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.
The results for gaming were similar. The explosions and the spaceship rumbles of Escape Velocity: Nova showcased the Z-2300's subwoofer. For some ridiculous thunder, we turned the sub's volume to its max and blew up some enemy ships. The walls, the desk, and the floor shook with an intensity that quiet neighbors and coworkers will quickly learn to hate, yet even at this high volume, we experienced clarity in the middle and high frequencies with no distortion.
Watching chapter 34 of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers DVD delivered an equal amount of pure joy. In this battle scene, every collision benefited from a tremendous thud, and the fall of every horse hoof came through with pristine clarity and a low-end bass from the sub that made us shudder. Amid all this low-frequency glory, the score and the dialogue were never obscured or overpowered. The Z-2300 may not be a proper 5.1 surround-sound kit, but its output sure sounds like movie-theater quality.
At $150, the Logitech Z-2300 speakers are an excellent investment. Our minor gripes about the wiring and the nonadjustable angle of the speakers are truly minimal when weighed against the audio's superb power and accuracy. Simply put, they sound magnificent.