immersion, and a heightened sense of awareness (or in some cases, fear).
Macintosh surround sound typically requires a new sound card (like the M-Audio Revolution, with which this review is done), or an external decoder (like the Griffin FireWave). After acquiring such a device, the user is then left to choose a surround sound speaker system. In this review we take a look at a 5.1 system reminiscent of home theater setups, the Logitech Z-5300e.
Overview and setupThe Z-5300e is a 5.1 surround sound speaker system. It consists of five speakers (two front, two rear, and a center) and a subwoofer for omnidirectional bass tones. The speakers are of moderate size, standing eight inches tall on plain gray bases. The front and rear satellite pairs are tilted slightly upward and the wider center speaker is tilted dramatically downward for placement above one's computer monitor.
The subwoofer is a featureless black brick, devoid of grille, with only a Logitech logo on the front and a gaping air intake on one side. On the back is an imposing heat sink and RCA plugs for all speakers and accessories.
Control is provided with a wired remote. The remote has a large volume knob and a series of LED's to indicate level, radio button controls to adjust subwoofer volume individually, and the relative volume of the rear and center speakers. In addition there is a toggle for "matrix mode," which I'll get into in the next section. At the very end of the remote is the headphone jack.
Setup is simple with color-coded RCA jacks. The wires for the rear speakers are long enough to allow comfortable placement for nearly any furniture setup. Input from the computer is provided with three stereo minijacks (front stereo, rear stereo, and center/subwoofer). A toggle is provided on the subwoofer between 2.1, 4.1 and 5.1 setups. As the Revolution is capable of 5.1 audio, I left the switch on the 5.1 setting.
The system is adorned with the THX logo on nearly every component, reminding the user that this is a THX-certified speaker system. My next step was to see if such a certification yielded the crisp tones and resounding bass that every gamer craves.