Speaker Shananigans

And a very enjoyable morning it was, too, Mr U. My first experience of SBLs. I can understand why they have a fan-club.

Being a long term user of these wonderful speakers it’s great to see another convert to the cause. I think your description of their sound is spot on. Fast, lively, engaging and with bass detail, if not weight, to die for. Enjoy!


Hi Stu,

One of the joys to me is the way they render pianos. They catch the resonances so well that they come alive. I played MDS Mike Garson’s homage to David Bowie, for whom he was a pianist. This is made of of jazz versions of some of Bowie’s hits. I enjoyed this recording via my Focal 1008be, but through the SBLs it simply comes alive.

Where the SBLs give ground to the Focals is in the depth of the sound stage, high frequency detail and rasp. Brass sounds good through the SBLs, but it sounds real through the Focals.

Everything is a compromise, and as I said to Mike, I am the happiest with the SBLs of any speaker I have owned.



Lovely write up and homage to the SBL sounds like you have found a great match for your amps.

Thx. Last week I noticed that Definitive Audio had a pair of SL2s on sale for £2.5k and I won’t pretend I didn’t pause, but then I thought, ‘I am enjoying these so much why take the punt’.

I have costed up getting all the drive units replaced by Naim, and I may well do this - but only if I get a failure or quality drop.

I think these will be my last speakers. I know, famous last words!

How are your SL2s settling in?

I read that Naim have a few SBL Mk2 drivers still available and depending on cost it maybe a good idea to purchase and put to one side the only downside is the crossover developing a fault but there’s always the active route :slight_smile:

The SL2 are wonderful and work very well in my room, such a natural effortless sound no fatigue the best speakers I have heard in my home and I feel fortunate to own a pair.

Since owning the SL2s the system is always playing were as previously just every now and again.

I always thought it odd that the original speaker range divided opinion so much. They obviously didn’t sell enough to remain viable and their set up idiosyncrasies deterred some. However, if you like what they do, the lightning speed, large soundstage (but limited depth), beautiful presence range and live dynamic presentation then nothing else satisfies. Although I prefer SBLs to SL2s myself it’s also a shame more SL2s were not sold as they rarely come up on the used market.

I have future proofed my system having a spare pair of SBLs in my understairs cupboard…


Only 349 pairs of SL2s were made.

Also for UK living rooms both the SBLs and SL2s go flat to the wall who wants speakers that need 1mtr free space around them to work.


A pair of cherry SL2s has turned up on the usual auction site, chap who is selling is in Barnsley.

Not sure if I have broken any rules here :wink:

Yes, I saw them - but, I will refer the Honorable Gentleman to the answer I gave earlier :wink:

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Yep, and I asked my dealer to price up a full change - NOT cheap, but also not unreasonable IMO.

My thinking is that most people will do what Stuart has done, and so I hope the units will continue to be available.

Hi Stuart,

Yes, I have been weighing that up as an option. There are a number of wrinkles.

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I have two pairs, and I am getting a third pair made up as I type.

The third pair, are these the ones you mentioned in a private message on another forum.

Yes. Should be interesting.

Please post your findings, as you mention should be interesting.

I got lucky with my dealer. He had a brand new SBL Paxo hanging around last year. He also had a late Mk2 pair of SBLs that used to be owned by Ken of this very Parish. I had just bought new grills from Tom Tom. One gasket set later and I had a very respectable speaker system for under £700 with many new parts. My Mk1 pair bought new in 88 are the spares mentioned earlier.

Even so, I am intrigued to hear about this new crossover you mention.


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