For people who aren’t necessarily audiophiles, it might seem easy to select a speaker system based solely on its price tag. But even if you can’t tell the difference between a high and a low frequency, there are other factors to consider before you take home new speakers, such as size, aesthetics and ease of use.
If you’re looking for something that doesn’t occupy a ton of space, is easy on the eyes and is affordable, bookshelf speakers may be a good option. This type of speaker isn’t bulky and isn’t as complicated or as expensive as sound systems or home theaters.
We compared the self-powered Pioneer SP-BS22-LR with the Dayton Audio B652, a speaker that works best within a larger system. Read through to see if these models sound right for you.
The speakers: At a glance
|Dayton Audio B652||Pioneer SP-BS22-LR|
|Price||$56.99 (per pair) on Amazon||$129.00 (per pair) on Amazon|
|Dimensions||6.4 x 7.1 x 11.8 inches||8.4 x 7.1 x 12.6 inches|
|Weight||5 lbs, 8 oz each||9 lbs, 2 oz each|
|Power||40 watts||80 watts|
|Speaker components||1 tweeter, 1 woofer||1 tweeter, 1 woofer|
|Buy on Amazon|
The speakers: Up close and personal
Dayton Audio B652
NerdWallet takes you shopping: The Dayton Audio B652s are small bookshelf speakers, measuring about a foot tall and weighing 5 pounds apiece. But don’t let the small size of these speakers fool you: Users said high frequencies were presented with clarity and low frequencies were accurate and crisp.
Some reviews said the speakers could benefit by adding a subwoofer, but most were satisfied with the bass levels. The B652s work best for casual listening in small spaces such as home offices, basements and bedrooms.
Good fit for: For the price, you can’t beat the Dayton’s sound quality. These speakers are great for first-time buyers or those working within a budget. You will need to buy a separate amplifier to power the B652s; you can purchase the Dayton Audio DTA-1 for $35 or a mini amp from other brands, such as Lepai, for around the same price.
» MORE: Yamaha YAS-203 speaker review
NerdWallet takes you shopping: Most small bookshelf speakers suffer from a lack of bass, but despite its small stature, the Pioneer SP-BS22 can deliver deep, heavy tones. Users said that the speakers, priced under $130, deliver a warm, full sound that can replicate both high and low frequencies.
These speakers are self-powered, so they don’t need an amplifier if used on their own. But they can be connected to additional components — a receiver, a subwoofer, etc. — for enhanced sound quality or as part of a home theater system.
Good fit for: The Pioneer SP-BS22 speakers may cost nearly twice as much as the Dayton B652 monitors, but with the built-in amplifier and more detailed sound, they still qualify as a bargain buy. Another plus for the Pioneers is that they’re versatile: These are great as stand-alone speakers or as pieces within a bigger sound system. Thanks to the SP-BS22s’ sound reproduction, flexibility and price, this set can please casual audiophiles without pulling the plug on their expenses.
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Nina Tabios is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.