How to better SBL's

I have owned SBLs twice, a black and a cherry pair. I am very fond of them although I don’t have them anymore.
I’ve heard them with CDX2/202/Napsc/HC/200 and with an AV2/150x. Our living room is very furnished and it doesn’t reflect much, not allowing for speakers to breath and project a wide soundstage. The SBLs were clear, precise, always close to music and very rarely ‘purely’ HiFi.

Although some think that setting them up is an ordeal, I very much liked cutting new gaskets and making new pads; the whole silicone matter is not too complicated. And although it may be inconvenient for a dealer, I think it’s a useful task that reunites the owner with the actual manufacturing of the speakers.

The absence of mid-bass boom is a blessing in a ‘warm’ room; deep bass was present if the recording did ask for it and if the amp was up to the task. To be honest, Naim amps are rather discreet in that area, so I rarely experienced cinematic depths… But very good music I did.

I remember once, listening to Clifford Curzon playing Brahms off a box of Decca CDs I could almost see the recording venue and calculate the distance between me and the piano.

I never spent much more than £500 for SBLs, and sincerely, nothing comparable exists on the planet for the price. Plus, they must be placed against the wall which for some is a strong preference. Conceptually, I have never liked a speaker system more. Then, life brought other things along.


Very good summary Max.



Excellent write up Max and can only say that with my setup my experience at time mirrors yours with alot of music that I listen to.

P.S. I might just add yes it is worth the expense even though it does not make poor recordings shine. Then again one should not expect them to.

Wonderful reply and insight, Max.


Phil P

Maybe replace the Ania cartridge with something containing a better stylus tip.

As for SBL, I’ve always thought they were a pig to setup, not even my then dealer did a good job there.
Anyway done right its a hard act to follow, maybe IBL or nSats in small rooms.


If you are not wedded exclusively to Naim, perhaps bearing in mind the ever increasing spares issues for older products, you might consider Kudos Titans according to your budget.

They too will support active configuration using Naim crossovers.

Based on my own experience with passive 505’s, but, of course, speakers, however driven, really must have a home audition to really determine if they are right for you.


Kudos 606

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