Tuesday, November 3, 2009

PC Hardware Review : Logitech X-540 5.1 surround sound systems

Hi all, I'm back for a review on the Logitech X-540 as I promised on last month.
Here's the specs lists fromt the main site:

X-540 5.1 Speaker System

    • Drivers:
      Satellites: (2) 2" drivers per satellite
      Subwoofer: 5.25" ported driver
    • Speaker dimensions (H x W x D):
      Satellites: 8.4" x 3.2" x 5"
      Center channel: 7.8" x 4.75" x 3.75"
      Subwoofer: 11.25" x 6.5" x 9.75"

Warranty Information

  • 2-year limited warranty

Package Contents

  • Speakers: 4 satellites, 1 center channel, 1 subwoofer
  • Control center
  • Color-coded audio cables
  • Game console adapter
  • User manual

Part Number

  • PN 970223-0403

Technical Specifications

    • Total RMS power: 70 watts RMS
      Satellites: 45 watts RMS (2 x 7.4W front, 15.4W centre, 2 x 7.4W rear)
      Subwoofer: 25 watts RMS
    • Total peak power: 140 watts
    • Frequency response: 40 Hz - 20 kHz

First of all here's some pictures of the product but please forgive me as the shitty digicam I'm using doesn't have the functions my bro's Lumix has. Btw, the images have been re-sized to smaller resolution to make things less blurry.

Now here's what its looks like when we open the box. *duh

This is how it looks likes when unpacked and placed accordingly like the X-540 ads, it reminds me of  Wall.E.

This is the woofer, standing on my cracked plastic chair. (risky stand, might fall anytime)


This is the rear connection ports, as you can notice the colours of the ports and forget about the blurry words on it, it shows the Front (green) , Orange (center/sub) , Black (Rear)

The sub driver is placed below the enclosure itself, basically if you ask me why not facing the front or side I'd say the bass is more equally created when the driver is facing the floor, instead of having a direct heart thumping(sick) bass i'd rather have my room, floor, chairs, tables (yes, it goes that far lol) shaking. 


Okay now here's the funny part for some pros who read this, I'm using a cheap ass on-board Realtek AC1200 audio chipset for the sound test, the thing is its not a heavy performer compare to Creative's x-fi or Asus's Xonar dedicated card etc.

Well, since nowadays onboard audio chipsets are widely available even on high end boards except those who have onboard x-fi, these cheap onboard are used mostly throughout the budget community where they don't need to fork out and extra RM200 purposely for a sound card, but it'll be great if you are able to fork out some extra for the dedicated card.

Lets face it, on-board is not able to output as strong as the dedicated, its only capable of reaching 60~70% of what the dedicated have but it still proved able to do 5.1 or even 7.1 for no extra charge apart from the board.

Test system ? my main gaming arsenal.


Well, i've been using or testing this baby since the day I bought it back. 
The matrix mode of the system indeed does alot of help to create a fake surround from the stereo source, example like a orchestra or live acoustic music, the matrix function helps create an the sound to make a environment from only stereo source...or even bullet-time motion if you imagine hard enough.  

There is a limitation on the X-540, the cable lenght. Its somehow limited to a rough length of 4m where I'm lucky enough to mount it to the wall behind my workstations. (see previous post for the wide view of the setup) 

Songs tested with results:

Terminator Salvation - Intro: Being very close like watching the intro in cinema, nice !

Metal Gear Solid 2 : Sons Of Liberty - Main Theme/Soldiers from Kasatka: What to say ? I can feel like I'm actually Solid Snake kicking ass although I'm not.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Main Theme/Battle In The Jungle: Hmm, tastes like snake. Plays jungle spy theme nicely !

Eagles - Hotel California: Well, we can't miss this unplugged live version of the song, everything is crystal clear even with the matrix mode on.

Sting - When Dolphins Dance : From start to end, the bass is nicely done without going too over, thanks to the manual bass adjust @ 40~60%.

U2 - Miracle Drug and One: Sounds so good I replayed it so many times during that day.

Movies watched or tested with results :

Ratatouille: Very very responsive surround on the dvd's 5.1 DTS Surround sound where you can hear the water splashing or the surroundings. 

The Fifth Element: Good effects and surround, but abit light on vocal due to the movie itself and some tinkering with the settings fixed that.  

IronMan:  During few of the action or fighting parts, you can hear bullets ricocheting around "ratatata ! whzip ! shzip ! Boooom !"  

Games Tested with results : 

Unreal Tournament 3: UT3 is running OpenAL, in order to enable surround in-game, i have to go to my motherboard audio software to enable 5.1 where the game itself doesn't have a toggle function to switch between different speaker channels. Still, I'm able to hear plasma blasters behind my head from far away although actually he is right behind me few steps away, i guess thats the problem with the game itself . 

Medal Of Honor - Airborne: Full surround sound ! Feels like watching Band of Brothers, gunshots, explosions, American-os yelling behind me, Nazis yelling at me and people groaning in pain under my iron sight! Basically, it works good with it. 

Race Driver - GRID: I do notice surround sound in this game but certain sounds are too weak from the rear speaker especially another vehicle is behind your ride tailgating. 

Left 4 Dead: Now, this is the game that frigging fully utilize the 5.1 channels. I can hear boomers burp, hunters making monkey noises, smokers doing their walks on the roof , Louise grabbing pills, Bill getting smacked by a tank behind me if i turn the volume above 60% where most of the time i play below 50%. 

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: Oh right ! Sounds so good with being able to know where those bullets came from. Works good while fighting inside the ship of the tunnels, might not be able to hear whats what while being shot outdoor. fark ! I blame the soundcard and the game personally.

Crysis: Koreans thrash talking behind me while I sneaked pass them !


Now, after some time of testing there are ups and downs of every product and let me write this down :

Pros :
-Cheap budget 5.1 for the masses 
-Center Speaker is able to clip on the LCD 
-Rotating Feets ! Wall mounts !! "+ 2" 
-Matrix mode for virtual surround on stereo medias especially musics.  
-Solid sounds and bass although the sub looks smaller than most of the 2.1 speakers. 
-VERY VERY good for gaming purpose and also musics.
-Wired volume controller, once the it screws up, some old basic replacement and soldering will do the trick. 
-Cables can be extended with those cheap analog extension cables from audio/video dealers

Cons :
-Wired volume controller (a remote controller should be an extra !) 
-No treble control  
-Short cable (rear) , only around 4m more or less  
-Satelites are made of plastics  
-Movies not as good as the games and musics.  
-Unprotected sub driver, one small baby poke and its done dead.

Lastly some extra before and after images of the front setup :

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