Why sell DBLs?

As the title suggests
Just something I saw earlier, so I’m wondering who here has sold their DBLs and why
Personally I’d let my old fella go before I would part with the dibbles


Have a listen to Kudos 808’s and you will understand.

Everything moves forward.


I have listened to the 808’s, in a shop near Leicester
I was having major surgery on the LP12
I was invited in to listen to my new deck and 808’s at the sharp end, having heard so much about these I was really keen to hear these sing
I was seriously considering buying a pair when they first came out to replace my old briks
Unfortunately I was seriously underwhelmed, the sound seemed disjointed, bass heavy but a muddled bass, not clean crisp and sharp that I’m used to. Treble and mid I can only say was ok. The soundstage was definitely narrow.
Also I’m hearing all this in the context of shelling out £13k on upgrading the LP12
I did say I can’t wait to get this home and see what it can really do with my big boys, his eyes lit up when he knew the big boys I was referring to was the DBLs

To me the 808’s are like a modern day Brik (I had these for 26 years passive and active) They are a definite improvement on this
The active DBLs are a different animal, the mid and treble is so much more open and delicate, air and space here
The bass is so detailed, sharp and crisp and goes deep down low
Put these together, and the first time I heard them I realised I was buying my last pair of speakers.
I went to this chaps flat with the intention of not buying them, thinking they can’t be much better than my active Briks


I was surprised to see a pair of DBLs for sale on the well known auction site the other day too. Only heard them once or twice and remember being impressed, though a lot of kit required upstream to make them shine.

I think this is true of all of the original Naim designs. I have stuck with SBLs not having the room size for anything larger. I have heard a few modern designs but I am unconvinced that things really have moved forwards in terms of the strengths that I look for. Those Ibbles really are special.

For me it’s a real shame that more Naimees didn’t support their speakers and keep them commercially viable. I miss them.



Agree. Naim speakers are the product that really makes the brand special for me; not that there aren’t many many others. It’s such a shame that they no longer make them but, at the end of the day, it is a business and if the margins aren’t there then that’s really all there is to it.

Great to see a pair of DBLs up for sale as they hardly ever come on to the market. Someone is in for a real treat.


Richard has told a story of how he once drove a pair in the factory dem room with a Nait 5, to the incredulity and general scepticism of all concerned. Worked fine. Naim speakers need 30W.

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I was once told during a Rayleigh Hifi demo evening that at the factory they were referred to as FBL,s…leave you to work out the “F” word. Not sure if that was true or not.

Of course “worked fine” in this context means that sound emanated from the DBLs and the NAIT 5 didn’t fall over or blow up, even with the volume turned up fairly high.

It would not be my recommended partnership though…


I run a 100% Naim system including SBL’s and Full loom SL. IF I were to change I would look at Naim first as what the SBL’s give me I have not found elsewhere. I was hesitant at first spending SL money on speaker cables for what is now a sub £1k speaker set BUT wow!! What an eye opening difference they made.

One day MAYBE I will be the proud owner of DBL’s but for now I am at a point where I can’t imagine better. I am sure there is different and a better different but SBL’s do something quite different to most. I am sure DBL’s do similar but BIGGER!

I guess we all like a change from time to time, sometimes it comes with regrets and sometimes without. Not necessarily refering to HiFi here :wink:


Yep - I remember them being launched at the Bristol Show many years ago and the Naim guys definitely referred to them as FBLs.

Nostalgic for those of us in the data networking game, back when Cisco first launched the 12000 series core router, it was codenamed the BFR, at a briefing in San Jose they regularly referred to it as the Big [long pause] Fast Router.

Here is one of my DBL tales…

The original pair, serial # 001 and 002 managed to make their to Naim Audio North America (aka NANA) after doing the rounds in shows and dealers demo-rooms, where they stayed for a couple years. At some point they made me an offer to purchase that pair for a very, VERY reasonable price-which I jumped on of course.

Two days before they were supposed to ship to me I got a phone call from one CK informing me he had bad news and good news.

