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Not the original. Very disappointed.
on May 20, 2013
This is the most disappointing purchase I have ever made. There was so much hype going into these that it actually affected the way they sound at first, but once the confirmation bias wore off I knew something was wrong. When going from these speakers to listening to music in my car, the music got better even though it was playing through factory speakers on my aging car. I tested other cheap and worn out speakers around my house with the same results. Some 20-year-old radio shack speakers and some cheap KLH speakers both sounded better than the B652s; in fact, the only speakers worse were the ones in my tv. The tweeter in the B652s is practically nonexistent at the high end, is harsh and inaccurate for cymbals and electronic music, and it gets lost in the midranges coming from the woofer. I spent extra time breaking these in to no avail. I felt like I was listening to a completely different speaker than the ones that others had purchased in the past, and it turns out I was. I searched for information on the crossover and found out it doesn't really have one, but the originals didn't either. The woofer is wired straight from the spring terminal and then to the tweeter in parallel. (I also don't think these can be 8 ohms as the label claims.) The tweeter then has a single inline capacitor that is now 50v instead of the 100v capacitor on the original. This shouldn't necessarily change the sound, but it's inferior nonetheless. A review on budgetphile.com showed pictures of some of the differences in the new model, and comments on reddit noted similar concerns. The screws are now hex instead of philips, the wall hanger is an oval instead of a rectangle, and after I opened one of mine up, I can confirm that the capacitor is the new 50v version and that there's an apparent problem with glue spilling at the factory. I've already exchanged one pair that was sent because they were covered in stray glue, and I wish I had gotten a refund instead. I bought these based on reviews (such as stereophile's) of what would have been a very decent original model for what I paid, but by being sold the inferior B652 for the same price (or more), I'm now the victim of a bait-and-switch.
I sent an email to the PE customer service address about the sound quality issue, and they sent me a new pair of B652s after I provided a copy of my invoice. They didn't charge me for anything and didn't ask for the old pair to be returned. I haven't had a chance to judge the sound quality of the new pair. One speaker had some glue on the speaker cone that wouldn't come off, which makes it look ugly with the grilles removed. There seem to be some quality control issues that remain, but I'm glad that PE is making good on their products and replacing them free of charge. I was pretty upset over my experience with getting the original subpar pair, hence my dramatic review, but I feel better about it now that I have a replacement in hand.
Personally, I take the grilles off every speaker I own. After getting another pair with glue on them, these replacements still won't be seeing much use. For $50, I recommend the Micca MB42 over the Dayton B652 as soon as Amazon gets more in stock. Those Miccas definitely look good with the grilles off.