Replacing SBLs

Hi all new and old forum members!

Time to move to a new house has come and i sadly have to give up my beloved SBLs because of new room geometry.
New loudspeakers won’t have a solid wall but shelves filled with books behind and will have to sit in the middle of the room between shelves and the sofa (sources and amp described in profile).
4 or 5 years ago there was a topic on a valid replacement for SBLs but i can’t find it anymore.
Ideas, advices?

Thanks a lot!

I asked my dealer a similar question the other day

He suggested the ATC SCM40 as a start. I haven’t listened to them but they seem to not need to be close to a wall.

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Budget is a relevant factor.
@jonathang did replace his SBLs by ATC loudspeakers I believe.

They do like a bit of space, but not as much as some other speakers. After a bit of playing about with positioning, I went with about 30cm toed in for my listening position, as being optimum with my room. I have heard them sounding good closer to walls in other rooms.

You’re right.
I’m on 5/6000 E.
And i could try to listen to some Neat or Harbeth but the dealer is 160 KMs far and i can’t drive so much.

I think i remember a Member who in those days was working for an audio magazine. He warmly reccomended a make and a model.
But i can’t find that topic anymore…

I’m another @Gianluigi who has switched from SBLs to ATCs, for reasons similar to yours, including that the SBLs were always going to be sub-optimal in this room.

ATCs share much of the start-stop character of the the SBLs but, imo, with better integration of their drivers. This is in no way intended as a criticism of the magnificent SBL design.

My advice is to look at whichever ATCs have a 20cm driver as a starting point, and take it from there. My own ATCs are closest to an IBL.

Good luck.


The ATC SCM40 manual suggest starting these speakers at 2m from back wall. In my case that would be in the middle of the room - do others here have experience of this. SBL’s were great as they could be put on a back wall

Start with them positioned around 1 metre from the side walls and 2 metres from the back. If the balance is bass-light,
the monitors can be moved towards the back walls.

Well thanks a lot!
So i’ll start looking for a chance to listen to a pair of ATCs!
I have a couple of months before “the flood”! :disappointed:

While we are in ‘bigging up my speakers’ mode, why not try some ProAcs? I swapped SL2s for their smallest model and am very pleased with them. Maybe the D2R stand mounts or one of the smaller floorstanders such as the D20 would work for you.

Thanks HH!
I’ll try and see if i can arrange. I tend not to drive anymore so auditions are an issue…

Might have been Jon Honeyball. Not sure if he is still a member.

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Gianluigi, nice to see you back here again :grinning:

It’s a pity the Sibbles need to go, i don’t doubt there are other choices of speaker that can replace them in your new abode, but SBLs are such brilliant value for money, and an agreeable replacement speaker will probably cost a lot more

How many square meters of room space in your new room?


Shaninian? I only ask because I’ve always wanted to try them and suspect that if my SBLs broke I’d try to audition one of their designs.

I believe they are very flexible in terms of room geometry.


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I had SBLs for twenty years and three house moves. Loved them until this house when they just sounded harsh and unpleasant regardless of positioning. Tried numerous speakers on demo until Shahinian Obelisks just fitted. My wife said “yes” as soon as she heard them.

Hi Christopher and Debs!
Hi all!
Room is about 5 and a half ms wide per side. At about 2/3 i have steel made stairs right in the middle going up and a kitchen that i’ll hardly use on the left.
3 windows.
A nightmare.
I don’t need power but what i don’t want to miss is the natural attitude to bring music that SBLs have. This will have to happen in the worst room possible.

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If i were faced with the tricky dilemma of square room acoustics, i’d consider modest sized but well made standmount speakers. The lack of deeper bass may not be such a compromise, smaller standmount speakers have the advantage of speed, detail, and with good engaging musical focus, especially if the sofa listening position is parked up in the right place :slightly_smiling_face:


I find this quite interesting, and it’s not the first time that someone has expressed that their wife really liked and agreed on a speaker change. As there are so many speaker models, what is the likelihood of two people liking the same model. Is it simply because the acoustics of the speakers match the room better, or is there something in two people being intwined in other more spiritual ways.

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I have been a long term user of SBL’s but bought a pair of Heed Enigma speakers recently. They are a bit smaller but have a lot in common with the Naim. Not sure if I will keep them or stick with my SBL’s but they are very good.

Why not go for Kudo‘s.
They are advised a lot when it come to Naim.

I also have SBLs and love them a lot, and would be pleased if there could be an upgrade even an expensive one

After a speech with the dealer i think i’ll try to arrange an audition for some Focal or Harbeth which seem to be best available match for my set up and room.
A guy will drive me there…
Thanks a lot again you all!

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