Naim SBL vs B&W CM series


In two weeks time I’ll post a photo of the grills - if they look suffiently nice. They are ordered.

For me this hifi journey is a bit of personal space I try to keep in my life and these metal preservatives are needed to keep it healthy. My BW’s were repaired twice by my dealer I simply cannot afford the Naim price for repairs currently.

Ah, what also helped in convincing my wife was showing a pair of black ash DBL’s. This did put things in perspective.


The foam aesthetics are subjective, IMO foam looks okay if the foam is clean and in good order, and put on straight.
But the sad look droopy issue with old foam, apart from replacements being very expensive, is they are not kiddy proof, a child can easily pull them off to reveal those inviting tweeter buttons, which to a child, are begging to get pressed, and repeatedly pressed quite hard because nothing seems to happen the first six times of getting prodded with a finger.

The issue with fitting grills is if the style look conforms sympathetically to the contours of the sibbles, and if the design conforms to the break between mid and tweeter boxes.
It maybe possible to have all the grill fittings located on the bass/mid driver box only, and the grill extend upwards to cover/protect the tweeter but without touching.
It may also be really smart to have a separate grill for each box, but that would be more intricate in design and style, so presumably more expensive.


I have 2 children who are best referred to as beasts. I have SBL’s and they are never usually interested. Some slight poking of the foam and nothing more. I guess they look a little boring! I have replaced the foam with the Tom Tom versions. Excellent and cheap to revitalise such an amazing speaker. A full gasket kit and new grills cost about £350 and I challenge ANYONE to get a lift in performance from their system for £350 to rival this.


Add £100 and you have another pair of mk2’s.


Another doubt I have which I need a bit advice for. They sound wonderful to my ears without having the gaskets fixed. They are unbroken and clean. I’m happy with the current bass performance - I tried a Spotify playlist having all the Hz tones and there was no issue getting down to 30 Hz. They roll off of course but not in a way the other speakers did.

Shall I reseal them or not?

It is already fab to my ears.


Only if you like black ash :wink:.

Is there a better sounding speaker for the money if you use Naim electronics?!


There you win! I like to see the various veneers in the typical English livings, but I’m a bit sensitive to mixing various veneers for myself.


Yes, 595 Loctite Clear


Thanks Debs.


So I take it you’ve never watched Burmese cats running up the sloped bit then and using it to launch themselves onto the Sondek!?


And don’t forget the Fairy liquid!


What’s that, Stuart? I found a company in my country having the Loctite 595, but don’t know what the other liquid is which should be used. Unfortunately, the pdfs online seem to be gone and doesn’t work anymore.


It’s an old and established part of SBL ownership. Before applying the sealant you smear some washing up liquid on the gasket. The idea is that when you need to dismantle the boxes the seal separates more easily without damaging the gasket.



What’s your favorite version of Ardbeg whiskey. I have been drinking the Uigeadail.Been meaning to ask you.
Sorry for the detour in the topic but had your attention


Jsaudio, that is a complex story. The distillery has been closed and opened a couple of times and I became ardbeg fan based on a bottle which was not of the current period. I believe it was produced early eighties and I drunk it around 2001. I came from a couple of cask strength bottles Laphroagh so ardbeg brought the good peaty character of Laphroagh, buy much more sophisticated to my then understanding. Currently, ardbeg is the safe choice for me and I still like it but there many nice whiskies around.


Cool. The current gaskets are used, but in tact. What kind of washing liquids are normally used? Washing liquid for laundry? Or for hands? Or the general purpose stuff?


Washing up your dishes and pans stuff. Any brand is fine. I use Fairy Liquid!



Ah, ok. I first thought that Fairy Liquid was some insiders phenomenon for audiophiles, but it appears to be what we call Dreft. Thanks - we have it in stock!


One more thing about the sbls: I have been listening to a lot music these days, and it is a joy to follow bass lines in music. All notes appear to be equal instead of certain notes being significantly louder than others. Pizzicato bass is just brilliant.

But my Ovators are a giant step up from the sbls in organ music. Not that I’m unhappy with organ music on the sbls, but the active operation of the Ovators is quite a thing. Let me be clear here: I won’t go active on the sbls, never!

Hmm all I need is a snaxo … I have the cables, nap 200’s, hicap dr …

Nice project in the distant future.


Right that does it, you’ve just about convinced me to get my SBLs out of storage and risk a hernia :slight_smile:

Storage is about a mile away but the road is both hilly and bumpy in places.

Can anyone give an indication of how to tell if the gasket has been damaged during transportation? That will have been upright with tweeter boxes removed, crudely in the car surrounded by pillows and duvets.

Also, while sounding good passive, running SBLs active is a huge boost in performance.