New speakers to replace DBLs, suggestions please

It’s a long time since I have been on the forum. I used to be here under a different name pre the change in the forum.

Anyway I have had the DBLs for over 20 years in CDS3/555/552/500 non DR system.

DBLs are becoming difficult to maintain. One bass unit cone just split. I think drive unit technology has moved on considerably since they were designed.

I think there are more refined speakers around now. I also have a smaller room now. I am looking for a speaker with more resolution, transparency and detail.

I have not really explored many speakers. I listened to Kudos 808s but wasn’t really impressed with them, in fact the standmount Titans sounded more fun to me. Anyway the 808s are out of my budget. I am thinking of spending £10-15k. Just reading around ATC SCM 50 passive or Magico A3 look like they could suit.

Any other suggestions that the more informed naim community have in mind?

Many thanks in advance.

Read this first if you haven’t already.

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I’m an ex-DBL owner. It’s important to remember there is no other speaker on the planet that does the magic of the DBL. It is a speaker in a class of its own. But as you said, speaker technology has moved on. I run a pair of ProAc K6 signatures and could not be happier. I would encourage you to listen to the K series line, the ribbon tweeter is delicate and has tremendous resolving power.

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delft
I have just gone through the process of refurbishing my DBLs. As Yeti mentioned already, you can find most information in my thread. All you need is some passion and DIY skills. The outlay for reconing the bass drivers, new foaming and new tweeters is far from dramatic. The reward is absolute worth it going through that process. The only enigma remaining are the mid drivers to renew but I am working on that too to find a sustainable solution.

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Hi Chris,

Interesting to hear that you moved from DBLs too.

Can I ask why you chose the Proacs? What do you think they give you that the DBLs didn’t and what don’t you miss, if anything from the DBLs.

Appreciated.

Karl

I gave up my DBLs 10 years ago when I moved to a new home where they’d never work. In those 10 years I’ve had Sonus Faber’s, Ovator 600’s and Kudos Titan’s. The K6 Sig’s, by far, are the best I’ve heard and represent an end-game speaker for me. They check all the boxes for what I consider good sound. I did have a chance to hear DBLs a few months back… they were sublime, emotive and engaging. None of the resolution or detail of the K6’s but they held their own. It’s a tragedy that Naim abandoned the speaker market… imaging how good a modern DBL would sound!

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Hi

Many thanks Charlie and Yeti.

Yes I wrote to ATC and they have given me a quote to recone both bass drivers at the same - they say both should be done for sound consistency. I’m not looking forward to taking the bass unit from the LF box. Presumably I have to desolder the unit from the cabinet? I think the foam etc is ok.

Karl

Hi Karl,
Maybe read through my thread. Yes, its definitely advisable to have both bass units reconed at the same time. Doesnt make sense to do just one. Even if they superficially seem fine the rim wears out and becomes very fragile and may brake just by slightly touching as i did find out with my drivers. Its best to desolder the units from the bass cabinet. Similarly the foaming ages rather rapidly even if it may look okish at first inspection. My DBLs are from 2004 and the foam was desintegrating heavily. So when you deicide to go through that process Id strongly recommend to replace all the foaming as well. How old are your DBLs if I may ask?
Charlie

Hi Charlie

Many thanks for your help here. It is really good of you to post all what you did in such a detailed way. I have to admit my anxiety levels rose as I went through your detailed thread lol ! Blimey!

As for age of my DBLs - I went looking for my old receipts - but couldn’t place them for now. I think they must be roughly the same age as yours. I did look at the custom foams website you highlighted and I have kept a copy of all the sizes you wrote down. Did they provide them to those exact sizes?

Anyway well done on doing such a great job! I will be living with headphones for sometime it seems…

Karl

And very nice they look. I was very tempted a year or so ago, but they would be ludicrously big for my living room, so I went with the SBLs, which work perfectly.

I really MUST stop reading threads like this one :wink:

M

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Karl
No sweat, with dedication and patience its a worthwhile project. With resoldering then and refitting The drivers it’s advisable to have somebody to help.
With respect to the foaming, yes it’s important to order them to the exact measures as you don’t want to cut the foam yourself. It won’t come out straight unless you have a professional cutter. The only cut I did myself are for the pads inside the mid drivers cabin halfway in the middle to accommodate the cables… and it came out soso… straight …:joy::see_no_evil: There should be a serial number at the back of the speakers and on the original boxes… just in case.