The bad news was that there was a bad flood at their office and the DBLs were water damaged and really could not be sold. The good news was that they would sell me a brand new pair in whatever finish I wished, for the original price we had agreed on, as long as I would be willing to pick them up from the airport that they shipped to, as they were already incurring a loss, and shipping/insurance would be steep. Which I was more than happy to do, although they did entirely fill up a small U-Haul trailer.

NANA did try to salvage the lower boxes of the damaged pair by leaving them out on the sidewalk to dry out…but in Chicago they only lasted an hour before they were scooped up and spirited away by persons unknown. Who knows where they are today…probably acting as subwoofers in some monster truck.

I did manage to get the DBL’s to sound absolutely superb in one room, which required floor jacks underneath the speakers and a 200A unfused mains feed from a brand new pole-top transformer to a dedicated circuit box with copper bus bars and 30A wiring to the wall socket, which was hardwired to the Naim-supplied power strip. THAT is what a sextet of 135s needs.
Suitably pandered the DBLs had a LF extension and grip that was near unparalleled and a swirling sonic soundscape that was near-headphone like in experience. When I moved them on to two different houses, I could never recreate the perfect storm I had in the first house.

By current standards the tweeter and midrange driver could be improved upon, especially the midrange-that had a very idiosyncratic implementation whereby the driver had a native huge resonance in its operating band that was compensated by a huge suckout in the same band by the compliant floating slotted plate it was mounted into. A brave attempt to turn two wrongs into a right, but ultimately the underbelly of its performance-it never could offer those totally credible vocal presentations that my previous speakers (the Sonus Faber Extremas) did with effortless aplomb.

Why sell the DBL’s…well unless scrupulous care is taken into providing them a sufficient mechanically sympathetic room/floor interface, or an unconstrained raw electric supply for the electronics, they will not sound that great. They were very responsive for instance when I finally used a massive balanced power transformer to liberate the electronics from mains-borne noise that their power supplies could not reject. Also the PAXO is leagues behind what can be achieved actively (although to be fair the PAXO with a 500 still managed to outdo active with lesser amps in many, but not all areas). And every so often the gasket seal will lose integrity and the performance will go off.

Floor interfacing is also very important, as that can make or break the final performance. If you have them spikes-through-carpet on a sprung floor they will sound bad (but sitting in carriage bolts screwed in the floorboards will rescue them). Mana soundbases will greatly improve the sound on sprung floors too. As will Chips between their spikes and hardwood floors.

If you move them a couple times, the upward points for the upper box will scour the aluminum pressure pads and gouge the wood, and the design will be compromised.

You don’t just buy DBLs…you enter a relationship with them, and that relationship needs constant attention and a high degree of commitment.


Although I’ve listened to many different speakers, some of which are excellent, I’ve now decided that my active DBLs will be my speakers for life, unless I’m forced to move for some reason, or they disintegrate. True, they need care in setting up, and the electronics feeding them has to be suitably fine. The 362 SNAXO isn’t perfect, but it can be improved (details not for this forum). Yes, Mana stands work well.

If you can accomodate a pair in a suitable room and without causing vexatious domestic disharmony, you’ll never regret it.


Tony, they are great speakers, I have heard other high end speakers…they are really really good. But, the DBL.s are still something very special in the right system, just keep enjoying.

Finnish computer security company told me I was wrong to think F-Secure stood for Finnish Secure, but never did tell me its full meaning. So to this day I still don’t know.

DBLs are great speakers, but I could never accommodate anything that big.

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A few years back there was quite a debate going on on the (old) forum regarding digital sources and the Naim DAC. The chap in question had a Naim DAC/52/135/DBL system and i took my NDX(at the time) down to his house to have a play. We dismissed the digital sources question pretty quickly and just ended up enjoying his system. The DBLs were something else - ‘Killing in the name’ has never quite sounded the same since. If you can accommodate them (and they are quite domestically acceptable as they don’t take up that much room against the wall) then i can quite understand why they can be a ‘forever’ speaker…

A word of warning for anyone thinking of buying the DBLs - it could be a very expensive journey!

I was tempted to replace some SBL, running from olive 250’s over 10 years ago. They didn’t really show their true worth until I bought the third 500, Now they sound truly superb to me :grinning:. Immediate but relaxed at the same time. Mine quite a small room too, so they are probably the best option around still.

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