The Logitech F540 is pretty familiar in terms of design to me. This is the third headset that Logitech’s produced that they’ve used the same design.For the F540, the set is designed for use with consoles giving you a wireless solution for audio and voice chat.
Included in the F540 is a base station that handles all the inputs and transmits the audio.On the back, you can see that it has inputs for two RCA audio connectors and one 3.5mm input allowing the F540 to handle up to three sources. There’s also a USB input on the back for the audio from a PlayStation 3 console.
On the front of the base station, there are three LEDs that let you know which sources are active. As you cycle through the sources, each one of the three LEDs lights up letting you which one you are currently listening to.
The headset design follows the same physical setup as the Logitech G930. The oversized ear cups fit around and enclose the ear masking out any outside sounds when in use. The both rotate and can lay flat on the table if need be. Each ear piece features a good amount of padding to make wearing the F540 as comfortable as possible. The headband also features the same generous amount of padding so wherever the F540 touches the head, it’s supported by some padding. Both sides can be adjusted in length to fit your head.
A rotating arm for the mic that’s flexible sits on the left ear piece. Like the previous Logitech headsets of similar design, rotating up will mute the mic and it’s a nice and easy way to get it out of the way when not in use.
Since the headset is wireless, Logitech has included a micro-USB cable that plugs in the left ear piece and into the base station for recharging. I’m glad to see Logitech moving more and more of their recharging connections to micro-USB as its a more robust connection than mini-USB and I’m seeing a lot of my other products having the same type of connector allowing me to plug a few other items into the base station with the same cable to recharge when not using it to recharge the headset.
While the previous two headsets of similar designs from Logitech supported surround sound, the F540 is only stereo. Now, I’m not really that disappointed by this as I felt the surround sound in the other Logitech headsets offered little improvement when turned on. I know some people will be disappointed though seeing as this is a pretty expensive headset and having digital inputs on the base station would’ve been kind of cool. Still, stereo works for me for a headset and I don’t feel having a lack of surround sound to be a detriment to the F540.
On the left ear piece, the controls are stationed allowing for easy access. There are two volume dials: one to control the game volume and one to control the voice volume. A button lets you quickly mute and un-mute the mic. On the back is the power button and the source selector. Pressing the power button causes it to light up green letting you know power’s available. While the power button is a little recessed, the input selector button protrudes a little bit making it very easy to access when you have the headphones on. This way, you can easily feel the button and not accidentally hit the power button, which is a nice design decision..
You should be able to get about 10 hours worth of gameplay from one charge and in my testing, it did last around that time. Also, the range seems really good as I walked around the house and the sound kept on coming through the speakers even I was went both above and below my setup in my house. So, as far as performance goes in the wireless area, the F540 performed really well.
Connecting the F540 to your console can be done in multiple ways. Logitech includes various cables to help facilitate connecting of the base station to various sources, which was nice of them to do. Depending on whether you have the console connected via HDMI, RCA, to the TV, to a receiver, you might have to do some adjustments to your setup if you want to use the F540.
For the Xbox 360, I had my console connected to the TV via HDMI passing through both audio and video. The console I have allowed the connection of both the HDMI cable and analog audio so it made connecting the Xbox 360 simpler. Taking two left and right RCA plugs, I connected the F540 base station to the 360. The manual does say it might not work with some consoles though.
Unfortunately, the architecture of the Xbox 360 does not let you route the chat audio from the console as everything goes through the controller. To facilitate the voice audio routing through the F540, Logitech has included a 2.5mm cable to let you connect the Xbox 360 controller’s audio port to the F540. If you have a PlayStation 3, it’s a lot nicer. Take the included USB cable, connect the PlayStation 3 to the base station, and follow the manual’s instructions on routing the voice audio through it.
For testing, I hooked up the F540 to my Xbox 360 and a Zune player and played through various games as well as watched some videos. Using the included cable, I attached the Xbox 360 controller to the F540 and then I was greeted with some noise emanating from the speakers. I unhooked the 360 controller and kept the 2.5mm cable connected and still heard the noise. Unplugging the cable and all was silent. I tried a regular Xbox 360 headset in the controller I was using and it was fine with no noise to be heard. This didn’t bode well for the initial testing. Since the PlayStation 3 connected to the headset via the base station by a USB cable, there wasn’t any noise when using it this way, which is something I wished the Xbox 360 did as well.
I hopped into a few games of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with a friend of mine. Sound was great and even though it was stereo, the F540 delivered in clear audio. The bass was OK and not overwhelming while you could hear good deal of highs as well as small sounds that might have been lost otherwise. Since the design masks out any outside sound, you could hear some really faint and subtle sounds with the F540.
Voice wise, my friend said I came through really well. The issue with the noise when using the connection for voice still persisted and it was reduced by lowering the volume of the voice channel. I had it down enough that I could still hear my friend well and the noise was kept to a minimum. Still, that background noise was a little bit annoying and something that I wished wasn’t there.
One thing about the mic is that it does pick up surrounding sound so while I was in a cone of silence with the headset on except for game sounds, putting the mic into action let me hear some of what was happening around me. This can be good or bad as one, you’ll be able to hear if someone’s trying to get your attention or if a phone rings in your house. On the other hand, those that want to be immersed into the game without any distractions will have to manually mute the mic to do so. It can get a little annoying to have to push the button to talk and push it to mute or constantly move the mic up and down during gameplay so those that want complete isolation from the outside when using the mic will be sorely disappointed.
Switching to other sources was pretty quick though so I was able to go from playing the 360 to listening to music on my Zune with a touch of a button. It won’t cycle through sources that aren’t connected, which is nice and having a few things plugged in can be convenient for some setups. So, in that aspect, the F540 does a good job at giving you the option to listen to up to three audio sources with no hassle.
The Logitech F540 offered up great sound in a wireless solution for the console crowd. It’s just too bad the Xbox 360 chat experience was a little sub-par. I don’t blame Logitech for how they had to implement the 360’s voice connection but the interference when connecting the cable was unfortunate. For the rest though, the F540 sounded great and I really like that I can wireless connect some components and consoles to it and use the headset when I don’t want to bother the rest of the household. But, seeing as I spend most of my time using it to chat with others on the 360, I wished the voice option was better.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
The F540 is an expensive solution but it offers up a good array of connections and good performance. Voice for the Xbox 360 needs work though and the constant noise coming when connected with the wire is a distraction. It's only stereo, which might turn off those that want a surround sound headset given the price tag on the F540.