The new Logitech Z600 desktop Bluetooth speakers really are special. I know the speakers give off the depressing architectural aura of two worsted cloth and black vinyl nuclear cooling towers, but what they gift their dear listener, if they can look beyond the eye-ache, is some awesome sound reproduction. 9.5″ high and retailing for around US$150, they really give mucho bang for your buck.
Now let me add a further caveat beyond the speakers’ architecture. I only heard these beauties because I was out there with my youngest son looking for the kind of über gassy, nauseatingly treble-heavy kind of sound he likes to put his hip-hop on. I’m just supposed to be the human ATM. When I heard this baby, however, I was genuinely moved. It’s got three drivers. Two face the listener while the bass faces down. The Z600 pumps out some serious volume. The sound was very detailed. I could hear Duane Allman’s every little click of the pick on that old chestnut ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.’ A very, very bright sound. It takes a fair time to adjust things on the iTunes equalizer, but the time you put in will be worthwhile. Once again, because I don’t like the poison-pen reviews of my review, don’t buy it if what you want is a hip-hop bass sound… these aren’t your best bet.
Chatchkes and ornamentation are minimized. The on-off switch is flush with the cabinet, along with the concealed auxiliary input jack. Better yet, volume is easily controlled by swirling your finger on the top of the speaker cabinet. There’s a fair bit of wiring involved, too. They are wired to one another and a power source by trendy flat cables. Maybe I’m a bit overly picky, but it would be better if they could come up with a way to coil up the wires inside the speaker just to keep my stereo from looking scruffy.
Speakers tend to come bundled with (or inside) your computer. Lots of cheap ones are available for less than US$100. For that extra $50, though, Logitech goes eclectic. You can connect to your computer for loud, quality sound. The bonus, however, thanks to Señor Bluetooth, they can also be paired up with three different devices at once. In other words, you can wire the whole house and even the garage for sound. They’re less expensive – albeit slightly less portable – than the Boffin’s Choice, the Bose SoundLink Mini at $199.95 or the $300 UE Boom, or the Audyssey 10 wireless at thrice the price. The only rival I would consider is the Harman-Kardon Soundsticks III, with slightly lower lows, which retails at $169.99. Nevertheless, all of these are way superior to what’s on your iPad or notebook or anything else your desktop speakers can put out.
All you need to do to connect your Z600 to a PC or any other device to the speakers is the included 3.5mm audio cable, or go wireless. The speakers can be paired with up to eight different devices, and connected to three devices at once, so you can seamlessly switch between playing music from, say, your smartphone, your iPad and your computer. If your computer doesn’t support Bluetooth, you can use the included USB adapter to output sound to the speakers with very little setup. The adapter is a great addition, because it ensures that you have the option to use the Z600 wirelessly with nearly any device you own and far fewer cables to worry about.
I gave the speakers a marathon workout. Everything cranked, from Ludwig Van’s Fith Symphony to Grace Jones’ ‘Pull Up to the Bumper.’ The soft end of the highs is just lovely, but the same soft bottom in the lows will take the dance out of bass.
Simply put, if your sound standards are snobbier than your computer’s throw-in speakers, the Logitech Z600 offers an impressive combination of performance, bang-for-your-buck and connectivity for your bedroom, garage, yard, kitchen, basement or studio.