Top critical review
100 people found this helpful
on 12 August 2010
The plasticky look of those speakers seems to translate directly into the sound.
Yes, they are loud.
Yes, the bass could drive your family, flatmates or neighbours insane.
Yes, they are pretty cheap.
But my previous speakers had soul. I used to own the Logitech X-230 (now defunct), similar if somewhat higher price range, from what I remember. Seeing the Z323s on Amazon - with their good ratings - I naturally assumed they would be the perfect replacement and had not the slightest doubt about making a good purchase when hitting "checkout".
Upon unboxing them, I thought "hmm ... plastic" (yes, you can see the satellite units are plastic from the picture on Amazon, but they look cheaper in real life). Still, I had high hopes when plugging them in.
So then came the moment of truth. They were plugged into the exact same computer with the exact same audio settings as my old X-230s, and boy was the first test disappointing. Used on a youtube video of Metallica's Enter Sandman, I first assumed the clip was poor quality, so I tried my other main source of music I use them with ... the music website lastfm. The sound was slightly better, but still disappointing. I stepped things up another notch in terms of sound file quality and played some music from a couple of CDs via winamp. This gave the best quality of sound, but was still a let down from the previous speakers.
Now to come to the actual problems I have with their sound.
First of all, they sound like desktop speakers, whereas the X-230s sounded like proper speakers. The Z232s are very sharp, so that you can hear the imperfections of compressed sound files. The mids are pretty much absent from the sound spectrum, and you can only salvage them to some extent if you play your music from a media player with an equalizer (such as Winamp). The one thing those speakers cannot be faulted for is the bass, which is powerful and can be easily adjusted from the back of the subwoofer unit.
Second, I listen to music mainly via the web and love all sorts of musical genres (rock, blues, metal, jazz, world, dub, you name it). So once I manage to find one setting that works e.g. for a jazz track, it may not work that well for a dub track. One reviewer here mentioned the need to frequently adjust the EQ settings, and I would tend to agree, especially if you're into various musical genres and listen to them in heavy rotation.
Third, and this is something which may be inherent in the speakers' design (they have a membrane on the back). The sound seems slightly better (i.e. mildly fuller and less piercing) if you turn them outwards and as far away as possible from where you sit at your desk, but getting something decent out of these speakers simply takes too much work.
Again, I played around with my computer's sound settings, the EQ, various sound files/sources and I don't even think this is a faulty unit. Bottom line is: They are plastic, plain and simple. The X-230s satellites were made from plywood, and this is probably one of the factors that put them in a higher league, as they were perfectly capable of coping with anything you threw at them - youtube videos, streamed music, .wav files, games, videos *without* having to play around with the sound settings.
So in conclusion?
They aren't really for me for the above reasons, and I would not buy them again, but you get what you pay for (especially when you impulse buy). The pluses were the price and the oomph (in terms of power and bass), but I definitely would not recommend them to music lovers with a similar useage to mine.