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.
 
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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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Location
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My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Denon X8500H
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-205, UDP-203, Panasonic UB820
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
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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Denon X8500H
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Emotiva XPA-5
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Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-205, UDP-203, Panasonic UB820
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
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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Location
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My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Denon X8500H
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-205, UDP-203, Panasonic UB820
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
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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