SL2 setup for best bass extension

I think a lot of people having been brought up on the source first doctrine has a lot to do with it. Μany may have speakers simply incapable of reproducing deep bass, with even the second to bottom octave significantly diminished, so that any bass getting through seems a lot as they have got used to lack of bottom as the norm. That phrase “I hear bass only when there is bass in the music” is telling - people with full range systems also only hear bass when it is present in the music, but they may well hear and appreciate its presence in music where people with bass limited systems are completely unaware of it.



Prizes for guessing what the actual problem was? Bold text is the massive clue, and I even made some checks at the time…

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I’ll answer my own question then…

Very briefly the speakers were out of phase. Headslap moment as this had occurred and I checked the connections accordingly. What I’d forgotten is that the bi-directional N2 speaker cable had originally been ordered for my Nait2 to connect to whatever speakers - and I’m using it the other way around for the SL2s. Of course the Naim connectors had been set for the mirrored amp outputs rather than the speaker inputs of the SL2s!

Switched the one that needed switching and hey-presto! Not only is there lovely solid bass down to 30hz but of course I now have a soundstage and tonal balance. I’d known something was wrong, and should have stretched my initial investigation, but not to worry now super pleased with them.


Hey now is a song which had even given at my SBL in my room an incredible bass :smile:

SBL and I think sl2 can do bass.
In my room this has happened only in some cases at some special songs - „hey now“ is one.
But … there was never a bass drum and much power in bass guitars.
I have never thought what I miss until I heared the kudos.
But SBL and sl2 have there strength - what they can do best no other speaker can do…

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Over the last few years ive come to realise the SL2 can do things very well (with the appropriate amplification) but not the best in any particular area compared to a more modern 3 way speaker with a similar new price point. My only issues i have with them is the crucial setup and the on going yearly maintenance. They are a fun speaker for me. I have found a number of my audiophile comrades find them a bit too much focus in the mids, so not every body’s fun box.

My 135’s just got them working but the 500 really is another level. I personally would not consider matching them with Naim amplification under a 250 DR as the bottom end is just not going to deliver no matter where you set them up.
Yes they can be a rabbit hole…

They are a fun speaker for me.

Indeed they are and difficult (for me at least) to find an alternative that works with my current setup

Care to elaborate with some names of modern speakers ?

Now thats subjective and an opinion topic as your ears are your ears.
A £6000 speaker? I’ll let you do the demo for your setup. But i would suggest any number of well known brands starting with focal,harbeth,Totem etc
SH market VFM these Sonus Faber Cremona M Loudspeakers are very hard to better and cant be better by SL2 period, yes cost a little more but VFM is far greater. I like my SL2 speakers thats why i own them and have recently dropped stupid money on dust covers. But i will upgrade at some stage.
As i said just my opinion. Have fun!

A Pic of a friends setup. I now own the 500 and may be thinking to pick up the recently serviced 552, depends on Mrs Hen and my timing.


I’ve gone though a lot of speakers in the last decade.

In approximate order:

Shahinian Arcs
Shahinian Obs
ATC 50 Active Classic
ATC 50 Active Tower
Quad ESL63
Yamaha NS1000M
Scansonic MB1
Raidho D1
Tannoy Devon
Tannoy Balmoral (modern bespoke cabs)
Wilson Benesch Arc
Wilson Benesch Discovery
Bowers & Wilkins 802D3

Some were superb, others merely very good. The superb ones (ATC, Raidho, WB Disco, B&W) were hard to live with in terms of room placement needs. The ATC Towers also had a tendency to overload the room they were in (the Classics less so). I could go on.

What the SL2s do, once set up properly, is a very engaging yet non-fatiguing sound, with enough bass to give a balanced presentation, but without causing in-room issues (at least in my 5.2x4x2.4m room).

I bought an Avid Integra to drive the B&Ws properly, and it provides all the control I can imagine the SL2s needing. It offers a punchy, detailed, engaging sound both with these and the B&Ws before. Clearly the B&Ws offered more finesse and a little (but not a huge amount) more bass, but for the friendly room placement and aesthetic the SL2s redeem that in spades. In a way the Integra is the big integrated missing from the Naim line-up.

The proof of the pudding is that I’ve been up late most nights since getting them, listening to both old favourites and unfamiliar new releases.

They are also one of the best looking speakers on the planet.


In case anyone doesn’t know how fine looking an SL2 is… :joy:


Just a shame that they are no longer supported :slightly_frowning_face:

To a degree, can still get pips and washers tweeters can still sorted to a degree. (i have a Naim spec set new in box😜) i’m sure you are aware what can be used in replaced these days. woofers are the issue. so hope like hades they hold together. though in my experience they are very well made and can handle long periods of loud music with ease.

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Otherwise I’m aware that the latest gen version is a technical match, and can be fitted with some metalwork.

You can’t fairly compare the cost of new SL2s 20 years ago with speakers that cost the same amount today, because of inflation.

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Very interesting and informative post.

You must’ve had a lot of fun trying out all those different speakers.

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I only have one spare set.

But there is a thread on here that describes how you can buy and adapt the replacement scanspeak tweeters.

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£6,000 in 2008 is equivalent in purchasing power to about £10,032.82 today, an increase of £4,032.82 over 16 years. The pound had an average inflation rate of 3.27% per year between 2008 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 67.21%.

so we could say a £10,000 speaker?

I see a well known UK retail outlet have an our price for some Focal sopra No 2 three way floor standers for £9,650 come and collect. i have a friend with these, they are better than the SL2 in most respects well other than looks imo and im unsure about focal tweeters but yet the SL2 tweeter can be a bit fierce in the tweeter department on occasions too.
Naim sold around 350 SL2 sets over a few years 2003 to 2008?
i’m told Naim stopped production because they were so expensive to build but yet they could of put up the retail price if they thought they could
sell them.
i do love my sl2, dont get me wrong i not bashing im loving, but i realise they’re not the be all
and end all, that is my original post point, they do most things well but an equivalent retail priced speaker these days can and will do better. its a fact it is technological progression. just like a 82 to 282…
those Cremona M speaker cost him $13,000 NZD and the Sl2 cost $12,000 back in the day.

SL2 is a true craftsmanship speaker build. that’s why they look and sound so good…


fwiw, i brought a Nap 500 just so i could get them working as god intended. like i said a Rabbit hole.

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However hifi gear - speakers from other manufacturers, and Naim stuff - seem to have increased more than rpi would suggest, so likely if made today they’d be £12k or possibly considerably more. (E.g. some PMC speakers have increased by 60% from 2016 to now.)


If SL2s were made today they would be far more.

They are not part of the ‘basket of consumer goods’ that ‘consumer’ inflation figures are supposed to represent.