Sound Advice: Bad-sounding speakers seem to be a fluke

  • Article by: DON LINDICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2013 - 11:16 AM

Q: I read your article recommending the Dayton Audio B652 speakers that sell for $52 a pair. After reading the article, I looked them up on Amazon. Several reviewers over the past few months say that Dayton Audio recently changed the manufacturer for these speakers and that they no longer have the great quality sound of the original model.

Do you know anything about this? I was considering purchasing them but now wonder if I should.

A: I received several e-mails like yours. I was surprised, because I knew that the speakers I tested were recently made, and didn’t think the manufacturer would send me a “ringer” pair that don’t represent the actual product consumers can buy. The box was sealed from the factory, and I’m certain I was the only person ever to have heard them.

I forwarded your e-mail along with my concerns to the manufacturer/distributor, and this is the reply I received from Jill Chupka, marketing coordinator for Parts Express, the distributor for Dayton Audio products:

“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 B652s 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 B652s.

“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 the maker’s willingness to stand behind its product, I think the speakers are a safe buy. Until I hear otherwise, I’ll continue to recommend them.

Just be sure to test them as soon as you receive them. 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. I was immediately impressed, so if you think something is wrong, you’re probably right. Give them an hour or two to break in, and if they still don’t sound good, look into an exchange.

Send questions to donlindich@gmail.com. Get more recommendations and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.

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