Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers Review


MSRP $85
(H × W × D)
11.81” × 7.06” × 6.44”
300mm × 179mm × 164mm
Power Type Passive
Frequency Response 70-20,000 Hz
ASR Score 1.5
ASR Score w/Subwoofer 4.6
Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2” Bookshelf Speakers

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers offer exceptional value for budget-conscious audiophiles. Their AMT tweeter delivers a detailed and airy treble, a notable upgrade from the standard B652. Although bass response is modest, mids are clear and articulate. The build quality is basic, and they may require a subwoofer for full-range listening. In their price bracket, these unassuming bookshelf speakers punch above their weight, making them an attractive choice for casual listening or as a starting point in the audiophile journey.

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Dayton Audio B652-AIR: Our Take

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR is a pair of compact bookshelf speakers that aim to deliver a high-fidelity audio experience at an affordable price point. The speakers feature a 6-1/2” woofer paired with a 1” AMT tweeter (Air Motion Transformer), which sets them apart from other speakers in the same price range that often use conventional dome tweeters. The AMT tweeter is known for its quick response and detailed sound reproduction, potentially offering a more dynamic listening experience.

One of the standout features of the B652-AIR is its design, which is both simple and functional. The cabinet is constructed from MDF (medium-density fibreboard), providing a solid and resonance-free enclosure. This material choice helps reduce unwanted vibrations and coloration in the sound. The speaker grilles are removable, giving users the option to display the drivers or keep them protected. The overall aesthetic is unobtrusive, allowing these speakers to blend into a variety of room decors without drawing too much attention.

Sound Performance

In terms of sound quality, the B652-AIR bookshelf speakers offer impressive performance for their size and price. They are capable of producing a clear and balanced soundstage, with the AMT tweeter adding crispness and detail to the higher frequencies. The mids are well-represented, making vocals stand out nicely in mixes. However, due to the compact size of the speakers, some users might find the bass response lacking in depth and punch when compared to larger speakers or systems with dedicated subwoofers.

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As with any budget-friendly audio product, there are trade-offs to consider. While the Dayton Audio B652-AIR does a commendable job in many aspects, audiophiles and those used to high-end equipment may notice limitations in dynamic range and overall volume capabilities. These speakers are best suited for small to medium-sized rooms where their sound can fill the space without needing to push the drivers too hard.

Connectivity and Compatibility

The B652-AIR bookshelf speakers are passive, meaning they require an external amplifier or receiver to power them. This could be considered a con for someone looking for an all-in-one solution, but for enthusiasts who already own a separate amp or enjoy customizing their audio setup, this is standard practice. On the back of each speaker, there are spring-loaded clip connectors that offer a secure connection for speaker wires but might not accommodate thicker, high-end cables as easily as binding posts would.

When it comes to placement flexibility, these speakers are relatively forgiving. However, like most bookshelf speakers, they perform best when placed on stands or shelves at ear level and away from walls to reduce bass reflection issues. Additionally, they do not come with any mounting brackets or keyhole slots for wall mounting, which could be a downside for users with limited space or specific setup requirements.

Comparisons and Alternatives

Potential buyers looking at the Dayton Audio B652-AIR might also consider similar products like the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR or the Polk Audio T15 as alternatives in the same budget-conscious market segment. These speakers offer their unique sound signatures and design philosophies while remaining competitive in price. The Pioneers are known for their natural sound reproduction designed by acclaimed engineer Andrew Jones, while the Polk Audio T15s provide a more robust low-end response that might satisfy bass enthusiasts better than the Dayton Audio model.

In conclusion, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR bookshelf speakers are an attractive option for those seeking an entry-level hi-fi experience without breaking the bank. They provide a unique listening experience thanks to their AMT tweeters and have a versatile design that should appeal to most users. While they have some limitations in terms of bass response and loudness capacity, their overall performance is commendable given their price bracket.

Ultimately, the decision on whether the B652-AIR is right for you will depend on your specific needs and expectations from a pair of bookshelf speakers. They are best suited for casual listening in smaller rooms, and their affordability makes them an excellent choice for those just starting to build or upgrade their home audio system. For those with specific tastes or requirements, it might be worth exploring other options and potentially investing in a higher-end product that could better meet their needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the Dayton Audio B652-AIR's AMT tweeters compare to typical dome tweeters?

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR is quite the standout in its price class largely due to its use of an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter instead of the more common dome tweeter found in many bookshelf speakers. Enthusiasts often notice that AMT tweeters offer a crisper, more detailed high-frequency response. The precision in the upper registers can make instruments like cymbals and strings sound more lifelike and articulate. Additionally, the AMT design can provide a wider sound dispersion, which might contribute to a more immersive listening experience. However, one's preference for AMT versus dome tweeters is subjective and can depend greatly on individual taste and the type of music being listened to.

Can the Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers be used as part of a home theater system?

Indeed, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR bookshelf speakers are versatile enough to be integrated into a home theater system. Their compact design allows them to be placed strategically for optimal sound staging, whether as front left and right channels or as surround speakers. The clarity of the AMT tweeters can add an impressive layer of detail to movie soundtracks and effects. That being said, for a fuller home theater experience, pairing them with a complementary Dayton Audio center channel and a subwoofer to handle the low frequencies would be advisable, as these bookshelf speakers may not deliver the deep bass response that action movies demand.

What type of amplification do the Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers require?

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR speakers are relatively efficient and can be driven by a modestly powered amplifier or receiver. They don't require an exorbitant amount of power to reach satisfying volume levels in a small to medium-sized room. However, they will benefit from quality amplification. Whether you're using a solid-state, tube amp, or a digital amplifier, it's important to ensure that the unit can handle the impedance of the speakers and provide clean, undistorted power. It's always recommended to match the speakers with an amplifier that can supply power comfortably within their recommended handling range for the best performance.

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Dayton Audio B652-AIR

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