Plenty of power, but the Z906 isn't the leap forward we were hoping for – dedicated sets from Onkyo and Sony are a better bet
- Plenty of power
- Excellent build quality
- Fun sound signature
- No HDMI support
- 5.1 surround isn't that impressive
Logitech is better known for PC speakers than home cinema systems, but it made one set that suited the living room just as well as the study. The excellent Logitech Z-5500 handled movies, games and music, had plenty of inputs and sounded fantastic. It went unrivalled for the best part of a decade, but its successor has finally arrived.
The Z906 is a 5.1 system with THX certification and 500W RMS power on tap. The subwoofer and five satellite speakers feel sturdy, and the receiver unit will sit on a desk or under the TV. Gone is the informative LCD screen from the Z5500; instead, the unit has a set of orange LEDs to indicate which input and speakers are currently active and whether the input is in stereo or surround sound. The large volume dial is surrounded by more LEDs, but all these lights could be distracting when watching a film. The remote is basic but still lets you control the active input, volume and tone settings from your sofa.
Logitech Z906 review: Build quality
Unusually for a Logitech product, the satellites use regular speaker wire rather than proprietary connections. This is great if the provided 4.6m front and 7.6m rear cables aren’t long enough, as you’ll be able to buy longer ones without having to splice wires together. Both the front and rear satellites are wall-mountable, so you have plenty of options when it comes to speaker placement.
Logitech Z906 review: Inputs
All the audio inputs are on the back of the subwoofer, but unlike most home cinema systems, there aren’t any HDMI inputs or outputs. As such, unless your Blu-ray player has built-in decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio plus 5.1 analogue outputs (hardly any players do), you won’t be able to access these lossless audio formats. Instead, the only option is to connect a Blu-ray player via S/P-DIF, which limits playback to Dolby Digital and DTS formats as used on DVDs. These formats are included on Blu-ray discs too, but they use lossy compression, so Blu-rays won’t sound as good as they could.
With one coaxial and two optical S/P-DIF inputs, you’ll be able to connect a games console, DVD or Blu-ray player and set-top box for 5.1 surround sound. There are also two analogue audio inputs – one on stereo phono sockets and the other on three 3.5mm minijack sockets for 5.1 surround.
Logitech Z906 review: Sound quality
Although we couldn’t watch films using Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, positional audio was still accurate and action sequences had plenty of punch. The centre speaker produced clear speech without being drowned out by the other satellites or the subwoofer, but we had to turn up the rear satellites for the best surround effect.
Music sounded quite bass-heavy until we lowered the subwoofer volume slightly. Overall, sound quality was reasonable, and certainly loud enough to fill a good-sized living room, but we would still prefer something a little more ground shaking for a home cinema setup.
Logitech Z906 review: Verdict
The Z5500 was a fantastic system that lent itself well to almost every task. We were expecting good things from its successor but are left slightly disappointed. With no support for HDMI, it can’t match other 5.1 speaker systems. It sounded pretty good when playing music and games, but movies were slightly lacking.
It’s not particularly cheap, especially when compared to the excellent Onkyo HTX-22HDX. Even with Onkyo’s optional speaker package raising the price to £310, it’s better value thanks to support for HDMI and its superior sound quality.