Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. Elac Carina BS243.4

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
$85 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
12.63” × 8.06” × 9.69”
321mm × 205mm × 246mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 46-30,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of bookshelf speakers, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR presents an entry-level option that surprises with its AMT tweeter, offering a clear, detailed soundstage on a budget. Meanwhile, the Elac Carina BS243.4 steps into a higher-end market, boasting JET folded ribbon tweeters and superior build quality that deliver nuanced audio and deeper bass response. While the Carina outshines with its audiophile-grade refinement and room-filling acoustics, the B652-AIR holds its ground as a remarkable value-for-money contender, making both speakers commendable for their respective price brackets and audience.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to affordable, high-quality audio, few brands have made waves quite like Dayton Audio and Elac. The Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers have long been lauded as the go-to budget speakers that defy their price point with surprisingly refined sound. On the other hand, the Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers sit at a higher tier, promising a premium listening experience for those willing to invest a bit more into their audio setup. Both offer unique approaches to sound reproduction, but how do they stack up against each other?

The Budget-Friendly Challenger: Dayton Audio B652-AIR

Dayton Audio's B652-AIR speakers are a staple in the budget audiophile community. Their claim to fame is their AMT tweeter, which brings a level of crispness and detail to the highs that is unheard of at this price point. The bass is respectable for the size, though it won't rattle your windows. The overall sound signature is balanced and pleasant, providing an excellent foundation for those new to high-fidelity audio without breaking the bank.

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR arrow (at

The Refined Contender: Elac Carina BS243.4

Moving up the cost spectrum, the Elac Carina BS243.4 bookshelf speakers represent a more refined choice. These speakers boast Elac's famed JET folded ribbon tweeter, designed to deliver an airy and detailed high end that can compete with speakers costing much more. The bass is tight and controlled, thanks to the well-engineered 5.25-inch aluminum cone woofer, providing a sound that is both warm and precise. The Carinas are a statement of luxury audio without being ostentatious, designed for the discerning listener who seeks an immersive and nuanced sonic journey.

Design and Build Quality

When it comes to design, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR presents a no-frills, functional aesthetic. The black vinyl finish is clean but utilitarian, and while the build quality is solid for the price, it doesn't ooze the craftsmanship you might desire from a statement piece in your living room. In contrast, the Elac Carina BS243.4 is a work of art, with a sleek, curved design that complements modern décor. The build quality is impeccable, with attention to detail that justifies the higher price tag. These speakers not only sound beautiful, but they look the part as well.

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 arrow (at

Soundstage and Imaging

An often overlooked aspect of bookshelf speakers is their ability to reproduce a convincing soundstage. The Dayton Audio B652-AIRs are surprisingly competent in this area, providing a soundstage that is wide and engaging, belying their compact size. However, the Elac Carina BS243.4 speakers excel in creating an expansive soundscape with pinpoint imaging, making them a fantastic choice for audiophiles who value the spatial characteristics of live music. The depth and layering of the sound field with the Carinas are truly mesmerizing, pulling you into the heart of the performance.

In terms of compatibility and ease of drive, the Dayton Audio B652-AIRs are undemanding, allowing them to pair well with a wide range of amplifiers and receivers. This makes them an ideal choice for those who are just starting to assemble their audio system. The Elac Carina, however, with its 4-ohm nominal impedance and a somewhat lower sensitivity, may require a more robust amplifier to truly shine. This isn't a drawback for the seasoned audiophile with capable gear, but it's an important consideration for those building a system from scratch.

Ultimately, choosing between the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the Elac Carina BS243.4 bookshelf speakers comes down to budget and priority. For the beginner audiophile or those on a tight budget, the B652-AIRs offer an astonishing value and a commendable audio experience. The Elac Carina speakers, on the other hand, are for the audio enthusiast looking to indulge in the higher echelons of sound quality, with a price that reflects the premium listening experience they provide. Whichever route you choose, both speakers are fine ambassadors of their respective classes, each with the potential to elevate your daily listening sessions to moments of pure sonic bliss.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers

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Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.