Q. I read your article recommending the Dayton Audio B652 speakers that sell for $52 per pair. After reading the article, I looked them up on Amazon.com. Several reviewers over the last few months say that Dayton Audio recently changed the manufacturer for these speakers and they no longer have the great quality sound of the original model, and they now sound terrible. Do you know anything about this? I was considering purchasing 2 pairs of these speakers but now wonder if I should look for something else.
A. I received several emails like yours after the column about the Dayton Audio B652 was published. I was a bit surprised because I knew that the speakers I obtained for testing were recent production and didn't really think the manufacturer would send me a special "ringer" pair that do not represent the actual product consumers can buy. The box was sealed from the factory and completely undisturbed, and I am certain I was the only person to ever have heard them.
I forwarded your email along with my concerns to the manufacturer/distributor, and this is the reply I received from Jill Chupka, marketing coordinator for Parts Express, a distributor for Dayton Audio products. This is the reply I received:
"At one point, we did change the hanging bracket and added rubber feet and some speaker wire to the package. We did switch manufacturing, but that wasn't a recent change and we did it mostly for logistics. We also bolstered the packaging along the way for less damage during shipping.
"Regarding the sound quality you refer to, toward the end of last year we unfortunately had a manufacturing problem where some 'dull' tweeters entered into a production run. This didn't occur on EVERY production unit and was rather difficult for us to ID the exact run. Therefore, we explained to customers that if anyone had a set of B652's that they felt underperformed, we would replace them for them free of charge. Even though listening can be quite subjective, we took that position because we wanted to make sure our customers were happy with the sound coming from their B652's.
"If your readers are not satisfied with B652 speakers they have purchased, you can have them contact our North American distributor Parts Express 1-800-338-0531. They can go about doing an exchange for a new pair."
Given their willingness to stand behind the product, I think they are a safe buy. And until I hear otherwise, I will continue to recommend them. Just be sure to test them as soon as you receive them, and if they don't sound good to you, exchange them for a new pair.
I can say from experience that they should sound good right out of the box and I was immediately impressed, so if you think something is wrong, you are probably right. Given them an hour or two to break in, and if they still don't sound good, look into an exchange.
Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.