New SBLs

And had you bought SL2s the drivers would be at least ten years old already…

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Very True. All my room positioning issues with rear ported b&w’s just vanished when sbls were used instead.

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Never seen them in Oak, look splendid. Those were the days when you got a good wood veneer.:+1:


In a way, i envy you with a 52 [ and a nice fairly late pukka one too ]

There is a lot to be said about being content and enjoying the level of resolution a 52 beholds, and go active with a 135 four-pack, it would cost far less than 500 series stuff, and which although better it incidentally demands eye watering service costs, needs more perfection up the front end, and then begs up market cables [ £s ]

The nice thing about Olive CB era kit is the superb bang for buck for a reasonably fabulous sonic Q which doesn’t upset the balance of the system or the bank balance.
Or to put it another way, finding a good balanced system with a 52 maybe dear but it’s far more financially achievable and affordable than acquiring a good balanced system with 552/500 which can really run away with the budget.

And SL2s is perfect with olive & CB - as long as there is a good solid wall behind them : )


The word of the wise for sure. Thanks Debs


I decided to go in a slightly different upgrade direction, upgraded xover. Should be arriving next week.

I did play with dusting off my CB250s and going active, but the thought of all the boxes put me off.

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Dear Mr Underhill, be careful what you wish for. Many 3rd partys ( if that’s indeed what you have done) claim to have improved bits of naim audio.
In my experience none to date, all they do is change the sound. It may be a good thing to start with, but I always find that after a while it goes back to Naim’s prescription. In other words takes more than it gives. But its your ears so you will find out if your still playing air guitar or listening for the hi-fi. Not trying to pop your bubble as you may enjoy it. Just saying what I and many other people have found.

Hi Soundsfaber,

VERY true. Different but not better is a frequent result.

I just finished Bruckner 7 (again) and what surprises me everytime about the SBL’s that they sound so right. No basstones pop out, no shouty highs, everything just right and there. Beautiful timbre.

To owners of SBL’s, how are they positioned in your listening room?
In my room of 25m2 they are arranged on the width of 6m, 6cm from the back wall with a spacing of 1.65m to 3.5m from my ears.

Room = 14’ x 12’
Positioned on the 12’ brick wall.
4 cm from the wall - as close as I can practically get them.
8’ apart.
12’ from my listening position.

Hi all, my SBLs are set up as follows:

Room is 20 square metres.

Each SBL is situated 6 cm from a brick wall either side of a large chimney breast.

Spacing is 2.40 metres apart

3.5 metres from listening position

I replaced the crossovers in 2012 and the drive units back in 2005. I have more recently replaced my 12 year NAC A5 soldered cable for two new longer lengths of NAC A5 with crimped connectors and this has opened up the sound stage considerably. I only conclude that the soldered banana connectors were in a poor state. Earlier in the year I also replaced my old 1988 CB 250 with a new 250 DR.

The SBLs sound so right with both digital and analogue sources. I am at a loss as to what to replace them with when they finally stop playing music in the way they do now!


Similar dimensions on set up here echoroom. Marvellous speakers which simply deliver engaging music. I have also updated mine and hope they see me out as nothing I have heard as replacements really cut the mustard!



In due time I’d like to replace my TV’s loudspeakers by Neat Iota Alpha’s. I really wonder how much they have in common with the SBL’s. I did audition them, but too long ago to compare fairly.

They might cut your mustard.

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A quick update on the ‘new’ SBLs:

As the drive units have bedded in I have noticed -
More detail rendered by the new tweeters; and
Alonside the increased resolution of the bass they now have more impact, the bass is not only giving me that bit more information it is undoubtedly more dynamic.


@MDS popped round for a music session on Friday to listen to the system with the new drivers and the Townsend Allegri.

Mike’s first comment, ‘Is the bass a touch softer?’; I’ll return to this.

I think the thing which most surprised MDS was just how good the SBLs are at imaging. Maybe not in the Focal 1008be territory but still excellent, which is not something I think you would expect in a boundary speaker.

Another comment, ‘Is the treble a touch harder?’. I think the answer here is no, but the Allegri is a touch more transparent than the EAR868, both in terms of resolution and honesty to the source.

Returning to the bass. I don’t think that it has materially changed in terms of its impact between Mk I and Mk II, what has changed is that MDS now has his 500. The way that a 534 and a 500 produces bass is very different, with the 500 being near SOA solid state. We had a good chat about how my system does bass, which included the fact that the 534 probably produces more bass than say, a 250/300, with the SBLs, but of a different character.

Another great session. Looking forward to hearing the 500 in situ!!


Yep, @MrUnderhill, your system and those new units in the SBLs were sounding mighty fine. Hithertoo I’ve not been an Ed Sheeran fan but that soundstage on his Wembley album was massive! I’ve since ordered the album. :grinning:

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