We’re consistently amazed by how companies such as Logitech can jam so many features into a set of speakers that sell for $200. And Logitech’s new G51 system is a good value if $200 is the absolute top of your budget and you must have a 5.1-channel system.
Some great new games with awesome soundtracks are now available—BioShock being just one example—so we understand why many people will sacrifice audio fidelity in order to afford inexpensive surround-sound speakers like these. BioShock is a blast, and it’s even better in surround sound. But with games, your attention isn’t focused entirely on the audio. Listen to CDs on the G51s and you’ll immediately hear their flaws. The subwoofer pushed a good amount of tight bass on Paul Thorn’s “That Ain’t Nothin’ but the Devil,” for instance, but the jangling sitar on “Sister Ruby’s House of Prayer” (both from Mission Temple Fireworks Stand) struck us as listless and drab.
We dig case mods, so we applaud Logitech for providing a means of decorating these speakers. You wrap paper cutouts, which you can download or design yourself, around the shell of the satellite speakers to give them a custom look. Logitech also came up with a brilliant solution to the problem of where to put the center channel: You can either set it on top of your desk or clamp it to the top of your flat-screen monitor.
But if Logitech insists on hardwiring the speaker cable to the satellites, it needs to provide enough cable to reach the subwoofer: Five feet doesn’t cut it—we had to place the sub between our feet in order to situate the front satellites on either side of our desk. The 9-foot cables for the surround channels, on the other hand, were plenty long.
We haven’t heard a better 5.1-channel system in this price range—and we’re happy that Logitech resisted the temptation to route audio over USB—but if music is your top priority, there are plenty of better-sounding 2.1 and 2.0 rigs to be had.
Best 5.1-channel surround system for the price; neat cutout "mod" option.