Pioneer BS22 vs Dayton B652-Air

When looking at speakers, a common thing to wonder is what are you getting for your extra money. While bother the Pioneer BS22 and Dayton B652-Air are considered “good for the money” and “budget” speakers, the Pioneer speaker costs twice as much.

I will use this post to help explain what exactly you’re getting for twice the money.

Pioneer BS22-LR Alongside Dayton B652-AIR


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Field Report: Summer Audio

No matter what you’re doing this summer, chances are some tunes will make it that much better. The thing is, the places where we want to listen to music in the summer aren’t in our living rooms, home theaters, or our listening rooms. Its on the beach, at a BBQ, on a boat, out at a campsite, or on our deck. I kicked off my summer this year at a rented house over Memorial Day weekend with a group of people. I decided to make use of some speakers I had from an early review and spend a little bit of money to make sure we were never at a loss for some quality audio.


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Soundbar Alternatives, $77-$385 and above

As I discussed in an earlier article, while soundbars are popular, they aren’t really a good option for those who want quality sound at a low price. Generally speaking, a soundbar is too small to sound really good. The companies who make soundbars aren’t usually dedicated to audio. Finally, similar systems at lower prices perform better. So today, I’m here to tell you what to buy instead. I’ve put together three different ways to get affordable alternatives at improved quality.
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If You Care About Audio Quality, Reconsider Purchasing A Soundbar

The primary home audio product today is the soundbar, in its various incarnations. They offer superior sound to the sound built into your TV at a relatively low price, with low complexity and a high convenience and aestheic factor. The problem with soundbars is one of compromise. At every turn, audio quality is compromised for price, convenience, simplicity and size. With any design, something has to give, there are no perfect solutions, and when it comes to budget soundbar, the compromise is audio quality. Lets take a look at some of the benefits of a soundbar, and examine how they affect audio quality. From there, we’ll look at some alternatives to soundbars depending on what you’re looking for. If, after reading this, you still want a soundbar, I’ve provided a set of recommendations.

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Dayton T652 Review (Updated 6/24/2015)

Dayton Audio T652 Dual 6-1/2″ 2-Way Tower Speaker Pair – $118.50+$9.95 shipping

The last set of Dayton’s I’ll be reviewing for a bit are the oddball of the family. While the B652-AIR fixed the treble issues with the B652s, the T652 takes the B652 design and turns it into a tower. It is louder, and extends deeper, though at a steep cost in size and price. The T652 sounds big, fills up a room, and is in no way worse than the B652.

However, the problem with the T652 is I have trouble deciding when I would recommend them. The B652’s are probably already pushing the limit of what someone who just wants some speakers for the living room are willing to accept size wise. And at $120+, there are much better choices for quality.

That leaves the segment of people considering these to just people who are putting together dedicated home theaters on a severe budget. In a big home theater room, towers are usually the best choice for your front stereo pair, as these speakers do the heavy lifting, and you want them to be loud and cover a wide range of frequencies.  The next tier in tower speakers are more than twice the price, but still only $260. I’ll be reviewing these soon. The thing is, if you’re investing enough in your home entertainment to dedicate a space big enough to warrant towers, you probably don’t want to be buying speakers that are just the minimum passable speaker. You want something that sounds impressive. So while the T652 has a market segment all to itself, I’m not really sure who is in that market.

One last point about these speakers before we look at measurements is that while I’ve talked about how they are bigger than most people would want in a non-dedicated room, they are also not tall enough to use without a stand. I put 6″ risers underneath these to listen to. It’s obviously not a big deal, but it is a consideration.

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Dayton B652-AIR Review (Updated 3/23/2016)

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2″ Bookshelf Speaker Pair with AMT Tweeter – (wait until its $59.90)

Most speakers are easy to find and never sell out. The Dayton Audio B652-AIR’s are an exception because they combine the low price and quality woofer of the Dayton Audio B652 with a much improved tweeter. Instead of a cheap, but flawed speaker, you have a speaker which behaves like a lower quality version of expensive models.

