Dayton Audio B652-AIR vs. Q Acoustics 3020i

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speakers
$85 $450
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
10.90” × 6.70” × 11.00”
277mm × 170mm × 279mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
70-20,000 Hz 64-30,000 Hz
ASR Score
1.5 4.0
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
4.6 6.4

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of budget-friendly audio, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and Q Acoustics 3020i present compelling choices. The B652-AIR impresses with its AMT tweeter, delivering detailed highs, while its modest build and simple design keep costs low. Conversely, the 3020i, a step up in price, boasts a refined aesthetic and robust construction, with a soundstage that offers greater depth and warmth. The Q Acoustics also edges out with a richer bass response, appealing to listeners seeking a more balanced, room-filling experience. Both offer excellent value, but the 3020i stands out for those willing to invest a bit more.

Speaker Comparison

In the realm of affordable high-fidelity audio, two contenders stand out for those looking to get serious sound without emptying their wallets: the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the Q Acoustics 3020i bookshelf speakers. Both offer an appealing entry point into the world of refined audio, but they bring to the table different strengths and sonic flavors that cater to varying tastes and preferences within the audiophile community.

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR is the successor to the wildly popular B652, incorporating a critical upgrade: the addition of an AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter. This type of tweeter, usually reserved for more expensive speakers, is known for its rapid response and detailed sound. In contrast, the Q Acoustics 3020i utilizes a more traditional 0.9-inch silk dome tweeter, which is widely appreciated for its smooth and natural high-frequency reproduction.

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

When it comes to the low end, the Dayton B652-AIR features a 6-1/2" woofer that delivers a surprisingly robust and punchy bass for its size, though it may lack the control and depth found in higher-end models. The Q Acoustics 3020i, on the other hand, houses a larger 5-inch woofer made from impregnated and coated paper, which is designed to offer a tighter and more refined bass response, albeit in a slightly smaller physical cabinet size.

The Design Aesthetic

The aesthetics of a speaker are often as important as its sonic characteristics. The B652-AIRs sport a simplistic, almost utilitarian design that has an understated charm, particularly for those who prefer their speakers to blend into the background. Conversely, the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers boast a more modern and stylish look, with rounded corners and a high-quality finish that is available in several colors to match a listener's décor.

Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speakers
Q Acoustics 3020i arrow (at

Despite their budget-friendly nature, both sets of speakers feel well-built and sturdy. The Dayton Audio cabinets are made of MDF with a black ebony pica vinyl finish, giving them a classic, no-frills appearance. Q Acoustics has given the 3020i a more luxury touch, with a finish that feels more premium and a construction that exudes a greater sense of solidity and acoustic integrity.

Performance and Listening Experience

When it comes down to the listening experience, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers deliver an expansive soundstage that belies their modest price. The AMT tweeter provides a level of detail that is captivating, especially in the treble frequencies. However, some might find the overall sound to be a bit forward, which could lead to listener fatigue during extended listening sessions.

The Q Acoustics 3020i, with its well-tuned drivers, offers a warmer and more balanced sound profile that is both forgiving and enjoyable over long periods. The mids are lush and vocals come through with exceptional clarity, making these speakers particularly well-suited for acoustic and vocal-centric music. Even at high volumes, the 3020i maintains its composure, avoiding harshness while still providing an engaging listening experience.

Value and Verdict

In terms of value, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR punches above its weight, providing a high-quality AMT tweeter rarely seen at this price point. This makes it an excellent choice for audiophiles on a strict budget who still demand a detailed and lively sound. The B652-AIR is by no means perfect, but it offers an entry into high-fidelity audio that is hard to ignore.

The Q Acoustics 3020i, while pricier, presents a compelling case for stretching one’s budget. The level of refinement, build quality, and balanced sound they bring to the table is remarkable for their class. For those willing to invest a bit more for an elevated auditory experience, the 3020i is a worthy contender that will not disappoint. Ultimately, the choice between the Dayton Audio B652-AIR and the Q Acoustics 3020i will hinge on individual priorities, be it budget constraints or sonic preferences, but either way, listeners are in for a treat.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers
Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speakers
Q Acoustics 3020i 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.