Logitech Z-5500 Speakers: Much Muscle, More Options

A Decoder And Much More

The Control Center is a kind of little console that centralizes all the adjustments and the connectors for the various sources. Everything is also accessible with the remote control. A backlit LCD display shows the choices you make and the level of the different adjustments (once they're selected). For using the remote, lighted indicators that would be more legible under home-use conditions would have been a good idea, but obviously you can't have everything.

On the back of the decoder are three sets of 3.5 jacks for analog inputs. They can be used (by setting a switch) either in 5.1 mode (if the decoding has already been done, generally by your computer's sound card) or in stereo mode. You then have three different stereo inputs you can choose among at will. In addition there are two digital inputs, one coaxial and the other optical, with standard connectors (Toslink and cinch). Obviously these are the ones that should be used for connecting sources such as DVD and similar peripherals. The links will be simpler and the decoding possibilities will most often be better. Thus the installation can have three analog sources and two digital sources. That should satisfy most users. Especially since on the right-hand side of the Control Center are a headphone jack and an additional line input for connecting a portable audio player. Unfortunately, an analog link from the PC is often still indispensable for games, but also for certain media like DVD-Audio that don't allow external digital links. That strongly reduces the connection possibilities. It would have been nice to have both 5.1 analog connections and analog stereo inputs for more multi-purpose use.

The possibilities for decoding as such include not only the classic Dolby Digital, but also DTS and the less common 96/24 (24 bits/96 kHz). Add to that Dolby Pro Logic II, which lets you decode an analog source with MP encoding (called Dolby Surround or Dolby Stereo) and also go from a stereo source to 5.1 with cinema or music modes and the usual adjustments. Unfortunately the corresponding mode for DTS (Neo:6) is absent. Also, since Logitech has chosen to remain with 5.1, obviously modes operating in 6.1 and 7.1 aren't here either. The quality of the Control Center is satisfactory regardless of the mode chosen.