A Review of the Dayton B652 AIR speaker

Discussion in 'Equipment Reviews & Opinions' started by johnda, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. johnda

    johnda AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    When I received a Father's Day gift from my grandchildren in the form of an Amazon gift certificate for $50, I knew exactly what I wanted to do! I had been thinking hard about purchasing a pair of Dayton B652 speakers for the living room system that is stored in our credenza. Whatever speaker I chose needed to be less than 12 inches high and front loaded or sealed since the speaker would reside in the credenza. I felt that a rear loaded speaker would most probably result in a muddy bass that would interfere with the overall sound.

    The Dayton B652-AIR , sold by Parts Express, is the upgraded B652 model of the speaker that had a checkered history. At first it was thought of as an amazing deal, selling for less than $40 a pair, with very nice performance. Then Dayton made an error when they switched manufacturers and the tweeter performed very poorly enraging their customer base. Parts Express apologized for the error and changed the tweeter design, then they offered to replace the defective speaker with the modified speaker at no cost to the user.

    The B652- AIR is the latest step where Dayton replaced the dome tweeter with a mini AMT type (Air Motion Transformer) with a pleated Kapton diaphragm. The 6.5” midrange/woofer speaker was unchanged. Wikipedia has an excellent description of how an AMT tweeter operates, if you would want to research it.

    The B652-AIR is a small bookshelf speaker, 11 -13/16” high by 7- 1/16” wide by 6- 7/16” deep. These dimensions were perfect for the speakers to fit in our credenza because the upper shelf was 12” high and the speakers could slide in easily. It has an impedance of 6 ohms, efficiency of 87 Db and a response covering 70 Hz to 20,000 Hz. It is a sealed system, without porting, and can work well in enclosed areas.

    The price was $59.60 for the pair plus $7.95 shipping bringing the total to $67.55, close enough to my $50 gift certificate for me to get some new speakers without having to deal with the WAF!

    The package arrived quickly, I opened it and was quite happy to see that the speakers were well packed in separate plastic bags accompanied by a small bag containing a well written two page owners manual that had excellent speaker placement suggestions. Two pairs of 20 gauge speaker wire were also included.Not bad for a pair of speakers selling for less than $100. Since I was replacing my AR215PS speakers, I decided to use the 16 gauge speaker wire I already had. My system contained my Yamaha R-S201 receiver, which I had already reviewed in this forum, and my Grace Digital GDI-IRTG200 Wi/Fi internet/FM tuner.

    The credenza is in a medium sized living room/ dining area 18' by 30' and my listening chair is 15' from the credenza and about 20 degrees to the side because there is a fireplace directly across from the credenza.

    The speakers are black vinyl covered MDF with removable grills, and look fine. A nice touch was that Dayton had mounted four pads under each speaker to isolate it from the mounting surface. At this point I felt that my investment was a good one, but the question remaining was how did they sound?

    When I first turned on my system I was very surprised at the clarity of the sound the Daytons exhibited. They had a more forward projection than the AR's and were almost TOO good. I was concerned that they were too “hot” and might cause listener fatigue, but after using them for a few days they settled down. They are not bass heavy and would need to be combined with a sub woofer for deep bass response, but their overall balance was perfect for the listening that I do. I listen to Pandora and have made “stations” that allow me to listen to favorite performances. I really enjoy listening to vocals in a club sized atmosphere and this is where the Daytons really were exceptional.

    I listened for hours on end to Louie Armstrong, Julie London, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Aretha Franklin and others perform great vocals. Hearing Rosemary Clooney sing “Good Morning Heartache” and sounding like she was right in my living room, holding a mike in front of her, was an experience to be remembered.

    The clear presentation of music was an eye opening experience. The speakers sounded so good that I was thinking about how they might sound with a high quality tube amplifier driving them. The 6 ohm impedance of the Daytons presented no problem to the Yamaha R-S201 amplifier and it ran without any buildup of heat. The only area that was a bit “off” was when I pushed the system while playing a Beethoven Symphony, I think it was the sixth, and this may have been reflective of the R-S201 reaching its limit.

    Clearly, these speakers are an excellent low cost option for people looking to get the best bang for their buck. So there we are, I hope this review was helpful to you, I have to run now because I have a date with Carley Simon!:music:
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
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  2. Drumolator

    Drumolator Super Member

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    That is great review: Thanks! Peace and goodwill.
     
  3. johnda

    johnda AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks Drumolator! They definitely are the best sounding speakers that I have used in the living room up to this point.
     
  4. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    The Daytons are winners.

    They sound their best on tall stands a few feet from the wall.

    In the picture mine are sitting on top of Frugal Horns which are 3 feet high.

    I have the Airs as well as two pair of the standards.

    I've added better caps and damping to all but the Airs which I also plan to mod.

    With the defective pair which PE replaced and didn't want returned I added better tweeters.

