Customer Review

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best all-time values in home audio, and THE best speaker value I've ever seen, October 15, 2011
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This review is from: Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2-Inch 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker Pair (Electronics)
**SUDDENLY I understand how people can be reviewing these and giving such poor reviews. The "new" versions of these speakers that have been trickling in since sometime last year or early this year are TERRIBLE. So ... the review below is for the "old" version of them.

Sometimes I think good speakers are as much a product of luck as they are of engineering. A certain component, a certain random design decision, and everything comes together. I can only imagine that's what happened here, because given the cost these speakers are great.

Let's first talk about what they aren't: these are not powerhouse fronts for a living room or man cave system. They just aren't. I pushed them a bit with an Onkyo 3008 .. and I could easily tell not to push them any more. They're not particularly good at bass. I'm currently using them with Pyle 2x40 PCA2, and with a Sony STRDB 830 (my venerable office system that still sounds clean after all these years ... great build quality). The PCA2 was easily powerful enough to drive them effortlessly.

They aren't particularly deep/bass-y/boom-y/low-endy/etc.. I tried pairing them with a sub (Velodyne 10 inch), and the sub ended up overpowering them a bit (and having the two connected at once to my computer was a wiring nightmare, so I just wrote off the concept for now). At higher volumes, with the lack of bass, you may find yourself turning the volume up or trying to crank the bass on your stereo equalizer in order to get a bit more oomph. They are what they are: I wouldn't try to EQ them to death to try to correct the low end flaw. The high-end heavy tone, while I found very pleasant at low and moderate volumes, can get fatiguing to the ear if you crank it up and try to maximize low end presence.

Now for the positives: FORTY DOLLARS!?!?! Okay, got that out of the way. I found them delightfully musical for the price, with clear highs and surprisingly distinct (for this price range) imaging for the various instruments. The voices, particularly at comfortable listening levels, are startling lifelike and nuanced. I found these particularly shine with jazz and big band. Classic rock and rap ... not so much as there is a problem with . I cannot get over the musicality for this price range. I got a pair as a curiosity, and I then ordered three more pairs after a few hours of testing.

I did a mini "war of the speakers" by hooking a B652 up simultaneously with various bookshelf speakers, then changing the balance back and forth (and trying to keep the volume level) to see how they compared. The companion speakers included: a little horn tweetered, bookshelf JBL that originally retailed for 150.00 a pair (my daughter destroyed one of them, so I now have one laying around), the satellite AND a double-woofered front speaker from the Onkyo 540 set, an Infinity Reference 2000.2, and finally a Boston Super One.

It was easier to drive the B652 than all of them, obviously. The B652 was lighter and more musical at low volumes, with the exception of the Super One. At moderate to high volumes, only the Boston Super One and to a lesser extent the Reference 2000.2 were clear victors, with the Infinity Reference 2000.2 being decidedly better in some aspects, and worse in others ... the other three speakers were painfully inferior to the Daytons. These results were a bit depressing, given these speakers generally cost quite a bit more when released (with four of them costing several times as much).

I immediately ordered two more pairs and I think I'm going to add yet another pair. Between home and office, I have six distinct stereo systems ... and this speaker is probably going to end up in four or five of them, either as the stereo mains or as surround rears. Pair them with a little amp, you don't need anything else for great sound at your computer. Hook 'em up to a receiver, and it will be loud enough to fill your office or bedroom. I find the warm tonality/music utterly surprising.

Is it a great speaker? No. It has some obvious shortcomings. But, it is a good, startlingly efficient speaker whose strong points are insane given the price. The speakers I own that outperform it take a lot of power to drive, are much larger, and cost waaaaay more. Love these speakers.

**10/28/11 Update: I tried one of these against a Wharfedale 9.0 speaker, using a Marantz 2220b (gotta love vintage) to drive them. This speaker were fairly equivalent to the Wharfedales in both overall musicality, transparency, and vibrancy of sound, and maybe even better for midbass. Of course ... it might not be that fair, since the 'dale's are about 30-50% smaller, but damn ... I expected the diamonds to hold up better.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2011 5:14:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2011 5:24:32 PM PDT
Great review - I agree completely with everything you said. They are insane for the price, and I love them for my surrounds -- I paired them up with an older Panny xr-55 receiver, two Sony SS-B3000's for the front mains, and snagged an open box Polk CS10 center on Newegg for 50 bones, & an open box Polk PSW10 sub on Amazon for 85 bucks!. Just let me say that a bluray in DTS with this system cranked is absolutely ridiculous. I never thought a budget system could sound so good even to an audiophile - so glad I grabbed these b652's, they will be legendary for best bang or the buck (I even read that you can upgrade the guts for about $30 a piece and have an amazing speaker rivaling & beating top notch bookshelfs)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2011 3:00:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2011 3:01:35 AM PDT
AK says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2011 9:03:25 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 26, 2011 11:50:54 AM PDT]

Posted on Oct 29, 2011 6:01:05 PM PDT
Michael Hoff says:
Exactly my sentiments. I too fell in love with the B652's. My father has always been a bit of a collector so when it comes to audio hardware so I had years of experience and lectures. They do need a good amp. I had them on about 5 different amps from my Denon 589, Niles TVA50, Pioneer Spec-2 and finally the Pioneer VSX-D1S. These speakers more than any, breath clarity in both their price range. As an experiment I have hooked three sets up in series attaining a 12Ω load and I think the lack of volume issue can be written off. Once the tweeters are moved physically closer the cancellation will be minimized enough to use them as HT mains again accompanied by a subwoofer.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 11:21:02 AM PDT
Michael B. says:
Thanks for the kind words. Sounds like a nice budget system. I'm a big believer in bang for the book, and you seem to have identified quite a few candidates.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 11:22:33 AM PDT
Michael B. says:
Thanks for the shout-out. I seem to be having success with them with all kinds of amps ... really just shocking dynamism for a speaker costing less than 20 dollars each.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2013 5:01:21 AM PDT
Backpacker says:
zaph audio has done a review on these check it out.
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