|Min OS X: Any Version Requires: Minijack Audio Port|
Performance and qualityThe name of the game for Logitech speakers seems to be "the subwoofer is the most important component." Like most Logitech systems I've reviewed, the speakers were decent while the subwoofer shined. The five speakers offer a total of 180 watts RMS (35 watts from each satellite except the center, which outputs 39 watts), and the subwoofer pulses out 100 watts RMS of bass.
The speakers' tone was suitably rich, and the 2.5" driver provided enough power for home use and entertainment purposes. Even at the highest volume ranges (which isn't loud enough to disturb more than a few neighbors) the satellites maintained terrific equalization across the spectrum, though clarity and presence of sound dropped somewhat. These speakers have their richest and most vibrant performance at the middle range of their volume envelope, assisted by a good 85-dB signal to noise ratio.
Like most good Logitech subwoofers, the Z-5300e's restricts itself to only the true sub-bass tones, concerning itself more with vibrations than just doubling the satellite's bottom end. Bass tones are very rich, often outshining the speakers in their fullness and warmth. Excess power provided by the 6.5" driver means that the user could conceivably significantly distort the volume equalization in favor of the bottom end. Placement of the subwoofer is close to irrelevant—once again, the subwoofer does not concern itself with audible sound, only kinesthetic sound, so vibrations will resonate throughout your room.
Speaker crossover was wonderful, with hardly a gap or any noticeable doubling in the crossover frequencies. Subwoofer and speaker audio melted together completely unnoticed by my ears. The only major problem I had with the speakers was their relative volumes. Out of the box, the front and rear right speakers underperformed noticeably, requiring me to balance the set strongly in favor of them. While only a small inconvenience, many users may not ever get around to this task, and just settle for a left-handed performance. The center speaker also performs a little hot, requiring some reigning on its volume control.
For games that support surround sound natively (most games using Miles or OpenAL fall under this category), the Z-5300e performs flawlessly. Gunfire rains in from all directions in Call of Duty. Playing a melee class in World of Warcraft means hearing the sounds of the casters behind you as they conjure up their fireballs and greater heals. Your teammates in Close Combat: First to Fight keep you informed by yelling their status at your back. Unreal Tournament 2004…well, someday, Unreal Tournament 2004 will be awesome in surround as well.