Gamers Audio Review/Comparison

Article Index
Gamers Audio Review/Comparison
Logitech Z-640 Speakers
Zalman Surround Headphones
Logitech Z-5300 Speakers
Speaker and Headphone Conclusions

Products: Logitech Z-640, Logitech Z-5300, Zalman "Theatre 6" ZM-RS6F Headphones
Provided By: Dallmann Computers, & Zalman USA

Introduction:
 

Towards the end of November 2003, I contacted several companies as I was trying to put together a "Gamers Dream Audio" Review. The idea went over well, and several companies promised they'd send stuff out. Out of the 4 companies that I contacted, Zalman was actually the only one that delivered on their promise. So instead of a "high-end" Dream Audio review, we will be taking it down a notch and reviewing stuff that most of you can actually afford. Interested, then read on . . .

Before I begin, I'd like to thank Zalman USA for their eagerness and participation in this comparison. Also a huge thanks to Dallmann Computers who supplied a brand-new set of Z-5300's to add to the mix. I will also be comparing and reviewing the Z-640's which I personally owned before this review. With that, let's take a look at the test setup, and how this review is going to go down.
 
Test Setup:
 
  • Barton 2600+
  • ASUS A7N8X Deluxe
  • Radeon 9800 Pro
  • 2 x 512MB OCZ PC3200 Rev2 Cas2 DDR
  • 2 x 120GB Western Digital SATA Drives in RAID 0
  • 60GB Western Digital JB
  • 40GB Maxtor Diamond Max Plus
  • Plextor Premium 52/32/52 CDRW
  • Plextor PX-708A DVDRW
  • Audigy 2 ZS (031032 drivers)
  • Windows XP SP1 w/all available updates
  • Creative MediaSource Player (required to play DTS and DVD Audio)
Testing Media:
 
For this comparison I used several different music formats, and a few games. When it comes right down to it, "sound" is pretty subjective. I will do my best to give accurate analysis of how each of the products sounded individually, then at the end of the review I'll draw some conclusions, and let you draw your own as well. Although this is a "Gamers Audio Review" we'll still take a look at music playback quality.
 

Music Tested:

  • SPL Shootout SSS Bass Test 128Kbps MP3. This track counts down the Hz, from 360Hz to 10Hz. This tests the capacity and range of the sub woofer.
  • Metallica's "I Disappear" 256Kbps MP3. This track has a wide range. Very heavy treble, deep bass line, and guitars. Tests full range of speakers.
  • Vanessa Lausdei "Shut Up" - DVD Audio. This 5.1 track is quite a complete piece with a bit of techno, pop, and a lighter rock line.
  • The Latin Jazz Trio "Mujaka" - DVD Audio. This 5.1 track is a classic jazz piece with the piano as the primary instrument.
  • Trisha Yearwood "That Ain't The Way I Heard It" - DTS CD. This track is a 5.1 DTS track that is a classic country tune. It features clear female vocals, and a nice mix of instruments.

Movie Tested:

  • Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

Games Tested:

  • Unreal Tournament 2003
  • Battlefield 1942: Desert Combat
  • Rainbow Six 3: Ravenshield

Now that we've seen the test setup and the test media, let's head on to our first candidate of the day - the Logitech Z-640 5.1 Speakers.