When it comes to most computer-related products newer is better – exponentially, incomparably better. But if there’s one peripheral that seems to avoid this trend altogether it has to be the speakers. Unless you’re looking for a model equipped with some slick RGB lighting to complement your gaming rig or just a good pair of Bluetooth speakers, there is no merit in buying the newest model available as far as cost-effectiveness is concerned. And here to testify to this fact we have a couple of old-timers: the Logitech Z263 and the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1.
Both of these are 2.1 stereo PC speakers that won’t cost you a fortune but sound as good as even some of the new $500 pairs. So let’s see how they stack up against each other and which one is the right pick for you if you’re looking to buy the most cost-effective 2.1 PC configuration.
Table of ContentsHide
|Logitech Z623||Klipsch ProMedia 2.1|
|System Type||2.1 stereo||2.1 stereo|
|Power||120 Watt RMS||200 Watt RMS|
|Frequency Response||35 Hz – 20000 Hz||31 Hz – 20000 Hz|
|Sensitivity||103 dB||106 dB|
|Impedance||4 ohms||4 ohms|
Before we go any further, we want to emphasize the fact that these speakers aren’t exactly new by any stretch of the imagination. Finding the exact release dates for them is tricky, but the Logitech Z623 will be turning at least 10 soon, if it hasn’t done so already, and the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 is already a good decade and a half old at this point.
And seeing how they’re both still immensely popular, it’s obvious that these speakers offer some genuine quality. If they didn’t, people wouldn’t buy them and the companies would have to make some revisions. But this does mean that they adhere to the fashion sense of the last decade, so if you’re looking for a set of speakers that will go well with your other bleeding-edge peripherals, then it’s unlikely that these two models will win you over.
They at least have the benefit of looking rather inconspicuous, so if nothing else they shouldn’t detract from the aesthetics of their surroundings. In both cases, you’re dealing with a very simple cube sub-woofer and two satellites. The rectangle satellites on the Klipsch are a bit more conspicuous with their metal legs, but while the triangular satellites on the Logitech only use rubberized stands to provide that extra layer of stability, their shape does draw a bit more attention, so it all evens out. The Klipsch satellites also have two separate drivers each, with the top tweeters using the company’s proprietary Micro Tractrix horns.
Overall, they may not look like speakers that came out this year, but thankfully that’s the biggest differentiating factor between these old-timers and the new spring chickens.
Most importantly, both of these speakers are THX-certified, which goes a long way in guaranteeing a high degree of quality. THX standards are rigorous and not at all inexpensive, so while there are speakers out there that would technically qualify for this certificate, the fact that Logitech and Klipsch went the extra mile to ensure you that both of these 2.1 stereo speakers are up to the highest standards is nothing if not encouraging.
(NOTE: There is a version of the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 that isn’t THX-certified, just like there is a Bluetooth enabled version. In this article we’ll only be referring to the wired THX version, although the differences between it and the regular version aren’t all that big.)
Granted, 2.1 speakers can only get the lowest form of the certificate, which isn’t surprising considering the fact that filmmakers have the full surround sound experience in mind when filming. But this still means that these two pairs of speakers will be great not just for PC use, but also as part of a small home theatre.
But you might be thinking: ‘Wait a minute!
‘These are wired PC speakers, aren’t they? The THX certification is great and all that, but am I honestly ever going to go through the trouble of plugging these out of the computer and messing with all the cables only to install them on the TV for a single movie-night?’
And the answer is no (at least in most cases).
Yes, both the Z623 and the ProMedia 2.1 are wired speakers, but the manufacturers made sure to include as many little conveniences as they could manage. For example, both of these speakers have headphone jacks on the satellites, as well as separate volume and bass knobs.
And to counteract the problem of portability that we just mentioned, the Logitech Z623 can have up to three devices plugged into it at all times, so you could keep your PC, console, and TV plugged in simultaneously and then just switch between platforms on the fly as you see fit. Granted, this only works with home theatres under the presupposition that your TV is mounted above your PC, but hey, it’s better than nothing, and it’s certainly better than what most other wired 2.1 configurations offer.
