I own a pair of Mission e80's which are 5 db less effiecient than the e81's, They both roll off around 80 hz requiring a subwoofer. I am a multi Mission owner and wanted to love my new e80's but..........they don't cut it as main fronts for a 2.1 or HT set up.
They are too laid back to hold my attention.
The e81's being way more efficient up around 90 db/watt may be voiced different. I hope they are. If you can hear them in person as they may sound quite different from the e80's. They have the same drivers but contain 2 woofers instead of 1 like the e80.
On the other hand they (e80's) aren't aggressive sounding at all. I can play any music on them and they don't sizzle off my ears. One of the good points of these speakers is that they have a very smooth sound to them that never honks, sqwanks or sounds shrill. They are exceedingly smooth sounding.....I think I'm repeating myself.
I'm listening to them (e80's) right now in my nearfield system 3 feet behind me as I sit at my computer. They make excellent nearfield speakers because of their smooth sound (I think I already mentioned that).
Everyone hears differently as shown by craigsub's GTG a couple of weeks ago. What I think sounds laid back may sound perfect to you. I'm comparing them to my other Mission speakers that have a slightly more forward sound.
I hope an actual owner of a pair of e81's can tell you they are the cats ass and the best speakers on the planet.