SL2 setup for best bass extension

I’ve recently acquired a lovely pair of SL2s, having last owned this model for a few years up to 2007.

They sound excellent as I remember them. What I don’t recall from all those years ago is whether they ever really produced any real low bass. The specs say -3db at 30hz, but I’m finding not much below 45hz.

I’m well aware of room modes and have tried moving around the room to detect a 30hz tone, but find nothing unless within a couple of feet of either driver - they’re definitely putting out that 30hz tone, but not really audible at the listening position.

I’ve followed the setup guide as closely as possible. They’re dead level on medium pile carpet, spiked through to the floor boards beneath. All spike nuts tightened up and checked still dead level.

I was surprised to read in the manual that they should be 10-45cm from the back wall, expecting this to say as close as possible. I have them 12cm from the back wall.

There’s solid, well controlled bass in songs that don’t dig too deep, but nothing much to hear on tracks such as Massive Attack’s Angel, which I’ve heard shake the walls in previous setups!

This isn’t a major issue for me as I’m not a massive bass head, but if there’s anything I’m potentially doing wrong, or might do better, I’d like to know.

Oh, one thing I didn’t see is how far down the lower cabinet the material (horse hair?!) should sit - though don’t imagine that would impact hugely? I have it maybe 15cm below the top.

Any thoughts?

Probably not what you want to hear but the n-sub was the icing on the cake for my SL2s. I bought it originally to go with n-sats but it didn’t work in that room with a suspended wooden floor so I hooked it up to my SL2s and have never looked back.

.sjb

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It can take a fair bit of experimentation finding the best position, so do take as much time as it needs, but ultimately there may have to be a compromise unless you’re extremely lucky. For example, in my main listening room the sound is best if I’m sat slightly higher than I am. It’s not really possible or practical though (unless I build a plinth for one of the sofas!) so I accept it’s good enough as it is.

Floor board under carpet can be problematic though - do you have anywhere in the room with a solid stone or concrete floor underneath? I try to go as close to the wall as possible without the crossover cables touching it. Try experimenting with distance between the speakers and don’t be afraid of getting one or even both speakers closer to an adjacent wall. Normally something to be avoided, but that can sometimes work rather well with this speaker.

As for the “horse hair” (FWIW, I’m told it’s goat hair), it should not be clumped down low in the cabinet - if it is pull it up a bit, but make sure it doesn’t spill out the top.

If you have a torque driver or wrench then check the driver bolts and interface plate bolts are all at 3.6Nm

Check that the PIP washers are OK (not too squashed), and all facing upwards, and that they have not dug into the interface plates too much. If so you can rotate them slightly to find clean metal.

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Thanks SJB, I know a sub could help, but personally I prefer not to use them.

Richard, as always a huge help, thanks. I’ll move them back closer to the wall as I prefer that aesthetic. I’ll also fluff the horse-hair stuff up a bit. Are spare pip washers available? I’ve no idea whether these (presumably original) ones are OK or not.

I don’t know I’m afraid. Best ask Naim via your dealer. Failing that, James at Tom Tom appears to sell them. His repro foam grilles are also superb!

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Will do, thanks. I was fortunate in that my pair came with a reasonably new pair of said grilles!

30Hz is very low for such a small speaker. I guess it can not be much enegy from the speakers that low.
If you got 45Hx in your room, I would be happy with that.

Well, actually I’ve done some more listening/analysis.

The bass null at 30hz is centred on the listening position, and largely remains near the speakers - the two places I listened!

Off to the sides the 30hz is perfectly well reproduced. I’ve therefore told Mrs Wb that we’ll move the sofa there…

Or maybe I’ll try the other suggestions of playing with speaker positions!

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Sub or different speakers if you want deep bass, simple as that really as the SL2’s will never give you that real deep bass that you long for. Sorry.

But some have added a sub or 2 to them and got good results, i would try this first.

As stated above:

  1. I don’t “long for” deep bass
  2. I don’t like subs in 2-channel setups
  3. I’ve realised they go a lot deeper than I first thought and will experiment further with positioning as Richard advised earlier

And no need to be sorry, whatever happens it’s not your fault, and I love them anyway!

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They are fantastic speaker’s as long as they are 100% healthy.
Probably most aren’t these day’s to be fair, as the drivers are getting old, but still ok.
But they will never give you bass that you feel and it’s when you change to speaker’s that do you tend to realise.
But enjoy

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Basically close to wall end then outwards towards corners.
But it’s all domestic compromise.
Check for phase. :thinking:

Congratulations on picking up a pair SL2s, as you know once setup they do deliver.

My SL2s are positioned 9.5cm from the back wall this allows for the banana plugs using Phantom speaker cable to miss the wall by a few mm this is the closest I can get them. The SL2 are 2.5mtr apart measured tweeter to tweeter.

Bass does not disappoint even with a 250DR. Most tracks from Massive Attack go deep but nothing like London Grammer “Hey Now” its probably the deepest Ive ever heard SL2s go, wow its deep, so yes they go deep deep down but also deliver everything else beautifully.

@Yorkshireman active setup with 135s the SL2s sound incredible probably the best Ive heard and when his setup plays Hey Now…

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Listening to Nils Frahm Chant and the piano resonance through the SL2s is stunning hard to believe this can be bettered.

In my living room with family life, dogs etc the SL2s are out of the way and just deliver, perfect (well for me)

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Im sorry if I have missed this, but did you mention the amplification you are using?

L.G. Hey Now Is overdriving my room with 500 system into S600. Over the last few months It seems worse than before, probably It’ s time to re torque woofers. I have them since 2016 and never touched since then.
For the OP, if he haven’t already done so, Is better placing SL2 s on the longest wall for bass extension and overall musicality

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Congrats on getting those SL2s. Like SBLs they can sound bass lite at times until a deep bass note is actually in the recording. Then boom! For me that is the definition of accuracy! Personally I prefer accurate, detailed and fast bass to the boom boxes that often pass as hifi.

As others have said, closer to the wall then lateral moves to see what works best for you. Enjoy!

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Speaker’s can only at best try and replicate what they are givern.
Some Speaker’s can be all treble, other’s midrange, and some just boom away.
A very good speaker will be great with it all.
But there is bass and there is bass, and if it takes a track like Hey Now to finally here some bass, then you aren’t really getting much bass at all. Hey now should sound like thunder has gone off in your room, and not a bit off bass.

I was using that particular track as an example. The bass from my SL2s is spot on I don’t wish for more.

I know, but the bass on that particular track goes well beyond normal bass.
You should have nice deep bass on all tracks if it is there as most tracks do. It’s not till you get to hear it on them tracks you actually realise what you have been missing.
It’s all part off the upgrade road, and why you hear people say, i am revisiting all my music, as i am hearing things i have never heard before on my music.