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5.1 vs 2.1 and the Logitech 5500s

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July 13, 2006 11:24:43 PM

I'm about to buy a new system and i'm facing one last difficult choice, what speakers to get....

I've been thinking of getting the Logitech 5500s tonight after reading all the excellent reviews and comments about them but i also came across this article - http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=30&t... in which it states that music will generally not sound as good through a 5.1 system as it will through a 2.1 system, on the other hand 5.1 is far better for games.

So i'm facing a bit of a dilema as i'm a big music fan, but also a big gaming fan (my two main uses for whatever speakers i get) so what do you reccomend i should go for, 2.1 or 5.1? And how much better does music sound through 2.1?

Also if i were to go 2.1, what would you reccomend? Thanks.

More about : logitech 5500s

July 14, 2006 5:27:18 AM

as far as quality goes when comparing the amount of speakers to the total price of the speakers...

lets say for instance, that you have the option of spending $200 on a 2.1 set of speakers, and $200 on a 5.1 set of speakers... as a rule of thumb, its almost guaranteed that the 2.1 speakers will be of better quality and better worksmanship for the price (and thus will sound better for just about everything), and not seeming as much like they were thrown together, compared to the $200 5.1 set... ...its basically quality over quantity, with cost being the main limitation... i havent used the speakers youre talking about specifically, but:

music sounds great over both 2.1 and 5.1... 2.1 is better for 2 channel stereo music, particularly if youre very critical of the sound quality, (typically very low THD levels), you want at least decent quality 2.1 speakers then... and 5.1 is better for overall immersion in sound, not to mention the directional cues you can get from each speaker during gaming, that you couldnt really get in 2.1

i would say to go for 5.1 if you can, if youve got the space available... 2.1 is great for music, especially with a decent set of speakers, but its only okay for gaming... 5.1 however, really is good for both music and games (and youll feel like the soundfield around you is more 'empty' otherwise, especially if youve heard, or even tried 5.1)
July 14, 2006 5:49:07 AM

I shelled out 700$ for a Klipsch Promedia 4.1 setup... some 3 maybe 4 years ago.

Since then I MUST have surround sound. Period.

The immersion factor seals the deal. The richness of the music creates an atmospheric fluidity which just lifts you up and takes over your senses... when I go to someones house who only has two large speakers and a subwoofer it sounds good... but I don't feel compelled to close my eyes and drift away into the blissful abyss of musical harmony that I get from being totolly immersed in a surround-sound setup.

GET THE 5.1!

(p.s. ... if you cool the amp... why not open it up... run some monster wire out of it and replace the stock woofer with a nice big 12" car subwoofer :twisted: )
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July 14, 2006 6:04:53 AM

If you seriously shelled out $700 for a Promedia 4.1 setup 3-4 years ago, you got ripped off. Big time. The Promedia Ultra 5.1 was $399 3-4 years ago.
July 14, 2006 6:59:13 AM

wait, yeah what the hell was I saying.

I paid 400$
July 14, 2006 10:38:11 AM

Still, was this Canadia dollars or something? Because the Klipsch 4.1 debuted at $299 in 2001, replacing the Klipsch v2.400 which had sold at $249.99 since 1999.

If you paid $400 US circa 2002-2003...something sounds like you were had.
July 14, 2006 12:46:55 PM

Thanks, you pretty much answered my main concern that by going with the awesome Logitech 5500s i would suffer, relativly, poor music quality in comparisson to what i'd get with a 2.1 system but it seems that this hit will be minor and in turn i'll get far more amazing sound whilst gaming - so thanks :D 
July 14, 2006 1:29:55 PM

Dude.........Bumblebee....... :roll:
Let me cut to the chase. If you go with the Logitech 5.1 Z-5500's, did you know that there is a desktop console that has.....A BUILT IN DECODER that will give YOU the choice fo getting OPtical, COAXIAL, or STEREO 2X or just polain Stereo. This system is amazing I'm telling you.
The sub weighs in at 45 pounds!!!!!! 8O . Inside the box they include some thick plastic straps that encompass the sub so you can lift it out !!!!!

