Naim SBL will this amp drive them and another question

Hello all!

My first post here, so thank you for your patience.

I am a longstanding Naim equipment owner having had a HiCap, NAC92/NAP90 for many years. I have recently turned my attention back to the joys of HIFI. While working abroad my Royd Edens were destroyed, and surfing Ebay I saw a pair of Walnut MK1 SBL’s which I bought. They are placed against a brick wall nearish corners and sound just fantastic. No boom at all, fast clear and great control. One of my daughters 20 year old female friends said they sounded “large but not loud” and I think this sort of sums them up. Everyone who hears them loves them. They are also part of my surround system when the family are watching movies.

So what could be better than another set right? I was going to put some old Bang and Olufsen kit (Beolab 4000) in my exercise room, but I want the sound from the lounge in there. The Beolab can go in the bedroom on my AE lead shot filled stands (that the Royd’s used to live on).

So my cunning plan was to buy a “cheap” pair of SBL’s and drive them with my old and trusty Mission Cyrus One amp. So now I have the reasonably unloved but one owner early (39k serial 1986) black ash SBL’s in my possession. One tweeter pushed in and 3 female banana plugs missing from the crossovers. I have soldered new connections on. The crossovers work. I have managed to carefully suck the damaged tweeter dome out, and although creased the tweeter does seem to work fine on testing and some careful listening.

I briefly tested the main drivers with the Mission amp, but the speakers are in the middle of the room right next to each other and sound terrible. I thought maybe both drivers were blown at first, but having listened a bit more I think maybe not.

I have read a LOT about setting these speakers up. On first examination I would say the driver boxes are sealed to the lower cabinets still. I can think of a couple of ways to test this. I did push the cones in and they relaxed quite slowly. I will be removing the drivers to clean them and will examine the cabinets closely then. I have a smoke machine I use to detect air leaks in my cars manifolds so I may rig that up and pressurise them with that. Or else a candle moved around near the gap wile playing a bassy track at reasonable volume may inform.

So on to the amp. Is using a Misson Cyrus One to drive these a fools errand and will they always sound rubbish even if correctly set up and well positioned? Cost is a major issue for me by the way!

Thank you for listening and having me on the forum.


Obviously you won’t get the full beans but I ran SBLs from a MkI Qute for a while in my second system and they were still recognisably SBLs, and therefore enjoyable. Not sure exactly in comparison with the Cyrus but proof that they aren’t that hard to drive I would say.


Hard to know without trying it, Berni. I think it important as you say, that the SBLs are set up well. And as Bruce notes, they are fairly easy to drive. There are people here who like them with Naits and Unitis.

Please let us know how it goes. And welcome.


I ran my SBL successfully with a Nait 2.
Guess a Cyrus 1 (old version, not new class D ?) would do as well, they were fairly good amps.
otherwise another cheapskate amp or speakers shouldn’t be an issue.

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Hi Guys

Thank you for the replies. I will give them a go with the Cyrus 1 (yes old version) and report back…,

By the way, Mission’s customer support is excellent, the on/off button does not stay in, and they are sending me two new clips to repair it FOC.

All the best


Hi There

Well, I can report that the SBL’s sound OK at best with the Mission Amp. There is a lot not to like, but it’s bearable for an exercise room.

So having read about how SBL’s benefit from being driven actively I decided to drive them that way using some older B&O equipment that I have. B&O is the home of actively powered speakers so they do know a thing or two about it. In this instance it is just two amps, one for the left and right woofer, and another for the tweeters. Crossover is 3.5khz which is somewhat higher than the 2.7khz which is standard for the SBL 's.

I can report that the results are literally night and day. The SBL’s sound so much better I am quite taken aback. I did have to do some EQ’ing (-2 bass -1 treble) or else the bass was just too much. The amps have some sort of active bass linerisation going on because the B&O woofers are so small.

These amps are probably only 15w per channel but its loud enough for me and they control the speakers surprisingly well.

So I am really pleased, and will be getting the soldering iron out to make things permanent.



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