Speakers are, perhaps, the most subjective piece of a home theater system. What sounds fantastic to some will sound horrible to others. For newcomers to home theater, the choices for speakers, and their prices, can be overwhelming and intimidating. So, when I was given the opportunity to review Monoprice Premium 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with Subwoofer, which, according to Amazon, have an MSRP of $647.62, but are always on sale for less than $250, I was a bit curious.
Domino checks out the new package
Like most speaker systems, the kit arrived in a large box, with the four satellites and center speakers packed on the first layer, and the active subwoofer on the bottom. Both the satellites and center speakers are listed as 2-way full range-bass reflex, consisting of a 3/4” aluminum dome tweeter and a 3” polypropylene mid-range driver. They are rated at 100 watts maximum, 8 ohms nominal impedance, with a frequency range of 110Hz to 20KHz (±3dB) and crossover of 3.5KHz, and a sensitivity of 88dB. Connections are made using spring loaded terminals on the rear of each speaker. One thing I really did not like about the design was the lack of a keyhole mounting option. Monoprice only provided a standard screw hole for use with a mounting bracket.
Satellite with grill
Satellite with grill removed
Satellite, rear view
Center, with grill
Center, with grill removed
Center, rear view
The subwoofer is a bass-reflex with front-firing port, an 8” injected cone woofer, with a frequency range of 30Hz to 150Hz, rated at up to 200 watts @ THD ≤0.5%. Connections can be made using either the RCA stereo line level (typical for home theater use) or in-line with the left and right front speakers using the speaker terminals on the rear of the subwoofer.
Subwoofer, front view
Subwoofer, rear view
Subwoofer, bottom view
To be fair, my existing home theater setup consists of a Yamaha RX-V563 7.1 receiver, Polk TSi100 bookshelf and CS10 center speakers in the front, OSD PS10 10” subwoofer, and OSD SPHERE-1 ball speakers as my surrounds. For testing purposes, I simply disconnected my existing speakers and connected the Monoprice speakers in their place using my existing speaker wire and subwoofer cable. Since the subwoofer has a stereo RCA input, a Y-connector was used to split the single output from my receiver. I set the low-pass filter on the sub to the maximum, 150Hz, and the volume at approximately 25%, then ran the YPAO calibration program on the Yamaha receiver, overriding the crossover setting to 90Hz and correcting the subwoofer distance in the manual settings menu.
How did they perform? My demo material consisted of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds SACD in 5.1, Toy Matinee DVD-Audio in DTS 5.1, Pacific Rim in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, various MP3 files from my music library, and various television programs in Dolby Digital 5.1. The results were about the same across all demos. Bass response from the subwoofer was decent, although occasionally a bit boomy. The speakers themselves were adequate, with acceptable frequency response, but dialogue was often hollow, prompting me to increase the gain on the center channel within the receiver, but never really resolving the hollow sound. Overall, though, the sound never really filled the room like my existing speaker system, but that was expected.
The Monoprice Premium 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with Subwoofer is a good option for someone starting out in home theater and wanting to pair it with an entry level receiver (like a Yamaha RX-V373, Denon AVR-1513, or Pioneer VSX-523), or in a small den for the kids. The speaker system is about on par with speakers included in receiver/speaker bundles from Yamaha (YHT-497) or Denon (DHT-1312).