If you want music????? Set it to Stereo 2X or Stereo.... If ya wanna game????? Set it to OPtical Digital .......But be prepared to suffer the wrath from your MOM or Wife or girlfriend or whomever bro..... :lol:  Cuz this SUKKA can pump out 505 Watts of pure cleeeeeeaaan power my friend. These babies are so loud (AND CLEAN SOUND I MIGHT ADD TOO) that it will KILL BACTERIA on the wall they are so sick. :lol: 

I tell ya I listen to techno Essential mixes and Hard house... and let me tell you, there is NOTHING..... and I mean NOTHING... that beats SURROUND SOUND when it comes to live recordings..makes you feel like YOU are there dude...

GO FOR THE 5.1"S.... YOU"LL NEVER LOOK BACK !!!! :wink:

Oh and as for the comment about living with poor music quality?? I suspect that ONLY an audiophile (music purist) would MAYBE be able to pick out imperfections IF ANY ..... So go forth and get those babies... and ENJOY knocking down pictures off the wall with an amazing set of Audio surround.

RIG specs
Antec P180 PerformanceSeries Mid-Tower Case
SeaSonic S12 600 watt power supply
Asus A8N32 SLI mobo AMD N-Force 4 SLIX16 (bios 1103 V02.58)
RealTek 97 onboard digital 5.1 Surround
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo Core, 2 X 1mb L2 cache (AMD drivers w/MS hotfix)
2 gigs of Corsair TwinX3500LL Pro @ 437Mhz 2-3-2-6-1T
2- BFG Tech 7900 GT OC 256mg in SLI (nvidia driver 84.21)
Western Digital RAPTOR 74.3 gig 10-K rpm HDD for XP & Apps
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for gaming, movies, MP3's
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for document backup (unplugged)
Sony CD rom 52X
Plextor 708-A DVD/CD rom
Logitech Z-5500 digital 5.1 THX Surround 500watts
July 14, 2006 2:03:52 PM

Lol, i know the name's crap :lol:  was simply the first thing that came into my head when forming my account.

And thanks for the tips, has further re-assured me that i should be getting these speakers and brings my whole system up to just over £1,600 8O - that's about $2,900!!! Still should completly rock :D  , only crap part of the system is my GFX card, a 512mb 7900gt BLISS sample.... best 7900gt out there but still crap compared to rest of my system ;) 

But i'll be upgrading to a DX10 GFX card when they come out and when i get that in combination with these speakers the system should be amazing :D 
July 14, 2006 3:57:16 PM

Being the headphone lover I am I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend a descent pair of *cans*. You can get real happy in a pair of Senn's HD280's or GRADO SR60's (or SR80) for both music and gaming. Mated to a card like an Audigy 2ZS or X-Fi XM (with its CMSS3D) you'll get music and gaming sound that you'll be hard pressed to match in loudspeakers for the price.

...might not be your thing but the ear-candy is definately worth the price, IMO.
July 14, 2006 4:31:16 PM

i have a 2.1 set up,just bought some creative i trigue 3600,im well impressed,but i have to say when it comes to gaming,my headphones go on,and i personally prefer headphones to 5.1
July 14, 2006 5:27:57 PM

Though i haven't got headphones myself i've no doubt they're better. I come from a very much counter-strike:source dominated background when it comes to gaming... and out of the people i play with, often the best players play with headphones and anyones who has the 5.1 medusas reccomend them.

This is, i know that continous headphone usage screws up my ears and whilst it may be nice to get some headphones and would sound great there are three reasons i don't:

1 - Bad for my hearing, damages my ears
2 - Yet another extra cost
3 - I'll look stupid shouting down the attached mic 'omg you idiot, plant at A, oh fuck an AWP' etc... so by having normal speakers i'll realise how load i'm talking :lol: 
July 14, 2006 6:27:10 PM

Quote:
Though i haven't got headphones myself i've no doubt they're better. I come from a very much counter-strike:source dominated background when it comes to gaming... and out of the people i play with, often the best players play with headphones and anyones who has the 5.1 medusas reccomend them.

