IRL Review Logitech Z553 2.1 Computer Speakers– The Z553 speakers were a set I bought solely because of aesthetics. I absolutely could not stop looking at their design- the weird towering cylindrical subwoofer, the sideways binoculars speakers and the hockey puck remote controller just jumped out to me. Added on a really good price match opportunity (38 bucks from 150 original MSRP!) and I just took it right away. After owning them for 1.5 years, the following are my thoughts in my IRL review.
Design and build quality- The speakers themselves absolutely stand out to me as unique and modern with a bit of funkiness. I quite love the speakers in particular- the basic shapes are simple and effective. I also love the bright orange red cables that add enough of a highlight without being overly intrusive. The little circle air vents in the subwoofer are cool. You get the picture- I think the speaker looks great. Build quality is where it falls flat- these speakers feel like 50 dollar 2.1 speakers, not mid range ones (if we look at most computer speakers peaking with the 300 dollar range). Everything in these except the stands on the speakers and subwoofer are plastic. I normally can deal with plastic if it is done well (like the AudioEngine A5+ where the plastic is dense and reassuring). These feel so so so cheap. There is no density to these speakers and subs- they feel like el cheapos and its just too bad they didn’t match the build quality with the high level of design. Most concerning is the subwoofer, and a reason why I suspect that its so limited in power- the thing can be knocked over with a good puff of wind. I don’t even know how it made it past R&D. I don’t feel like it will fall apart, and nothing feels crappy in use- i.e. the remote jog dial turns with a nice smoothness. It just feels like it could have been so much more. So long story short- really great design, really flimsy feeling quality.
I think the package looks great overall- unfortunately for most people, looking great is not sufficient for a set of speakers. There are plenty of speakers that look great AND sound great- i.e. Harmon Kardon Soundsticks III. Fortunately I paid a minimal penny for the package and I can live with that. I don’t think most people would be able to. One thing I quite like about these is that Logitech changed the channel feeder into the satellites so that mids go to one speaker and highs go to the other. Its like having a mid range and a tweeter but not as good. I like the idea in theory- its supposed to allow each speaker to concentrate on the frequency reproduction, sort of like all the hybrid and mutli driver IEMs out right now. Its a shame you don’t see that in practice – as I will cover in the sound quality section.
The speakers are easy enough to set up- they have two ways to input audio (stereo and a 3.5mm jack). I love these red orange accents.
Sound Quality– Of course one of the most important things with a set of speakers is the sound quality- I have to say these are pretty disappointing. The subwoofer absolutely bottoms out at any real bass push. Its really crazy- I have taken these apart twice now believing there must be something broken inside to limit them so dramatically You just do not get the rumble in movies or the deep notes in house music. These speakers just cannot handle low end notes and its an absolute shame. It made me really struggle with what I would use these for. What they do manage at a quite reasonable level is with dialogue- I use these for quite a few movies and YouTube videos where all I want to focus is on the dialogue and not on the atmosphere in a movie or the music. Dialogue with the right EQing can be quite clear on these (but is that why you would buy a 2.1 system? No). So there you have it. I find the mids and highs ok- nothing to write home about and nothing I would buy these speakers for specifically. I would absolutely return these at their MSRP, no question. I can’t listen to music on these and I can’t watch movies on these. I can watch Youtube and some movies where I want to focus on conversation. Not great. Who should buy a set of speakers just for Youtube? Nobody should.
Conclusion – These speakers suck. Seriously. Suck in their intended purpose as speakers. They cannot provide any low end without bottoming out, and they feel cheap as hell. I really expected more from Logitech. They have provided plenty of speakers in the past that more than met the expectations for music and movies for computers. They could easily have done the same with these speakers and still kept the design. I suspect at some point cost became a factor and they decided to kill off sound quality as a major factor. Its not even like a Beats suck, where they only sound good with certain kinds of music and noting else. They only sound good with dialogue and NO MUSIC. That’s crazy to me. Don’t buy these. Unless you like museum pieces.
TLDR- Pros- Great design; Cons- Poor sound quality, bottoms out on minimal bass notes, poor build quality, poor value