Logitech G560 Review: 2.1 RGB Gaming Speakers
Logitech G560 Review
Continuing the seemingly unstoppable trend of RGB-enabled PC accessories, Logitech last month introduced the G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speaker. The G560 is a $200 2.1 speaker system with multiple RGB lights that works with Logitech's LIGHTSYNC platform.
The company loaned us the G560 for review, and we spent the last few weeks using it as our primary speaker system for movies, music, and games. Does adding RGB lighting to your PC speakers make a positive contribution to your multimedia experience? Or is it just a gimmick?
Specifications & Design
As a 2.1 audio system, the Logitech G560 includes two discrete speakers -- left and right -- and a powered subwoofer. Logitech advertises the following specifications for the G560:
Total power (peak): 240W
Total power (RMS): 120W
Frequency response: 40Hz - 18KHz
Max SPL: 97dB@426B
Input impedance: >10K ohm
Inputs: USB, 3.5mm, Bluetooth 4.1
Wireless range: 25 meter line of sight
Satellite driver size: 2.5 in (63.5 mm)
Subwoofer driver size: 6.5 in (165 mm)
Subwoofer (H x W x D): 16 x 10 x 8.1 inches
Subwoofer Weight: 12.1 lbs
Satellite (H x W x D): 5.8 x 6.5 x 4.6 inches
Satellite Weight (pair): 3.92 lbs
2 x Satellite Speakers
1 x Subwoofer with power cable
1 x USB cable (98 in / 2500 mm)
The speakers are unusually shaped, with a circular driver and hollow arc to one side. This design allows the speaker stand firmly on your desk but also contains a row of RGB lights that reflect off the inner surface of the arc.
Around back is the second RGB array, which is designed to shine onto the wall for a diffuse lighting effect around your monitor. While the light produced by this rear RGB array is partly visible on your desk, it really relies on being able to bounce of the wall for its full effect. Therefore, those who don't have their PC desk flush against a wall may not find the G560 a good option.
On top of the right speaker are volume controls and the "G-key," which by default cycles through the various RGB lighting options but can be customized in the Logitech Gaming Software interface.
On the rear of the right speaker you'll find a Bluetooth pairing button, a power button, and the 3.5mm headphone port.
The relatively short satellite speakers mean that there's a good chance they'll fit under your monitor, which is ideal for users with a multi-monitor setup where placing the speakers to the left and right of the displays would mean that they're too far apart for optimal listening. With the RGB lights off, the speakers look unique but subtle enough for a home office or other more professional setting. This contrasts to many other "gaming-focused" RGB-enabled products that retain their more aggressive design even when the lights are off.
Turning to the G560 subwoofer, it's huge. Even at about 1.3-feet in height, however, it's relatively lightweight (for a subwoofer) at just over 12 pounds, and it doesn't have the punch that you might expect from looks alone. That's not to say that the subwoofer is inadequate -- it complements the satellites well for an overall bass-heavy sound -- but it's not noticeably better than the subwoofer included with the Logitech Z533 which is about 40 percent smaller.
Setup & Configuration
Physically setting up the G560 speakers is quite straightforward. The subwoofer acts as the central hub to which all inputs and outputs connect.
The speakers use color-coded 9-pin cables for an easy connection, and the included USB cable features the same two-pronged extensions found on Logitech's gaming mice for a secure fit.
The user has a choice of USB, 3.5mm analog, or Bluetooth for audio. For non-USB audio sources, users can cycle through basic RGB lighting options -- solid color, cycling color, audio visualizer -- with any audio input. But to use the more advanced LIGHTSYNC RGB options, as well as the screen sampler for bias lighting, you must use the USB connection.
With the USB cable connected to your PC, you'll also need to download the latest Logitech Gaming Software package. Once it's installed, the G560 speakers will appear (along with any other compatible Logitech products you may have) in the LGS interface.
With the LGS software, you can customize the behavior of the G560's physical buttons, adjust the RGB lighting effects, tweak the audio with custom equalizer settings, and enable the included DTS-X virtual surround sound. Like most virtual surround sound options, however, this last option is absolute garbage that sounds terrible so you shouldn't even bother.
Turning in more detail to the RGB lighting settings, there are five options from which to choose: fixed color, color cycle, breathing effect, audio visualizer, and screen sampler. For all options, you can control each RGB array on each speaker independently. For example, you can have the rear RGB lights on both speakers beat to the same color while the front lights cycle through colors, or you can turn off the rear light on the right speaker and the front light on the left speaker for an unbalanced lighting effect.
The audio visualizer option has additional advanced settings, allowing you to turn it off for individual devices, set static or cycling colors, and adjust the noise threshold and amplitude which govern the visual effects.
If you have other compatible Logitech devices, such as the G513 gaming keyboard, you can also configure how they will interact with your G560 speakers. For example, you can configure your speakers to cycle RGB colors while playing the audio visualizer effect, but have your keyboard lights beat to the music in a single color.
The screen sampler RGB option is arguably the most interesting of the bunch, but it unfortunately didn't work as well as we initially hoped. The point of this option is to detect the color and intensity of the light on the edges of your display and then mirror those colors in real time with RGB light that surrounds your display. This effect was popularized years ago with high end televisions and has since become available on the PC via a number of different products.