This is, i know that continous headphone usage screws up my ears and whilst it may be nice to get some headphones and would sound great there are three reasons i don't:

1 - Bad for my hearing, damages my ears
2 - Yet another extra cost
3 - I'll look stupid shouting down the attached mic 'omg you idiot, plant at A, oh **** an AWP' etc... so by having normal speakers i'll realise how load i'm talking :lol: 


1- Headphone listening isn't any more harmful to anyone's hearing than loudspeakers. It's the loud volume that gets people in trouble with hearing loss and Tinnitus. For some reason, people tend to listen to headphones much louder than they should. Probably because they think they're not bothering anyone else. If you listen to headphones at a lowish comfortable setting you'll not need to crank them as you'll find your ears adjust to the low volume and its suddenly more than enough...then I crank it down just a little more, just loud enough that I can hear all the whispers and details of the music. If you have good headphones you won't be as tempted to crank them up just to get descent bass response, as you'll see there's no need. I believe this thought is part of what drove GRADO to produce their flagship HF-1...$1K cans that sound muscular even for extreme low volume listening levels.

I've been listening to headphones for years and was very happy last month when I went to the audiologist and she told me my hearing was fine.

The rule of thumb is if you can't hear yourself speak at a low to normal volume level your headphones are probably too loud. Obviously, I'm no authority, but I believe myself to be correct here.

My headphones got my right next to audiophile-level sound for a smaller cost.
July 15, 2006 10:44:14 AM

...i remember reading somewhere (i think it was on wikipedia.org, almost positive)... but that the volume difference between speakers and headphones is about 4 fold... being that, at the exact same volume setting, even when they sound at the same volume; the effect of the sound through headphones will actually be manifested 4 times greater... i think because of the distance and space from and around your hearing, no gap at all really between you and the drivers, especially when theyre 'over ear' headphones even more... so the sound is focused directly point blank at your ears, instead of 'dissipating' into the surrounding area... ...it takes some pretty loud listening at long durations to do much damage even still though... i think for instance, listening to something at about 85 decibels for at least a few hours consistantly is enough to begin damaging your hearing... ...so, yes, loud listening through headphones really isnt a smart idea...

just my 2 cents...
July 15, 2006 11:08:55 AM

Quote:


Oh and as for the comment about living with poor music quality?? I suspect that ONLY an audiophile (music purist) would MAYBE be able to pick out imperfections IF ANY .....


I don't think that is true at all...PC speakers are a very historically recent product, released due to the need for small speakers in office type cubicle situations and small kids rooms.

The basics of loudspeaker design have been around for decades, which is why progress is very slow in the loudspeaker market. Loudspeakers have been, for the majority of history, built based on principles of physics (air movement), dispersion, onaxis and offaxis frequency response.

Computer speakers are built for a very specific need, and as a result, have to go against several audio design principles, foremost, the small size almost guarantees very poor off-axis design, and low excursion limits. Offaxis means exactly what you probably can imagine--what the speaker sounds like "in the room".

Computer speakers can be adquate, even great, if the drivers are lined up perfectly with your ears. But off axis performance--dispersion of the sound so it maintains the same sound throughout a wide area--is a huge limitation of PC speakers. This is why "more watts" is a fallacy and is just marketting jargon. When you are walking around the room, it sounds more muffled and less distinct than when in the direct listening position (this is true of all speakers of course, but good floorstanders can maintain 95% frequency response linearity even 75 degrees to either side of the drivers). Just turning it up (those 505 watts of Logitech greatness!!! Wow!) will make it more audible, it will make the "noise level" louder, but won't fix the issue, which is the sound is not "clear" (the frequency response is no longer linear offaxis; it sounds a lot different when you walk around the room, whereas good speakers should sound very linear no matter where you are in the room). The audio issue here is that it cannot be fixed by simply adding more "ammo", but actually a failure of the design (to be accurate "in the room", rather than just mostly accurate "for one person, with his head in a vise").

It doesn't take an audiophile to hear the obvious. A lot of kids have grown up in the PC era, and PC speakers seemed to go hand in hand with their PCs. But when you are growing up, you may realize for the last 60 or so years, people have been listening to music through "traditional loudspeakers" --i.e, floorstanders and bookshelves--that are designed primarily for waveform accuracy, rather than paying for some audio tradeoffs in order to fit it into a small form factor, or to design them to match the PC or flat screen monitor.

