40 something actually don't age me worse than I am lolWell, two things - they MAY be the same or MAY be very different. I've seen both and had many people argue I"m wrong on both accounts..
First, walmart (and other big retailers) have the buying power to get things made to their specifications or price point. Ther are over 6300 walmarts in the us, and if htey buy your headlihts (or whatever) and get just a case of 12 for each store (likely they'll order more than that) you just sold 75,000 headlights to them. So yea, you can cut your price to them on that quantity of a sale OR build it to their specs.
My first job was in a tv repair shop and Zentih indie retailer. Big Box didn't exist then, but Sears, Monkey Ward and others did, and they'd order enough from zenith (and other brands) and demand a price point where they could sell them 'cheap' - so speakers or other items in the unit would be cheaper to make that price point.
One might ask how Ollies and Harbor Frieght and other 'outlet' stores can sell stuff sooo cheaply..it's can't ALL be overrun/over stock.
Speaker A sounds like 'this' when new, when in 'this' room, at 'this' volume.
Now lets go work it for a year, run it for 4 hours an max in a varity of rooms and see how it sounds.
And how do you compare that to anything similar?
They are all very similar - buy a name brand and use it. Check reviews to be sure it's not a lemon model with issues.
How it sounds to YOU isn't really that important...you're playing to 100, 200, 500 people - and only a small percentage will hear it they way you do - so the other 80% may not like it...and you'll never know.
Also, you're what, a 50's something guy that's been around loud music for years, perahps high end audio as well. Great.
Your AUDIENCE, which pays you so they're opinion is the only one that counts in the end, today is rarely around high end audio, mostly earbuds from i've seen, and are younger and hence probably hear better, certainly a wider range of sounds, than you.
Hell, with all the ear buds do we even need to use subs? they don't listen to their music that way so it will sound very different to them when we play it...no matter how good our speakers may be.
The average listener in the 100-500 person crowd doesn't have the tools to tell them exactly what it sounds like I do but I admit most times I trust my ears. I'll gamble that my hearing is bad but still good enough to distinguish good from bad sound and trust me when I say I can still hear shrill maybe better than ever actually because it drives me nuts