The Logitech Gaming Software allows the user to configure different on-screen regions which will be used to match the RGB lighting of the front and rear speaker lights. These can be set independently for each speaker so, for example, you'd select an area in the bottom-left corner of your screen for the front RGB light on the left speaker, and an area in the upper-right corner of your screen for the back RGB light on the right speaker.
The process of selecting the screen regions for the bias lighting is easy, and the ability to select arbitrary locations is great for those with multi-monitor setups. But the results in practice don't work well. Even after playing around with the screen regions for several days, I could never achieve a convincing bias lighting effect, at least not one that was as good as some of the other options I've tried that rely on display-mounted RGB strips.
I'm not sure if this is a result of the limitations of using diffuse light that must bounce off the wall as compared to the direct lighting of display-mounted RGB, or if it's a problem with Logitech's software that can be fixed with future changes to how it interprets the action on your screen. In short, the screen sampler effect, while it does add a bit of ambiance to your experience, likely won't "wow" you the way that a dedicated bias lighting setup would. However, the convenience of having this capability in your speakers without needing to mount RGB lights and rely on additional software is a positive factor.
Inputs & Outputs
Most of Logitech's current PC speaker lineup relies on a single 3.5mm analog input. The G560 bucks the trend by offering three options: 3.5mm, USB, and Bluetooth, with the latter able to support up to two concurrent devices.
Interestingly, all three inputs can be used simultaneously. There's no "input switch" on the speakers, so any sources connected simply play over each other when sending audio simultaneously. While an input selector would prevent overlap, this "feature" to play multiple sources at once actually turned out to be quite handy. For example, we could stream a podcast via Bluetooth from a smartphone while playing a game. Another option is to connect a game console via the 3.5mm-out from a monitor, which resulted in having Xbox audio playing through the speakers while still allowing system alerts from the PC via the USB connection.
Obviously none of this is essential, and it has the potential to cause issues when audio starts to overlap that you didn't anticipate, but as long as you're willing to independently control your sources it might come in handy.
In terms of outputs, there's a 3.5mm headphone port on the rear right side of the right speaker. Plugging in headphones disables sound from the speakers, although you'll still see the RGB lighting effects per your configuration.
This isn't an ideal setup, however. Having the port on the rear means you need to reach around to physically disconnect your headphones each time you want to resume audio. Further, the speakers' physical volume buttons don't affect the headphone audio level, so you'll need to rely on software control for volume. Placing the headphone port in a more easily accessible location, or providing a button that switched audio between the headphone and speaker while leaving the headphones connected would have been a better solution.
There are lots of PC accessories (including other speakers) with RGB capability, so the one factor that sets the Logitech G560 apart is LIGHTSYNC, Logitech's proprietary software feature that synchronizes RGB lighting with the real-time conditions of compatible games. We're not talking about the aforementioned screen sampling; LIGHTSYNC-compatible games cause the RGB lighting of your keyboard, mouse, headset, and now speakers to react to unique situations in games.
Logitech advertises that over 300 games support LIGHTSYNC, but only a few currently support the LIGHTSYNC implementation with the G560 speakers. If your favorite game is missing from that list, you can still set up application-specific profiles in the Logitech Gaming Software. You won't have the advanced features of a developer-supported game, but you'll be able to configure specific lighting options that are enabled automatically when you launch the app. There's also Logitech's SDK, which allows developers to add G560 lighting support to their games.
LIGHTSYNC isn't new or exclusive to the G560 speakers, but expanding support to this category of PC accessory further enhances the feature's ability to immerse you in the game. Pair the G560 with a LIGHTSYNC-compatible keyboard and mouse, and you'll have quite a unique experience in your next gaming session.
The Logitech G560 speakers are quite compelling in every area addressed thus far. But, when it comes to sound, they're...okay. We're not set up to perform audiophile sound analysis, but then of course these are by no means audiophile-grade speakers.
The default sound out of the G560 is unsurprisingly bass-focused, with dull highs and elevated mids. They sound heavy and harsh and, compared to my modest Logitech Z533 2.1 system, felt like a downgrade in terms of audio quality alone.
The Logitech Gaming Software includes basic bass and treble adjustments as well as an "Advanced" 10-band equalizer. This latter option allowed me to tweak the sound to a more pleasing level, but I never felt particularly impressed by the overall sound quality produced by the G560.
The speakers are definitely better than the built-in speakers found in monitors and televisions, and I'd opt for them over most cheap sub-$50 PC speakers, but at a list price $200 there are many other options that simply sound better, including Logitech's own Z533 at half the price.
RGB looks like it's here to stay in the PC gaming market, and Logitech's embrace of this trend with the G560 will be welcomed by gamers who must "RGB all the things." For those who enjoy the experience of multicolored lighting effects, the G560 works great when paired with the Logitech Gaming Software, both as a standalone product as well as combined with Logitech's other LIGHTSYNC products. And while the sound quality is perfectly acceptable, it's just not what we would expect at the G560's $200 price point.
In short, the G560's design, lighting, and choice of inputs make it a compelling option for gamers who really want to go all-out with their RGB setups. But if you value audio quality more than flashing lights, you'll want to look elsewhere.
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:||The product is on loan from Logitech for the purpose of this review.|
|What happens to the product after review:||The product remains the property of Logitech but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.|
|Company involvement:||Logitech had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.|
|PC Perspective Compensation:||Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Logitech for this review.|
|Advertising Disclosure:||Logitech has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.|
|Affiliate links:||This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.|
|Consulting Disclosure:||Logitech is not a current client of Shrout Research.|