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Loudness & Miscellaneous Measurements

Using a 100Hz tone and various music selections, a total maximum output with the sub placed at the intersection of two walls measured 104dB SPL at 0.5m. The satellites squawked out 102dB SPL under the similar conditions before clipping (3% THD). Thus, the total usable output from the entire system is 101dB. Why not at least 102dB, the max from the satellites? The answer isn't a weak amplifier. With all three drivers going, the amp's power supply couldn't keep up and the total output suffered.

Input sensitivity, the amount of output from your soundcard needed to drive the X2's to full boom levels was rated at a reasonable 130mV, which most sound cards can muster. However, it measured 203mV, which immediately eliminates a significant percentage of inexpensive cards. Even with the venerable SBLive!, I had to almost crank the pre and total outputs up to their max positions.

Signal to noise, or the amount of hiss heard was the lowest (meaning worst) ever measured at TargetPC. Weighing in at 61.0dBC relative to full output, these units were noisy, even with no input.

Input impedance was rated at 10KOhms each channel and measured significantly better at 26.8KOhms each channel. No sound card will "load down" or be stressed simply by being plugged into the input of the SoundMan's.

Lastly, the crossover frequency, the frequency at which the sub stops producing sound and the satellites start was rated at 160Hz and measured as such.

Pictures

PCB & Woofer
Heatsink & Woofer
Woofer Tube
Port
Satellite
Instructions

Subjective Listening Tests

Since I usually complete the objective tests firsts, I already had serious reservations about the quality of the X2's. Much of the time, objective measurements tell quite a bit even before crankin' them up. My main reference computer speakers are the Altec ACS-48's and I was able to perform back to back A-B comparisons to add weight to long term opinions.

Within seconds, I knew that these wouldn't last long. I expected more high frequencies from the small mid drivers and I heard zippo above 10kHz. Were talking gone folks. The very range that contains critical harmonics for cymbals, the human voice (ch and sh sibilance) had the effect of changing those things into different instruments altogether. For that matter, the mid range boost helped only to make the dreaded AM radio effect even more pronounced. When browsing your local computer store, push buttons to A-B these with better sounding units and you will be amaze at just how colored these are.

Priced at the $100 level and selling in the $71-82 range on the web, a 4" woofer doesn't cut it. I'm sure the engineers maximized the efficiency of the diminutive driver, but the port (horn) loaded model does only a moderate job of pushing out the lows. The bass boost is noticeable although it's too low to affect the vocal range. Deep male voices don't take on the awful one-note-boom sound. BUT, the bass in general is too soft and sloppy. If you put your hand near the port with bass-rich music, you almost get the impression that this hole could be used and a hand dryer.

Despite the annoyances, I listened to my normal wide variety of music including that which I personally multitracked and mixed down myself. After about an hour, I could feel a headache starting--something I haven't had happen in quite some time. With the combination of rolled off highs, uneven midrange and artificially boosted lows, I had to reassure myself that a hidden eq wasn't lurking underneath the table.

Conclusion

Neat design, lousy execution. Somebody at Logitech had one hand tied behind their proverbial back when the X2 debuted. Breaking with tradition in the power supply area will have serious consequences as buyers either return their SoundMans or don't consider upgrading to better Logitech brand speakers when they become available. Even though I awarded these a 5/10 rating, they aren't worth half of the list price. It pains me greatly to write a poor review of any product, but if I always said everything sounded great, what would be the point of reading reviews? Send Logitech a message: appreciate the effort, but please rethink the next set.

William Yaple
06/09/00

 





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