Logitech Z606 5.1 Speakers – Sometimes Older Is BETTER
Here’s the thing, I love surround sound and every time I’d go to a movie theater, it’s quite an immersive experience and I’m sure a lot of you guys can agree with me on that. Personally, I haven’t really set one up for myself in the household because I’m currently rocking a 2.1 desktop speaker system from Klipsch complimenting my living room or at my TV and it’s been great. The speakers are legendary and absolutely love it. I don’t think I’m getting rid of those anytime soon. In fact, I did a video on those and if you’re interested here it is. Now if I really wanted to experience around sound, I guess the only option I had was to throw on a pair of gaming headsets featuring virtual 7.1 surround sound and then experience it that way.
Now I really wasn’t looking for a surround system until Logitech actually sent us a press release on an affordable 5.1 smart system, and I was really intrigued to try it out. This is the Logitech Z606 surround system and it goes for around $130. Now Logitech is really well known for their speaker systems, but for this particular one I encountered a few odd design decisions in particular that real head scratcher.
All right, so before I get into the setup process and sound quality, I just want to quickly mention that the Z606 is not meant to replace the Z506 but rather it’s meant to compliment that system because the only additional improvements we’re getting is implementation of Bluetooth 4.2, slightly refined drivers and of course a redesign that I’ll do into detail about later.
The build quality of the speakers is okay for the price. I’m glad that it didn’t go for the glossy finish but I do love the discreet look. There are also convenient wall mounting options for each of these satellite units.
Now the rear channel speakers do come with a 20 foot cable and I think that might pose a problem when it comes to setting this up in a room that’s larger than a 12 by 12 foot space because it’s only 20 feet and you might have to use extension cables. That brings me to my next point, which is the speaker wires are the traditional ones. They’re not proprietary, which is nice, but keep note that they’re hardwired to the speakers themselves.
Now here’s something that’s really odd about the design of the Z606. The center channel speaker looks exactly the same as the rest of the satellite units. That poses a problem when you’re trying to place this directly in front of a TV or a monitor because it actually blocks a little bit of the screen real estate of that display, and that really sucks. I mean, I’m not sure how and why Logitech decided to design something like this because interestingly enough, if you look at their Z506 setup where their speaker system, the center channel is designed the right way. It’s horizontal, it’s nice and flush so you can comfortably place it in front of a TV or a monitor without blocking any of the screen. Overall, I just feel like this seems to be a more of an afterthought.
The subwoofer acts as the central hub for your main controls, like volume, switching sources, and also switching between 5.1 and 2.1 modes and other media playback buttons. I will mention that the digital display looks totally different from what Logitech actually advertises on their website as it’s just a standard seven segment LED that looks ugly and it remains low when the systems on.
Logitech also includes a remote controller with a Z606 and it basically replicates the exact same functionality as what you’ll find on the subwoofer, so you can change things like your volume, you have your media playback buttons as well as switching sources and switching between 5.1 and 2.1 modes as well. You can also change the levels between all these different channels that you have within the setup.
And now let’s move on to the IO, and the first thing that I noticed was that every input connection is via analog RCA. There are no digital inputs like optical. If you want to connect a console or a media streaming box, you have to have a receiver and then connect the speakers to the receiver. The layout does offer you two sources plus Bluetooth. According to Logitech the move to RCA was done in order to increase durability of the connections, but regardless, you still need to use a 3.5mm output on the signal source. Out of the box, Logitech does include a 3.5 millimeter to RCA cable but here’s the interesting part: They forgot to include the extra RCA cables that are required to set this up in true surround sound.
That’s a big disappointment because I had to go dig into my old closet to find those cables to get true surround sound. That is because if you use the standard stereo source, what’s going to happen is the processor built inside the subwoofer is going to process that stereo signal to a processed surround sound with the system and that just wouldn’t cut it because it’s really meant to offer you true surround sound. Now this is a step back, at least in my opinion, because if you look at the Z506, it actually comes with all the cables that you need to setup and true surround sound. I’m not exactly sure why Logitech just skipped out on a key aspect like that. It is an extra investment as you will have to spend probably six or $10 on these cables, but it just would have been a lot better if the cables were included with a system like this.
With that out of the way, I was finally able to setup the surround system through my PC and I started watching Planet Earth on Netflix, which is an amazing show by the way. I also did a little bit of gaming as well, and I have to be honest, it was an amazing experience. Those two rear channel speakers definitely add a layer of immersion when you’re consuming media, it’s especially noticeable when I was watching Planet Earth during transitions between different landscapes. I was able to pick up the different sound effects like rainfall, waterfalls and beautiful wildlife. It really does compliment the visual experience. The same story goes for gaming as well, you can start to hear different positional cues as you’re navigating through the game play.
My only concern with the surround system is the lack of proper bass. Unfortunately, the subwoofer is really not that great. It’s pretty muddy and not very tight. I mean the sound just doesn’t compliment the actual speakers well. I tried increasing the gain level on the subwoofer using the remote, but it still didn’t make any difference. If you’re someone who’s looking for that extra punch for a subwoofer, especially in a surround sound system, this is definitely not for you.
Also, I just want to quickly go over what processed surround sound sounds like, especially in Bluetooth mode as well as it’s really not worth it. I mean you’re actually much better off setting this thing up in true surround sound because your rear channel speakers basically act as a secondary left and right channel speaker. It’s basically split, and it’s honestly not an amazing experience.
In conclusion, the Z606 surround system from Logitech is definitely a missed opportunity because basic flaws like the center channel speaker being designed this way just doesn’t complete the set in my opinion. You also don’t have the proper cables to get this thing up and running in true surround sound. Sure, the additional need of Bluetooth support is nice, but I mean really if they don’t include the cables to properly process true surround sound, it completely defeats the purpose of the experience in the first place. For $130, it’s really hard to recommend. I think most users who really don’t want to go through the process of routing the cables and wall mounting the satellite speakers are much better off going for a decent 2.1 system. Not to mention cable management with this system is a nightmare – just judging by the shot right here, it’s a mess, I know, so that’s something to consider.
Buy items in this review from Amazon at the links below:
[amazon_link asins=’B07MVYH9VJ|B07MVYH9VJ|B003WJR482|B003U506QU|B003U506QU’ template=’DefaultTemplate’ store=’hardwar0d-20|hardwar06-20|hardwar04-21|hardwcanuc-21|hardwar00-21′ marketplace=’US|CA|UK|DE|FR’ link_id=’34959168-effc-4f24-beb0-1a42d4b1e1b2′]