SBL driver replacement


I have a pair of Mk1 SBLs which although 25-30 years old, still sound great. I am however, a realist, and accept that at some stage they will degrade.

As those who know them will attest, it is difficult to better these speakers unless you spend at least 5-6k GBP, so investing sensible amounts may be viable.

I know that tweeters are available but also that the drivers (Mk 1 or 2) are basically not available.

Therefore, I am interested to know whether anyone has good suggestions as to replacement drivers from good manufacturers (SEAS, Scanspeak etc…) that work well in SBL cabinets and would be a good, more modern replacement.

I know that what I’m suggesting may be viewed as heretical but I’m simply trying to extend the life of the SBLs!



There’s no reason why the SBL mid bass drivers shouldn’t last a very long time. They’ll only need replacing if they break or are abused.

If they do need replacement then I would be looking for some secondhand Credos to give up their mid bass drivers. They won’t be matched as fine as the SBL ones but they’re otherwise the same and they’ll likely work much better than unknown or incorrect drivers.


Exactly why I kept my Credos when I got some SBL’s. Nice to know the plan is good.

While we’re on the subject of SBLs, how important are the foam grilles.

Mine rapidly disintegrated in recent years whilst in storage, and I know there are various sources for unofficial replacements.

The fact they went when in storage meant I couldn;t easily A/B grilles on/off, but I always used to have the foam grilles on years ago (unless they fell off!).

So what sonically to they give that bare drivers don’t?

Harshness is the main thing I’m finding in the system at times (again) but it’s quite variable, I played some things last night which made me wonder how the sound could be bettered, later on it seemed to deteriorate or maybe that was just me!

SBLs were designed to be listened to with the grilles in place. I recently replaced the foam grilles on my SL2s with a set from Tom Tom Audio - they looks fantastic, exactly like the originals. Well worth it.


Thanks, I plan to get some from there, just wondering what perceptible sonic differences they provide, naturally they will look better but I know the grilles on most speakers can affect the sound dispersion characteristics.

I think I’m struggling to identify what’s causing the harshness.

The 282 is powered by an Olive HICAP as is the ancient chrome bumper NAXO.

The 282 was ex-demo but is not that old. My old HICAPs and NAP 250s have been serviced in Sheffield a couple of years ago. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I do wonder about the NAXO which was pre-loved (I preferred it to the ‘current’ SNAXO in 1997-8).

On vinyl my LP12 can also sound harsh not infrequently, the Linn Linto phono stage was also serviced not too long ago, but it was purchased shortly after release.

Seriously considering looking at phono stages next, but demoing Linn/Naim/other options for LP12 is probably tricky.

Apologies to o/p for diverting thread.


Get the NAXO serviced.
Torque the SBLs driver bolts - on my Credos this made an astonishing difference.


I can remember the values being posted some time ago but didn’t bookmark!

3.6Nm for the driver bolts.

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