Originally Posted by flight23
So I feel it is my duty to warn people not to buy these speakers. I fell into the trap created by all the great reviews on this thread, but since I need to buy 13 pairs of in-ceiling speakers for my distributed audio system I decided to buy 4 different pairs of speakers first, then decide between them for the rest.
I bought the following:
Monoprice 8" in-ceiling ($56 shipped)
AudioSource 8" AS8C ($75 shipped)
Phoenix Gold 8" AS8C ($85 shipped)
Polk Audio RC80i 8" ($250 retail, I got lucky and got them for $134 shipped)
I received the Monoprice ones first, and hooked them up to my Denon AVR-2808CI receiver. I tweaked all of the settings to my taste and let the speakers play for 24-48 hours before listening to them. Before getting any of the other speakers I felt like they did a decent, albeit not spectacular job. They have a good soundstage, but the vocals are very muddled compared to all of the other speakers. The bass is a bit flat and doesnt resonate the way I tend to like.
The Phoenix Gold speakers were up next. These were much clearer, but had even less bass. These are definitely what people mean when they refer to speakers as being "bright". Overall I didnt like these very much, but I would probably still prefer them over the Monoprice because of the clarity issue with the Monoprice ones.
The AudioSource speakers were actually very impressive. The match the clarity of the Phoenix Gold speakers but tone down the brightness a bit and add a little bit of punch in the low end. Overall these are definitely the best bang for the buck out of the four.
The Polk RC80i were a clear winner, but they should be considering basically everyone on the web sells them for $250 per pair. The clarity was by far the best, soundstage was better, and they had the most bass.
So, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. That being said, however, for most people I dont think the difference between the Audiosource and the Polks would be worth $180 extra per pair. At the price I got the Polks ($134/pair) it really makes it a tough call. I decided to get 5 total pairs of the Polks (2 in kitchen, 2 in basement, 1 in master bath) and use Audiosource for the other lesser used areas to save some money.
For surround speakers I think all of them are servicable, but given that the Audiosource speakers are only $20/pair more I dont think there is any reason to consider the Monoprice ones unless you are really strapped for cash.
Id really like to test out more speakers (this is fun), but cant really afford to keep buying random speakers. Other things I considered were the Cambridge Soundworks 6.5" in-ceilings and I looked at every 8" speaker on Amazon and picked the ones that seemed to have the best specs under $150/pair.