    With better caps and a little additional damping material these beat the Pioneer B22's which I had and sold.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    If there was a contest for the best sounding system under $100 I'd enter this set up with the standard Dayton B652's.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻

    Thank you for your write up Johnda! I really appreciate you for grabbing new gear and letting us know what you think about it. Your review sold me on buying the R-S201 for my S.O. Have you experimented with off-axis listening Airs? I have read a few reviews stating stating that the Airs have a narrow sweet spot. Thats the only thing that's been keeping me from recommending them to friends though. My peers aren't like us, they don't sit in one spot and just listen.
     

     

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  7. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    I ordered all the parts that Fleawatt used to mod his Airs. Should be fun and I plan to add some decent binding posts.

    http://fleawatt.blogspot.com
     
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  8. johnda

    johnda AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi, as far as I can see the AIRS have a pretty decent dispersion pattern and I am off center by about 20 degrees. I did plop myself down on the floor in the center position with the speakers facing forward and was amazed at the imaging. I would say off center imaging is very good, but center imaging is even better!
     
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  9. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻

    S.O. and I just got a place together so I just ordered a pair of the AIRs for the office/computer. They just came today and I only had a chance for a brief listen tonight. First impression was, these cost how little?!
     
  10. stereofanboy

    stereofanboy AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Those speakers have been in the back of my mind ever since I found out they have an air motion transformer style tweeter. Thanks for sharing your impressions.

    I once had a pair of ESS speakers with Heil AMT tweeters and I thought they were the sweetest tweeters I'd ever heard and they weren't even the Great Heils.

    For reference, I've owned Infinitys with EMITs, EMIT Ks, and EMIT Rs, as well as several of the Linaeum tweetered Radio Shack speakers, titanium tweetered B&Ws, JBLs with the crystal prism tweeters, Pioneers with Beryllium tweeters and some Philips ribbon tweeters.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  11. JimPA

    JimPA Distinguished Member

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    The woofers used in the B652 model are also available in the Parts Express buyout for $4.88 per woofer.
    https://www.parts-express.com/6-1-2-poly-cone-midbass-woofer-4-ohm--299-609

    I purchased some of these drivers to replace a couple of pairs of DIY speakers I built that used 8ohm Bose type woofers that had foam surrounds..
    The B652 woofers are 4ohm, the surrounds are butyl rubber.
    Even thought the magnets are small the bass response is flat to 70hz in the T-Line enclosures.
    For the cost the drivers are a bargain.
    It does get to a point that the woofers due reach their maximum spl and do not get any louder which would be their limit in power handling.
     
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  12. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻

    I doubt the cabinet was really tuned for those woofers. Weak sauce bass is the name of the game in that configuration. The B652, Air or otherwise just reeks of being thrown together at the last minute. It's that much more incredible then that they sound so nice.
     
  13. hnash53

    hnash53 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey johnda... just saw this review even though it's pushing a year ago.. how did I miss this? Anyways, great review. I've wondered about these speakers for some time now.

    Nice that someone here on AK has reviewed them thoroughly as you did. Thanks!!

    These are in my future somewhere/somehow... just don't know the "how" or the "where" yet!
     
  14. johnda

    johnda AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am listening to them right now and they really sound good. My KEF Q300 speakers have a wider range of sound, but these are not anything to be ashamed of. As far as a good buy for the money, the Daytons are winners for sure!
     
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  15. johnda

    johnda AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi gnash,

    I thought I had responded, but I guess it got lost. Yep, these are really a great deal. You get a lot of nice sound for the money, for sure! If you are on a tight budget, they can really help.
     
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  16. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻

    I'm gonna begin modifying mine this weekend. Even with documented flaws these are a very involving speaker. Their PRaT make up for any flaws they have. Not perfect but very enjoyable.
     

     

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  17. hnash53

    hnash53 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So you have the KEF Q300s. I have been considering auditioning a pair of those. I currently have some Polk TSi200s as my fronts in a quad system, but have read lots of good stuff on the KEFs. Any ideas how they compare to the Polks? (Sorry... I don't mean to hijack this thread.)
     
  18. johnda

    johnda AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Ouch! Sorry, I was away from this for awhile, just saw your question! You posted it on June 20 and now it is August 17!
    I like Polk speakers and my son-in-law is using my Polk Monitor 30 speakers. Polk has a front loaded speaker (forget the number) that looks promising . You really have to make your own judgement. A lot will depend on where you will be placing the speakers, the room design and size, and the amplifier. All I can say is that I am very happy with their sound.
     
  19. johnda

    johnda AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It is now November and I am listening to my credenza system of the Yamaha A-S201 receiver and Dayton B652 Air speakers. The winter gale winds are picking up outside and I am in my recliner listening to a Cello concerto via my Grace Digital tuner. I am very happy!

    Love the Dayton Air tweeters! If I were to change anything, I might go for the Yamaha A-S202 that has added Blue Tooth to the same unit. That would open up my listening options via my iPad, we'll see.
     
  20. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I gave a pair of B652's to two of my sons. I bought a pair of BR1's for myself. Not a bad kit for the price. The OS's are nice to.
     

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