Sbl vs Sl2

I currently have NDS / 252 / SC / 300 and I drive a couple of Sbl mk2.

I’m happy about it but the urge to upgrade is always there … I have the opportunity to take a pair of sl2.

Unfortunately, it would not be easy at all … the current owner lives very far from my home and shipping costs a lot as he doesn’t have the original packaging. i have no way of being able to comparisons or demos. I should buy with my eyes closed by spending a significant amount of money.

I ask you: would it be worth it? would it make sense to invest in speakers of this type? i know and imagine that sl2 are better than sbl … but is it worth it?

always thanks for your valuable suggestions.

I think it is worth spending some time with the Search function, plenty of discussions there on comparisons.

I did the change at a similar ‘level’ as you, although my system is active. I found the SL2 better across the board. More sophisticated, cleaner and sweeter and with better bass definition. Considerably better at volume too. We prefer the look too.

As usual there is a caveat. I have never got rid of the SBLs and they are in my second system, passive. I still think they are great. I don’t think they are objectively better but some on the Forum prefer them, and they do have something special about them.

I would need to be very, very confident in the sellers packaging and shipping. Take time installing. Possibly simpler to set up than SBL but still critical for performance. There are detailed set up instructions on here.

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If you love what SBLs do but want just a bit more then I would say yes it’s worth so long as the SL2s are in tip top condition. I’d probably want to see them and hear them first though before buying. That may well not be possible here. Think of SL2s as a sort of Super SBL, retaining the strengths of the original while improving on the weaknesses.


Good condition SL2 are very limited numbers, if the chance comes up I’d get them.

I wouldn’t risk shipping with none original packing, - get them yourself by car no matter if its long travel.

Only yourself can answer if its worth it…

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I recall trying SL2’s as replacements for my SBL’s but although I recognised that they were better, I just felt it wasn’t worth paying the extra for something that I felt was only “slightly better”.
I bought NBL’s instead.


Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate, provided they are in good condition. (and if they aren’t tip top, you can always renew the tweeters, replace the grilles, fit new box separation pins and foam pads etc etc). I loved SBLs for ten years, then a beautiful mint pair of maple SL2s came up on Ebay.
IMO they significantly improve on the SBLs in every way and just keep on giving, the higher up the amplification ladder you go. I have them in a 500 based active system, and they are simply awesome. I have no wish to ever change them.


If I were you I wouldn’t touch SL2’s with a barge poll. They are absolutely rubbish, and I think instead you should pass me the details of who is selling them, and I’ll happily go anywhere in the country to tell this person they should not be selling such rubbish. I would of course do the gentleman thing and offer to take them off his hands to save him the journey to the tip. Charity, that’s me.


Fwiw I actually prefer SBLs. I remember planning to buy SL2s and walking away from my dealer disappointed. It might have been down to the pair not being run in enough admittedly. In absolute terms the differences are small. I think listening before you buy is a must in this case. Good luck.

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Get to the back of the queue…… :smiley:

I reckon the marketing department left out the middle “B” in the catalogue proofs, and by the time the 10000 brochures arrived it was too late; SBL2 was henceforth known as SL2.

Reminds me of that old joke about the first monk who was writing down the Rules of the Monastic Order. He missed out the “r” in “Celebrate”.


I don’t think your experience was an isolated one. Some dealers really struggled to get the SL2 to work for them. Among other things, I think the rear sprung base was just a bit too finicky for some and so the base would be twisted under load and wouldn’t work properly. This was why I decided to do the setup guide, in particular spending time trying to find the best way to describe how to get the rear part all-square so the spikes made even contact on both sides. There are so many little ways to screw-up the performance of SL2s - very much in the Naim tradition, every little thing really matters. Ignore one of them and everything else might as well be wasted. Get it all just right though, and wow…


I remember going to a demo of the SL2s when they were first introduced and Doug Graham was explaining one of the reasons for their introduction was because retailers had been complaining about the issues they had with the silicone seal on the SBL. From what you describe it seems one set of problems was replaced with another!


That is possible Richard, but I do have faith that my dealer would have set them up at least reasonably well. It was more or less on release and perhaps dealers were at the beginning of the SL2 learning curve. Still loving my Sibbles so no harm done!

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Great post. We like you have SL2 active, SBL passive, IBL passive, Naim N-Sat, Linn Kan. All across 3 systems. Over the Christmas period I’m going to try the SL2 vs SBL vs IBL in the 552 active system.

Upstairs where the SBLs live (nait XS, nd5 xs) we prefer the IBLs

Before we went active with the SL2 I preferred the SBLs with passive 552/250. SL2 were more revealing and more bass and refinement but SBL were smaller sounding and faster.

Active transformed the SL2 and I would find it difficult to go back to passive now.

In fact I would find it very hard to go back to another brand of speakers apart from Naim because once you get used to the sound they are unique and distinctive and a fantastic voicing and speed that no speaker I’ve heard yet does speed the same way.

In fact the only other speakers we have liked are original Epos11 / 14.


This exactly! After 33 years of listening to SBLs the only thing that I occasionally think about are small stand mounts (which SBLs really are). If I had a bigger house it would be DBLs but It’s probably too late for that!

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Rubbish SL2 :grinning: agree a little bit with you,I even used to like more my previous speakers SBL

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