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SoundMan X2: Visually Stunning, Aurally Underwhelming

Widely recognized for high quality input devices such as gaming controllers, keyboards and mice, Logitech enters the middle end sound arena with a visually appealing series dubbed "SoundMan." The X2 model sports stunning good looks and the wide mouth sub port is right out in the open--on top where all can see. This gives rise to hauling it from place to place by slipping your hand inside the port since the entire unit is round. The satellites are so tiny and unobtrusive that many wouldn't even notice if the X2's were installed at their workstation. If "hip to be round" is your motto (to slightly modify the song title of that popular 80's Huey Lewis tune), this 3-piece conglomeration can be quite the show stopper. Alas, since they are speakers we must eventually hook them up and switch them on.

Factory Specifications
The Unit
  • Total power output: 40 watts RMS
  • Frequency response: 30 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Input impedance: 10,000 ohms
  • Power source: AC 90V-240V (auto-switching)
  • Theatre-quality sound for CD music, Internet & MP3
  • Headphone jack
  • Automatic on/off sound detection system
  • Integrated power supply

 


Logitech

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5/10 Rating

Description & Specifications

The SoundMan's squeeze into the crowded three piece sub/sat market, which is crowded enough already. Everything is round and no sharp squared off edges can be felt anywhere. Since the power supply is fully internal, the picture to the right is accurate--no unsightly wall warts, only a standard AC cord.

If the satellites seem small in the pic, they are even smaller in real life. While of average height, they are so thin that extra care must be taken to ensure they don't fall over. In some cases, you may want to consider double sided sticky tape to anchor them to a surface.

Logitech rates the output to the satellites as 8 watts each and 24 watts for the sub unit for a total of 40 watts amp output at 10% distortion. Apparently they think that a setup like this somehow qualifies as "Theatre-quality"--emphasis on the "tre" of theatre. Somehow, I can't imagine stepping behind the scenes of my local cinema and being shocked as they proudly show me several sets of SoundMan's projecting sound to a 500 seat auditorium. Logitech's media department should review theater specs from Dolby Labs and Sony before making such outrageous claims. Harrumph!

These have the rare headphone jack located at the bottom rear of the sub. However, that feature was added and another removed: there is no power button. Yup, us consumers are so dumb as not to know how to turn anything on anymore. Instead, the engineers that be have incorporated an auto-on gate-type switch that detects when sound is present. After some minutes of total silence, the small green LED atop the right satellites glows amber to indicate standby mode. I'd lay money that this feature saves about one cent and hour...

Objective Measurements

Data acquired and reported of this type is done without any opinion or bias whatsoever. For a quickie brush up course on audio terminology and measurements, point your browser to the Audio Reproduction Systems article.

The Woofer

Normally, I begin with R.M.S. power measurements, but due to the impedance shock (look below), I chose to deal with "Z" first. The impedance is extremely important because it directly affects any power amp calculations.

Logitech gives no clue as to what's inside their cool looking rounded sub box. Partial disassembly revealed a small-ish 4" driver instead of the more typical 6-6.5" sizes found in sets in the same price range. Plainly labeled as 4 Ohm, 25W the shielded driver is mounted seemingly backwards and at the top of the enclosure. This is a loaded horn woofer, whereas all the sound is directed out of the port, not just a fraction of it. This raises efficiency (loudness) but can peak the FR in a range that the port dimensions favor.

 





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