Quote:
...i remember reading somewhere (i think it was on wikipedia.org, almost positive)... but that the volume difference between speakers and headphones is about 4 fold... being that, at the exact same volume setting, even when they sound at the same volume; the effect of the sound through headphones will actually be manifested 4 times greater... i think because of the distance and space from and around your hearing, no gap at all really between you and the drivers, especially when theyre 'over ear' headphones even more... so the sound is focused directly point blank at your ears, instead of 'dissipating' into the surrounding area... ...it takes some pretty loud listening at long durations to do much damage even still though... i think for instance, listening to something at about 85 decibals for at least a few hours consistantly is enough to begin damaging your hearing... ...so, yes, loud listening through headphones really isnt a smart idea...

just my 2 cents...


Yeah, even though my HD595s are comfortable as hell, it gets fatiguing when watching something for an hour or more. Good, accurate speakers, I can have them on for hours. Sound isn't coming straight into your ears but at an angle with loudspeakers, so you can take some pretty high volume levels before you start sustaining hearing loss. The folds of your ears and the shape also help dissapate sound before reaching your ears. This is why earbuds are *really* dangerous for your hearing, as you have lost most of the physical protections that the irregular shape of your ear provides.

BTW Halcyon, do you have both Senns AND Grados? Do you switch them up for different purposes, or did you simply get both for fun? =P (I personally would've spent the money on some nice bookshelves, like the AV123 X-LS...that's the best $200 deal you can get...along with SVS' SBS bookshelves and Ascend's compact monitors [which I call the holy trinity of budget speakers]).
July 21, 2006 5:09:57 AM

Logitech Z5500 is good speaker for DVDs and DVD Audios even Games and can be connected directly to your source LV Output, and for its price is a good deal, good subwoofer too.

Be aware if quality is your concerns then look for more expensive speaker system. Or maybe it’ll sound just right for you.
July 21, 2006 9:14:32 AM

Quote:


Yeah, even though my HD595s are comfortable as hell, it gets fatiguing when watching something for an hour or more. Good, accurate speakers, I can have them on for hours. Sound isn't coming straight into your ears but at an angle with loudspeakers, so you can take some pretty high volume levels before you start sustaining hearing loss. The folds of your ears and the shape also help dissapate sound before reaching your ears. This is why earbuds are *really* dangerous for your hearing, as you have lost most of the physical protections that the irregular shape of your ear provides.

BTW Halcyon, do you have both Senns AND Grados? Do you switch them up for different purposes, or did you simply get both for fun? =P (I personally would've spent the money on some nice bookshelves, like the AV123 X-LS...that's the best $200 deal you can get...along with SVS' SBS bookshelves and Ascend's compact monitors [which I call the holy trinity of budget speakers]).


Astrallite, I never saw this post until today, the 21st, sorry for just now responding! I do have the Senns and the GRADO's. I kept reading about the sound of the GRADO's so I wanted to hear for myself. I do like the way they sound. Sharp highs, on-stage mid-range, with deep, tight and detailed bass. It's a really fun sounding headphone. Not nearly as comfortable as the HD595's though. When I first got the GRADO's they were uncomfortable as hell, I'd put them on, listen for a .5 hour and switch to the Senns. I guess the headband and foam earpads have broken in or something, I find myself using them more and more. ...only switching to the Senn's when the GRADO's get noticably uncomfortable or I want to compare the sound. The Senn's are a smoother headphone, better all around just like you'd told me. I'm glad I took your advice and got the HD595's ...you can't lose with them. I want the AKG-701's next but have spent enough $$ for now after getting the Firestone gear. I'd like a B&K pre-amp and stereo amp...like the Ref. 5 S2 ( http://www.bkcomp.com/preamp_tuner_wesay.asp ) and the Ref. 125.2 S2 ( http://www.bkcomp.com/st125.asp ). I'll look into the bookshelves you've recommended and mate the choice to my spare Velodyne CT80. ...then this rig will finally be ready to stick a fork in, I hope. ...but for now the Senns, GRADOs, and Firestones are keeping me from audio starvation. This gear with the X-Fi really opened my eyes to what audio can sound like again.

On a different note: WARNING, WARNING WILL ROBINSON: DO NOT BUY MONSTER's Ultra 1K TOSLINK THX Cert'd cable. It's $70 worth of trash! Cheap sonofb*****. The first time I tried to disconnect/reconnect it to my SB Live! last weekend the oh-so-high-quality connector just came apart. Rubbish. ...had to go back to my trusty Interlink-200 3-foot.
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