Logitech Z-640

Logitech Z-640

Written by John Yan on 11/16/2002 for
More On: Logitech Z-640
Not everyone can get the best of what’s out there for their computer. As much as we like to we have to purchase products within our budget. That’s not to say that we can’t get a good quality product without sacrificing a lot of greenbacks. In terms of speakers, you probably will not find a better buy than the Z-640s. For true 5.1 functionality and some good audio, the Z-640 will give any budget consumer a good set of speakers for their home computer.

A look at the set and you’ll see it’s pretty much the same design as the Z-540s with regards to the satellite speakers. Each satellite is rated at 5.5 Watts RMS whereas the Z-540 had satellites that were rated at 5 Watts RMS. As with the Z-540, the satellite stands double as wall mounts. You just need to take a screwdriver to the back and loosen one screw to flip the mounts around. The holes in the stands are lined with a thick black rubber so they will protect the desk they sit on or the wall they are mounted. Each of the connectors is color coded so you can easily see where they go. The plugs on the subwoofer also tell you where the speaker should be located around you. The rear speakers have much longer wires so you should have good length to place them where you can behind you. While you don’t have the freedom of using your own speaker wire, they should do well enough. All the speakers are shielded so you can place them by monitors and not worry about them.

The center speaker now houses all the controls instead of being positioned in the right speaker. Besides the power button, fader dial, volume control and matrix button there is now a center volume control and a much welcomed headphone jack. One of my complaints of the Z-540 was the lack of a headphone jack. Thankfully, Logitech has included it in the Z-640s so you can utilize headphones easily for privacy. The center speaker also contains all the connections to the sound card and to the subwoofer. One large serial connector connects to the subwoofer while another wire with three 1/8” connectors extends from the left side of the center speaker to plug into the sound card. Also color coded, the 1/8” connectors are separated into one front set connector, one rear set connector, and one center speaker connector. Since my Game Theater XP only had component connectors for the center speaker, I had to run up to Radio Shack and purchase some converters.

In terms of size and shape, the subwoofer for the Z-640 is pretty much the same as Z-540’s. Like the satellites, Logitech has increased the power output of the speaker to 23.5 Watts RMS, which is 3.5 Watts RMS more than the Z-540. A nice feature about the subwoofer is that the power supply is internal to the unit thus no large power brick that gets in the way. Logitech changed the connection of the control unit from a small 9-pin connector to a more durable serial connection. This along with the thumbscrews makes the connection more secure. You won’t find the plug to snap out as easily as the 9-pin one.
Connecting the speakers to my Hercules Game Theater XP I tested the unit with a variety of music, movies, and games. I ran through my collection of MP3s and CDs to see how well the speakers handled music. I wasn’t surprised at how much bass the unit puts out as I’ve been using the Z-540 units for a while but that’s not to say that it isn’t impressive. It’s loud, deep and powerful. It’s not going to overwhelm you but the bass is definitely very good. Voices and instruments sound good coming from the small speakers as well. Given the small size, the produce a very good sound. The highs and mids weren’t bad. To be honest, I was very happy with how music sounded.

The Z-640 set is an inexpensive solution to listen to movies in Dolby Digital on your computer. Using Cyberlink’s PowerDVD, I played some scenes from Star Wars Episode I. As with music, the Z-640’s did a good job at outputting sound. The roar of the pod racers and sound of lightsabers clashing sounded great especially in my small office area.

Turning on the surround sound in Medal of Honor treated me to a great audio experience. Just to be able to hear footsteps or gunfire coming from behind allows me to react accordingly. The surround sound experience also enhanced playing Unreal Tournament 2003. Along with the great graphics, the great 3D sound gives you a very fun playing experience and the Z-640 delivers really well. In fact, all the games that I tried that supported surround sound played out really well with the Z-640. Audio cues really help enhance the game playing experience and having a surround sound setup with the Z-640 helps out a lot. More and more games in the future will start to take full advantage of surround sound so the Z-640 set with the appropriate sound card will let you listen to how the games are meant to sound.

If you want to use the set with a console system, Logitech was kind enough to provide a dual 1/8” to RCA jack converter. You just need to plug the left and right audio into the converter and attach the front and rear plugs from the Z-640 to the converter. Turning on the matrix feature, the set tries to emulate surround sound from a stereo source. While nowhere near as good as true surround sound, the matrix effect does an ok job in trying to position the audio where it should be.

For those on a budget and would like to get a very capable 5.1 setup, then the Logitech Z-640 is the set for you. For the price, they sound pretty good and offer a decent amount of power for small rooms. I’ve always liked how the Z-540 sounded considering they were very inexpensive and the Z-640 continues to do the same. The addition of the center speaker along with a headphone jack highlights the set. Pick up the Z-640 if you want to experience true 5.1 surround sound at a very respectable price.
While it doesn’t give out heart pounding awesome sound like some of the higher priced units out there, the Z-640 does an admirable job in giving you 5.1 sound at a very good price. The Z-640 is a great set for those on a budget.

Rating: 8 Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

About Author

I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.

I'm  married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.

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