Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. Polk Signature Elite ES20

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speakers
$85 $400
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
14.80” × 8.50” × 13.80”
376mm × 216mm × 351mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 44-40,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of budget-friendly bookshelf speakers, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 offer distinct experiences. The B652-AIR, known for its exceptional value, introduces the notable AMT tweeter for airy highs. Despite its humble size, it delivers surprisingly clear sound. Contrastingly, the ES20 steps up with a larger footprint, bolstering room-filling sound, and Polk's proprietary Dynamic Balance technology for rich, clean audio. Both deliver quality performance for their price, but the ES20 edges out with a more robust build and deeper bass, suitable for those willing to invest in a more immersive listening experience.

Speaker Comparison

When embarking on the journey of fine-tuning your home audio system, the bookshelf speaker segment presents an intriguing cross-section of affordability and performance. Today, we delve into a comparative analysis of two noteworthy contenders in this realm: the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20. These two models, while situated within similar domains of the audio landscape, offer distinct experiences for the discerning listener.

Introduction to Sound Quality

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers are a continuation of Dayton's reputation for value-packed offerings. Equipped with their AMT tweeters (Air Motion Transformer), they deliver a crisp and nuanced high-end that can reveal the subtleties in vocal performances and string instruments with an almost ethereal clarity. This makes them particularly well-suited for genres where clarity and detail are paramount. On the other hand, the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 steps up with a bolder approach to sound. Armed with Polk's proprietary Dynamic Balance drivers and Power Port technology, they are engineered to provide a wider and more immersive soundstage with punchy, controlled bass that doesn’t overwhelm the mids.

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

Design and Build Quality

From a design perspective, the B652-AIR speakers maintain a functional, no-frills aesthetic, focusing on delivering performance without the distraction of flashy exterior design. This minimalist approach can be a boon for purists who prefer their speakers to blend into the environment. In contrast, Polk's ES20 exudes a more premium vibe, with its well-crafted cabinet and visually appealing accents that embody a more modern and stylish statement. The build quality of the ES20 also suggests a sturdier, more resonate-resistant structure, which can translate to less coloration of sound from the speaker enclosure itself.

Frequency Range and Dynamics

In the department of frequency range, both speakers show their unique character. The Dayton Audio B652-AIR boasts an impressive performance for its size and price, with a frequency response that holds its own in the mids and highs but can sometimes leave an enthusiast wanting a little more in the lower register. This is where the Polk ES20 shines, offering a more expansive bass response that can be both felt and heard, lending a full-bodied warmth to the audio spectrum that complements a variety of musical genres and content.

Dynamics are crucial to a lifelike sound reproduction, and here the Polk ES20 demonstrates its ability to effortlessly transition from soft whispers to thunderous crescendos without losing composure. The ES20's superior power handling ensures that even at higher volumes, there is minimal distortion. The Dayton B652-AIR, while not as dynamic, still manages to maintain a level of composure that is admirable for speakers in their price bracket.

Value Proposition and Audience

Affordability is where Dayton Audio traditionally shines, and the B652-AIR is no exception. They offer an entry point for budding audiophiles who are building their first systems or for those seeking an economical yet respectable upgrade. The Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20, while positioned at a higher price point, presents a compelling case for those looking to invest in a more robust sound experience that can scale with higher-end components.

In conclusion, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 serve different masters in the audio world. The choice between the two will largely depend on the listener's priorities, whether it be budget-conscious entry into high-fidelity sound or a fuller, more enveloping audio experience. Both speakers uphold the virtues of their respective brands and continue to delight audiophiles with their distinctive approaches to sound reproduction.

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 ES20 Bookshelf Speakers
Polk Audio Signature Elite ES20 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.