Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. ELAC Debut F5.2

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers ELAC Debut F5.2 Tower Speaker
$85 $800
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
41.06” × 7.44” × 10.25”
1043mm × 189mm × 260mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 42-35,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of affordable high-fidelity sound, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR bookshelf speakers are the scrappy underdogs, sporting a 6-1/2” design coupled with an AMT tweeter to deliver impressive clarity for their size and price. They're ideal for intimate spaces. On the other side, the ELAC Debut F5.2 tower speakers are the poised contenders, built with a three-way design that offers a fuller, richer soundscape. Though larger and costlier, they are designed to fill bigger rooms with meticulous sound. Choosing between them hinges on space, budget, and whether your audio predilections lean towards the compact or the commanding.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to affordable yet competent audio gear, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and ELAC Debut F5.2 often come up in conversations amongst audiophiles and casual listeners alike. The B652-AIR, a compact bookshelf speaker, is known for bringing the coveted AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter technology to a price point that's hard to beat. On the other hand, the ELAC Debut F5.2 is a floor-standing tower that promises room-filling sound and the design expertise of famed audio engineer Andrew Jones. While they play in different leagues, comparing them can be quite enlightening for understanding what true value means in the world of hi-fi audio.

Design and Build

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR has a no-frills, utilitarian design that's focused on delivering sound rather than making a statement with its appearance. Its small stature allows it to be placed conveniently on bookshelves or desks. The ELAC Debut F5.2, being a tower speaker, has a larger presence and is designed to stand on the floor. It boasts a more refined look with its three-way driver design, which not only serves an aesthetic purpose but also contributes to its sound performance. Both speakers offer a classic black finish, but the ELAC's more substantial cabinet suggests a more serious investment in material quality.

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

Sound Quality

The most significant difference between these two speakers is their sound quality. The Dayton Audio B652-AIR's AMT tweeter produces crisp, clear highs that are rare at its price point, offering a level of detail that is delightful to the discerning ear. Yet, it's the ELAC Debut F5.2 that truly shines with its three-way design, featuring a dedicated bass driver, midrange driver, and tweeter. This arrangement allows for a more controlled and balanced sound across the frequency spectrum. The ELAC's sound is fuller and more robust, with a depth that the Dayton struggles to match due to its smaller drivers and cabinet size.

When it comes to bass response, the Dayton B652-AIR provides a respectable performance for its size, but it can't compete with the ELAC Debut F5.2's ability to dig into the lower frequencies. The F5.2's larger drivers and enclosure give it the advantage, producing a more pronounced and impactful bass that can be felt as well as heard, without the need for a subwoofer in most cases.

ELAC Debut F5.2 Tower Speaker
ELAC Debut F5.2 arrow (at

Value and Versatility

On the subject of value, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR is hard to beat. Its incredibly low cost makes it an easy entry point for those new to hi-fi audio, or for enthusiasts looking for a secondary set of speakers that still deliver a high-quality listening experience. They're versatile enough to serve as stereo speakers for a small room or to be part of a budget home theater system. The ELAC Debut F5.2, while more expensive, offers a significant step up in audio quality and presence. Its cost is justified by its performance and is still considered great value for the level of sound it produces, which competes with much higher-priced speakers in the market.

In terms of versatility, the ELAC Debut F5.2's larger size means it's less adaptable to smaller spaces compared to the compact Dayton B652-AIR. Nevertheless, the ELAC is an excellent choice for medium to large rooms where its full potential can be unleashed. It's well-suited for a primary home theater or a dedicated stereo setup that requires a more commanding audio presence.

Both the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the ELAC Debut F5.2 offer remarkable value in their respective categories. The B652-AIR serves as an excellent introduction to high-fidelity sound, while the ELAC F5.2 stands as an affordable gateway to audiophile-grade performance. Your choice between the two will depend heavily on your space, budget, and the importance you place on sound quality. Whether you opt for the Dayton's charming compactness or the ELAC's room-filling prowess, both speakers hold their own as leaders in their price brackets, and either way, your ears are in for a treat.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut F5.2 Tower Speaker
ELAC Debut F5.2 Tower Speaker

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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.