Editors' Note: Due to competitive changes in the marketplace, we have lowered the rating on this product.
Although they weren't perfect, we liked Logitech's oldspeakers an awful lot. We were a bit annoyed by their use of hardwired speaker cables instead of quick-connect jacks (a feature that has not changed), but the overall performance of the set was spectacular. And while we admit we were skeptical about the attempt to mess with a classic, Logitech's new Z-2300 2.1 speakers improve upon the originals more than we thought possible.
A lot of the core specs remain the same between generations. The Z-2300 retains the Z-2200's THX certification and speaker-frequency response (35Hz to 20KHz) and the subwoofer's 120 watts of floor-rattling power. The remote still offers headphone access and the standard sub and volume controls. Design changes abound, however, and they're more than just cosmetic.
Redesigned for a sleeker look, the speakers still utilize the same phase plug-style drivers (designed to even out frequency response). At 2.5 inches, the drivers are smaller than the old, mammoth 3-inch version yet offer the same amount of power (80 watts, or 40 watts per channel). We also found the outer casing visually appealing, with a chrome-and-black color scheme and removable black dust covers. The extra 0.75 inch shaved off their width is a helpful update for the cluttered-desk crowd--though it's too bad you can't adjust their upward-firing angle. This time around, Logitech has also included a video game adapter for all you console owners.
Our first test on the Z-2300 was musical. We checked out the Arcade Fire's MP3 "Wake Up" and loved the results. The opening guitar riff sounded crunchy and clear, with the subwoofer offering subtle and smooth low-end accompaniment. When the drums kicked in and the bass guitar followed, the bass never detracted from the speakers' excellent clarity in the mid-to-high frequencies, even at maximum volume. All the while, the set provided the kind of thump and low-end resonance most would associate with a great PA system at a live show. Unlike those on many 2.1 setups, the Z-2300's subwoofer seemed capable of providing stellar sound at both moderate and extreme bass levels.