Dayton Audio T652-AIR vs. ELAC ARB51 Navis

Dayton Audio T652-AIR Tower Speakers ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
$250 $2000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
30.00” × 7.10” × 9.50”
762mm × 180mm × 241mm
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
Power Type
Passive Powered
Frequency Response
45-20,000 Hz 44-28,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of affordable but punchy audio, the Dayton Audio T652-AIR tower speakers bring a dynamic presence with their AMT tweeter delivering a crisp high-end. They stand tall in the budget arena, offering a satisfying depth with their dual 6.5-inch woofers, ideal for the entry-level audiophile seeking a traditional passive speaker setup. Meanwhile, the ELAC ARB51 Navis powered bookshelf speakers serve up a refined, all-in-one solution, with their built-in amplification and custom drivers radiating a sophisticated soundstage. These bookshelf beauties cater to the discerning listener looking for a premium, compact, and convenient listening experience without external amplification.

Speaker Comparison

When we talk about speakers that offer value and performance, Dayton Audio and ELAC are two brands that frequently come to mind. But how do they stack up when we pit the Dayton Audio T652-AIR Tower Speakers against the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers? It's a match that pits traditional, passive tower design against modern, active bookshelf technology. This comparison dives into the nuances of each, exploring how they cater to different segments of the audiophile and home theater enthusiast market.

Design Philosophy: Tower vs. Bookshelf

The Dayton Audio T652-AIR stands tall, both literally and figuratively, embodying the traditional tower speaker ethos. With a slimmer profile and floor-standing design, these towers can deliver sound at ear level and are engineered to produce substantial bass without the need for a separate subwoofer. On the other hand, the ELAC ARB51 Navis is a compact, powered bookshelf speaker. Its design is focused on convenience and modern aesthetics, with built-in amplification eliminating the need for an external amp or receiver, which is a significant space saver.

Dayton Audio T652-AIR Tower Speakers
Dayton Audio T652-AIR arrow (at

Sound Signature and Performance

The T652-AIR features Dayton's renowned Air Motion Transformer tweeter which is reputed for its crisp, detailed highs, while its dual 6.5-inch woofers work to fill the room with a warm and substantial bass response. Yet, these passive speakers rely heavily on the quality of the associated amplifier to reach their full potential. The ELAC ARB51, however, boasts a custom-designed BASH amplification, ensuring that its drivers are powered for optimal performance, leading to a cohesive and controlled sound experience. The ELAC’s three-way design, with a dedicated midrange driver, offers a more precise and focused audio reproduction, especially evident in the vocal range.

Connectivity and Ease of Use

Where the ELAC ARB51 shines is in its plug-and-play setup. Being active speakers, they incorporate all the necessary amplification inside the cabinet, which means they can connect directly to a source without fuss. This simplicity is a stark contrast to the passive Dayton T652-AIR, which requires a separate amplifier. Additionally, the ELAC's flexible connectivity, which often includes wireless options, makes it a strong contender for users who prioritize convenience and minimal setup.

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis arrow (at

Dayton Audio, with its traditional passive approach, offers the advantage of customization. Users can pair the T652-AIR towers with an amplifier of their choice, controlling the overall sound character and power delivery. This is an audiophile's playground, allowing for tweaking and upgrading components over time. The downside is that it demands more knowledge and investment from the user, both in terms of money and the time spent on system synergy to extract the best possible performance.

Value Proposition

When it comes to cost, Dayton Audio's offerings typically present a lower barrier to entry. The T652-AIR towers come in at a budget-friendly price point, making them accessible to a wider audience. However, it’s important to factor in the additional cost of an amplifier. The ELAC ARB51, on the flip side, represents a higher initial investment, but it's essentially an all-in-one solution, potentially eliminating the need for further purchases, and arguably offering better value for someone looking for a complete, high-fidelity system right out of the box.

In conclusion, the choice between the Dayton Audio T652-AIR Tower Speakers and the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers comes down to personal preference and intended use. If you're a traditionalist with a penchant for component flexibility and have the space for tower speakers, the Dayton T652-AIR could be your ticket to audio bliss. However, if you're constrained by space, or prefer a more modern, streamlined system with less complexity, the ELAC ARB51 offers a sophisticated, high-performance alternative that’s hard to overlook. Each set of speakers adheres to its brand's ethos, whether it's Dayton's commitment to affordability and classic design or ELAC's focus on innovation and integrated technology.

Check Current Prices:

Dayton Audio T652-AIR Tower Speakers
Dayton Audio T652-AIR Tower Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered 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.