Since I couldn't make my mind up between two in-ceiling speakers, I ordered both. I have been playing them by setting them up on my kitchen countertop, in the shipping box (maybe 4" tall or so). I played them both with the box back against the countertop, and propped up with the back open. When installed in ceiling, they will be covered by 4.5" of insulation (not blown in; I bought a roll of insulation just to cover them and protect them from the blown insulation around).
I have been listening to a variety of music, switching speakers, and even using one for left and one for right and listening to each at close range. I cannot hear a distinctive difference between the two speakers. One costs $40 a pair (Monoprice 4103), the other one $99 (Ethereal ETC-6J). So it is tempting to keep the $40 pair.
Would listening to them installed in a ceiling make a difference as far as comparing the speakers? I understand that they will sound better once installed, but would installing make on much better than the other? If so I'll do it, but if not I'd rather return a pair that hasn't seen a single speck of drywall as a courtesy to the seller.
Any tip on managing the difference in cutout sizes? The Ethereal's cutout is probably 1/2" less in diameter than the Monoprice's. I am thinking of cutting to that size, and putting the speaker on top of the ceiling (I have an attic above). Then cover it with my fiber insulation. This should be realistic enough, no? The only difference between a real installation and this there will be the thickness of the drywall.