CNET First Look
Dayton Audio's tiny towers offer insight, silly-stupid pricingThe Dayton Audio T652-AIR offers almost everything you want in a floor-standing speaker at a crazy-cheap price.
[MUSIC] When it comes to offering high quality speakers at ultra budget prizes, there's only a couple of companies in the game. Among of the most reliable is Dayton Audio. The company's T652-AIR at a $140 is hands down the cheapest tiles speaker I've ever seen. No, tower isn't quite the right word as it's only two and a half foot tall. But its diminutive height means it actually sounds better without its air tweeter beaming directly into your ears. The speaker's build quality is better than you'd expect. And it comes complete with two six and a half inch polypropylene drivers. The only disappointment is the use of spring clips instead of the more flexible binding posts for attaching speaker wire to. While it's capable of going louder than most cheap speakers, the Dayton Audio is not a party monster. It sounds best at moderate volumes in a small room. Which is perfect for a gaming room or TV room. Soundwise is capable of more bass than other Dayton audio speakers and it has a decent amount of transparency. And so it would be ideal for watching movies or Netflix or DVD. On the downside, it's not the most refined sounding speaker. And if turned up too loud, it gets harsh rather quickly. The Dayton T652-AIR is cheap as chips. It's built well, and it doesn't sound too bad. Pair it with a cheap stereo receiver from Sony or Yamaha and you have a kick-ass stereo system for under $300. But, even at its crazy low price, the T652 isn't the best value speaker that the brand makes For example, you could save yourself $40 and get the MK 402 instead, is a smaller speaker but it simple sounds better. [MUSIC]