Video Review: Monoprice's 8" Alpha Series In-Ceiling Speaker

Manufacturer & Model
Monoprice 8" Alpha Series In-Ceiling Speaker
MSRP
$109
Link
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=13683
Highlights
8" carbon fiber driver, single 1" silk dome tweeter, easy-access high frequency attenuator, excellent build quality, low cost, very impressive sound.
Summary
Monoprice is widely recognized as one of the Internet's best sources of low-cost good-performance AV products, and its Alpha Series In-Ceiling speaker continues the tradition. Featuring an 8" carbon fiber driver and a 1" silk dome tweeter, this incredibly inexpensive in-ceiling speaker is easy to install and delivers impressive sound. Priced at $109 per pair (with occasional sales pushing overall cost below the $100 mark), the Alpha Series offers-up excellent performance to the masses. Recommended.
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“Bang for the Buck” is a phrase that’s tossed around rather loosely in the audio world, even when considering gear that costs thousands of dollars. Monoprice.com is one manufacturer that’s known for offering legitimate bang for little buck across a wide range of product categories, originally grounding its reputation with audio and video cables costing a fraction of similar cables sold in brick and mortar stores across the country.

Recently, I needed a pair of decent-quality low-cost in-ceiling speakers to mate with a 1990s-era jukebox in my home’s basement. Hoping not to spend more than $200, I eventually took a chance on Monoprice’s 8” Alpha Series In-Ceiling speakers, which carry the diminutive price tag of $109 (currently on sale for $82 with free shipping). These low-cost 2-way in-ceilings feature carbon fiber woofers, which make for a lightweight stiffness intended to improve efficiency and output. They also house a 1” silk dome tweeter that’s married to a simple surface-mounted high-frequency attenuator capable of shaving-off between 3 and 6dB in situations where the speakers need taming.

With a sensitivity of 90dB and overall handling capacity of 160 watts peak, the Alpha Series speaker is relatively easy to drive and can be pushed for high output.

The following video is a semi-informal “user review" of the speaker, logged primarily because of a shortage of review content outside of Monoprice’s own user reviews. Also, it provides a first-peek at SVS’s relatively new Prime Wireless Soundbase amplifier, which is being prepped for an official review on avnirvana.com. You’ll probably note the video is heavily edited, but this was purposely done to shave-down its presentation time below 14 minutes.

So, the question remains: Are the Monoprice Alpha Series In-Ceilings for real? Click below to find out.



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8" Alpha Series In-Ceiling Speaker Specifications
  • Speaker Type: 2-way coaxial In-ceiling
  • Woofer: 8-inch carbon fiber cone
  • Tweeter: 1-inch silk and aluminum dome
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz-20kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 3.1kHz
  • Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Power Handling (RMS): 80 watts
  • Power Handling (peak): 160 watts
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Dimensions: 12.1"x12.1"x4.1"
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs.
 
Last edited:

Todd Anderson

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jdubs75

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Hey Todd- Thanks for the review. Your positive review had me very interested given the price point of $109/ pair. When I checked them out just now at Monoprice I'm now sold given they are on sale for $82.99/ pair. These are exactly what I needed for my 2nd zone to fill my basement full of music while entertaining. Thanks again!!

Also, that's a really cool jukebox!!! :T
 

Todd Anderson

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SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
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Jdubs! I’m looking forward to reading some feedback from you. Yes, they are in fact on sale for $82 and free shipping. Think about that for a moment... $80 for two speakers?!?

Doesn’t seem possible they’ll eclipse expectations... does it?

Please let us know how they sound and what kind of install environment they’re going into. Hope they deliver as much for you as they have for me.
 

phillihp23

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The price point is incredible on these, but for good whole home in-ceiling music is it recommended to use 2-way speakers rather than 3-way?
Has anyone used the sycamore monoprice 3-way in-ceiling speakers? They have them for $90 a pair 6.5" or $134 a pair 8".
I was planning to go with my old standby (polk) for in-ceiling speakers but these price points are very interesting. Also what is the recommendation for speaker size when doing whole home audio?
I assume it would be based on square footage of the space it is installed in. In which case at what square footage would it be recommended to install a 8" rather than a 6.5" and/or should all the speakers be the same size throughout the install?
 
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phillihp23

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Interesting,SVS’s Prime Wireless Soundbase amplifier. You mentioned its Play-Fi. Hear so little about Play-Fi these days. I have a Polk Omni A1 which has Play-Fi. Everything these days seems to be Sonos and Heos.
 

Todd Anderson

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SVS Ultra Bookshelf
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SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
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Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
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Yeah, the price point in these speakers is silly, especially when they’re on sale.

As for speaker design, I’m not sure design heavily influences cost and intended deployment/application.

You’re talking while home... I’d go as big as you can simply because that will give you the best opportunity for good bass performance ;-).

I would match speakers in Stereo pairs... but there’s certainly nothing from stopping you from deploying different size speakers from room to room.
 

Todd Anderson

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VSX21-THX
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SVS Ultra Towers
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SVS Ultra Center
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SVS Ultra Surround
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SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC NX7
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Streaming Subscriptions
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
Interesting,SVS’s Prime Wireless Soundbase amplifier. You mentioned its Play-Fi. Hear so little about Play-Fi these days. I have a Polk Omni A1 which has Play-Fi. Everything these days seems to be Sonos and Heos.
All of these systems are spread out throughout the industry. The biggest pain is aligning all of your equipment to operate on one basic backbone.

