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Logitech X-540 5.1 Speaker System Review

The Logitech 500 series speakers are their budget line of surround sound speakers designed for gamers. The X-530 system runs at $80, while this X-540 system is sold for $100. Both have “FDD2 Technology”, both have VERY similar satellites, and a small subwoofer with enclosure. Really the only obvious difference I could find between the two is the fact that the X-540 has a little “control center”, which runs from the subwoofer to your desk, table, or whatever flat surface you have the rest of your hardware on. This is a big plus, as the X-530 system had the volume control on the front-right speaker, which was a pain to use, as I literally had to stand up and take a step just to change the volume, which is often. This “control center” features a very large volume control knob, as well as a power button and LED, independent bass control knob, and “matrix” button and LED. On the front surface is a headphone port, serving more purposes than you might think. Yes, it’s a fast and easy way to plug in your headphones, but one fact that most people overlook is that if you have your PC hooked into these speakers using a 5.1 configuration, you’d ordinarily have to change a bunch of settings and things to set it up for 2.1 or headphone mode before you could plug headphones directly into your PC. But with the headphone plug being integrated into the speaker system, no PC setup is necessary to quickly switch from 5.1 speakers to headphones.

About the matrix… if you take the blue pill, you leave this website and forget you ever heard about the matrix. You take the red pill… and I tell you what the matrix is. Red pill? Great. “Matrix” mode basically stretches stereo (two-channel) input sources over all 5 satellites, giving sources like music and console games much more depth and immersion; and because of the control center, it’s easy to switch on and off for the different types of media you use on your PC, be it surround or stereo. Another upgrade from the X-530 system is the subwoofer. Although the speaker itself is virtually the same, instead of being vertical facing and grilled like the previous system, the subwoofer is on the bottom of the enclosure, literally touching the carpet on my floor, as it has no grille. This provides MUCH more effective bass, as it goes straight from the speaker to your floor. The enclosure is ported, which Logitech claims displaces more air than before. Normally I’m not a ported subwoofer fan, (as I crave high response) but this system responds very well even with its port, due mostly to the fact that the speaker itself is so small.

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The only real downside I could find with this system is its volume control. I’m not referring to the volume knob; but very often I’ll be listening to music at about 30-40% volume, and I can clearly hear the volume fade in and out, which is very mind-numbing. Turning the volume up more relieves the problem, but it’s definitely something to consider. About every 10 seconds the volume will get louder then quieter, over and over. VERY strange. I tried it on multiple electric outlets, and I’m using a very high-end sound card, so it really must be the system. If you can get past that, though, the sound quality of this system is superb, especially when you consider that it’s only $100. Games optimized for X-Fi sounds SIGNIFICANTLY better than those which aren’t, which was surprising at first. Just because “non-X-Fi optimized” games don’t use Creative’s hardware specifically, they rarely sound bad.

If you’re looking for a low-budget surround sound system for your PC or game console, it’s hard to overlook the X-540 system. It’s got great quality speakers, powerful bass, and a handy control center with “matrix” function. The only real downside is that it’s older sibling, the X-530 system, sounds virtually the exact same, but without a separate control center. Again, I had problems with fluctuating volume, but many people can’t even notice a difference; and if you have the volume over 40%, it’s not even a problem. It’s really up to you whether you choose the X-530 or X-540, I’d say if you’re a console gamer looking for a system, go for the X-530, as you won’t have anywhere to set the X-540’s “control center” anyway; and if you’re a PC enthusiast, go with the 540 system, if you don’t mind putting down the extra $20. For me it’s definitely worth it.