Logitech Z-2300 2.1 THX-Certified Sound System Review

One of the most overlooked vital pieces of setting up a good computer experience is getting the right sound system to compliment your multimedia experience. I am a laptop user and many think getting good sound out of such a small embedded subsystem is not possible, but the Logitech Z-2300 2.1 THX-Certified Sound System proves delicate and thundering sound can be had in an instant for around $90.

Logitech Z-2300 THX Speaker System

Here’s what the Logitech Z-2300 THX Sound System includes:

  • An adapter for direct connection to DVD player, CD player, or video game console
  • 200 watts total system power (40 watts x 2, plus 120-watt subwoofer)
  • THX-certified 2.1-channel speaker system with ported subwoofer
  • Superior audio with distortion-free bass for movies, music, and games
  • Wired remote control offers master volume and subwoofer volume, plus headphone jack and standby button

It takes 100 hours to get headphones and speakers into peak performance response and as each of those 100 hours ticked away the Logitech Z-2300 sound system kept getting brighter and cleaner. The bass pounds while the high ends cut clear through the air into your ears like knives. I haven’t been able to go beyond 70 percent on the volume controller because it is just too loud to bear! You could certainly use this system at a large party or even outdoors to get your music to travel far and fast. Setting up the system took less than five minutes and it replaced an ancient Microsoft Sound System I was sent at least 10 years ago.

The Microsoft Sound System was delightful but the sound was getting a little mushy and I had to give up a USB port to the old system. The new Logitech Z-2300 system plugs into a mini-plug port to deliver incredible sound and that means you can use it with your desktop, laptop or even a portable player like an iPod! Now you don’t have to be punished by your choice of music player when you want quality sound.

The built-in THX-Certified capability makes feeling DVD movies even better: Listening to Star Wars III through the Logitech Z-2300 system gave me movie theatre sound at home! The best thing about the Logitech Z-2300 sound system is the controller. You can control of power, bass, volume and you can also plug in your headset if you want a more intimate experience.

The controller connects to the gigantic subwoofer via a thick serial cable
– so there’s lots of information being exchanged by the controller and you can also hold it in your hand, hang it over the edge of a table or just let it sit on your desktop. You can’t beat the sound for the price with the Logitech Z2300 2.1 THX-Certified Sound System and I highly recommend its purchase if you are wanting for a better overall sound experience.

The system does all types of music really well from Classical to Jazz to Pop to Rock to World to Techno and it also accurately reproduces voices if you listen to talking books or talk radio or other voice-only experiences on your computer.

30 comments

  • I have been wondering how to get better sound out of my laptop. I’ll have to look this up. It will surely make watching coronation street on the computer a delight. :)

  • Hey Gordon!
    Trust me: You will love this sound system! It is truly incredible technology that delivers much more than its price suggests. There are other more expensive sound systems like this for us out there but they do not have the value for the dollar.
    What brand of laptop do you have?

  • Gordon Davidescu

    I have a Sony PCG-GRT270. Thanks to my not leaving it plugged in overnight and wanting to play with it right out of the box, the battery lasts for approximately half an hour when not plugged in. After about a year of owning it, the DVD burner stopped recognizing commercial dvds and cds and only read burned dvds and cds – now it doesn’t always recognize those, either.
    I recently bought a BENQ external dvd burner and this software from Xilisoft to create dvds that I could watch on my attached-to-my-tv dvd player and it only works half the time – and takes about four hours to burn one and a half hours worth of video. :(
    Yep, when it comes to technology, I almost always make the wrong choices.

  • Hi Gordon!
    I’m sorry to hear about your Sony and BENQ troubles.
    I find DVD burning to be sort of a fiasco — sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work — and it can be a really frustration process.
    Are you using any sort of external speakers now with your laptop?

  • Gordon Davidescu

    I used these clip-on speakers for awhile – but they needed to be plugged into a USB port, and I only have two functioning usb ports thanks to an accident last year where my laptop fell over and hit the ground at exactly the spot where the mouse was plugged in – and of course I have no normal mouse input. Moreover, the speakers were hardly any better than my own speakers.
    Somewhere, packed in my mother’s house, are an enormous pair of speakers along with a large subwoofer that worked well but were hardly portable – though I took them to the nursing home where my grandmother is staying to show her the first two episodes of Days of Our Lives that I bought from Soap City, back when they sold episodes of soaps. Naturally, they were highly encoded with digital rights management gunk so the episodes stopped working when the site stopped selling the episodes!!! This is exactly the kind of thing that makes me dislike certain digital technologies. When we put the needle on the record, you know that if it’s in good shape, you’ll hear music!
    Unlike, for example, the first mp3 player I bought (for something like $40 – should have expected poor quality, I suppose) – after a few weeks of working perfectly fine it suddenly had an internal software error and would not respond no matter what.
    Oh, and worry not, the technological errors I have are not limited to computers and ‘hi tech’ alone. The television I bought last year came with non-functional speakers. The television was so heavy and I’m… well, so weak, that I decided to replace the dvd player I had with a stereo system. Little did I know, the stereo system relies on the dvd player to be there – so I am more or less stuck with the dvd player if I want to keep the stereo system! :(