The Klipsch ProMedia 2.1, unfortunately, lacks such a feature, but it does come with a completely different one that’s probably going to see more use. Namely, the control pod of the ProMedia 2.1 can freely be swapped between the right and the left satellite, and while this doesn’t really help with home theatre in any way, it can go a long way in preventing cable clutter while you’re gaming with a headset.
But the most important factor in the enduring popularity of both of these speakers has undoubtedly got to be the sound quality they offer. Right off the bat, we’ll say that neither of these speakers sounds any worse than most newer, and even many pricier models. You can’t go wrong with either one.
So instead of making a full review, what we’ll be doing here is highlighting the ways in which each of these speakers excels over the other.
First up is the Logitech Z623. Of the two speakers, this is the one that will cater more to gamers because it has a very three-dimensional sound. The in-game sound quality is flawless, placing a huge emphasis on reproducing sounds like footsteps, gunshots, and vehicle rumbling with a high degree of realism, while still not taking anything away from the background track playing at the same time. But most importantly, these speakers don’t achieve the greatness of their sound for gaming at the expense of multimedia performance. If your sound card supports directional sound, then these speakers will not fail to wow you with their immense sense of depth.
Still, we would be remiss not to mention an area in sound quality where the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 beats out the Z623, and that’s in the overall tightness of the frequency response. Most notably, the high-treble sounds much fuller on the Klipsch, thanks in no small part to the separate tweeter. The mids are also a bit richer sounding, making them a better fit for movies and music than the Z623. Now granted, the ProMedia 2.1 wasn’t made for gaming and it, therefore, doesn’t feature as three-dimensional a sound as the Z623, so it isn’t an outright winner here.
Just don’t lose sight of what you need a pair of 2.1 speakers when making your decision and you’ll be fine.
Now you must have noticed that we didn’t say a word about how the bass sounds on either of these speakers, and that’s because we couldn’t very well separate it from the volume evaluation. Overall, both the Z623 and the ProMedia 2.1 feature a tight and precise bass that has some genuine texture to it, instead of just a loud rumbling. The bass on the ProMedia 2.1 is slightly tighter and can go all the way down to 31 Hz as opposed to the Z623’s 35 Hz, but these are only minor differences.
What’s much more important is how the bass acts as the overall volume increases. Once more, we’re happy to report that both speakers retain all the precision in the bass while increasing the punchiness, but the ProMedia 2.1 alone suffers from distortion at higher volumes. This mostly has to do with the Wattage of the speakers.
If you look at the power draw, you’ll see that the Logitech has a 200Watt RMS while the Klipsch only has a 200Watt Peak. Meaning that, on the whole, the Z623 draws a lot more power than the ProMedia 2.1, which is good for speakers as it generally means they’ll be able to tackle high volumes with less distortion. (NOTE: this doesn’t impact the sound quality itself in any way, just when the distortion will kick in.)
Conventional wisdom would say that if you’re looking to go loud you should go with the Z623. But while this does remain true, we have to emphasize the fact that the ProMedia 2.1 does boast the proprietary Micro Tractrix horns which are extremely power-efficient. Overall, you won’t be lacking volume on the Klipsch anyway since we’d only recommend cranking the volume up to 11 if you’re throwing a party, but it’s good to know that the gap isn’t as large as it may seem at first glance, as only the bass will suffer from max-loudness distortion.
Nevertheless, if the volume is paramount and you want to party without any distortion even at noise-complaint levels of loudness, then we still have to recommend the Logitech Z623.
So to reiterate, both the Logitech Z623 and the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 are excellent pairs of affordable 2.1 stereo speakers that are THX-certified no less. As far as sound quality is concerned, you won’t be missing out on anything by opting for either of these two elderly models. The only things missing are added functionalities such as Bluetooth or having a USB port somewhere.
They’re more than capable of tacking both gaming and multimedia, although the Z623 does excel at the former while the ProMedia 2.1 favors the latter. These differences, however, are mostly marginal, so if your goal in the first place is to buy a pair of premium sounding affordable speakers, don’t hesitate to purchase whichever is cheaper if you can find one at a significant discount.