Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. MartinLogan Motion 15i

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
$85 $900
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
11.40” × 6.80” × 9.50”
290mm × 173mm × 241mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 60-25,000 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 and MartinLogan Motion 15i cater to different audiences. The B652-AIR, with its remarkable value and AMT tweeter, delivers crisp highs and respectable clarity, punching above its weight class. On the flip side, the MartinLogan Motion 15i exudes audiophile pedigree, boasting a luscious Folded Motion tweeter for exquisite detail and a robust build quality that sings sophistication. While the Dayton is a budget-friendly gateway into hi-fi, the MartinLogan appeals to the discerning ear, ready to invest in a richer, more nuanced soundstage.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to selecting bookshelf speakers, the vast ocean of options can be both exhilarating and overwhelming for audiophiles and casual listeners alike. We often find ourselves on a Goldilocks quest for speakers that fit just right with our sonic preferences and living spaces. Today, I aim to simplify your quest by comparing two distinct contenders: the budget-friendly Dayton Audio B652-AIR with its celebrated AMT tweeter, and the MartinLogan Motion 15i, a high-end speaker that promises audiophile-grade performance.

The Budget-Friendly Champion: Dayton Audio B652-AIR

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR is like that unexpected surprise at a friend's potluck - you don't anticipate much at first glance, but it leaves you nodding in approval. Sporting a 6-1/2” woofer and an Air Motion Transformer tweeter, these speakers manage to deliver a surprisingly clear and detailed soundstage for their price point. They’re the definition of value, packing a punch without punching a hole in your wallet. This makes the B652-AIR a perfect entry point for those dipping their toes into the audiophile pool.

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

The Audiophile's Delight: MartinLogan Motion 15i

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the MartinLogan Motion 15i. These bookshelf speakers are like a fine scotch – an acquired taste that speaks to connoisseurs of high-fidelity sound. The Motion 15i's are equipped with MartinLogan's signature Folded Motion tweeter, which delivers a precise, lightning-fast response. The result is a pristine, lifelike audio experience that reveals the nuances in your music with a level of clarity that can almost be described as palpable. Aesthetically, they are a statement piece, with a luxurious finish and a design that demands attention.

Design and Build Quality

The design philosophy between the two speakers is like comparing a sturdy, reliable hatchback to a sleek luxury sedan. The Dayton Audio B652-AIRs maintain a humble appearance with a no-frills, all-business attitude. Their black vinyl finish is serviceable and they feel well-made, especially considering the price point. In contrast, the MartinLogan Motion 15i exudes sophistication with its real-wood veneer or piano-black finish and a svelte, modern look that champions its premium pedigree.

MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 15i arrow (at

Build quality follows a similar narrative. The Dayton's are robust for their class, but the MartinLogan speakers take things up a notch or two. The Motion 15i's cabinets are acoustically inert, reducing resonance to virtually zero. This dedication to build quality is not just for show – it's a significant contributor to the superior sound quality that these speakers deliver.

Sound Signature and Performance

When it comes to the sound, the B652-AIRs offer a pleasant listening experience with a surprisingly airy treble, thanks to that AMT tweeter. The bass is present, if not earth-shaking, and the mids are well represented. It's a balanced profile that can handle a variety of genres without any obvious bias. The B652-AIRs shine in a smaller room setting – they're the kind of speakers that work well in an intimate listening environment or a modest home theater setup.

The MartinLogan Motion 15i, however, plays in another league. Their sound signature is refined and articulate. The highs are crisp without being sibilant, the mids are rich and full of texture, and the bass, while not designed to rattle your bones, is tight and authoritative. They're the kind of speakers that can effortlessly fill a room with sound and are equally at home in a two-channel audio system as they are as part of a larger surround setup.

In conclusion, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the MartinLogan Motion 15i represent two paths in the bookshelf speaker forest. The B652-AIR is an excellent choice for those seeking good sound on a budget or for someone just starting their audiophile journey. The MartinLogan Motion 15i, however, is a beacon for the seasoned listener who demands the pinnacle of audio performance and is willing to invest in a speaker that stands as a testament to the art of high-fidelity sound reproduction. The choice between these two will ultimately come down to personal preference, listening needs, and budget.

Whether you're rooting for the underdog or investing in storied craftsmanship, both the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the MartinLogan Motion 15i have something special to offer. They might cater to different audiences, but each has the potential to be the perfect fit for the right listener. So, spin your favorite vinyl or queue up your go-to playlist, and let the music decide. After all, the best speaker is the one that brings you closer to the music you love.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf Speaker
MartinLogan Motion 15i Bookshelf 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.