Logitech Z623 THX Certified 2.1-Channel Desktop Audio System (TPV 101)

Ultra-thin TVs with invisible speakers don’t sound very good, but Logitech has just the solution with its affordable Z623 THX Certified desktop 2.1-channel audio system.

Not too surprisingly, I could hear some sat/sub discontinuities with the Z623 system, meaning that while the subwoofer is able to go quite low, I could close my eyes and identify its location in the room quite easily.

Still, the overall tonal balance of the system is mostly smooth and relatively uncolored, but with just a tad of extra treble crispness. This wasn’t a big problem, but the system definitely added a touch of zing to both dialog and music.

 

MOVIE PERFORMANCE

Over the course of a few weeks, I was able to watch a lot of movies and TV shows with the Logitech providing the audio. To really put the Z623 system through its paces, I fished out a THX demo DVD that includes many of their trailers, including the original “Broadway” trailer that showcases their signature “Deep Note”, a mélange of synthesized bass lines that goes all the way down to a room-shaking 20 Hz or so. Here the compact subwoofer (it’s less than a cubic foot in size) did a great job of reaching way down low, and puts out a gutsy amount of bass that’s quite astonishing for its relatively small footprint.

Then, I hauled out an old warhorse, WWII submarine thriller U-571 on DVD, where the fun starts around chapter 16, with the German submarine (now in the hands of American submariners) getting royally pummeled by a barrage of depth charges. As the depth charges get closer and closer to the sub, the amount of bass oomph in every explosion gets louder and goes deeper, and the little Z623 sub did a rather fine job of imitating a much larger and more powerful unit. I heard no hint of stress or strain, and no “chuffing” from the bass reflex port either.

 

MUSIC PERFORMANCE

A favorite track on the “Legends Of Jazz With Ramsey Lewis” Blu-ray is a great rendition of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”, featuring Jane Monheit accompanied by guitarist John Pizzarelli. The jazz ensemble features a string bass, and the Z623 does a fine job of delineating the bass notes without any muddiness or bass smear. Ms. Monheit’s vocals came across very well, and the track was a delight to hear.

While scouring my CD rack, I came across a bunch of CDs that I hadn’t played in a while, all produced by Trevor Horn, one of my all-time favorite producers. An accomplished musician himself, Mr. Horn’s imprimatur can be found on a range of albums and singles from the British techno/dance label ZTT, and I went right for the UK release of the “Frankie Goes To Hollywood” collection of 12” singles remixes. Their saucy and funky “Relax” is high up on my list of favorite driving tunes, and features truly subterranean deep bass, which the Z623 system had no problem with at all.

Fueled by more than a bit of a tasty Australian chardonnay, I replayed the track a number of times, each time advancing the volume upward to see where the Logitech system might start showing signs of strain. I gave up when, at a ridiculously loud (yet still clean) level, I noted some sympathetic vibration from wooden blinds nearby, and some bric-a-brack on a shelf near the subwoofer had started to move around a bit. I also noted the faintest trace of the sickly-sweet odor of hot power transformer wire varnish, indicating that I might be pushing my luck (all US and Canada spec audio power transformers are required to have an internal one-time-only fusible link—if that link blows due to overheating, it’s off to the repair shop for a not-inexpensive power transformer replacement).

 

BOTTOM LINE

Over the last few years, TV makers have sought to make their set’s internal speakers “invisible”, and with ever-thinner cabinet profiles, audio quality has taken a hit, as virtually all of the flat panels I’ve tested in recent years are plagued with thin, reedy and highly colored sound that’s downright unpleasant to listen to.

At a very reasonable $149.99 suggested retail price, the Logitech Z623 2.1 sub/sat system provides an instant audio upgrade for any flat panel TV.

 

SPECS & PRICING

Logitech Z623 THX Certified 2.1-channel desktop sound system
Audio inputs: 2 3.5mm stereo jacks (one on the sub, the other on the right speaker), 1 pair analog L/R audio jacks
Other connections: 1 3.5mm stereo headphone jack on the right satellite, 1 D-Sub 15 connector on the subwoofer for connection to the right satellite speaker
Dimensions (W x H x D)*:
     • Subwoofer: 11.8” x 11.2” x 10.4”
     • Satellite Speakers: 4.5” x 7.8” x 4.5”
Weight (combined net weight of sub and satellites)*: 23 lbs.
Warranty: 2 years parts and labor
Price: $149.99

Comments

syunukiya -- Fri, 03/18/2011 - 13:58

should i get this or samsung ht-350 for my tv? ill be playing my xbox and mostly avi files on my tv (lcd 32 samsung series5)

ddmak@shaw.ca -- Sun, 03/20/2011 - 23:41

Thanks for the article. It's good to know that there are alternatives instead hooking up to a full blown stereo system.
Will you be able to control the volume of the Logitech Z623 using the TV remote?
Cheers,
Dix

imickey503@gmail.com -- Mon, 03/21/2011 - 04:09

Now this is a good system for small setups. But I have to wonder with those Home theaters in a box going for close to nothing and around the price of this unit, well, it's a hard sell.

HOWEVER, Most of the time, this will be the perfect setup for people that just want to HEAR the TV and not deal with the wires being drug to the back.

I bet is sounds better then most home theater in a boxes as well.

I got the Philips because I did not want my nice system around the kids. Whoa.. Make a music lover cringe. But for simple tv audio. Works great.

Sad that most people will still not buy it for fear that it is to complicated to set up.

THere was a guy on new egg who bought 2 polk bookshlef speakers and was complaing that there was nothing in the box to set them up with his computer.

With Total "Intellectuality challenged" people out there in the wild like that, I fear that as soon as apple gets into home audio, I think that it will be over for most people. No one even cares any more about this stuff it seems. And even more are to scared to even think about going 5.1 unless it all comes in a box and is virtually set up free.

Really, Logitech should start to bite the bullet and make a true easy system with all wireless speakers that plug into outlets, use WIFI for sound and be as simple as just putting them next to your tv and that it. Until then. Audio for the masses is going to be a hard sell for people who spend most of the time at home and watching the movies they love on their crappy speakers built in the TV.

Really, PEOPLE still can't HOOK up a SPEAKER without calling TECH SUPPORT???

omg..

Most People don't even know what a RCA cable looks like?

Let alone the idiots that can't even tell what a Ethernet cable is and THEY CLAIM TO WORK IN I.T. !!!

The Big box audio stores are not even carrying much stuff for audio anymore. What they do have, they put them on shelves like CD's.

I can Honestly say that they pay more attention on people stealing the CD's then they do about product placement for audio.

Tv;s are kind of like the golden ticket at audio shops now

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