The Monoprice Premium 5.1 home theater system doesn't provide the premium sound quality that high-end home theater speakers produce, but this system is a good inexpensive alternative. Few systems in our comparison fall below $200, but the Monoprice offers full 5.1 surround sound for below that.
The surround sound speaker system includes four satellite speakers, a center speaker and a subwoofer. The satellite speakers and the center speaker boast a frequency range of 110Hz-20kHz while the subwoofer handles all the frequencies below that, all the way down to 30Hz. The manufacturer's specs paint a picture that suggests these are top home theater speakers, but our listening tests suggested otherwise.
We had multiple reviewers watch a scene from a movie to evaluate how well the home theater speaker system performed. Our panel listened to each system for dialogue clarity, bass response and surround sound effect. Our panelists gave the Monoprice 5.1 surround sound speakers a respectable B- grade. The panel consistently described the sound quality as "OK." Unlike when they listened to the Fluance SXHTB, nobody in our panel was wowed by the sound quality, but they unanimously agreed that the system was a great improvement from the television speakers. When they listened to dialogue through the center and left/right main speakers, it sounded boxy and muffled – like there was a box placed over the speakers. Boxy sound quality lacks brightness and sharpness, leaving the audio sounding dull.
The bass response of the subwoofer adds the presence of low-hitting frequencies, but it didn't stand out in our comparison. The 8-inch down-firing driver has good tonality, showing a natural sound quality to the bass, but it doesn't have the dynamic volume range that others boast. We had to crank this subwoofer to about three-fourths of its total volume to not only volume match with other subwoofers, but also to make any sort of impact on the overall sound quality.
The Monoprice Premium 5.1 home theater system is ideal for those on a tight budget looking to add surround sound to their home entertainment experience. The system won't wow you with supreme audio quality, but it isn't mediocre by any means. The system is an absolute upgrade from your televisions built-in speakers. This is a solid choice for an inexpensive upgrade.