The Logitech Z-5500 is a 505-watt, THX-certified surround-sound speaker system that offers rich, powerful sounds through its four satellite speakers, one centre channel and a 10-inch subwoofer. Although there are not many computer speaker systems of this high-end level, there are a few comparable alternative audio solutions.
Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1
The Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 surround-sound speaker system uses a 500-watt amplifier to push sound through four satellite speakers and one centre channel (similar to the Z-5500), but differs in its use of dual 8-inch subwoofers to provide significant lows for bass.
The Klipsch brand has always been known for amazing sound quality, which continues in the ProMedia Ultra 5.1 speaker set through the two-way satellite speakers with a finely tuned crossover network (for richer tones and higher frequencies) and featuring Klipsch's exclusive MicroTractrix horn tweeters (for more accurate high frequencies). The included control module also allows for separate control of the main, centre, rear, and subwoofer channels and makes use of a digital LED to display the volume level.
Although production for the Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 speaker system has been discontinued by the manufacturer, the set can still be found in several online marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay) in various conditions; some new and some used.
Creative Labs Inspire T6200 5.1
Creative Labs offers the Inspire T6200 5.1 multimedia speaker system with 70 watts of total power from four satellite speakers and an 18-watt centre channel that can clip onto almost any monitor or desk.
The speakers feature dual-cone drivers, designed to balance sound reproduction, and the 5.25-inch long-throw drivers of the ported subwoofer create the lows with adjustable bass control.
For better sound, the Inspire T6200 makes use of Creative Labs' own CMSS (Creative Multi Speaker Surround) Upmix technology, which essentially reproduces the sound of any stereo source in full surround sound. A wired remote is also included for power and volume control while offering easy-to-access headphone and microphone ports.
Altec Lansing FX5051 5.1
The Altec Lansing FX5051 speaker set is a 5.1 surround sound system that offers six-channel sound without a six-channel sound card installed. Instead of working through a sound card that requires multiples cables be plugged in, the FX5051 pumps sound to its four satellites, centre channel, and subwoofer through a USB cable from the woofer to the PC.
In this system, each speaker is powered by dual drivers; the lows for bass come from the 6.5-inch, double-barrelled, isobaric subwoofer. The flat design of the satellites is intended to be the perfect complement to any flat-panel monitor, and the stands on which each satellite sits can easily be removed to allow for wall placement.
Logitech is a well-known manufacturer of quality computer accessories. Budget-conscious shoppers may want to opt for another of Logitech's speaker systems that is much less expensive than the Z-5500.
The Logitech X-540 5.1 speaker system offers the same six-channel layout as the Z-5500 system, but with less power. The four satellites and centre channel of the X-540 can output 70 watts of power (140 watts peak; compared with the 505-watts of the Z-5500), while the down-firing subwoofer uses dual 5.25-inch drivers rather than the single 10-inch driver of the Z-5500.
Special features of the X-540 include dual drivers in each satellite speaker, real-time bass equalisation (for less distortion), as well as a Matrix mode for converting a stereo source into 5.1 surround sound (similar to Creative's CMSS Upmix technology).
All of the speaker system listed can be found on Amazon from a variety of retailers and independent sellers. Some, such as the discontinued Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 speaker system, may be subject to limited availability as well as varying conditions and prices depending on the seller.
If you are looking for a speaker system that is ready for Dolby Digital (AC-3), DTS, or THX, check the specifications, as not all 5.1 speaker systems are compatible with these audio technologies.
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