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Dayton Audio Breaks Price Barrier with AMT Tweeter “Air” Loudspeaker Series



  • Product Name: Air Series Loudspeakers: T652Air, C452-Air, B652-Air, B452-Air
  • Manufacturer: Dayton Audio
  • Review Date: January 24, 2018 00:00
  • MSRP: $124.80/pr - T652Air, $32.80/ea - C452-Air, $49/pr - B652-Air, $45.80/pr B452-Air
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!


●      Woofers: Dual 6-1/2" polypropylene cone with 4-layer coil

●      Tweeter: 1" AMT

●      Power handling: 90 watts RMS/150 watts max

●      Impedance: 6 ohms

●      Frequency response: 45-20,000 Hz

●      Sensitivity: 88 dB 1W/1m

●      Dimensions: 30" H x 7.1" W x 9.5" D


●      Power handling: 60 watts RMS, 120 watts max

●      Impedance: 6 ohms

●      Woofer: Dual 4-1/2" polypropylene cone with 4-layer voice coil

●      Tweeter: 1" AMT • Frequency response: 85-20,000 Hz

●      Sensitivity: 86 dB 1W/1m

●      Crossover: First order high pass

●      Dimensions: 5.5" H x 15.75" W x 5.7" D


●      Woofer: 6-1/2" polypropylene

●      Tweeter: 1" x 1" mini AMT

●      Power handling: 40 watts RMS/75 watts max

●      Impedance: 6 ohms

●      Frequency response: 70-25,000 Hz

●      Sensitivity: 87 dB 1W/1m

●      Dimensions: 11-13/16" x 7-1/16" W x 6-7/16" D

●      (2) 20 AWG 9.5 ft. speaker cables included


●      Woofer: 4-1/2" polypropylene cone with 4-layer voice coil

●      Tweeter: 1" AMT

●      Power handling: 30 watts RMS/60 watts max

●      Impedance: 6 ohms

●      Frequency response: 85-20,000 Hz

●      Sensitivity: 84 dB 1W/1m

●      Dimensions: 9.5" H x 5.5" W x 5.7" D

Ah, the Dayton Audio B652, a product that achieved some fame for being what might have been the least expensive bookshelf speaker in its day to use a 6.5” woofer. Since it is still in production, I would not be surprised if the B652 held that distinction today. Currently priced at about $35 a pair (that's no typo), this is a full-sized bookshelf speaker that individually costs less than a typical large pizza. Many people in the audio community became curious about what can be had for so little money, and professional reviews of the B652 cropped up in CNET, Sound & Vision, and even Stereophile. Some reviewers felt it had met their modest expectations for such an inexpensive speaker, and other reviewers felt it had exceeded their expectations. Hobbyists took a wide interest in the B652 as well, and many came up with ideas and attempts for modifications, since it wasn’t a big expense if the speaker was accidentally destroyed in the process.

A few years later T652 pair.jpgDayton Audio followed up the B652 with the B652-Air, which replaced the ⅝” dome tweeter with an AMT tweeter while incurring only a small increase in price. Critical reception generally felt that it was an improvement over the dome tweeter. The positive reception of the B652-Air  incentivised Dayton Audio to expand their ‘Air’ line, with three new speakers to that series. The large B652-Air bookshelf speaker now has a smaller sibling with a 4.5” woofer. A larger tower speaker using two 6.5” woofers was also released, as well as a center channel companion that uses two 4.5” woofers in a horizontal MTM configuration. The speakers, called the B452-Air, T652-Air, and C452-Air, respectively, all use the same 1”x1” AMT tweeter of the B652-Air. One minor difference in the T652 is that it is a ported design whereas all the others are sealed. This should give it substantially more low-end output than others in the series.

As with the B652-Air, pricing is extremely modest for the rest of the line-up. There are very few, if any, tower, bookshelf, and center channel speakers that have such a low cost, let alone any that use AMT tweeters. You could put together a five speaker surround sound system for about $124 using two pairs of the B452-Air speakers and a C452-Air center. Add in Dayton Audio’s SUB-800 subwoofer and you have a complete 5.1 set for $223! Or, you could go all out with a more massive 7.2 system using tower fronts, larger bookshelf speakers for the surrounds, and some formidable 15” subwoofers with Dayton’s SUB-1500, and have a full spread for $656, which is still less money than most tower speakers from other reputable brands. This is truly a modest sum for so much hardware. You could mix and match components between these extremes, and whatever you end up with is simply not going to be very expensive.


Dayton Audio C452 Center Channel

Of course, at this pricing, one has to wonder about the sound quality. We would not, for example, expeB452 pair.jpgct the Air tower speakers to match the Paradigm Persona 5F towers that we reviewed late last year, but then again you could buy exactly 136 pairs of T652-Air towers for the cost of one pair of Persona 5Fs. My question for the Dayton Air series would be how do they fare against equivalently priced systems? That, it seems to me, is what these speakers are aiming for: to be a significant improvement over the satellite speakers that come in home-theater-in-a-box systems. The Dayton Air speakers have the design and construction of actual speakers unlike the plastic satellite speakers of comparable pricing. No doubt there are compromises made to achieve such a low price point, but my guess is a fuller sound will be had with the Dayton Air speakers than with equally-priced satellite speakers.

As with others in the audio press, I have to admit being curious about the kind of sound these speakers can produce for such a low cost. Thus, we plan on doing a review in the future of a set of Dayton Air speakers, so stay tuned to Audioholics to see if these speakers can beat the expectations set by their modest price.

Do you own any of these AMT speakers from Dayton Audio or do you plan on buying them? Please share your experiences in the related forum thread below.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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