I used the Logitech Z2300 speakers, the Z623′s predecessors, for years and loved them. So I was naturally excited when they came out with this new set. I haven’t been disappointed so far.
The Z623s aren’t a particularly original product; there are a number of speakers at this approximate price and power, and to be perfectly honest, they’re likely to all be pretty decent. After $150-200, I feel you start getting diminishing returns on 2.1 systems, so you get your maximum value at about this price. Hence, much competition. Altec Lansing, Bose, Creative, and Klipsch all have something to offer, so shop around a bit before you decide.
But enough pre-trashing of these things. The Z623s are a great set of speakers for those of us who watch and listen to most of our media on our desktops. Of course, with a 2.1 system, you miss out on surround sound, but with so many excellent surround-sound headsets available, it’s not so easy to justify a full surround system. Obviously these aren’t right for the home-theater set, who will certainly want a 5.1 or above system. No, these are all about the desktop.
The speakers have 200 watts total: 130 in the sub and 35 each in the satellites. It’s definitely enough to wake your next door neighbor if you get that urge. There are three separate inputs: one 3.5mm and one RCA on the subwoofer, and a spare 3.5mm on the satellite speaker. The satellite also has a headphone jack, power button, and of course volume and bass knobs.
The setup is definitely a step up from the Z2300s design-wise. Although I think the “puck” setup can be nice if done right, the on-satellite controls make for less cable clutter, and the Z2300′s puck felt like a piece of junk anyway. These speakers have a much more solid feel, though some may have preferred a screen in front of the grill and prominent THX branding. The matte black finish and exposed grills are nice in their own way, though, and the satellites have a substantial but pleasing shape. The subwoofer is kind of a beast: 12″ wide, 11″ tall, and 9″ deep doesn’t sound so big — until you try putting it under your desk.
And how do they sound? Well, like a powerful desktop system. These aren’t aimed at audiophiles, they’re aimed at providing powerful stereo sound. Consequently, the subwoofer is relatively overemphasized with the dial in its default position. The sound is much better balanced once you turn the bass down and bump the mid-lows to ease the frequency transition between the satellites and the subwoofer. Once that’s done, you have a relatively balanced sound, and although I still felt like the bass was occasionally coming from a different direction than the treble and mids, proper placement means it’s not very noticeable and if you’re not looking for it, the effect disappears.
The rest of the sound is clear, but no more than you’d expect from a pair of $150 2.1s. The highs are certainly there, but I feel they get drowned out somewhat. Again, proper EQing is essential when your speakers have a natural tendency towards the low end.
I feel the Z623s have a relatively small sweet spot, being somewhat directional rather than room-filling. You lose a fair amount of definition outside perhaps a 30-degree cone, which is to be expected. Unlike truly directional speakers, though, you won’t need to sit at a certain angle to enjoy your songs. Stereo separation and location is excellent; these are great for gaming.
The extra input on the satellite is very welcome, especially for parties, when people want to play stuff off their phone or what have you. Just make sure to have a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable handy. The headphone jack is of course nice, but having the option to plug in a microphone as well, as is often necessary with non-USB gaming headsets, would have been killer.
I occasionally got a crackle when quickly turning the volume knob, but I never heard any pops or distortion during regular listening. Update: After a little more use, the crackle is more pronounced and the headphone port has some connectivity problems. I know I had an early run of these, and if I were a consumer I would return this set; Logitech is good about that, so if you get crackles or port trouble, just do your thing.
The Z623s are definitely worth your money, at least if you don’t need surround sound. They’re powerful, can be made to produce great sound with a little tweaking, and are convenient for a desktop setup. Recommended.