  • Innate sound from a laptop is always wanting, Gordon, because the speakers are so small. My new ThinkPad T43p has pretty good native sound and so does my Toshiba Qosmio, but neither of them can compare with external speakers.
    I agree Digital Rights Management is an unfriendly and horrible piece of intellectualism that punishes more than it rewards.
    My awful experience with iPods and iRivers and other portable music players is well-documented in this blog and every single one of them turned out to be a piece of junk! Ugh!
    I’m sorry to hear about your technology and muscular woes, Gordon! That’s nothing that a little preying and money can’t fix, though! :mrgreen:

  • Gordon Davidescu

    What I’d like to know is why we allow this to continue.
    In the middle of the last century, you could buy a kitchenaid mixer and know that you’d have that mixer for life. Appliances lasted years and years and did not need to be replaced every few years, like a palm pilot or a hard drive.
    Moreover, it seems that the cost of repair has surpassed the cost of replacement. It should be less expensive to get the dvd drive on my laptop repaired than to get a replacement unit – but as it is, the two are pretty comparable!
    What does this lead to? More garbage. The people who survived the second World War and learned to reuse and conserve everything must be ashamed of today’s disposable society. There’s not an infinite amount of space to put rubbish – and I don’t think they’re planning on shooting it to the sun any time soon.

  • You might be interested in this. The break-in effect for smaller enclosures (or smaller driver/cone to enclosure ratio) may be more pronounced than was found in the article’s analysis. I believe that you heard a difference, I was just interested in the science behind the phenomena so I did some snooping :)!
    Very nice system and useful review. I have a two-channel sony speaker set for my laptop that performs well for music. The native sound of most laptops is not listenable, but what can one expect from 1/4″ drivers in a poor enclosure? I cant remember the last time I watched a DVD on my laptop. I have a Sony THX 6.1 receiver for movies, but I live in a apartment so I can never listen at movie theater volume :(. Not that I am partial to Sony, the speakers came from an older Vaio and the receiver I got a good deal on.

  • Gordon –
    You’re right about the quality changing and I believe it is all by business design.
    Companies make money selling new products and not fixing older products.
    As expectation and desire rises — especially in electronics — the need for faster and better does not always translate into better quality at a quicker pace.
    We are certainly in the era of the “use once, toss away” and we will continue down that thread until the threat to our well-being is enough to force a change.
    I am looking forward to the day when everything is made of salt. Then we just drop our out-of-date-after-one-month laptops in the dishwater to recycle it and order a new one via our internet stovetops.

  • Hi Jonathan –
    Your link is interesting!
    I started in radio when I was 14 and the rule was always to never judge speakers or headsets upon first listen. You were supposed to let them “burn in” or three days or so to make sure everything is working properly.
    Perhaps it was all a fable but I did have a pair of Sennheiser headphones I purchased last summer and there was murkiness in the bass and a buzz in the high lines that disappeared after two days and now they are the one and only pair I use for listening. If I hadn’t known about the “burn in” I would have returned the Sennheisers the very day I heard the murky sound instead of letting them come into their own.
    I, too, have a great 5.1 Sony surround system for my TV and, like you, I have neighbors and anything above 10 (it goes to 100) gets complaints so I’m stuck with this excellent source of dynamic sound that has yet to come into its own!
    The Logitech Z-2300 system is just as robust but the bass has a more controllable wallop that I find needs fine-tuning depending on the song being played. My old Microsoft Sound System would just even everything out and mush the highs and lows together.
    The Logitech system is more valuable in providing true reproduction but it takes a little more attention when the low bass begins to beat.

  • With the smaller drivers of headphones, any distortion due to stiffness in the materials is likely much more pronounced than with larger speakers.
    I cringe when I have to use compression on a DTS soundtrack….quashing all that dynamic range, what a pity :(. It is good to know that the Logitech system provides robustness in a small form factor. $100 is certainly cheaper than a decent receiver and accompanying speakers and its semi-portable. Can you run the system without the subwoofer, if so how does that sound? The system was likely balanced with the subwoofer in mind, but it would increase the portability of the system a bit.

  • Hi Jonathan –
    I don’t think it is possible to run this system without the subwoofer because everything – power supply, both satellite speakers and the controller — but into or come out of its back.
    You can turn off the bass and kill the subwoofer response but I don’t think one could use the satellite speakers alone unless you were plugging them into another amplifier.

