Monoprice 108247 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System
Since its creation in 2002, Monoprice has become a brand well-known across the internet shopping community for offering incredible bargains on very reasonable quality products, ranging from cheap but very usable and durable HDMI cables ($2-$5 vs. the $40-$60 you can easily spend at retail outlets) all the way up to security systems, projectors, and, you guessed it, home theater. The Monoprice 8247 is a well-built, decent sounding full 5.1 surround sound system than costs under $100, something that would have been thought impossible just a few years ago. They even include wall mounts, for crying out loud! And the sound, while not approaching in the same league as the other systems listed here, is really nothing to complain about. Its noticeably superior to similarly priced, and even more expensive, 2.1 systems; there really arent any 5.1s in the price range to compare it to. The 8-inch woofer is not exceptionally powerful, and you shouldnt expect it to fill rooms bigger than 3,000 cubic feet with any real oomph. Really it's not the best quality; if you've never heard a subwoofer before, I'm sure it will be a welcome improvement, but anyone familiar with better units will likely be disappointed.
That said, the 8247 delivers a relatively balanced sound that leans towards warmth, and manages to avoid the typical cheap speaker sound of over-emphasized highs and a sucked-out midrange; on the contrary it is rather natural. Its soundstage is not incredibly impressive for a 5.1, and is beaten pretty soundly by the Take Classic 5.1 and Onkyo 7.1 systems, but still much better than anything even close to its price range. Overall, if youve got the extra $100 to spend, and you care about quality, go with the Onkyo 7.1, but if you're really not picky about sound and just want a cheap set of speakers that dont sound bad, the 8247 will deliver many times its price in value and is by far the easiest, cheapest way to get full 5.1 surround sound.