Logitech's highly successful Z-5500 5.1 speaker system received much praise from customers using it for gaming, movies, and music. So naturally we were excited to hear about Logitech's successor (Z906) to this popular system. The Z906 5.1 Speaker System is a THX-Certified 5.1 surround sound designed to deliver 500 watts (RMS) of high-quality sound for movies, games, and music. The subwoofer has a dedicated 165 watts RMS amplifier, whereas each of the five satellite speakers have 67 watts RMS of power. The unit is capable of decoding Dolby® digital or DTS™ encoded soundtracks from digital sources.
The Z906 has digital and analog inputs allowing you to connect up to six audio devices simultaneously. Typical connections include your TV, DVD, DVR, Blu-Ray™ player, Xbox 360®, PLAYSTATION®3, Wii™, iPod® and even your laptop. The unit includes a control console and a wireless remote. The small remote measures approximately 4-1/4" x 1-3/4" x 5/8" and operates on three "AAA" batteries. The remote is simple in functions with Power, Input Select (6-channel direct, stereo, optical, coax, and Aux), and Mute buttons on the top. The Level select is used to select the subwoofer, rear
satellites, center channel, or main volume levels. The Volume (+ and -) buttons are used to adjust the selected channels. The Effect select button chooses the desired sound effect (Stereo 3D, Stereo 4.1, and Stereo 2.1). The IR signal from the remote is strong allowing the user to sit a good distance from the console.
Five Satellite Speakers
Each of the five satellite speakers holds a single driver, similar to the Z5500 satellite, but without the port. This may explain why these speakers do not appear to have the same sonic characteristic the older Z5500 had. The actual driver in the speaker cabinet appears to be similar in design. Spring loaded speaker terminals on the back provide the connection to the wires. Three 15-foot cables are provided for the front channels and 25-foot cables are provided for the rear channels.
The Z906 console is very different than its (Z5500) predecessor with no text-based display. Instead, only lights are used to indicate the mode of operation. Even the volume uses a set of light to show the output level. Fortunately, the volume is easy to see from a good distance away. The other indicators are more difficult to discern from a distance. Each of the six inputs has an indicator as does the Effect mode (3D, 4.1, and 2.1). The Decode light lets the user know if the Z906 is decoding a bitstream. There is also 6 indicators arranged in a typical 5.1 speaker configuration to show how many speakers are active at any given time. The IR receiver is located on the front of the console.
The Z906 Subwoofer houses not only the bass unit, but also contains the amplifiers for all of the satellite speakers. The bass driver is 8-inches versus the 10-inch driver used in the Z5500. This might explain why the Z5500 sounded heavier in the bass department. Even with the smaller driver, the bass is tight and responsive. The cabinet is well built and has internal reinforcement to minimize vibrations. However, there is no acoustical material in the bass unit to help dampening, which is a bit surprising. The side port is flared on the exterior as well as the interior to prevent noise. The subwoofer delivers 165 watts of ultra efficient Class D power for a deep full impact experience.
The back of the Z906 subwoofer is clean and lacks the large heatsink found on the Z5500 subwoofer. Instead, the Z906 utilizes highly efficient digital amplifiers for all of the speakers. Input connections include 6-channel analog (via three 3.5mm input jacks), 2-channel analog (via RCA jacks), dual toslink digital and a coaxial digital input. The console plugs into the 15-pin high-density D-Sub connector. Each of the five satellite speakers connect to the back of this unit through spring loaded speaker terminals. The pre-tinned speaker wires are provided for each of the satellite speakers. The non-detachable power cable exits the rear panel.
Analog inputs are sampled with high quality AKM AK5386 two-channel A/D converters to get the audio in the digital domain. The heart of the Z906 is Intersil's D2Audio processor (D2-71583-LR) for decoding Dolby Digital and DTS audio. This product is recognized for its excellent audio performance. This is a different audio processor than what was used in the Z5500. If you are wondering about the quality of this audio processor, I would recommend you read about it at the Intersil website. They have even joined forces with legendary audiophile Mark Levinson.
Setting up the Z906 was easy and all the required wiring is provided for the five satellite speakers. The subwoofer is physically smaller than it's predecessor, so in some cases it is easier to place in the room. However, to get the best bass response from the design the side-firing port should not be placed too close to a wall or cabinet.
Each of the satellite speakers are angled slightly upwards to project the audio towards the listener. The user console has a long 7-foot cable that allows it to be placed wherever it is convenient to use.
The $400 Logitech Z906 5.1 speakers provide a pleasing surround system for watching movies. Dialogue is clear with good separation in each channel. The bass is deep and the system has the ability to provide satisfying levels of sounds. The ability to reproduce music was slightly more challenging on this system and it fell short of what my experience was on the predecessor (Z5500). Nonetheless, the Z906 will work well for those looking for a compact 5.1 speaker system capable of handling a variety of analog and digital sources including Dolby Digital and DTS.