As my audio/video needs are being satisfied by an Zotac ION and now the case is finished I figured it was time to sort out the audio. Until now I’ve be using an old set of Creative 5.1 speakers that has it’s own decoder and connect using SPDIF. This sounds good, pardon the pun, but led to some peculiar issues with lipsync and had no remote. Enter, the Logitech X-540s.
These are quite cheap (I got mine for £70 from Novatech) but the sound quality is superb, even from a basic source. Watching Freeview with “Matrix Mode” on does some funky processing and gives a pretty good surround sound effect. The bass can rattle the windows or switch it off completely, as I live in a flat (apartment to any passing Americans) and don’t like to piss off my neighbours too much switching it off is a fantastic feature. For that reason alone I can recommend it to anyone in a shared block or house with thin walls.
These speakers are quite dumb, other than Matrix Mode they do no processing, and require outputs from the machine itself. From my perspective this is great as it gets around the issue mentioned above with SPDIF. The motherboard does a fantastic job in decoding audio from Bluray films and sounds great. Watching Black Sheep I’ll admit to jumping when a sheep bleated in my ear…
The only issue I have with these, as mentioned in every other review for these, is the length of the speaker cables. For use in a living room they are too short, for bedroom or study use they may be fine. Thankfully Logitech have used RCA connectors rather than some proprietary nonsense which means buying or creating extensions for them would be a breeze. I’m planning on wall mounting the rears so an extra 5 meters will be very handy.
In conclusion, for £70 you can’t go wrong. Just make sure your sound card has 5.1 analog outputs.