Upgrade SBL's or buy Ovators 400?

So my 1986 SBL’s are at bit like triggers broom! having had bass and twetters replaced, but still runnning the original crossovers.
So should I fit some new non Naim crossovers or go for the Ovators? decisions decisions
Oh using a superuniti as source

Very different speakers, the 400 needs space to work and certainly wont like being placed against a rear wall like the sbl’s.

But speakers are by far the hardest perchance in hifi and really are room and personal preference depending, and only you can try that


I take nothing away from your SBLs when I say that I suspect your Superuniti and S400s could sound good together since they were contemporaneous.

I ran a pair of Ovator S-400 with my SN2 and thought they sounded mighty fine.

Hopefully you can get a home demo to see if they work in your room.

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@josh56 What happened next?

Ovators get a bad rep in general and SBL lauded. I owned Ovator S400 when they first came out on the end of a CDS3 and a Nait. Owned them for 3 years and have nothing but good memories of them. I had at the same time in another room, SL2s, and each speaker had its strengths and weaknesses if i pitched them together, but a clear winner… not really.

I have S600’s and SBL’s now. They are quite different. If someone is looking for a single truth I can see the difficulties with Ovators.

I use them both for different music. If I need power, bass, complex music I turn to the Ovators (typically organ music in my case), but if I need the fragility of a violin up to the sound of a full orchestra, I use the SBL’s.

Somehow violins sound ‘steely’ on Ovators. Maybe that’s because the strings are actually made of steel these days. Much to learn in the future.

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I always wonder if the naysayers followed the setup up guide in the manual, specifically with regard to distance from the side walls. Obviously we will never know, and it’s water under the bridge now. But it’s one of the the great audio what ifs, what if Naim had produced a popular loudspeaker that met with widespread acclaim. How different things might be.

Yes Chris, in hindsight i think it was such a departure from the previous sound that in many ways just put people off. The reality is they could be really rather good, and my feeling is that had Naim done what they said they were going to do, active S400s and standmount S200s, things may have gathered enough momentum to have been a success.

I moved from active SBLs to s600 some 8 years ago. I did not want to change but my dealer persuaded me, and I did not appreciate how much I would come to like them so no regrets.

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I’m going to stick with the SBLs.


I had dems of both SL2s and later S400s. Neither speaker made me want to ditch the Sibbles. I still think they are the best small speaker for typically modest U.K. living rooms.


For the size and cost, nothing will beat well set up SBLs. End of.


Except when you don’t have a decent wall to put them against.


Yep mine are not against a decent wall, but cant do much about that

I have moved house a few times over the years. A solid wall was always a serious requirement before buying.


Indeed. When I did visit people before Corona kicked in, I found myself knocking on walls and looking for ideal loudspeaker positions. Crazy.

You’ve obvious not met my senior management team!

Lol! I think my boss gets her way on most issues, but some things are just too important! The fact that Sibbles are unobtrusive and go against said wall make it an easy sell!

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Almost never see any Ovators coming up in the classifieds, anyone know how many pairs they made.?

I remember 600 came first and had a bit final development/adjustment just after launch.
Not sure about 800 or 400, was there actually any 200, even prototypes ?