SBL upgrade. Help needed


I am going through an upgrade couple of years and have decided to look at a pair vow new speakers. My system is Naim 52, Supercap 2x135s (everything serviced last year) LP 12, Lingo (both serviced and new Krystal installed). My speakers are SBLs that I have had from new.

I have been thinking about Ovator 600s, SL2s or ATC SCM40. It is a bit of a minefield when you consider my SBLs are 25 years old and I do not really look at Hi-Fi mags ect. Not looking for anything new as to be honest it would not be value for money considering my age and my system does not get played that much. My Troika had only 25% wear on it so I was told by the company who replaced it.

What do you Think?


I went from active SBLs (4 pack 135s) to SBL, and the improvement to my ears was huge. Much better treble and midrange (I found the SBLs slightly harsh sometimes) - that BMR is excellent - and much better bass (just as controlled, but going deeper). I have no gone passive (and am now using a 500DR), but when I initially went for the S600, I had the NAC52 and used 2 of the 135s. I much preferred it.
I have heard really good things about the ATC - and I can believe them because I have two pairs of their smaller SCM speakers and they are excellent.

You didn’t mean that, did you? :grin:

Oops - no. To Ovator S600, with two 135s. Actually I had a demo of the S800 driven by NAP500. That was superb.

Also interested in the answer, moving from SBL will be difficult…

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You are right it’s a bit of a minefield.
The problem is, and i’m sure you are aware of this already, only you will know if your ears prefer an alternative speaker within your room with it’s acoustic potential.
You need to be very careful, because you have an excellent classic system that is well balanced.

If your room is SBL boundary speaker good with solid brick or stone walls etc, then perhaps wait in hope for SL2s, or DBLs if the room is big enough.

What shape are your SBLs in?
They can and do degrade in the x-overs and tweeters over time, perhaps they just need a TLC refit (?)

You may get more from spending on LP12 upgrades, so many choices there.

Welcome to the forum! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Having recently got a pair of SBLs and had them refettled I would also suggest that as a route forward; they are superb speakers.


My SBLs are very good, only moved the once in 25 years. Just spent ÂŁ3K on my LP12 and system not played that much.

Thanks for the input and welcome.

Well just last year i had a 52 running active sbl’s with 2 modified olive 250’s, i then moved rooms and lost my solid wall and so the sbl’s just didnt sound the same anymore, so got myself active ovator s600, also got myself another 250 amp, but i just didn’t like the sound, i even got myself a 300dr to run wonky active, but i couldn’t get them to work right in my room.
Ovators need a lot off space to sound right, and unless you can give them this i would give them a miss, they also like a big amp and i feel that your 135’s will be struggling, lastly the passive ovators are not a patch on the active ones, and unless you want to go for 3 pairs of 135’s or better still 3 x 300dr’s to get them to sing right, but thats a big out lay, plus even then you might not like it.

So whats that leave, going active with the sbl’s, but again you might not like the more forward sound, active can bring?

SL2’s, once again an old speaker, that might not be at its best, or go try newer speaker’s, this is what i did and found the PMC fact’s that suited me and the naim. But finding the right speaker that works in your room is a mine field and the only way to to go listen to a few in your budget and then try them at home

Which is why I don’t think I ever could. Luckily work brilliant in our room and just disappear.

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25 year old speakers, that are still on the original tweaters, bass units and crossovers, its hard to say how much they have deteriorated in that time. Even 0.5 % a year, would mean they have lost over 10%
Plus its not like you can compare them to a new pair to find out.
Big mine field

Don’t want to hijack the thread but where can you get SBLs serviced with crossovers and new tweeters perhaps?

I think Class A can do this. I’m looking myself.

Ok @Martinzero…let me know what you find out!

Sorting out the crossovers, would make a huge difference and that why most sbl’s sound better when active and dump the standard crossovers


Yes active mode is really the way to use it, fully agree.

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Not neccesarily. I had a pair of new xovers made using the Naim design but better components - made the SBLs sing that much more.

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Who made them for you?

Not fair to Naim to answer that.