  • Hi David
    In your review you seem to suggest that the sound output from the laptop “headphone” jack, rather than the USB port, is used. I’m a little bit concerned about that because usually the signal/noise ratio in a laptop is pretty poor on headphone outputs. Unless the output and the signal path is well shielded (difficult to do on a laptop) then you get noise.
    USB has the advantage of passing the signal digitally to the DA converter, which you can sit further from the processor, battery and other sources of noise. Do you think the IBM laptop you have has the noise sorted out, or is it OK enough that the gain of a USB port outweighs the difference?
    On my home PC system I can run digital out straight into my home cinema amp, and get great sound. Or I can listen on headphones with my Creative Live! soundcard which is the best amateur card I could find. I did have to separate the card from other PCI stuff though, to eliminate noise.
    Don’t get me started on laptop line-in ports, which are practically unusable in any serious audio capture environment. My Live! card does OK though… I’ve made passable home studio recordings with it.
    -Fruey

  • Hello, My fruey!
    Yes, the Logitech system uses the headphone jack and it is much better than the USB port! I was surprised by that fact. Most of the Windows sound systems now use the headphone-out jack instead of using a USB port.
    I think the use of a Headphone Jack over a USB 2.0 port is won over by the strange, but advanced, technology of a Headphone Jack!
    I was immediately concerned the sound would not be as true or as full using a headphone jack over a USB port, but I was entirely proved mistaken: Today, the headphone jack trumps the USB connection for beautiful sound reproduction!

  • Hi David
    Let’s get a bit technical.
    Either the headphone jack doubles as an SPDIF output which the speakers can pick up (unlikely, but possible) or the DA converter (and/or sampling rate) in the previous USB solution and/or the enclosures themselves weren’t up to scratch, in which case the noise from the headphone out wouldn’t be the deciding factor in overall perceived sound quality.
    Probably, the USB solution used a cheap DA converter that wasn’t any better than the one in your onboard soundcard, which might not be bad at all. Do you have any idea which sound chip you have in your laptop?
    I’ve heard pro USB ‘external soundcard’ solutions for laptop users and the sound was as good as the analogue output from a good CD player…
    -Fruey

  • freuy –
    SoundMAX from Analogue Devices, Inc. is the digital sound chip in my laptop as far as I can tell and SoundMAX was also the sound solution in my previous two Toshiba laptops as well.
    I much prefer the mini-plug solution to a USB solution for satellite speakers and subwoofer so I don’t have to lose a USB port to sound.

  • David, you say these speakers go quite loud, and the previous review i read said that the maximum SPL of the speakers is 117 dB, can you vouch for that? Also, how does the sub do with hip-hop bass (preferably from Nelly or Kottonmouth Kings)?

  • Hi Curtis –
    I don’t listen to hip-hop so I fear I am unable to be much help to you.

  • I just installed the Belkin Wireless G router and now I can’t get my laptop to recognize my Logitech Z-2300 speakers. Can anyone of you imagine what changed? I guess some Windows setting because everthing is plugged in exactly as it was before the router.
    Thanks for any advice.
    Everly

  • I am currently using ADS eight ohm speakers as satellites on my z2300. The system does sound better with the satellite upgrade. My question is do you know what the cross-over frequency is for the SUB. If it is to high so as not to over tax the orginal satellites;wouldn’t I be loosing some low end capibilites of the ADS-s.
    THANK YOU

  • I have a sony vaio. I only have one port or is it jack? Basically one hole thing for the wire for the speakers to go into. Is that ok with the logitech or is it only for computers that have two holes

  • yeah im confused too ike andrea. i have a laptop and it just has a green jack for the speakers.. i dont know much about these things but i need good sound. i want to buy the logitech but can my laptop support it.
    -confused man-

  • listen every 1 with a laptop……use any gd speakers and they should work on a laptop , whether there used as usb or mini plug( headphone ) i have the hp compaq v6000 laptop and i have the z2300′s and they sound fantastic…i have a soundcard called conexant high definition audio…..( studio like soundcard )
    [Comment edited by David W. Boles to remove personal information]

  • Hey, ¡great review!
    Your right, what a great sound system! Im just plug in to my laptop (an ugly dell inspiron 6000) and everything just changed!

  • Thanks for letting us know it worked for you, carlos!

  • Great speakers, great sound, but once you have problem with them, DO NOT EXPECT LOGITECH TO HELP YOU. My remote broke, and they won’t even sell one remote to me. So, I got stuck with an expensive pair of speakers that I can’t use. THANKS LOGITECH!

  • I don’t understand why Logitech won’t help you. Is the system discontinued?

  • man it so cool that sitting in a third world country like India, i get to see a THX certified speaker set. i haven’t bought it but whenever I’m down brigade road cant help but stare, am down on funds..cos it coverts to a little over Rs7500, but not that it’s not affordable. i a speaker and sound buff and love this system, may get it by monday next

    thanks for the review

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