What’s so bad about Naim Speakers?

The SBLs can be quite wonderful driven actively. Have done so with 4x135s and 2x300s. They just get better with the better the amplification.

I always liked SBLs after attending a Naim evening in a Chadderton hotel when SBLs were the new product. The first track played was Thirteen Question Method by Ry Cooder played on an LP12/Ekos/Troika IIRC. Active with 135s.

Sadly I was never in a position to get a pair. :flushed:

Without this ending up being an SBL thread, I wanted to add that my SBLs were brilliant with my Nait2. Bass was tight and mids detailed. In some ways better than my 250.

I suppose, what I’m trying to say is, I think they are a good speaker. There are undoubtedly better speakers out there but they work for me and have no urge to change them.

I think Naim did well with these, and the fact that there is a debate says a lot.

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Must admit from a business perspective I’ve never understood that. The cost of a bigger amp is always going to be less than 2 (or 3) of the smaller amp plus SNAXO/SCAP. So it never makes sense to go active with anything less than a 500DR setup?

I think you may have mis-spoke. You can not go active with a single amp, going active with 500DRs would be significantly more expensive than going active with any other Naim amplification. Did you mean to state that passive with a single 500DR makes more sense than active with two 300DRs? I think you will find that the cost of a 250 is half the cost of a 300 which in turn is half the cost of a 500. Going active will require an external crossover with power supply no matter what amplifier(s) are used. So from a cost perspective, active with say 2 300DRs + SNAXO + SUPERCAP is more expensive than staying passive with a single 500DR with say an SBL type speaker.

Ooops, we are sort of stating the same thing. That said , one 500 passive is better than 3 x 250’s active (and about the same price once you factor in SNAXO and SC if buying from new); the difference between active with 300s and passive with a 500 definitely swings cost-wise in favour of the passive 500, but sonically may be less clear as the real limiting factor may be the passive crossover? Would love to be able to test that out (say 2 x300DR driving SBLs vs 500 passive driving SBLs; hasn’t this been discussed on the old forum?).

Apologies for rambling

Much discussion of active vs passive in other current threads, including one specifically about active with 300 vs passive with 500, though none are specifically about Naim speakers.

500 v 2x300 active? Is an active setup better or just different
And the FAQ: What is an Active System? (Active Bi-amping & Tri-amping)

I find this is more a product of a speaker interacting with room acoustics. Certain frequencies get boosted or cancelled.

As @JonathanG said above, the speed of the older Naim speakers is tremendous. This is aided by a certain phase coherence, with the phase guide in the mid-bass unit, that for me means that music replay remains in proportion as volume is changed.

Other speakers can have a richer mid-range and/or extension at the frequency extremes that I do find attractive, but as a package the SBLs in a ‘normal’ sized British living room are rather good.



Hi CJ,

I went down the route of getting a passive XO made with uprated components, I didn’t want to have to add MORE shelves. Recently I added some IsoAcoustic Gaias to good effect. I don’t know whether these were the cause but friends have commented that I get more bass from my SBLs than they are used to.

You could look at a Sub, such as the BK-XXLS-400. This is a great sealed sub and is FAST. Works well with the SBLs; run the wires from the speakers to the Hi input (get wiring advice).

As you know the SBLs do have some very particular strengths that I think we both find attractive.



What’s so bad about naim speakers …
Well, in short, the older BL range had some issues with looks, WAF, size and cumbersome Installation procedures while the newer ovator range supposedly couldn’t really convince by its sonic abilities.

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Apart from that though… :+1:t2: :joy:

Well, having done a compare and contrast between the SBLs and the Lumina IIIs this afternoon I am back to the LP12/Aro/Geddon > SBL. Just listening to the vinyl version of ‘The Sound of Silence’; this is superb.

I am NOT saying that ANY vinyl is better than the digital front end, this is NOT the case. But with the right album this combination is MUCH more than the components.

A friend has a Tangerined LP12 & Olive amps into Focals. With Led Zep and rock of that era I have not heard the music sound better …but, with other genres perhaps not so hot; and I DON’T like Olive amps particularly.

Any way, back to the music and the SBLs!

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I have some SBL’s and truly they are the best speakers I have ever owned. I now have three pairs, although I have not set up the third pair yet.



Intrigued to see three pairs set up! It would be nice to see a picture of your SBL’s, Berni.

Hi Jof

This is my first pair, which I was listening to a few moments ago. They are also part of the surround set up when watching TV. Please excuse all the cables, I was playing with the satellite and wifi earlier.

The second set are in another room which is being decorated, so have bin bags over them at the moment, but when its all over I will post a pic of them :slight_smile:

All the best



They match very well in your room and especially with your fire place. :ok_hand:t3:

…and some might say… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::joy:

What’s so bad about Naim Speakers??..they dont produce them anymore thats bad :woozy_face:


Indeed they do - the issue is that they look so cool, so refined.


Before we got the SBLs, I could get my wife’s blessing for B&W loudspeakers based on their looks. I had to buy the SBLs without agreement, which I did. My wife made an issue about it, until they were positioned and the music was switched on. Seamless against the wall and the uncontrolled bloated bass was gone. Since then, no issue anymore and they look very good too. High build quality. Next step, DBLs :slight_smile:



Actually for a week I did listen to them through the bin bags and they still sounded good haha.


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