In 2002, Philips began experimenting with bias lighting being built into their TVs. They called it Ambilight, and it went beyond the usual bias lighting that reduced eyestrain through contrast. Instead it was coloured lighting that reacted to whatever was happening onscreen, to both nix eyestrain and make media a little more immersive. While aggressive patenting may have made that sort of reactive bias lighting less prevalent than it rightly ought to be, there are ways to add this feature to modern monitors with a bit of strip lighting, an inquisitive mind and a glue gun.
Logitech’s G560 RGP speakers make it a doddle – and serve as one of the very few RGB products that I’ve felt actually makes an appreciable difference to the media I passively consume, and the interactive media that frequently consumes me.
The set comes with two interestingly designed satellites, and a mid-sized active subwoofer that serves as the central hub for the set’s connections. On the rear of the sub you have a fixed power cord, along with spots to plug in a 3.5mm aux cable, USB cable and two DB9 connectors for the speakers. Audio is primarily sent along using USB, which means that you’ll have to forgo using any specialised DACS or expensive soundcards to power the set.
The DB9 connectors also mean that the speakers will only ever work with the G560, which means replacing them or trying to use the subwoofer as a mix-and-match audio hub, will likely end in tears. There’s a good reason for that though.
The DB9 connector pushes through more than just audio. As you’ve likely ascertained by now, the Logitech G560 is an RGB capable set of speakers. Each satellite has a large rear RGB light that projects its luminescence on the wall behind, as well as a secondary reflective cutout wing that can push out any of the 16.7 million colours that RGB accessories can muster.
Of course, you can set the lights up however you like, with the usual effects afforded by RGB gear; pulsating colours, rainbow waves and static mood colours for the more sophisticated RGB connoisseur. Yes, you can use it as an audio visualisation tool, setting colours for highs and lows and everything in-between. It’s immensely customisable, letting you select different colours and lighting patterns for the sides and the back – and naturally, if Logitech is your go-to accessories brand, then you can synchronise the lighting across your Lightsync compatible peripherals.
If you like, you can also connect to the speakers using Bluetooth, and I had no problems having my PC (via USB) and phone (via Bluetooth) simultaneously connected to the G560. Logitech’s G-Hub settings take precedence on lighting, but in the absence of its oversight, the speakers will happily pulse through colours.
The killer feature here, and what ties it to the lede, is that it can be set to sample your screen. You can set up four zones on your screen – usually the top and bottom left and right – and have the general colours and lighting that’s on screen be reactively replicated by the speakers, making them function very much like an Ambilight system.
It’s a gimmick, sure, but it’s a marvellous one that’s ramped up my gaming entertainment immensely. In shooters, explosions and gunfire splash off the wall in technicolour. I recently played through the beginning of the incredible Ori and the Will of the Wisps, with the game’s opening moments – scenes of tumultuous, rumbling thunder and lightning -echoed in the lighting that spilled out of the speakers around my screen.
My adventures in Hell in Darksiders Genesis cast a fiery, flickering glow that mirrored the infernal pits of the nether. There is a slight delay as it translates what’s on your screen, averages out the pixel density by colour and beams it to the speakers, but its intended effect is still profound. It’s the sort of thing that ramps up immersion, even though your brain eventually makes the lighting fade into the background.
Turn it off, and you’ll immediately feel like something’s missing. If there’s anything about the Logitech G560 that’s worth the sticker price, it’s this fantastic, fanciful and entirely frivolous feature.
My only wish is that this feature was attached to better actual speakers. Don’t get me wrong, they sound pretty good, but at their default I found the low frequency response a little overwhelming. As is typical of audio equipment geared towards gamers, there’s a big thumping bass thanks to the large subwoofer, but it drowns out anything resembling nuance. Thankfully the Logitech G-Hub software gives you full EQ control, but that’s not an option afforded Bluetooth play.
It’s not really helped by a decidedly quirky volume scaling that increases or decreases volume in exponential steps, making it hard to find a balance at lower or higher volumes. While it’s all fine at middle volumes, it’s either too loud or too soft at the extremes. At lower volumes, the bass is especially overpowering, with no real control for the low end except through EQ – but even then sound quality takes a sharp drop unless you crank thinks up, where it sounds just fine again.
Thankfully, the stereo separation and the soundstage is pretty fantastic, delivering good positional stereo audio. There’s an option to use faux, software-driven 7.1 surround sound, but as with most solutions of this ilk, it’s largely terrible, and something I recommend staying far away from. They don’t sound quite as good as the classic, even fabled Harmon Kardon Soundsticks that usually grace my desk, and are far better suited to gaming audio than for anything else. Still, I really like them.
They’re available locally at an RRP for R2999.
Last Updated: March 23, 2020