Logitech Z-5450


posted 11/15/2005 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
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Wireless transmissions of audio signals are done on the 2.4GHz band. That’s already a crowded band and in my office with a wireless router, 2.4GHz phone, and 2.4GHz wireless controllers this could get messy. To help with interference, the signal automatically jumps between 38 different channels in the band. We’ll see in the test later on if this poses a problem. The Digital SoundTouch Control Center, which we’ll talk about in a little bit, converts audio into a 2.4GHz signal and sends it out to the rears. The rears contain an amplifier and a digital decoder that takes the signal, converts it back to audio, and outputs it. Latency for transmission and reproduction of sound is .02 seconds. That’s pretty low and should be imperceptible to our ears. To also help curb signal lost, the Digital SoundTouch Control Center also does redundant signal transmission and the system determines when it is needed. All these complex processes working together help to deliver a clean and lossless sound to the rears.

Now as far as the range goes, it’s listed in the fact sheet as 28 feet but Logitech claims that in their testing, they can work up to 300 feet. I think the 28 feet range can be limiting for some but as a computer setup it shouldn’t be an issue. Those looking to use these for their living room won’t like the 28 feet range but we’ll get into the issue of this set in certain types of environments a little later on.

Like the fronts, the rears also feature the rotating stands. Unlike the fronts though, power for the rears are a little stronger coming in at 40 Watts versus the 38 Watts for the front.

Logitech’s high end systems always had big subwoofers and this one is no different. Rated at 116 watts RMS, the subwoofer provides the bass and also holds connections to the control unit, speaker connections, and power cord. It’s about 72 watts less than the Z-5500 set but that shouldn’t be a problem as the subwoofer for high end Logitech sets seemed a little bit too powerful in my opinion compared to the rest of the setup. The design of the sub is different from the past subs I’ve encountered from them. As you can see in the screenshot, the front is completely enclosed where you’d normally see a grill. I do like the cleaner look of the sub and hope future sets take on the same characteristic.

The control center for the system has gone onto another overhaul in design. The Z-680 and the Z-5500 feature a vertical standing control center but the Z-5450 has a horizontal style control center. An LCD that takes up the left side displays all the information about the system. To the right of it are five buttons for Effects, Input selection, Settings, Levels, and Mute. To the right of those buttons is the main volume knob that’s also used to adjust settings. Finally, the power button rounds out the front of the control center. I did find the lettering on the LCD to be more easily read than the Z-680’s from a distance.

On the rear of the control center, there are seven inputs available. Two digital optical inputs allow you to connect an Xbox and a PlayStation 2 at the same time for digital sound. There’s also one digital coaxial input so that you can connect your computer that way as well provided your sound card has a coaxial digital out. Three 1/8" connectors lets you use them together for 6 channel sound from PC sound cards or use them independently for three separate stereo inputs. Finally, there is 1 analog stereo-mini plug for MP3 devices or devices with a similar connection. I really like the flexibility that Logitech provided in this set for audio connections. To see two optical inputs is a blessing as now I don’t have to switch my console optical cables depending on which one I am using currently.

Also on the rear of the control center, there’s an antenna for transmitting of signals to the rear satellite speakers. It’s actually a small antenna on the right side so it’s not too obtrusive. You get to rotate the antennae around a little bit as well. Along the lines, there are two indicators on the back that light up green when the rear speakers are active.

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