I’d guess that many folks fall back on something like AirPlay or simple Bluetooth...

But you’re right, Play-Fi isn’t getting overwhelming attention at the moment. Has a great app interface, tho! Quality!
 

Jack

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So there you have it, I bought a pair of similar monoprice speakers in addition to the hard plastic 8" enclosure thingies. I will be using them for Atmos, Just have not been able to get up on the ladder to do some cutting.
The plastic enclosures are indeed special and have some weight to them.
 
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GFOviedo

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So there you have it, I bought a pair of similar monoprice speakers in addition to the hard plastic 8" enclosure thingies. I will be using them for Atmos, Just have not been able to get up on the ladder to do some cutting.
The plastic enclosures are indeed special and have some weight to them.
Are the plastic enclosures needed to prevent insulation damage to the speaker?
 

thrillcat

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Todd, couple questions.
Still impressed by these?
Would they be good for Atmos?

When you screwed them in, what were you screwing them in to? Just drywall or were you using some sort of wall anchors, or did you have something in ceiling already as part of your backer boxes?
Thanks!
 

Todd Anderson

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SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
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SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
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SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
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Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
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JVC NX7
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
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LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
They’re still running ;-)! Source has changed... in the video they were fed by an SVS amp. Now they’re fed by the jukebox. Sound quality of the jukebox is generally *meh* so I’m not doing any critical listening. But, they’re being pushed and still cranking away.

I do stand by my original assessment... they can sound really good, especially when considering the ridiculously low price point. And, yes, I think they can handle Atmos duty.

For install, you merely cut the Hole, insert the speaker, and then turn the screws. The screws have plastic wings on the inside that fan out and essentially pinch the speaker into place. Pretty standard for ceiling speakers. Very easy to do.
 

BadJRT

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So there you have it, I bought a pair of similar monoprice speakers in addition to the hard plastic 8" enclosure thingies. I will be using them for Atmos, Just have not been able to get up on the ladder to do some cutting.
The plastic enclosures are indeed special and have some weight to them.
Jack,
So, assuming you have the speakers installed and have been using them for a while now, how do you like them? I watched Todd's review on these and it prompted me to take a closer look at Monolith in ceiling speakers for Atmos. I'm very curious about the plastic enclosures you bought and if you think they make a difference in sound quality? https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=11942 or they have metal enclosures https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=14365.

Todd,
Do you know of anyone (or any reviews) who has used these specifically for Atmos? I'm finally able to start planning my room for a 5.1.4 (yes, buying a house took longer than expected, as I was on here last year talking as if I was ready to start back then :dizzy:) and would like to start ordering cables and in ceiling speakers ASAP. What's your opinion on encasing the backs of in ceiling speakers? Is there anything else i may benefit from, such as sound damping material up in the joices, behind the speakers?

Thank you,
Brian
 

Jack

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Jack,
So, assuming you have the speakers installed and have been using them for a while now, how do you like them? I watched Todd's review on these and it prompted me to take a closer look at Monolith in ceiling speakers for Atmos. I'm very curious about the plastic enclosures you bought and if you think they make a difference in sound quality? https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=11942 or they have metal enclosures https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=14365.

Todd,
Do you know of anyone (or any reviews) who has used these specifically for Atmos? I'm finally able to start planning my room for a 5.1.4 (yes, buying a house took longer than expected, as I was on here last year talking as if I was ready to start back then :dizzy:) and would like to start ordering cables and in ceiling speakers ASAP. What's your opinion on encasing the backs of in ceiling speakers? Is there anything else i may benefit from, such as sound damping material up in the joices, behind the speakers?

Thank you,
Brian
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, I have not yet installed them. I had some severe back issues and am not yet comfortable climbing a ladder to cut holes and install the speakers and housings.
I have other in wall Monoprice speakers and they work fine but I really do not have any other brands of speakers to make a comparison. Let me just say, Monoprice products have been excellent thus far and no complaints from me.
 

TheMaddScientist

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Thanks for your review. I have been considering speakers for surrounds, both back and sides, in my living room, but have no real place to put them. I have often wondered if the Monoprice speakers were worth the effort. Sounds like they may fit the bill.
 

BadJRT

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Thanks for your review. I have been considering speakers for surrounds, both back and sides, in my living room, but have no real place to put them. I have often wondered if the Monoprice speakers were worth the effort. Sounds like they may fit the bill.
Todd's review coupled with Audioholics review of the THX mini towers, has inclined me to try the three way in ceilings for atmos and the THX Ultra in walls for my sides. (I'm only setting up a 5.1.4) The reason I mention the THX mini towers is that I believe they are the same drivers and crossover tech they use in the THX in walls. I couldn't find any reviews specifically on the in wall version.
 

TheMaddScientist

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Infinity Reference Three
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Velodyne FSX-12
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Nakamichi MR1, M-Audio Delta 1010
Monoprice has a lot of options for in-wall speakers. They seem to use a lot of electrolytic caps in their crossovers, though. Not sure if this is really an issue, but it would be ten or twenty years down the line. The ones reviewed here look like a spectacular bang for the buck. But the Sycamore 3-ways look tempting. And the crossovers do not have electrolytics. Can't find a review, but they are currently on sale for $97.74 a pair.
 
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