Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. JBL L52 Classic

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers JBL L52 Classic Bookshelf Speakers
$85 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
13.00” × 7.74” × 8.51”
330mm × 197mm × 216mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 47-24,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of budget-conscious hi-fi, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR bookshelf speakers offer a tantalizing value proposition with their AMT tweeters delivering crisp highs, all at a price that's hard to beat. Contrastingly, the JBL L52 Classic bookshelf speakers hark back to vintage aesthetics and acoustic heritage, boasting a more refined soundstage and richer tonal balance that justify their higher cost. While the B652-AIRs impress with their affordability and performance, the L52 Classics cater to the discerning audiophile seeking a premium listening experience reminiscent of JBL's storied lineage. Each set performs admirably within its respective price bracket.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to outfitting your listening room with a pair of high-performance yet budget-friendly bookshelf speakers, the audio world presents a plethora of choices. Two such contenders that often spark the interest of audiophiles and casual listeners alike are the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the JBL L52 Classic Bookshelf Speakers. Both promise an enticing audio experience, but they play in quite different leagues in terms of both price and pedigree.

The Budget Friendly Dayton Audio B652-AIR

Dayton Audio's B652-AIR is a successor to the B652, a speaker that has garnered an almost cult-like following for its remarkable value proposition. These bookshelf speakers feature a 6-1/2” woofer coupled with an AMT tweeter (Air Motion Transformer) which is known for its clear and detailed high-frequency response. The B652-AIR offers a sound signature that is surprisingly spacious for their size, and the inclusion of the AMT tweeter brings a level of high-end sparkle that is rare to find at their price point. While they may not have the cachet of more premium brands, they punch well above their weight class in sheer performance per dollar.

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

The Classic Charm of the JBL L52

On the flip side, there's the JBL L52 Classic. These speakers ooze nostalgia with their retro design, a nod to the classic JBL models from the 1970s. Aesthetics aside, the L52 Classics are more than just a pretty face. They feature a 5-1/4” woofer and a 0.75” titanium dome tweeter, housed in a beautifully crafted cabinet that's available in several finishes. The sound is rich and robust, with the kind of bass response and dynamic range that is uncommon for speakers of this size. They are an investment, to be sure, but they offer a premium listening experience that is hard to match.

Sound Quality: Clarity vs. Warmth

When it comes to sound quality, the Dayton Audio B652-AIRs are lauded for their clarity, especially in the treble region, thanks to the AMT tweeter. They offer a neutral sound signature with a slight lean towards brightness, making them excellent for vocal and acoustic genres. However, they may lack some of the warmth and full-bodied sound that the JBL L52 Classics deliver. The JBLs, with their titanium dome tweeters and well-engineered woofers, provide a warmer, more rounded sound that many audiophiles and music lovers might prefer, especially in a system that's used for a wide variety of music genres.

JBL L52 Classic Bookshelf Speakers
JBL L52 Classic arrow (at

Both speakers handle complexities in music with ease, but the L52 Classics have an edge in terms of presenting a more cohesive and immersive soundstage. The Dayton Audio B652-AIRs, while impressive in their separation and detail, don't quite envelop the listener in the same way. The JBLs have a knack for making the music feel alive and present, as though the performance is unfolding right in front of you.

Build Quality and Aesthetics

In the realm of build quality and design, the JBL L52 Classics are clearly the front-runners. Their walnut veneer cabinets and Quadrex foam grilles aren't just about looks; they contribute to the speaker's overall acoustic performance. The Daytons, although sturdy, have a more utilitarian appearance with a basic black vinyl wrap finish. They're built to a price, which is evident in comparison to the luxurious feel of the JBLs. Nevertheless, for those who prefer function over form, the B652-AIRs won't disappoint.

All in all, choosing between the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and JBL L52 Classic Bookshelf Speakers comes down to what you value most in your audio setup. The B652-AIRs offer an exceptional value with their clean, articulate sound and are a fantastic choice for those on a tight budget who still demand quality audio. The JBL L52 Classics, meanwhile, are for the audiophile who wants to invest in a pair of speakers that offer not only superior sound quality but also a touch of class and nostalgia in their home. Regardless of the choice, both speakers stand as testaments to the fact that great sound can come in small packages.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
JBL L52 Classic Bookshelf Speakers
JBL L52 Classic 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.