As is typical with Dayton Audio speakers, it comes with lengths of speaker wire. This is something people new to the world of audio will appreciate.

It should be noted that because of the new tweeter design, the speakers should not be placed on their side for listening.

Everything there is to dislike about these speakers is excusable by the price point.

It may seem like a small thing, but changing the tweeter increased the price of the speaker by 50%. If you’ve read my review of the Dayton Audio B652, you know this change goes after the biggest flaw with those speakers. Now that’s been improved, and this speaker is something to behold as a result.

These speakers can be hard to find, they are sold out from time-to-time at Parts Express, and Amazon only offers them through Parts Express or third parties selling at a markup. That’s a testament to how the audio community feels about these speakers.

After writing this review, I’ve used them myself. They aren’t small speakers, but they fit in a canvas bag with a small amplifier. I brought them to a house some friends and I had rented for a weekend at the beach. These worked great as speakers for listening to music in the garage.

As I’ve said, these speaker took the ugly sounding treble regions from the original model and have changed them into something as good as the rest of the speaker. The only change is replacing the aluminum tweeter with an air motion transformer tweeter. On these cheap speaker models, that kind of upgrade is all it takes.

My only complaint when I’m listening is that the speaker is clearly “bright”.  The speakers always sound like someone has turned up the treble. I don’t mind this aesthetically, but it is not ideal.

While I think this is a great speaker for the money, it is important to remember that caveat “for the money”. More expensive speakers will get you better performance. But for journeyman speakers, these are a great choice.

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Dayton B652 Review (Updated 3/21/2016)

Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2-Inch 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker Pair – $39.80

When you’re looking to buy a set of speakers on a tight budget, it is important to squeeze as much performance as possible out of them. You want something that will sound pretty good that you can use for playing music at parties or for taking your first steps towards an awesome system for your TV, but at the same time won’t cut into your monthly budget.

These speakers are my choice of speakers for you if you’re looking for something which does a reasonable job for playing music, playing video games, or watching movies, and want to spend as little money as possible.  Dayton Audio is a company which makes a wide range of audio products, many of which I review here. They are a company which regularly puts out great bang-for-your buck products. You have to be careful and read reviews though, because some are better than other.

That said, at $40, these are necessarily pretty cheaply made speakers and it shows. The box is made of Plywood. While this is better than the common plastics used in other cheap speakers, it isn’t the first choice of material. The speaker design is what is called a sealed box design, which doesn’t extend the bass as well as more intricate designs, but is less sensitive to manufacturing variations. A single capacitor on the tweeter (the top, high frequency driver) serves as a crossover, which prevents the tweeter from breaking, but doesn’t create a smooth transition from the big 6.5″ woofer to the tweeter.

However, the speaker does include wires to hook it up to an amplifier, which most speakers do not. It is a nice inclusion for $40 speakers that makes these a much nicer buy for people who aren’t comfortable cutting your own speaker wire from a spool. (NB if you are confused by this paragraph and are wondering why you need an amplifier, check out my post on an inexpensive stereo build.)

I took some time to listen to my favorite songs and some Netflix shows with these speakers. I was honestly quite impressed with the quality of the sound you get for the price. They sound much better than mass marketed audio products at two or three times the price.

Most people will think these sound pretty good in a typical living room space. They are so much better than what a majority of people have in their houses, you’ll impress your friends and family even at this low price. So if you’re looking to get something reasonable sounding at a low price, this is the speaker to go with. Its why I included it in my build for my inexpensive stereo build.

When I listened with a critical ear, I keyed in on one major flaw, and that is the high frequency response. Voices and higher frequency instruments just don’t have the realistic, natural sound I’m used to hearing on high quality speakers. This leads to instruments a bit muddled versus higher quality speakers as well. The measurements that follow really highlight that point.

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