Add substance to the sound of your music
Getting the best sound out of your computer requires a good set of speakers, writes technology editor Chris Gardner.
Traditional ways of watching television, blu-rays and DVDs are all but dead in my house, as are the old ways of listening to music.
The personal computer with the right components handles all these tasks with aplomb, but with only a monitor's built-in speakers, the experience can be somewhat underwhelming.
The Logitech Speaker System Z623 ($249) is a middle-of-the-market option that plugs directly into a personal computer or amplifier and delivers THX-certified 2.1 sound with 200 watts of power.
THX is a spinoff company from George Lucas's Lucasfilm, named after Lucas's pre-Star Wars experimental film THX1138. THX developed a high fidelity audiovisual standard, and certification from the company means the speakers have gone through a rigorous design and laboratory testing process.
The 2.1 designation refers to the two stereo speakers and one subwoofer making up the system.
Power is supplied from the mains via a cable which is hardwired into the subwoofer.
The best sound comes when it is placed on the ground.
The right and left speakers plug directly into the back of the subwoofer.
The right speaker has controls for the system built into it: a meaty power button and equally robust volume and bass knobs.
The volume knob controls the output from the left and right speakers and the bass knob relates only to the subwoofer.
Logitech describes the audio result on its website as big and bold.
I removed a pair of decades-old Wharfedale speakers from my media centre system running Microsoft Windows 7 to try out the Logitech Speaker System Z623.
The audio signal came from my PC's sound card into my Yamaha amplifier, to which the Logitech Speaker System Z623 was connected.
I started with the volume and bass on half of the output the system was capable of and found it difficult to hold a conversation in my lounge while music was playing at that level.
Dialling the bass down to about one fifth proved to be about right, so as not to be rumbled out of existence, and about a quarter of the maximum volume was the right choice.
Audio quality was far superior to the old analogue speakers I have used for decades, but then it should be, as these are THX speakers.
These aren't the cheapest speakers on the market - Logitech have some for $30 - nor are they the most expensive, but for the money you can't go wrong.