We first reviewed thestereo speakers back in 2010, and were thrilled to note the bookshelf speakers' sound went toe to toe with speakers that sold for three or four times its rock bottom $40 (for the pair) price. Now, joining the Dayton line we have the smaller B452, so we were eager to compare the two speakers side by side.
At about $30 USD (plus $8 shipping), this is about as cheap as you'll ever see a set of decent bookshelf speakers. They're not available in the UK (though the price would translate to around £20), and there is a not-so-subtle "Antipodean tax" for Australian consumers, who can find them closer to AU$86.
Design and features
While we love the $40, if you find it to be too big, this smaller and cheaper B452 is a great alternative. Each B452 measures 9.5 inches by 5.5 inches by 5.7 inches (24 cm by 14 cm by 15 cm), while the larger B652 is 11.8 x 7.1 x 6.6 inches.
The B452 is a sealed-box design, so it doesn't have a rear bass port. That frees up placement possibilities compared with ported speakers. You can put the B452s right up against a wall if need be, but we'd still recommend leaving at least a few inches of clearance between the wall and speakers for best sound. Impedance is rated at 8 ohms.
It's worth noting that the B452 has a 4.5-inch woofer and a 0.6-inch polycarbonate dome tweeter; we regularly test sound bars and bases that sell for 10 times more than these speakers that make do without any tweeters! Meanwhile, you get a nice cosmetic touch, too: The B452's black cloth grille is removable.