Logitech SoundMan SR-30 review: Logitech SoundMan SR-30

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MSRP: $69.95

The Good Space-efficient design; convenient remote control; powerful; attractive price for surround-sound system.

The Bad Restricted dynamic range; too much distortion; unappealing sound at normal to high listening levels.

The Bottom Line A versatile performer for small, low-volume environments, the SoundMan SR-30 nevertheless pales when pushed.

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7.0 Overall

When a speaker system offers two-satellite-plus-subwoofer stereo, four-satellite-plus-subwoofer surround sound, 30 continuous watts of power, and a corded remote control for less than $70, something's got to give. In the case of Logitech's SoundMan SR-30, that something is quality. Though the smaller, less expensive sibling of Logitech's superb SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100 is adequate at gentle volumes and fully translates DVD movies, surround-sound games, and music, it would disappoint those who cherish clean, dynamic sound. When a speaker system offers two-satellite-plus-subwoofer stereo, four-satellite-plus-subwoofer surround sound, 30 continuous watts of power, and a corded remote control for less than $70, something's got to give. In the case of Logitech's SoundMan SR-30, that something is quality. Though the smaller, less expensive sibling of Logitech's superb SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100 is adequate at gentle volumes and fully translates DVD movies, surround-sound games, and music, it would disappoint those who cherish clean, dynamic sound.

Under pressure
The SR-30 is brimming with contradictions. Its amplifier generates enough juice to fill virtually any environment with sound, yet it creates noticeable dirtiness whenever that power is put to the test. Its four satellites are actually heavier than their impressive Xtrusio counterparts, but they deliver a flatter, boxier sound that's reminiscent of a good clock radio. And although its slim, cylindrical subwoofer cabinet and tiny, 3-inch bass driver are capable of reproducing lower frequencies than the subs of comparably priced systems, those frequencies are often prohibitively distorted.

That said, the SR-30 has its perks. Attached to a 6-foot cord, the unit's remote might lack treble and bass controls, but it permits independent adjustments to both front and rear speaker volume and features a headphone jack, an on/off switch, and an LED power indicator. Its small, 3-by-2.5-inch satellite footprints and minuscule, 4-by-4-inch subwoofer base leave plenty of free space, and the two rear speakers add spaciousness and positional awareness to games and DVD movies that standard three-piece systems can't provide.

Adequate, affordable, anticlimactic
The versatile and affordable yet mediocre $69.95 SoundMan SR-30 might satisfy those whose computing area is small or severely restricted in volume. Its treble and bass is unimpressive, but all of the critical midrange material is acceptable. However, many plausible options abound. If budgetary concerns are a priority, and two-channel stereo output will do, Altec Lansing's three-piece AVS300 produces equivalent mids and highs and better bass for half the price. For $179.95, the admittedly more expensive Xtrusio offers five-piece surround sound, thumping bottom end, and clearly superior output at any volume.

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