Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. Polk Signature Elite ES15

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 Bookshelf Speakers
$85 $300
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
12.00” × 7.50” × 10.20”
305mm × 190mm × 259mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 48-40,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of affordable audio, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers bring remarkable clarity with their AMT tweeter, offering a crisp high-end on a budget. Conversely, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15s stand out with rich, full-bodied sound and a more refined bass response, courtesy of their proprietary Dynamic Balance drivers. The Daytons shine in vocal clarity and treble detail, while the Polks deliver a more robust, room-filling performance. Both sets offer exceptional value, but the choice hinges on whether you prioritize the B652-AIR's detailed highs or the ES15's overall sound presence and bass depth.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to entry-level bookshelf speakers that promise an audiophile-grade experience without breaking the bank, few brands have made waves quite like Dayton Audio and Polk Audio. Today, we're putting the Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers up against the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 Bookshelf Speakers, two contenders for the crown of budget-friendly performance. While both these speakers aim to deliver high-quality sound, their approaches and results are as distinct as their design philosophies.

The AIR Advantage: Dayton Audio B652-AIR

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers feature the company's renowned AMT tweeter, which stands for Air Motion Transformer. This technology promises to deliver clear and crisp high frequencies that could effortlessly cut through even the most complex mixes. The AMT tweeter typically requires less excursion to produce high frequencies, leading to less distortion and a purer sound. It's a feature that you wouldn't normally expect to see in speakers at this price point, and it gives the B652-AIR a unique advantage right out of the gate.

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

Polk's Powerhouse: Signature Elite ES15

On the other side of the ring, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 bookshelf speakers boast their proprietary Dynamic Balance acoustic array. This technology aims to reduce resonance within the drivers to improve sound quality. Polk's approach to crafting a balanced and rich sound is evident in these speakers. With a 5.25” midrange driver, these speakers are adept at delivering warm, lifelike vocals and a detailed midrange that can make listening to music a truly immersive experience.

Design and Build Quality

Design-wise, the Dayton B652-AIR keeps it simple and functional with a no-frills appearance that is decidedly utilitarian. The black vinyl finish is standard for speakers in this price range, and while it won't win any design awards, it ensures that all attention is focused on the sound. In contrast, the Polk ES15 speakers offer a more premium feel with their well-crafted cabinets and visually appealing design, which includes a nice textured finish and a sleek grille. Quite simply, the Polks might just edge it out in terms of room decor compatibility.

But looks aren't everything. The Dayton B652-AIR might seem modest, but they are built surprisingly solid for the price. The cabinets, although lightweight, are well-braced and resist unwanted vibrations. The Polk ES15, with its larger footprint, also boasts excellent build quality, with a heft that suggests a more substantial internal structure and material choice.

Sound Performance

When it comes to sound, both speakers have strengths that could make them the star of your living room, depending on your preferences. The Dayton B652-AIR, thanks to its AMT tweeters, delivers exceptional clarity in the high frequencies. Its soundstage is surprisingly wide and airy for such a compact speaker, offering excellent imaging that can make the music seem more alive. However, its bass response is modest, and it might not satisfy those looking for a deep, room-filling low end without the help of a subwoofer.

The Polk ES15s, meanwhile, impress with a fuller, more robust sound profile. The bass is more pronounced, thanks to the larger driver and well-tuned port design. This makes them a great choice for genres of music that benefit from a strong low-end presence. The midrange is where the ES15s truly shine, rendering vocals and instruments with natural warmth and detail that can be captivating. However, the highs, while clear, may not have the same sparkle and dimensionality provided by the Dayton's AMT tweeters.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES15 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.