Naim SBLs

I have a pair of 1998 Mark 2 SBL’s. I bought these second hand in 2001 and have always been very happy with them. But at some point will they need some sort of service?

When they stop working?


Bar a disaster, I not moving away. We have a perfect room luckily.

Go active, it will take away the worry that the crossover is overdue.


:point_up_2: This. Active is sublime.

Given how cheap they are these days why not get a second pair and store them just in case? I use a late Mk2 pair like yours but have my original Mk 1 1988 pair under the stairs…

Hi Jay,

I bought a pair of old Mk 1 a number of months ago from a friend. They came with two Naim xovers, one unused.

I then had a new set of drivers fitted. There was an uptick in sound quality, but it was not huge. I did it for peace of mind. I have the old drivers boxed as backup.

If you like what you are hearing I would leave well alone. If you have the upgrade itch then:

What DID make a nice difference for me was getting a new passive crossover made using high quality components. I really DIDN’T want to go active. Just too many boxes.


I’d say leave well alone if they sound good. I’d agree doing something to get rid of the rather average quality original crossovers pays very significant dividends and reveals just how good a speaker Naim once made. The sound has greater substance and instrument reparation improves. Drums and bass especially just sound more realistic. Unfortunately Naim’s active solution costs nearly £8,000 and requires an extra three boxes and for most of us buying secondhand that may be a bit steep. There are other ways to improve the crossover, as Mr Underhill has said, especially if you’re handy with a soldering iron.

Just do a few checks.

Make sure that the bottom unit is still sealed. When you gently push the edges of the bass diaphragm in they should return to position slowly not just pop back.

Other than that make sure everything is nice and tight at the back and they are still level etc. Then leave alone. If a tweeter goes (as mine did eventually) you will know.


Thanks folks for all the replies so far.

Maybe I should say that I am not at all technical when it comes to hi-fi, or indeed anything else! I am fundamentally a musician who has collected together a reasonable quality hi-fi. This was my first post onto this forum.

Accordingly I did not know what having Active speakers meant. But from Michael17’s helpful post it entails more “boxes” and a lot of cost. Not an option for me where most of what I have has been bought second hand.

Do not even know what the crossover is. But I will reserve the question for my excellent hi-fi supplier next time I am in contact with them. I wouldn’t know what to do with a soldering iron!

As I said they are working fine at the moment. I just want to ensure they stay that way!

The grills are starting to fray somewhat. I have spotted that the tomtomaudio shop supplies new ones at £194 a pair. Somewhat expensive, but if that is the best option….

If your financial possibilities are limited, there are alternative suppliers of grills, to give a hint they come from Devon.

Mine are from that supplier since I wanted steel grills (we have 4 young kids here and want the Sbls to survive!)

I got some after-market foam grilles which I am very pleased with via flea bay for my Rega Kytes. I got the recommendation from another forum. He does other speakers too.

The crossover is the flat black box screwed onto the back of your speakers. The cables plug into them.

The grills from TomTom are really excellent and worth the money. I have them. A search will also find recommendations for lower cost versions which I am sure would be fine.

The crossover itself gets a bad rep but I have always been pretty happy with them. Active is too rich for me anyway but I am more than happy as is.



Thanks stuart. Really helpful

On this overall topic I may be moving house soon. I have a set of instructions for assembly. But does anyone have any for their disassembly please. They haven’t been moved for many years!

My dealer happened to order some grills from TomTom, and they arrived whilst i was there. They are excellent quality, TomTom have done a great job in sourcing them for their customers. They get my recommendation👍


I guess if my existing ones have lasted for 22 years 194 pounds is not a silly price to pay!


To go active you need the crossover, a power supply and an additional amplifier. Depending on what you buy this can be done for considerably less than 8k- if you’re willing to buy second hand (and have the equipment serviced).

A second hand CB or Olive 250, HiCap and SNAXO 2/4 plus interconnecting cables can probably be had for around 2k if you shop carefully. The costs of servicing would vary depending on where but Class A offer a good service at a very fair price.

A further question if I may. As well as needing to know how to safely dismantle the SBL’s I am missing a crucial piece of the original packaging. Does anyone know a relatively cheap outlet to source 3D printed replacement?

I’ve dismantled a couple of pairs but haven’t ever had the original packaging.

Here’s what I did.

  1. Unplug the cables from the crossover.

  2. Undo the two allen bolts securing the ‘tweeter boxes’ and remove the tweeter boxes.

  3. Gently push your fingers into the gap between the ‘woofer box’ and the bottom box. Hopefully this gives way without too much effort and you don’t damage the gasket that sits between the two.

The rubber/neoprene gasket sits between the two cabinets with silicon sealant taking up any air space. Hopefully the sealant isn’t sticking the two cabinets together.

Also be aware that there are four (?) short spikes between the top and bottom box resting on aluminium pads, if you can avoid it don’t damage the aluminium pads.