The World’s Cheapest Speaker Page 2

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When I first read about the B652 in my pal Steve Guttenberg’s blog, I immediately ordered a pair just for kicks. Since then, I’ve used them as a sort of reverse reference, the speaker that anything I review for S+V damned well better beat.

I’ve also used them as a reference when testing home-theater-in-a-box systems, i.e., something that the flimsy plastic junkspeakers in the cheapest HTiBs can realistically strive to equal. There’s a heart-warming lesson here for all of us: There’s always someone who sucks worse than you, even if you’re a $34.50-per-pair speaker.

But you know what? The B652 doesn’t suck. You can find $100 or $200 speakers that aren’t as good. In fact, the B652 is better than some $10,000-per-pair speakers I’ve heard — although those were all really wacky designs built to cater to audiophile fads rather than to the laws of physics.

The crossover is nothing more than a series capacitor on the tweeter; the capacitor filters out bass at 6 dB/octave to keep the tweeter from burning up. The polypropylene-cone woofer runs full-range. So mostly what you’re hearing is the woofer, and in this case that ain’t bad. The tweeter’s just there to add some sparkle on top. Although I wouldn’t really call it “sparkle.” “Glare” would be more accurate.

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