One of the great mysteries of the world is how Monoprice continues to put out products of the quality it does at such a low price. Some our favorite in-expensive earbuds and headphones come from Monoprice at prices far lower than we’d expect, given the quality.
Considering our continued fascination with the company’s products, how is it that it’s taken this long for us to actually review one of them?
The Monoprice 8247 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System offers six speakers in a box for under $100. That’s already impressive. If this was most other companies we’d be expecting pure trash, but we were excited to see if Monoprice could pull it off again.
What’s In The Box?
Most of the box is occupied by the subwoofer. Then you have the center channel speaker and the four identical satellite speakers. Aside from this, you’ll find an RCA cable for connecting the subwoofer as well as mounting hardware for the satellite speakers.
Build & Design
The speakers all have what I’ve come to think of as the “Monoprice look.” That is, they’re black, and very sparse in design. They certainly don’t look ugly or cheap, but it’s very clear that as part of keeping the cost down, no additional money was put into making them look more attractive.
Still, the all-black look will make it very easy for these to fit in with most rooms. The four satellite speakers come with C brackets to allow them to be aimed at the listening position. This hardware is made of plastic, but feels fairly sturdy.
The bodies of the the center channel and satellite speakers are plastic as well, while the subwoofer seems to be made of wood-like substance. Despite the materials used, all of the speakers feel very solid.
The satellite speakers are roughly six inches tall and four inches wide and deep, while the center channel is fairly close in side and somewhat resembles one of the satellite speakers turned on its side. Both the center channel and satellite speakers use paper woofers, which some may find flimsy. I, on the other hand, have always preferred paper woofers in terms of sound, so this is very much a matter of taste.
The Monoprice 8247 system only consists of speakers, so you will need your own A/V receiver to use the setup. For the purposes of testing, Monoprice loaned us a Yamaha RX-V577 receiver for this review, which is available for purchase on their website.
The satellite and center channel speakers use solid metal connectors, though it’s worth mentioning that these don’t accept banana plugs. The subwoofer uses a dual RCA input, though Monoprice doesn’t provide a Y-cable for it.
There are two main controls on the subwoofer: a volume knob, and a knob to adjust the crossover frequency. These are located in the back of the subwoofer, as is usually the case, and once you have them set to your liking, you shouldn’t need to adjust them again.
There is also an auto-on switch that some users, including myself, have found problematic. When using this, the subwoofer would occasionally stop working and needed to be turned off and back on before it would work. Ignoring the auto-on feature and just leaving the subwoofer turned on avoided this issue.
You’ll want to play with your settings before actually using the Monoprice 8247, particularly the crossover setting and any distance settings on your A/V receiver.
Dialog was very clear through the center channel, even with relatively quiet dialog in explosion-heavy action scenes. For less over-the-top content, you might find the speaker lacking in bass somewhat, though this can often be remedied through the use of EQ or by adjusting the subwoofer crossover. The tinny sound often associated with speakers this small was surprisingly absent.
The satellite speakers provide very nice directional cues, and despite the general small size of all the speakers, the sense of being enveloped by the sound in a movie was very powerful. These do have the same issues with bass as the center channel speaker, but can also be compensated for in the same way.
The 8-inch downward-firing subwoofer pumps out a surprising amount of bass. When I first set up the system for testing, I pushed the volume toward the upper limits, assuming it would be necessary for powerful lows, but quickly found myself turning the volume on the subwoofer back down.
The overall balance between the subwoofer and the center and satellite speakers is very nice, especially once you have the crossover frequency set to your liking. Even pushing the volume much higher than I ever watch movies with, there was little to no distortion present.
Music didn’t sound as good, though this is usually the case with home theater systems. Considering the price, I was still fairly impressed. Overall, this system sounds much better than it really has any right to at this price.
Monoprice has indeed pulled it off again. You’ll surely find better home theater speaker systems out there, but you’ll also spend a considerable amount more on them. If money is no object, you’re probably not the target audience for this product anyway.
For everyone else who wants a decent home theater speaker setup but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money, there’s nothing to discuss. The Monoprice 8247 is the go-to product in the sub-$100 or even sub-$200 range.
Buy now from Amazon ($114)