Charlie,

I found my receipt for the DBLs, June 2006 when I lived in the Middle East. Fond memories…no idea when DBLs were discontinued but it must have been close to the end of the line?

What did you use to stick the foam to the cabinet?

I am just waiting to hear back from ATC about sending in the bass drivers.

I might even enjoy this experience… :roll_eyes:

Given that I now have a smaller room 5.1m x 4.5m, I was wondering if anybody had any experience of the Wilson Benesch Vector speaker as an eventual replacement to the DBLs?

Karl

Hi Karl
So they are quite young then, I think DBLs were discontinued around 2008. Did ATC send you the transport boxes yet ? There is no need to stick or glue the foam to the cabinet. The pads will hold onto the cabinet walls by themselves. You will have to brake the seal when dismantling the bass drivers as it’s better to place the cabinets on a table when taking the really heavy drivers out. Hope you ve got a soldering iron …:wink: That way you can assess the condition of the foam inside the bass cabinets and inside the pillars. Yours probably will be in a better condition that I found mine due to younger age and they were not all equally desintegrating. But when you decide to go through that effort it’s probably s good idea to change the foam anyway. Good luck …
and i think your room can handle dbls :wink:

Hi

It seems I have to set up an account with ATC first before paying the deposit. Of course covid has slowed everything down.

I guessed I need a soldering iron to desolder the unit from the LF cabinet? I do have one somewhere.

I have been offered a home trial of the wilson benesch vector. I think it’s worth a listen to see if they provide more resolution and detail, though I expect you don’t get the scale of DBLs. I have some new headphones and do realise I am missing out on some detail, resolution and imaging with the DBLs.

Karl

Well, going through that refurbishing took me quite some time also due to Covid and then due to a transport damage of one driver the first time atc sent them back. I think it was close to three months all together. But if things work out you could do it within a few weeks. I had some 808s on trial meanwhile. All I can say is that after the reconing and reforming and resetting the overall emotional experience with the dbls was/is beyond that of the 808s Imho and in the context of my system. And no doubt the 808 may do better with respect to fine resolution in some areas and Imaging.
But If you decided to part with your dbls I would be tempted to adopt them …:wink:

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You want to buy another pair of DBLs? Do you have a cunning plan to buy up the market’s stock and provide spare parts to remaining owners at exorbitant prices? :joy:

Let me find a suitable replacement for the DBLs once I have made a right hash of the repair and we shall have to see.

Anyway the ATC boxes for the bass units are on their way. I guess I better to start the dismantling process and see how bad the foams are.

The Kudos Titans 808, and 505s are the only speakers I have recently listened to as Cymbiosis of Leicester kindly invited me to their Kudos day with the owner of the company doing the demoing. I thought it was just me that wasn’t impressed with the 808s. Strangely preferred the standmounts.

When I bought the Naim DBLs I lived in the Middle East so I bought them blind just based on the Forum recommendations. This forum is certainly great for Naim sales!

This time I will take my time to assess alternatives now being back in the UK and having a greater understanding of what i actually want in a speaker.

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Best of luck with that. Curiously, when I made a similar proposal to help @delft offload his DBLs, the post was deleted. I guess it was in breach of forum rules.

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Interesting references to speakers having moved on and being better now. I disagree - 2004 is far from a long time ago in speaker technology. Yes, there have been refinements, and some drivers are better, but it is not a given by any means that a new speaker driver will be better than an old one - ATC use some designs that are positively ancient, but that works because they did really thourough research, good design and good engineering from the start. Likewise it is not a given that a modern computer-modelled enclosure will sound better than one developed through trial and error. Some modern speakers are better than some old speakers in some ways - and vice versa. It is just a matter of the strengths that do it for you.

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If i owned and could house a pair of DBLs i’d not swap them out for a pair of the latest greatest… i don’t think speakers have moved on much at all. As a new owner of Kudos Titan 606, very nice too, they are not a great deal better than the SL2s i used to own, and maybe not better at all, just different. For sure they are more resolved, have better imaging characteristics, and far deeper more realistic bass, but more ‘musical’… nope. On that basis, the DBL for my money would be at least on a level of Kudos Titan 808, and likely more musical. It’s pretty much my feelings with my office system speakers, Linn Kaber, a supremely musical speaker which has maybe less resolution than new offerings, but for sure is more musical than most.

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Hi Charlie

I have taken the bolts off the front of the driver but the driver is glued on to the cabinet too!

So how did you get it out?

Thanks

Karl