Monoprice is an Internet retailer that made a name for itself providing tech accessories at insanely low prices. (It is, in our opinion, the best place to buy "good enough" HDMI cables at prices far lower than you'd ever find at Best Buy.) Not content with accessories, Monoprice is now branching out into its own branded line of tech products. Even with Monoprice's reputation for bargains, we were shocked to see the Monoprice 8247: it's a 5.1 surround-sound speaker package you can buy for the seemingly impossible price of $84.10. That's less than $15 per speaker (including the subwoofer) and Monoprice doesn't chintz out with the accessories, including four swivel wall-mounts for each of the satellite speakers. The most impressive feat of all is that these ultrabudget speakers actually sound pretty good.
We won't hype the Monoprice 8247 any more than that. This isn't an audiophile experience and you shouldn't expect one. The speaker cabinets are made of plastic instead of wood, although they are surprisingly heavy, which at least creates the impression of build quality. The speaker connectors are better than what's available on many budget speakers, but they don't accept banana plugs. Still, the Monoprice system sounds much better than it has any right to at this price and it's the perfect starter 5.1 speaker system or secondary system for a smaller room.
Design and features
The Monoprice 8247 comes with four satellite speakers, a center speaker, and a powered subwoofer. The satellites are pretty small, just 6 inches high and 4.1 inches wide and deep, and each one weighs 1.8 pounds. The black plastic cabinets are finished in a sandy texture and while they don't look great, they're not offensive either. Considering Monoprice's rock-bottom pricing, the system's build quality is surprisingly decent.
The push-to-open, all-metal connectors definitely provide a better, more secure connection with your speakers' wires than the more typical plastic wire clips used on most budget speakers. The Monoprice connector's holes are small, so they won't accept thick, audiophile wires. Monoprice recommends 16-gauge or thinner wires, and you can't use banana plugs or spade connectors with these speakers.
The system comes with four sturdy C-shaped wall-mount brackets that allow the satellite speakers to be aimed toward the listening position. Monoprice doesn't include a bracket for the center speaker.
The speakers' perforated metal grilles aren't removable, but you can see Monoprice's 3-inch paper woofers and 0.5-inch dome tweeters through the grille. The center speaker is a traditional woofer/tweeter/woofer array, with the same drivers as the sats'. Don't be put off by Monoprice's use of paper woofers; they are favored by some audiophiles for their smoother sound, compared with more common plastic cones.
The subwoofer is a rather plain-looking box, with a textured finish that matches the satellites. It has a down-firing 8-inch woofer and a bass port on its front panel. The built-in 60-watt amplifier has stereo RCA- and speaker-level inputs.