Update: The non 70 volt 8 ohm versions of this speaker have been discontinued. You can check out our best-of page for alternative recommendations.
Dayton Audio is a lesser known company, but their outdoor speaker lineup got our attention when we saw them getting a lot of praise and subsequently saw what great prices they retail at given their specs.
The IO (indoor-outdoor) 525 is the slightly smaller, less powerful, and cheaper younger brother of the IO625. Otherwise, these two speaker sets have the same design.
Another option is the the 70 Volt version of each with the -T modifier, the IO525T and IO655T respectively. These are distinct in that they have a built in transformer (hence the appending -T) that allows you to customize how much power the speaker receives via four different “taps,” as opposed to a much more conventional 8 ohm terminal that the “non -T” units have. The 70 Volt versions retail for about 15% more.
If you’re not sure how a 70 Volt set up is different, then you almost certainly don’t need one – they’re generally reserved for commercial-grade set ups where many speakers or exceedingly long runs of wire are needed. If you’re planning a fairly standard 2 speaker set up, there’s no need to pay a premium for a transformer that you don’t actually need.
Dayton Audio IO525 – IO655 Specs
|Type||passive, wired, wall-mount||(<-- same)|
|Nominal Power Handling||40W||50W|
|Peak Power Handling||75W||80W|
|Frequency Response Range||55 - 20,000Hz||45 - 20,000Hz|
|Sensitivity||85 dB / W / m||87 dB / W / m|
|Impedance||8 Ohms||8 Ohms|
(depth x width x height)
|7.25 x 6.75 x 9.5 inches||8.75 x 8.25 x 11 inches|
|Weight||5.2 lbs||6.7 lbs|
|Warranty *||5 years||5 years|
|Product Manual||click here||(<-- same)|
* Does apply to Amazon.com purchase, through Parts Express, which is an authorized dealer
Review and Discussion
At face value these speakers have excellent specs for both being available for under $100. 40-50W of nominal operating power is plenty to fill most backyards that aren’t exceedingly large. Also worth mention is the excellent response ranges – with floors of 55Hz and 45Hz respectively, both the 525s and 655s will produce solid bass, which is particularly important for the outdoors.
One peculiarity is that Dayton quotes a nominal operating power that is a large portion of the peak power – this is not common, and the general rule of thumb is that a speaker’s peak power handling usually runs at around 300% of it’s nominal/continuous power handling. This *might* negatively impact the overall sound in certain ways over comparable competitors with higher peak power handling.
The 525s and 665s have the same fairly boiler plate (quazi) box design and come in either black or white, which is the usual for traditional wall-mount outdoor speakers. The bezel is a little thick, similarly to the comparable Yamaha NS-AW150s (reviewed here), and the overall design feels somewhat dated. There are slicker looking speakers out there – if you even care – but these look plenty decent enough.
These speakers definitely run large and heavy (Dayton unapologetically states this right in the user manual), but not excessively so – just make sure they’re going to be secure and fit wherever they go. The Speakers come with standard swiveling c brackets.
The design is an ABS enclosure that is graded for full outdoor protection. We haven’t seen any user complains of rust or corrosion, which we have seen with other lower end outdoor speakers, particularly of the white variety. Dayton does say some minor cleaning may be called for from time to time as dust/debris accumulates over time, but this should be quick and easy to do.
Our Overall Take, As Compared to the Competition
These are great speakers for the price, especially the 655s – the improved power specs and response range are absolutely worth the modest price increase. They’ve also received many accolades from distinct audio publications. For this reason the IO655 speakers are (currently) among our top picks for budget-tier outdoor speakers. And honestly, many people won’t even need more power than these bring, even if they could afford higher-end speakers.