Very cool review on the z2300's
"Me, Different: Generally users tend to provide the subjective review of their product, so I will try to be more technical and base by review from both technical and subjective aspects.
When Logitech introduced Z-2300 back in 2004, it was a THX certified premium quality top of the range product. The Logitech engineers in the lab where given a clear goal i.e. to create the ultimate 2.1 multimedia speaker system in the world. They were not concerned about the price, they were more concerned about the performance & quality which lead in using premium quality components, be it electronic components, speakers used, wooden casings of the subwoofers, plastic casings of the satellites and even the wires used to connect the components. Price was never an issue, performance was. This single mindedness of the engineers produced a unique product, and Z-2300 was born.
Logitech introduced Z-623 in 2010 six years after Z-2300 reign. Actually I cannot recall of a 2.1 PC speaker that remained at the top of the performance charts for straight six years. They had to make the successor not because Z-2300 was getting old and becoming incompetent, believe me it is still is the king, but because the rival manufactures like Altec Lansing, Edifier, Creative, Sony etc are producing cheaper sets of same wattage and same configuration and labeling them as their premium product. Also 2.1 speakers sets are no more the cash cows of audio manufactures, rather these companies makes a lot of profit from selling the 5.1 & 7.1 speakers sets.
Z-2300 is THX certified.
Total Power: 200 W
Power distribution: 120 W (Subwoofer) + 2 X 40 W (Satellites)
Subwoofer: 120 W @ 8 ohms @ 10% THD @ 100Hz
Subwoofer Size (inch): 8
Subwoofer Type: Long Throw with 6th order bass reflex
Satellites: 80 W (2 X 40 W) @ 8 ohms @ 10% THD @ 1kHz
Satellite Size (inch): 2.5 Satellite
Type: Polished aluminum phase plug drivers
Frequency response: 35 Hz - 20 kHz
Signal to noise ratio: @ 1kHz > 100dB
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 117db
Subwoofer dimensions(HWD): 11" X 11" X 15"
Satellite dimensions(HWD): 6.75" X 3.5" X 6"
The subwoofer is huge, in every sense of the word. The behemoth measures 11” (H) X 11” (W) X 15” (D), and its output could rattle the paint off your walls. The wall of the sub is made of 16 mm thick medium density fiberboard (MDF) which is quite impressive. It has been further strengthened with internal clamps in the joints. This adds tremendous strength to the box in order to withstand the slamming, heavy duty sound waves produced by the massive 8 inch long throw 70W Tang Band (W8-670Q) front facing driver. The subwoofer also houses a patented “U” shaped exponentially increasing bass reflex port to produce distortion free deep and rich bass experience. The enclosure is very deep, which is obviously good from an acoustical standpoint.
Z-2300 uses 2.5 inch polished aluminum phase plug drivers in their satellites and are beautifully crafted to look like a piece of art. The drivers of Z-2300 are 12W units made by Tang Band (W3-594SB). With the polished aluminum phase plug drivers helping to reduce the path length differences about the cone surface, you get a smoothing and reinforcing the frequency response, particularly in terms of the highest frequencies the driver is capable of. There is some thermal dissipation one gives up by doing this, but the phase plug itself can serve as a heat sink for the voice coil and magnet pole.
Z-2300 houses the amplifier in their subwoofer assembly and is of very high quality. It is powered by a toroidal transformer made by Ten Pao International. Judging by the size of the core and the thickness of the wire in the secondary windings, the power is very decent. A toroidal transformer uses a doughnut shaped core & is much slimmer than a conventional (EI) transformer and at the same time it is much more expensive than a conventional transformer. A toroidal transformer has so many performance advantages over conventional transformer that it is hard to describe here other than to provide the performance ratio. Toroidal : Conventional :: 158 : 5
The amplifier uses:
i) Two STMicroelectronics 80W- TDA7295 amplifiers bridged together to provide a total of 2 X 80=160W for the subwoofer. ii) Two STMicroelectronics 60W-TDA7296 amplifiers powering each of the satellites.
iii) A Japan Radio Corporation’s JRC-4565 operational amplifier for pre-amplification.
iv) Filtering of the audio signal is done by two beefy 10,000 uF capacitors.
Total RMS Power = 80(TDA7295) + 80(TDA7295) + 60(TDA7296) + 60(TDA7296) = 280 W
Any amplifier will produce a lot of distortion & noise at the peak. So, in order to produce distortion free, ultra linear sound the amplifiers generally need to reduce its output peak power by 25% or more.
Reduced Total RMS Power = 60(TDA7295) + 60(TDA7295) + 40(TDA7296) + 40(TDA7296) = 200W
The general rule of thumb is one should have an amplifier that can deliver power equal to twice the speaker’s continuous IEC power rating. This means that a speaker with a “nominal impedance” of 8 ohms and a continuous IEC power rating of 70 watts will require an amplifier that can produce 140 watts into an 8 ohm load. This is because a quality speaker can handle transient peaks in excess of its rated power if the amplifier can deliver those peaks without distortion. Using an amplifier with some extra “headroom” will help assure that only clean, undistorted power gets to your speakers.
