Dayton Audio PK165-8 MidRange Review



Dayton Audio PK165-8 

I didn’t think much of this driver when I purchased it. It was listed in Parts Express as a 6″ midrange for the pro market. Even Dayton’s datasheet has it as a 6″ midrange. Crossing it at about 125Hz~250Hz to the woofer is not an issue. However, at the other end, it appears the PK165 suffers from an early cone breakup. Ringing is clearly visible at 4.5kHz onwards.

Based on Dayton’s Frequency response in Fig 1, the optimal frequency to cross is at 2kHz. This is far too low for a midrange. It would be nice to have a smooth response up to 8kHz before cone breakup but for an offer price of $25, the temptation was just too great for me to resist. 

Dayton PK165-8 Published Frequency ResponseDAYTON PK165-8 FRFig 1 – PK165-8 Frequency Response by Dayton Audio

I loaded the PK165-8 to a 18 liters bass reflex test box just to get a feel of what this midrange sounds like. A quick sweep shows a response that’s very similar to Dayton’s specs. The first peak of the cone breakup is at 4kHz. After that, a series of four peaks are recorded.

Disregard the measurements below 500Hz. Reflections in my room are affecting the plot. The deep notch at about 160Hz is a measurement anomaly. It is not from the PK165-8.

Dayton PK165-8 RAW Frequency Response

Fig 2 – Baffle Width=9.5″ • Ported Box=18 liters

Fig 3 below is the Toneburst Energy Storage of the PK165-8. It clearly shows there’s stored energy (light blue slices) from 3kHz onwards. In an ideal case, there would be no stored energy but since the cone rings during breakup, these unwanted tones are created. Are they a problem when in use?

PK165-8 Toneburst Energy Storage

Fig 3 – Dayton PK165-8 Stored Energy

RAW Dayton PK165-8 Listening Impressions

This Dayton PK165-8 is one of those drivers that doesn’t look too good on paper but sounds awesome. What struck me immediately is the responsiveness. Maybe it’s due to it’s high sensitivity but whatever it is, the music doesn’t sound restrained like some HiFi drivers do. Because of that, the music sounds much more realistic. 

As for the cone breakup, my fears are unfounded. There’s no harshness, brittleness or grating highs that’s normally associated with tweeters. In fact, the PK165-8 can be used as a full range driver. It extends to 10kHz before dying off. That’s more than enough for announcements or Background Music (BGM).

What I love most with the PK165-8 is the vocal clarity and the separation. The lead singer is clearly isolated, so are the backup singers. Very few drivers can do this.

I see a wide range of applications for the PK165-8. It is a simple and affordable solution for vocal reinforcement in auditoriums and shopping malls. If a line distributed system is required, the PK165-8 can easily be modified with the appropriate line matching transformers

For live music, the PK165-8 is ideally suited for a compact 2-way satellite with a separate subwoofer. For better performance, a MTM configuration can be realized with just the cost of an additional PK165-8.

Another application for the PK165-8 is in Home Theater. Their high sensitivity and wide bandwidth are great for Mains, Center and Surrounds.

Looks like I will have my hands full with this driver.

Outstanding Features Suitable Applications
•  Excellent Vocal Separation
•  Vocal Clarity
•  Lively, Realistic Sounding
•  High Sensitivity
•  Good Tonal Balance
•  Tight Bass
•  Announcements/Background Music (BGM)
•  PA 2-way Satellite
•  Home Theater
•  HiFi

Dayton PK165-8 Published Thiele & SmallDAYTON PK-165-8 PUBLISHED TS

Dayton PK165-8 Thiele & SmallDAYTON PK165-8 THIELE SMALL

Sealed Box 20 liters. F3=100Hz, Q=0.88DAYTON PK165-8 SEALED 20L

Sealed Box 24 liters. F3=100Hz, Q=0.86DAYTON PK165-8 24L CLOSED BOX

Sealed Box 35 liters. F3=100Hz, Q=0.83DAYTON PK165 SEALED 35L

Ported Box 18 liters. F3=60HzDAYTON PK165 PORTED 18L

Updated on Jul 22, 2019