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Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speaker System Review
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Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speaker System Review

The Logitech G51 surround sound speakers are Logitech’s first set of gaming speakers. These new speakers are designed and have a number of features for PC gamers to enjoy. The most noticeable new feature is the Matrix mode that takes the sound from games or music that is stereo (right and left only) and converts them to 5.1 surround sound. The speakers also come with an awesome looking control pod which includes a headphone and microphone jack, as well as buttons to mute the microphone or all 6 speakers. On top of that, the 4 satellite speakers are customizable so that gamers can modify the look of them to fit their current setup or show their favorite games.

The G51 speakers look great out of the box, even though you can customize them further. The color scheme of black, silver, and a light gold color look great. The subwoofer is all black with silver screws and Logitech logo that accent it well. Although the speakers look great, the control pod is the best looking thing in the box. It has a huge knob in the middle with lights all around it indicating the volume level. Off to each side of the knob are buttons to control the speakers and plugs from headphones and speakers.

The G51 surround sound system is very easy to setup. The front speakers have short cords (since they are placed close) and the rear speakers have very long cords that can travel around a small room. The center speaker was designed to fit on the top of flat screen monitors. The center speaker is very easy to clamp on and will fit on any flatscreen TV or monitor. The center speaker clamp can also act as a stand if you don’t have a flatscreen. All connections are made on the back of the subwoofer and all the plugs are color coded. There are two types of inputs: 6-channel direct, and stereo RCA. The 6-channel direct is what is used on most PC sound cards. The 6-channel direct allows you to have true surround sound; however, if your sound card isn’t 6-channel, you can use the matrix mode on the control pod to play sound through the rear speakers.

The matrix mode is an awesome feature because it takes non-surround sound audio or music and plays it though all five speakers and subwoofer. Many older games and most music files only have stereo (left and right) sound, but the matrix button allows this kind of sound to play out of all speakers including the two rear speakers.

The actual sound of the speakers is excellent and if you aren’t satisfied, you can tweak the volume of just about every speaker on the control pod. The control pod allows you to change the volume for all speakers at once, or just the subwoofer, rear speakers, or center speaker.

The only real downside to the speakers’ features is that it doesn’t have an optical input that both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 use. Instead, only RCA stereo sound can be used and then put on the rear speakers with the matrix mode. In addition to the speakers not having an optical input, the customization of the satellite speakers seems pretty lame to be honest. You have to download special software, then you have to download the skins, then you have to print them out on your own printer, then you have to unscrew each side of the speaker, and then you have to cut out and insert the paper and then screw everything pack together…and that’s just for one speaker. On top of that, you don’t really ever see the sides of the speakers because they are all facing you…so what’s the point? I guess it is a cool feature for those that really want to change the look of the speakers, but I sure don’t have the time or patience to do so when the speakers look so good right out of the box.

The retail price for the G51 speakers is $200, which is pretty good, but by shopping around you can find them as cheap as $170 or even $150. Overall, the G51 surrounds sound speakers are a nice set of speakers for a very affordable price. They are great for gamers because of the headphone and microphone jacks on the control pod, but the speaker skins just seem like a gimmick. If you have had the same old boring speakers for years, definitely think about getting a set of these if you do a lot of gaming or listening to music. If you already have a decent surround sound system though and are looking to get the next best thing, you might want to check out the Logitech Z-5500 that is THX certified and has more inputs, but comes in at around twice the price as the G51.

For detailed specs on the G51 and Z-5500 check out the official Logitech site below:
Logitech G51
Logitech Z-5500

Final Rating: 9 out of 10.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

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