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Dayton MK402X Review (Bookshelf Speaker)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the ultra-budget Dayton MK402X bookshelf speaker. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $70 a pair plus $8 shipping on Amazon. Note that this is the revised version of MK402 (hence the letter "X" after its model number).

From the front, MK402X looks to be a more expensive speaker than it is with chamfered edges and such:

Dayton MK402X Review Speaker Bookshelf.jpg


The back gives out the budget look though:

Dayton MK402X Review Speaker back panel Bookshelf.jpg


Still, not too bad at all for what you are paying here.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of around 1%.

Testing temperature was around 65 degrees F.

Reference axis for measurements was the center of the tweeter (by eye).

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Dayton MK402X Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:
Dayton MK402X Frequency Response Measurements Speaker.png


Apparently the older version had a peaking tweeter and in this revision, it was brought down. That is a good thing given the broad dip proceeding it. This is not a bad response though. Beyond that dip we just have a resonance around 5 and 6 kHz. There is good bit of bass despite the little driver in there. Sensitivity is very low though as noted so you need good bit of amplification.

Good directivity results in similar early window and predicted in-room response:

Dayton MK402X Early Window Frequency Response Measurements Speaker.png


Dayton MK402X Predicted In-room Frequency Response Measurements Speaker.png


Near-field driver measurements shows the reason behind the broad dip:

Dayton MK402X driver frequency Frequency Response Measurements Speaker.png


Seems like there is a slow roll off filter on the woofer, or a high order one on tweeter causing the two to not quite meet in the middle as far as level.

Port resonances are kept low which is nice.

I only dared to test the distortion at 86 dB SPL as it required ton of power to just to get to this level:

Dayton MK402X THD percentage distortion  Measurements Speaker.png



Dayton MK402X THD distortion  Measurements Speaker.png


Horizontal Beamwidth is constant and broad for the most part which is good:

Dayton MK402X horizontal beamwidth  Measurements Speaker.png


Dayton MK402X horizontal directivity Measurements Speaker.png


You have 10 to 20 degree leeway vertically as far as placement of the tweeter relative to your ears which is good:

Dayton MK402X Vertical directivity Measurements Speaker.png


Impedance drops to 4 ohm around 200 Hz:

Dayton MK402X impedance and phase Measurements Speaker.png


Dayton MK402X Listening Tests
Other than needing a lot of power to get loud, out of box experience was fine. Really, it was fine which is not what one expects in this price range with so many compromises. I dialed in a broad EQ to fix the dip, pulled down the resonance between 5 and 6 kHz and the sound improved good bit to real hi-fi level:

Dayton MK402X Equalization EQ.png


There was enough bass to activate the one room mode in my room at 105 Hz to put in that filter. Half the time it was needed, half the time not. It reduced bass but also some high frequency harshness due to distortion harmonics. So you would want to play with that in your room.

The rear port makes noises that were audible around 2 feet and closer. So be careful in near-field listening. My tests were in far-field.

Conclusion
The expectation going into a review like this is that speaker is going to be junk unless proven otherwise. Well, it was proven otherwise! Somehow the designer managed to deal with the compromises just right to create a speaker that produces a very good experience with equalization. And not bad without.

Overall, I am going to recommend the Dayton MK402X. If you need a pair of speakers that can excite you with well recorded music most of the time and not cost more than a dinner, you have found it.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150
 

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MZKM

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Looks like we have a $70 model to recommend, with $100 staying the Neumi that Erin reviewed (going off preference rating alone):
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/neumi-bs5-bookshelf-speaker-review.14404/

_________
Dayton also make a $105 powered version:
https://www.parts-express.com/Dayton-Audio-MK402BTX-Powered-Bluetooth-2-Way-Bookshelf-Speaker-Pair-with-3.5mm-Aux-In-300-467?

Sadly only analog or Bluetooth and no remote; would have been awesome to have optical and a remote, then it would be a good bedroom recommendation, as most televisions now have eliminated analog out.

Hopefully the response is the same, unlike the powered Neumi Erin recently reviewed.
 

MZKM

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Can't help wondering how much these cost to produce.
Well, if you wanted to build them yourself, drivers alone would set you back $50:
https://www.parts-express.com/Dayton-Audio-TD20F-4-3-4-Soft-Dome-Neodymium-Tweeter-4-Ohm-275-020

https://www.parts-express.com/Dayto...eated-Paper-Cone-Midbass-Woofer-4-Ohm-295-415

Their profit must be single digits.

_____
But it goes to show that good drivers can be had for real cheap, though they of course have limitations with distortion/sensitivity/SPL.

Like besides the BMR and the Peerless tweeter Dennis uses in his Pioneer mod, Peerless also makes this 3.5” woofer that is pretty good for $20/pair:
https://hificompass.com/en/speakers/measurements/peerless/peerless-tc9fd18-08
BMR still better in many areas, but this likely can be crossed lower.
 
Last edited:

dfuller

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Well, if you wanted to build them yourself, drivers alone would set you back $50:
https://www.parts-express.com/Dayton-Audio-TD20F-4-3-4-Soft-Dome-Neodymium-Tweeter-4-Ohm-275-020

https://www.parts-express.com/Dayto...eated-Paper-Cone-Midbass-Woofer-4-Ohm-295-415

Their profit must be single digits.

_____
But it goes to show that good drivers can be had for real cheap, though they of course have limitations with distortion/sensitivity/SPL.

Like besides the BMR and the Peerless tweeter Dennis uses in his Pioneer mod, Peerless also makes this 3.5” woofer that is pretty good for $20/pair:
https://hificompass.com/en/speakers/measurements/peerless/peerless-tc9fd18-08
BMR still better in many areas, but this likely can be crossed lower.
I'm sure they're not paying anywhere near retail prices for these drivers.
 

Newman

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I think he means owners are paying people $70 to take the Pioneers away...
Well it’s got the same happy pink panther rating, so, if you think that is the right fate for ASR recommended products....
 

jonfitch

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I've had some custom speakers commissioned before and the builder confided that they were paying less than 60% of what the Madisound/Partsexpress prices were for off the shelf drivers direct from the manufacturer.
 

sarumbear

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I've had some custom speakers commissioned before and the builder confided that they were paying less than 60% of what the Madisound/Partsexpress prices were for off the shelf drivers direct from the manufacturer.
Much less if you buy in volume. In our case we placed a 1000+ piece order spread over a year — and, they were customised (magnets were shielded, phase plug was painted silver).
 
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