At $199, the Logitech Z-5300e is a midlevel model in the company's lineup of 5.1-channel multimedia PC speaker systems. It includes five satellite speakers, a subwoofer that houses the system's amplifier, and a control module. In comparison to Logitech's widely acclaimed flagship ($399), the Z-5300e has lower amplifier power, a more basic control module, and limited connectivity. Although the Z-5300e is an adequate low-end 5.1 speaker set, we'd recommend spending the additional $50 for Creative's $249 set instead.
Setting up the Logitech Z-5300e set is quite easy. After positioning the speakers, you connect them, the control module, and your computer sound card or game console to color-coded jacks located on the subwoofer. Power on, and you're basically good to go. Conveniently, the speakers come with preattached stands. The swiveling stands facilitate placing the speakers on a desk or wall-mounting them. We always recommend the latter for more permanent installation. Although the front and center speakers perform well when placed on a computer desk, your best option is to wall-mount the left and right speakers a few feet behind your listening position. One caveat: The speaker cables are hardwired to the satellites, and the wires for the front left and right speakers are only 6 feet long. What's more, the control module's cable is only slightly longer. As a result, you really have no choice but to stash the subwoofer directly under your computer desk.
You'll need a sound card with 5.1-channel analog audio output to get discrete multichannel surround sound from the Z-5300e. That said, you can play sources with as few as two channels, for example, James "Blood" Ulmer's, Blues & Grass stereo-only SACD, and use the Z-5300e's upmixing feature (Logitech calls it Matrix) to distribute the audio through all the speakers. Unlike some higher-end multimedia speaker systems, such as Logitech's own Z-5500 Digital, the Z-5300e speakers don't have digital audio inputs, nor do they come with an auxiliary audio input. As a result, you can't connect a second device, such as an , to the Z-5300e set directly. On a more positive note, Logitech includes a plug adapter for connecting the speaker system to a game console.
Although adequate, the Z-5300e set's control module won't win any design awards. To convey the status of settings, the control module uses red and green LEDs rather than a more revealing text display. With the control module placed flat on a computer desk, the volume-level LEDs were visually obstructed by the volume knob. The control module might be more ergonomic if it could stand partially upright. In its default mode, a silver knob adjusts the overall system volume. Pressing the Selector button selects the subwoofer, the rear speakers, or the center speaker for level adjustment. The control module also includes a power button, a Matrix button (to activate the aforementioned upmixing feature), and a headphone minijack input.
Logitech says the Z-5300e has 280 watts of total system power, which is ample juice for most applications. In fact, when we played Guns N Roses' raucous "Nightrain" at maximum volume, the speakers got ear-splittingly loud without breaking up. Each of the front and rear speakers receives 35.25 watts. The center speaker gets a little extra power (39 watts) to help dialogue stand out in movies and games. Each of the satellites has a single 2.5-inch driver; 100 watts is on tap to push the subwoofer's 6.5-inch driver.