Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers
$85 $330
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
13.43” × 7.09” × 9.21”
341mm × 180mm × 234mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 46-35,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the ever-expanding universe of budget audiophilia, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers dazzle with their AMT tweeter, offering a crisp, detailed soundstage at an almost implausibly low cost. However, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2, designed by the storied Andrew Jones, steps up with a robust build, a silk-dome tweeter, and a woven aramid-fiber woofer, delivering a warm, nuanced performance with impressive bass. While the Daytons may attract the cost-conscious, the ELACs, with their superior engineering and richer soundscape, are likely to seduce those willing to invest in a more mature auditory experience.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to budget-friendly audiophile bookshelf speakers, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 stand out as popular choices for enthusiasts on a tight budget. There's an undeniable charm in finding that sweet spot of price and performance, and these two models often pop up in conversations about affordable, high-performance audio. Let's delve into their performance, build quality, and overall value to see which might be the ideal addition to your listening space.

Sound Signature and Performance

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR features a 6-1/2" woofer coupled with an AMT tweeter (Air Motion Transformer), which promises to deliver clear and dynamic highs. This tweeter design allows for a crisp sound signature, giving the B652-AIR an edge in reproducing the delicate nuances of vocals and instruments. In contrast, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2, designed by the renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones, offers a 5-1/4" woven aramid-fiber woofer and a 1" cloth dome tweeter, which work together to produce a warm yet detailed sound with a bit more emphasis on the midrange. The ELAC B5.2s have a more refined and balanced sound profile, offering a level of sonic finesse that often surpasses its price point.

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

Build Quality and Design

Aesthetically, both speakers maintain a no-frills approach, which is common in their price bracket. The Dayton B652-AIR sports a basic black vinyl finish that's unassuming and straightforward, with the build quality that feels adequate for its cost. On the other hand, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 steps up the game with a more polished look, featuring a textured vinyl finish that provides a sense of sturdiness and durability. ELAC's design choices here suggest a speaker that's meant to last, echoing the craftsmanship of higher-end models.

Compatibility and Ease of Use

Ease of integration into existing systems is a crucial consideration for any audiophile. The Dayton Audio B652-AIR, with its straightforward design, is relatively easy to drive, which means they will pair well with most budget amplifiers or AV receivers. Their forgiving nature regarding placement makes them a versatile choice for rooms of various sizes. The ELAC B5.2s, while also not particularly demanding, do benefit from a bit more power to unlock their full potential. They respond well to careful positioning and room treatment, which can lead to a more immersive listening experience.

ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 arrow (at

Both speaker sets have their advantages: the B652-AIR might appeal to those who enjoy tinkering and optimizing without too much hassle, while the Debut 2.0 B5.2 can reward the patient listener with a setup that extracts every ounce of audio quality. In terms of compatibility, neither speaker is particularly fussy, but the ELACs do prompt you to consider your amplifier and room acoustics a bit more critically.

Value for Money

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers are incredibly well-priced, often coming in at well under half the cost of the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2. This makes them a steal for those who want a taste of high-fidelity sound without the financial burden. However, the ELACs are still within the realm of budget speakers and represent a significant step up in audio quality that justifies the higher price. In terms of value, it truly comes down to what you're looking for: the Daytons offer a solid introduction to quality sound, while the ELACs provide a more polished experience that borders on audiophile-grade, deserving of its price tag.

In conclusion, both the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 offer incredible value but cater to different levels of the audiophile spectrum. The Daytons serve as an excellent entry point, while the ELACs are for those willing to invest a bit more for a noticeable upgrade. Your ultimate choice will depend on your budget, your existing setup, and how far you're willing to go in pursuit of sound perfection.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 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.