The total continuous IEC power rating the speakers is: [70 W (Subwoofer)] + [2 X 12 = 24(Satellites)] = 70 + 24 =94 W
So, in this case the 200 W amplifier of Z-2300 is almost twice as powerful as the speaker’s 94 W continuous IEC power rating. There is a massive heatsink located at the back of the subwoofer to cool the 200 W amplifier. Toroidal transformers stay magnetized once turned off. This again testifies to their efficiency, but if the transformer is turned back on during the same positive AC cycle, higher currents are drawn from the line. This condition is called in-rush. It is not dangerous to the transformer and is easily rectified with the help of a slow blow fuse found at the back of the subwoofer. Overall I am highly satisfied with the design, detailing and high quality components used along with the built in safety features of the amplifier.
The control pod of the Z-2300 is quite simple and minimalistic, which I prefer. No fancy lights just a big volume knob, a bass control, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, power LED and a power button. You can keep the control pod on your desk where ever you like and the controls are very convenient.
A THX Certified Multimedia Speaker system is designed for those who crave the power and performance of home theater and studio sound at the desktop.THX certification recreates peak, Reference Level quality at your desktop listening position. THX worked closely with Logitech during product development, ensuring the two-satellite and subwoofer Z-2300 speaker system was meticulously mapped to THX design standards. Then, THX performed more than 400 bench tests, including frequency response, noise, distortion and power. The result is a THX Certified Multimedia Speaker system that delivers THX Reference Level sound pressure and fidelity – letting you hear every bass note, sound effect and dialogue as it was created in the studio.
Music: Throughout my 2 years with Z-2300, one thing became very clear; these are very neutral sounding speakers. What is produced by these speakers is very smooth, and very pleasant to listen to. The one thing that does come to mind when listening though is power. Z-2300 is capable of producing 117 dB which is a world record for a 2.1 multimedia speaker system. The subwoofer lets itself be known with its slamming tight & precise bass which at times are powerful enough to knock the wind out of your lungs. The satellites feature a nice, natural sound with excellent representation. If the user wants, they can boost the subwoofer levels through the roof though my ears will be bleeding by then.
I am dealing with one of the best solutions for pure listening pleasure, with a clean sound devoid of any colorings, embellishment or ornamentation in the sound, commonly found in Altec Lansing and Creative speaker systems. Now I can easily hear many of the previously obscure details in the compositions of a complicated music composition, and can clearly set apart all the instruments used in the music composition, thus I am able to focus not only on the primary instrument, which is audible, but also on the fact that what instrument I want to hear.
Even though these are not two way satellites, the phase plug allows the 2.5” driver to more accurately reproduce the high end of the frequency spectrum. There is no background noise with these speakers, and definitely none of the hiss that my Altec Lansing MX-5021 suffered from. The analog input was very clean, and it was able to reproduce the sound with great accuracy.
Movies: These speakers are exceptionally clear at reproducing dialogue, as well as action, in a wide variety of movies. Even when there is a lot of action and music on screen, dialogue is never drowned out, nor does it get muddy or indistinct. The lack of any kind of hiss also helps in playback, as the softer, more subtle scenes draw the viewer into the movie. The satellites do an outstanding job of reproduction. When the action gets heavy, the subwoofer really kicks in. The bass is tight and strong, and it will make a user’s chest thump if the content calls for it. Never once did it sound like the subwoofer bottomed out, or sound strained, or even chuffed. Overall, for a 2.1 set of speakers, these turned out to be quite good for movie reproduction.
Games: This is probably the area where these speakers excel the most. The satellites are very clear in gaming, and their mid-bass is very present, but not overpowering. The satellites are able to provide excellent sound in a variety of gaming situations, and the ability to accurately reproduce the HRTF effects makes for a very immersive experience.
Verdict: Z-2300 is hitting the end of its production cycle. It is the last of the titans which is finally going to take slumber. Its successor Z-623 which I also have tested will take its place.
The sound characteristics of Z-623 are near identical to Z-2300 be it in music, movies or games, the only difference being the magnitude of the sound. For sure Z-623 is not as loud as Z-2300’s 117 dB maybe it hovers around 107 dB. Z-2300 seems to have a little bit more precise, slamming and deeper bass response from its 8 inch driver which the Z-623 is not able to manage from its 7 inch driver, though the midrange is equal for both the speaker systems. Z-2300 had little edge on treble response than Z-623 and the high frequencies are little more detailed.
The truth is, if you have not experienced the almighty Z-2300, its successor the Z-623 will simply blow you away, but if you had, you will realize it is not a match for Z-2300. All in all Z-623 is a rock solid 2.1 speaker system capable to let the Altec Lansing Expressionist Ultra’s, Creative Gigaworks T3’s or Sony SRS DB500’s eat its dust. As for Z-2300 it is still the king of this heard.
If you really need a high end 2.1 THX certified multimedia speaker system don’t waste any more time and get a Z-2300 while it is still available, and if they are not then only but a Z-623."