Naim SBL Mk1 vs Mk2

I’m sure this question has been asked before but I can’t find an answer

I currently have a pair of Mk1 with I’m running active (with an Exaktbox crossover) & a pair of Olive 250’s

Is is worth swapping for a pair of Mk2s?

I’d say yes. The true Mk 2 has all over veneered cabinets as well as the in house bass units.


Yes @gidders it is, you will notice the difference straight away.

1 Like

All SBLs are getting on a bit now, the ones that sound better are the ones in good condition and set up well.

If you want to upgrade from an early pair of SBLs, may as well look for SL2s : )


That’s a fair point but SL2s come up much more rarely :frowning:

If you like the SBL sound then definitely yes!!! Be patient and the right pair will become available. There’s always the option of hunting down Mk2 drive units and the newer tweeters to put in your existing cabinets, but in the long term I wouldn’t say it is financially wise as the Mk2 cabinets are much nicer.

SL2s are fantastic, end game speaker but a pair of SBLs MK2s are very close.


I knew the bass drivers were updated in the mk2 but I thought the tweeters were the same? Is that not the case?

Tweeters are the same, but fresher is often better. The big change from the earliest SBLs was the move to a much improved mid/bass drive unit that was built in-house at Naim.

As Debs says, the best sounding ones are those that are in good nick and well set up. However, if you are tempted by late SBLs then look for the last ones that had cabinets veneered all over (including the back), and if a decent pair of SL2s crops up then don’t hesitate to consider them as an alternative.

1 Like

What would people expect to pay for a decent pair of SL2s?

Anywhere from £2k to £3k I think. I found the SL2s to be quite a bit better sounding than my late mk 2 SBLs (couldn’t bring myself to sell the SBLs as worth more to me to keep for Second system than sell)


I picked my cherry SL2s for £2K but its finding one of the 349 (make that 348 mine are keepers) pairs that Naim sold that’s the hard bit :wink:

The ones i tries earlier this year were up for £2 k, think he sold them for slightly less.
Clive i would look at different speakers these days, as i have found out things have moved on some what.
But i did think you was a happy bunny with the linn thing controlling the speakers ?

Being a happy NBL owner (one of the 137), I assume you cannot be directing your comment to me. As for SBLs, I have fond memories of mine. I found them much more visually appealing than their successor.

Turncoat!! How could you?! :wink::rofl::joy:

(Yes, I know you still have the Allaes in a second system).

1 Like

I still have a soft spot for the Allaes and these are used on an evening, SL2s early evening and weekends due to a bedroom above the main listening room.

1 Like

Out of interest, does anyone know when the Mk 2 SBLs were introduced?

SBL Mk2 1995

Thanks very much. I bought mine in 1996, so they must be Mk2.

The main driver is the give away, Google SBL MK1 and MK2 and take note of the driver and compare.