Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. NHT SuperZero 2.1

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speaker
$85 $300
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
9.00” × 5.50” × 5.00”
229mm × 140mm × 127mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 85-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 3.4
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 6.7

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In a battle of budget audiophile contenders, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR offers a pleasant surprise with its AMT tweeter, delivering crisp highs with a wider soundstage. The 6-1/2 woofer conjures a full-bodied sound, albeit light on bass. The NHT SuperZero 2.1, a mini-monitor with a pedigree in clarity, focuses on accuracy and balance. Its absence of deep bass is deliberate, encouraging pairing with a subwoofer for full-range fidelity. Both speakers punch above their weight, but the choice between the Dayton's expansive highs and the NHT's meticulous precision depends on your sonic preferences and willingness to invest in additional bass support.

Speaker Comparison

When we talk about speakers that perform well beyond their modest price point, a couple of names come immediately to mind. Dayton Audio’s B652-AIR and NHT’s SuperZero 2.1 are two contenders that punch well above their weight, offering the discerning audiophile an entrance into high-fidelity sound without the steep buy-in. These diminutive darlings of the audio world have been the starting blocks for many an enthusiast’s journey into a lifelong love affair with music. But how do they stack up against each other? In the ring of budget bookshelf brawlers, we aim to find out.

The Sound Signature Showdown

Dayton Audio's B652-AIR comes equipped with a 6-1/2” woofer and an AMT tweeter, the latter being the star of the show. The Air Motion Transformer tweeter promises to deliver clear and detailed highs with a sense of airiness that the name suggests. The sound signature is surprisingly spacious, with a wide soundstage that belies the speakers' affordable price tag. Conversely, the NHT SuperZero 2.1, with its 4.5-inch long-throw woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter, offers a more restrained but remarkably accurate and balanced sound. The SuperZero is known for its neutral sound signature, making it a favorite for purists who crave uncolored audio reproduction.

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

Bass Reflex vs. Sealed Enclosure

One of the most noteworthy differences between the two is their approach to bass response. Dayton Audio’s B652-AIR uses a bass-reflex design with a rear-firing port, which gives these speakers an advantage in extending lower frequency response and creating a more lively bass. They might not shake the room, but they'll pleasantly surprise you with their ability to dig deep. The NHT SuperZero 2.1 opts for a sealed enclosure, resulting in tighter and more controlled bass, albeit with less extension. This design choice allows the SuperZero to focus on midrange purity and a cohesiveness that is sometimes lost in ported designs.

Build and Aesthetics

The aesthetics and build of a speaker can often be as important as its sound, especially in a home environment. The B652-AIR sports a utilitarian design, straightforward and without frills. It's the everyman's speaker that doesn’t draw attention to itself, which some may find appealing in its simplicity. The black ebony pica vinyl finish is durable and blends easily with most decors. On the other hand, the NHT SuperZero 2.1 presents a more refined appearance with a high-gloss black finish that exudes a touch of class. The build quality feels substantial, giving a nod to its higher-end lineage despite its entry-level positioning.

NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speaker
NHT SuperZero 2.1 arrow (at

However, what matters most to audiophiles is often what lies beneath the exterior. The B652-AIR's cabinets may not boast the thickest walls or the most inert construction, but they are more than serviceable for their price point. NHT's SuperZero, in contrast, features a well-damped and acoustically inert cabinet, which minimizes unwanted resonances and colorations, a testament to NHT's commitment to audio purity.

Compatibility with Amplification

Driving these speakers to their full potential requires careful consideration of amplification. The B652-AIR's efficiency and impedance make it relatively easy to drive, meaning they can sing even with modest amplifiers. This makes them a splendid match for those dipping their toes into the hi-fi waters without a high-powered amp. The NHT SuperZero 2.1, with its less efficient nature and an impedance that can dip, demands a bit more from an amplifier to perform at its best. While this may necessitate a higher investment in amplification, the payoff is a speaker that responds well to quality power and can scale up as the rest of the system is upgraded.

Ultimately, the choice between the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the NHT SuperZero 2.1 may come down to personal preference and the specific needs of one's audio system. The B652-AIR shines as an accessible all-rounder with a flair for the dramatic in its soundstage and bass. The NHT SuperZero 2.1, with its discerning focus on accuracy and its high-end design traits, caters to the purist looking to recreate the recording studio experience. Both speakers represent incredible value and a doorway to high-fidelity sound; the path one chooses is a journey of discovery in the rich landscape of audio reproduction.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speaker
NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor 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.