SBL finish options?

I recently picked up a pair of SBLs for a friend and they were in beech (it said so on the boxes). I don’t remember ever seeing them in that finish before.

So the question is, what were the range of finishes the SBL was produced in? Please post pictures too👍

Beech, black ash, walnut, rosewood(rosenut), piano black (to special order). Cherry maybe? I’d have to check my files, but sadly I don’t have them with me right now.

Cheery definitely as I had a pair. It was the original Cherry though not either of the current Cherry finishes available in Fraim.

Given how listening to music through my black ash SBLs brings a smile to my face, I think that every finish could be described as “cheery”.

OK. I’ll get my coat now.


Our esteemed Forum member @Debs has a very fine set in a dark oak.

@Debs SBL finish is the best I have seen okay on a posted system picture but they look excellent.

Back in the 90s the first pair of SBLs i owned were in light oak, don’t see any of those these days.


Cherry here, with a pair of black ash as spares hidden away.


You might want to rephrase that.

@Debs - Apologies, no offence intended it’s just been one of those days.

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Love my walnut versions. Mk2 owned from new


Lovely speakers, lovely space.

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It’s odd how tastes change over time. In hindsight I wish I’d not bought an LP12 with a black plinth, and the fluted designs look better to me these days too. I’d love to change the plinth to something a bit more funky but it’s not a top priority currently.

The same goes for the SBLs to some extent but I think I prefer black/dark speakers/electronics in general especially if I use them in an AV room with a projector, though I think there are some gorgeous finishes out there these days for modern speakers.

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Lovely looking system Debs. Out of curiosity do you notice any change in sound without the grills on? I seem to remember reading many moons ago now that the IBL’s (which I had), SBL’s and DBL’s were voiced to sound correct with the grills in place and that they were in fact an integral part of the design. Given the number of pictures here of these classic speakers without their grills (as well as Linn Isobariks) I’m left wondering as to the validity of this - perhaps one of those ancient myths?

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Always on here…


There is if you want it to be, and if not there is no need to worry, is my conclusion.

There is a possibility of a very slight difference, which can be either hidden or exaggerated by room acoustics which is a far greater concern. I find here that grills on or off don’t stop the music happening :slightly_smiling_face: :+1:


The issue of grills is not a myth. It’s really all about edge diffraction - or the minimisation of this effect. Edge diffraction is a very real issue at higher frequencies and easily measured (and heard). The problem is this, sound it radiated directly but also in all directions from the dome. Some of this travels across the face of the speaker and when it reaches an edge it diffracts and acts as a low level, delayed, driver. This smears the output of the driver proper. If you look at some BBC designs you will see felt rings and blocks around tweeters to minimise this problem by absorbing the wave that travels across the face of the speaker. The foam grills, with no supporting frame (often the main problem in terms of diffraction), are intended


I think in many instances the old foam grilles may simply have perished, mine disintegrated after 20 years or so. Naim can no longer offer replacements but some 3rd parties do. They are not cheap but there are health and safety issues regarding cutting the foam apparently.

There are inexpensive replacements on the bay and pucka high quality ones from TomTom. No need for SBLs to go commando!


I don’t use eBay but am increasingly questioning this. I just hate their privacy policy many many years ago.

It’s the TT ones I was describing but if they’re well made…