Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
$85 $160
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
12.56” × 7.13” × 8.44”
319mm × 181mm × 214mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 55-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 5.0
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 7.5

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the clash of budget titans, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR presents an incredible value with its AMT tweeter delivering crisp highs, while the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, designed by the legendary Andrew Jones, offers a balanced, nuanced sound with a sophisticated crossover network. The B652-AIR excels in spacious soundstage and articulate details, whereas the SP-BS22-LR counters with a warmer, more cohesive tonal balance and superior build quality. Budget-conscious audiophiles will find allure in Dayton's transparency, but might prefer the Pioneers for their all-around performance and refinement. Both punch well above their weight, leaving the choice to personal taste and listening priorities.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to affordable, high-quality audio, bookshelf speakers are often the preferred choice for both audiophiles and casual listeners alike. In the quest for the best sound experience without breaking the bank, two models frequently emerge as contenders: the Dayton Audio B652-AIR with its AMT tweeter, and the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, designed by the acclaimed engineer Andrew Jones. These two speaker sets offer different approaches to sound reproduction, drawing enthusiasts into a debate over which one reigns supreme in the budget sector.

Design and Build Quality

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR bookshelf speakers exude a no-frills aesthetic, with a focus on simplicity and functionality. Their black ebony pica vinyl cabinet finish is rather plain, which might appeal to users who prefer their speakers to blend into the room's decor. On the other hand, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR sports a more refined look, with a curved cabinet design that not only adds a touch of elegance but also enhances the speaker's structural integrity and potentially its sound quality by reducing standing waves inside the cabinet. The build quality of the Pioneers conveys a sense of durability and attention to detail that might edge out the more utilitarian Dayton Audio B652-AIRs.

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

Sonic Characteristics

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR's distinctive feature is its Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter, which promises a crisp and detailed high-frequency response. This design allows for a nuanced treble that can bring out the subtleties in vocals and instruments. Conversely, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR uses a 1-inch soft dome tweeter, paired with a unique waveguide, to ensure a smooth and wide dispersion of sound. While the high frequencies may not be as explicit as those from the Dayton's AMT tweeter, the overall balance and natural sound of the Pioneers often receive praise from users and critics alike.

The midrange is where the SP-BS22-LR really shines. Thanks to its structured surface woofer and sophisticated crossover design, it provides a warm and rich midrange that captures the essence of voices and acoustic instruments. The Dayton Audio B652-AIR, with its 6-1/2” woofer, also delivers a decent midrange, but it might lack the same depth and fullness offered by the Pioneer speakers. In bass reproduction, neither speaker will shake the room with deep sub-bass, but they both manage to present a tight and controlled low end, with the Pioneers perhaps having a slight advantage in overall depth and articulation.

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR arrow (at

Performance and Value

In the realm of soundstage and imaging, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers can indeed deliver a wide soundstage, but they may lack the pinpoint imaging and cohesiveness found in the Pioneers. The SP-BS22-LR's crossover network is designed to blend the drivers seamlessly, creating a more immersive and three-dimensional listening experience. This aspect is crucial for listeners who not only want to hear their music but also to feel as though they are sitting in the middle of the performance.

Another factor to consider is power handling. The Dayton Audio B652-AIR can handle up to 40 watts of power, making them suitable for use with a modest amplifier or receiver. The Pioneers, however, can handle up to 80 watts, providing more headroom for dynamic peaks in music or movies, which is crucial for a more impactful listening experience. This makes the SP-BS22-LR a more versatile choice for various home audio setups.

Finally, the question of value cannot be ignored. Both speaker sets are priced to be highly accessible, often making them the first serious speakers for budding audiophiles. The Dayton Audio B652-AIRs are typically less expensive than the SP-BS22-LR speakers. However, the additional cost of the Pioneers may be justified by their enhanced design features, improved build quality, and superior sound reproduction. For those willing to invest a little more, the Pioneers might offer the better value in the long run.

In conclusion, both the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers present compelling cases for anyone looking to step into the world of quality audio without significant investment. The choice between them will ultimately come down to personal preference in sound signature, aesthetic value, and how much one is willing to invest. What is clear, however, is that both models continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in affordable, high-fidelity sound.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR 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.