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Dayton Audio MK402 review: Great stereo speakers for the price of sneakers

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MSRP: $129.00

The Good The Dayton Audio MK402s offer much more than the sticker price would have you believe: a revealing sound, tight bass and they don't look half-bad sitting on a shelf. The addition of proper binding posts helps make connecting to a stereo even easier. Nothing anywhere near this price offers a package so compelling.

The Bad The fit and finish leave something to be desired. As expected from small speakers, they can't go very loud or provide much in the way of deep bass. And you'll need to supply the amp, of course.

The Bottom Line At a street price of $69 for the pair, the Dayton Audio MK402s bookshelf speakers are supremely hard to beat

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Sound 7
  • Value 10

Review Sections

Ever dream of owning a sports car? Who doesn't! But at the end of the day, any decent vehicle with four wheels and an engine will still "get you there." The same thing works for audio -- sure, we'd all love a $200,000-plus McIntosh system with monoblocks and story-tall speakers, but plenty of folks just want to hear Pandora or Spotify without doing the aural equivalent of squinting.

While your first choice might be a Bluetooth speaker or even a sound bar, the ultra-affordable Dayton Audio MK402 makes an excellent case for building a stereo system on a budget. These speakers may not look high-end, but more importantly, they don't sound low-end.

If you simply cannot afford to spend more than $100 on a pair of passive speakers, these Daytons should be high on your list of products to consider. The MK402s are yet another standout product from the company that brought you the Dayton Audio B652, Parts Express.

Design and features

Sarah Tew/CNET

Parts Express has been building AV accessories and budget speakers since 1986. The $129 MSRP/$69 street price Dayton Audio MK402 is the company's newest speaker, and in relative terms it costs almost nothing, yet it offers features you won't see anywhere near the price.  

The speakers feature a 4-inch woofer mated with a 0.75-inch tweeter. The speaker has a relatively low 4 ohm impedance (most bookshelf speakers are 8 ohm), but we didn't have any issues driving them.

As you'd expect from a speaker with tiny drivers, the cabinets themselves are small: 9.5 inches high, 5.75 inches wide and 6.625 inches deep.  

Sarah Tew/CNET

Budget speakers typically have cheap push-clip wire connectors that don't make tug-proof secure connections. But the MK402 has binding posts for banana or bare-wire connections. That's nice!

There's a bass port on the MK402's backside, so the speaker should be placed at least a few inches from the wall behind it for better low-end response.

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