Pros: Inexpensive, small, reasonably well built, self amplified, convenient for many applications.
Cons: Cheap components, mediocre sound
The Logitech S-120 2.0 is a self amplified multimedia speaker system intended for use with PC, CD/MP3, TV, gaming system, or wherever there's a line level signal output and a need for amplified sound. They come complete with a power supply, built in 2.3 watt amplifer, input wire, on/off volume knob, and an LED light to signal that they're on. The specs state that they have a frequency response of 50hz to 20Khz.
After installing a new gas fireplace in our living room, we noticed that the gas fire was "silently deafening" compared to a real wood burning fire. To counter the obvious missing element, we were able to download a wave file of a realistic sounding crackling fire noise to an MP3 player, and needed a small set of inexpensive amplified speakers to hide under the fireplace. We ordered the Logitech S-120s based on hundreds of positive reviews.
In hindsight it seems extremely unfair to expect a $10 pair of desktop PC speakers to have reasonably good sound, but based my excellent experience with a more expensive pair of Creative T-20 desktop multimedia speakers, and the very high numbers of positive comments on the S-120s, that's exactly what I expected. The Logitech S-120s are essentially a self amplified low quality 2" tweeter in a lightweight plastic enclosure. Such humble beginnings for the components allow little opportunity for the Logitechs to perform well. The claimed 2.3 watts is highly suspect, and the stated 50hz to 20khz is simply a gross exaggeration. Specs aside, all I really needed was a speaker to produce the sharp semi-realistic "snap" of a crackling fire recording. Unfortunately, the thin hollow sound of a cheap tweeter in a plastic box drastically obscured the hopes of that illusion. We had tested the concept ahead of time with our Creative T-20 computer speakers and were very encouraged by the realism. Not wanting to sink $90 into this application, we opted to give the inexpensive Logitech speakers a shot.
For $10 the Logitech S-120s are a good buy on a fairly mediocre speaker. In fairness, they're a decent value if your needs are modest, but these speakers can't come close to satisfying a remotely serious listener. This review may seem a little harsh considering the low price tag on the Logitechs, but if I had read more realistic objective comments about the sound of these speakers, I would have passed on them. My hope is that these critical comments helps someone get a more realistic view of what the Logitechs can and cannot do. Raves about wonderful sound from these little noise makers leave me baffled and astounded in disbelief. There are undoutedly legions of happy campers who own this little system...and good for them, as they'll save a fortune on expensive stereo components, but you'll have to count me as a disappointed dissenter. On the positive side, they're small, easy to place, well constructed, and have an easy to reach on/off volume knob. If you have realistic performance expectations (or lack thereof) based on what these speakers really are, they'll be fine for many non-critical applications, but there's no chance of these replacing a decent set of "real" audio speakers wired to a real amplifier or receiver. Alas, the laws of physics remain unwavering. The S-120s reproduce sound with some minor semblance of realism, combined with a fair amount of not so surprising box noise, distortion, and amplifier hiss. The end result leaves them sounding pretty much like any generic cheap boom box type radio/music player with poor clarity, weak bottom end, and no dynamic realism. Logitech does offer a version of these speakers with a subwoofer called the S-220 2.1 for ~ $25, which would add some weight to the bottom end, but won't cure the many other ills of the sound.