Active NAP500 DR Upgrade

Yes - I like the way it is going.
I've obviously heard the lucky people's systems that already had the NAP500 DR upgrade and was suitably impressed at what I was hearing. I've not heard a report of its use in Active systems yet, so was interested about what it would do.

I'd already heard aspects in the high frequency performance in those passive systems that were very similar to the upgrade I got when going from 552 to S1 Pre - a smoothness combined with easy clarity and lower noise. These are indeed present in Active mode and more! There seems to be a synergy with the S1 that I'd hoped and expected, but good to hear. Naim obviously designed it to work well with the DR 552 - which it does.

The 500 DR sounds ... nice!
A little word that sometimes is hard to achieve in HiFi with all the other things you want as well sometimes being hard to juggle and fit into a synthetic whole.

It would be good sometime to hear what other users make of the NAP500 DR used Active.

DB.

Darke Bear posted:

An Update:

The presentation is markedly different from what I’d become used to over many years with my old NAP500 Amps. It is not just clearer but the music I is presented differently in ways difficult to describe, but I’ll have a try.

DB.

Difficult to describe, I felt a sence of there-ness!

Good job DB.

Allante93!

An excellent and well considered report DB. You heard what the 500DR did in my passive system and I am pleased that you experiencing similar effects but more so, as you would expect from 3x500DRs in your active set up. You also know that things will continue to improve and settle down in the weeks to come. To those considering DR upgrades, in all the systems I have heard to date it has been an extremely significant upgrade in terms of the qualities described in the many threads hereabouts on the subject. Look forward to hearing the active 500DR experience soon!

 

ayisgroovy posted:

Thank you DB for qualifying something unquantifiable! I'm still mulling over if I should get my 9yr old 500 (passive) serviced and DR'd and your experiences are making the decision for me!

All the other passive systems upgraded that I knew well for many years were improved to a higher level of musical performance afterwards - it is what tempted me. I was otherwise going to leave it another year or two, as I'd wanted more time to recover from S1 Pre and SL Loom last year, but what I heard was very significant, so I wanted it.

Run-in is less ruthless passive as Active amplifies both the good and the bad in a system, so passive tends to have, from what I was told, an odd off-day or so and not the off-week or so.

Yes - go for it funds permitting. Mine were about 8 to 9 years old and I could have run them another few years from what I heard was my previous plan. But I have a finite life and want to enjoy as many things of musical Art as fully as I can, so having it now was obvious.

One thing I'm still mesmerized by is the revelation of the rich textures in the harmonics of bass guitar and synth playing - there are so many new musical interplays that the 'open-mouth' gawping really happens. The whole thing is a beautiful synthesis with what the particular strengths of the SL cables do too, so you will probably want to listen to these if you like what the DR does.

DB. 

Mark J posted:

So despite the roller coaster run in would you say with certainty that the DR 500s offer greater musical enjoyment? 

Or vastly improved hifi... Or both?

Both, but it is definitely the musical enjoyment that wins-out for me. I think sometimes you seem to improve the HiFi and the music a bit, but eventually you transit to both and then it seems, like with the S1 Pre, that there is hardly any new HiFi but the music is so much better. The 500 DR is both with some of the 'statement thing' in the sound, a self-effacing self-confidence in presentation. The music speaks and breaths into the room, the speakers obliterated to not being there.

DB.

Mine was a very log wait of about 3 or 4 months and a turn-around of less than 3 weeks to get it all done and back to me.
The DR update removes all existing electronics and even the plugs so you really only get your old box returned with new insides. I had my power supplies serviced at the same time to get it all over and done with - there is a lot less run-in if you only have the DR done, but if your 500 is nearing 10 years without service it is worth getting that done at the same time, funds permitting, as it will be overall less expensive and less gap without your system.

There is still run-in going on with my set - another 'wave' of 'bluntness' went through it yesterday for a few hours then cleared, but as each successive episode happens, the level of effect is less intrusive and afterwards the sound quality is better than before. But as I mentioned above, in Passive systems you may not hear this as much. I'm writing for those that may experience this themselves in Active systems so as not to loose heart until it really gets better over time.

DB.

My units are 2008 and 2010, so not quite there for a full service (and the associated extended run in).

As for run in, I find it hard to judge without the initial A/B comparison. For example, I don’t think my SL sounds is as crisp as it did initially. Still very enjoyable, with a lot more bass, but not quite the original wow. Very possibly though we just get used to the new normal.



> On 28 Aug 2016, at 12:01, Naim Audio Forums <alerts@hoop.la> wrote:
>

Run-in of the 500PS boxes does open-out the bass to a lot fuller and better over time. I had the opportunity of hearing this at my Dealer when I had a 500 DR demo and swapped the brand new 500PS for one that had run-in for a year on the NAP 500 DR head unit - I preferred by a long way the more sumptuous sound of the run-in 500PS, although the new PS did have some zest that I liked too, so perhaps Naim have been refining the PS too.

DB.

Darke Bear posted:

Mine was a very log wait of about 3 or 4 months and a turn-around of less than 3 weeks to get it all done and back to me.
The DR update removes all existing electronics and even the plugs so you really only get your old box returned with new insides. I had my power supplies serviced at the same time to get it all over and done with - there is a lot less run-in if you only have the DR done, but if your 500 is nearing 10 years without service it is worth getting that done at the same time, funds permitting, as it will be overall less expensive and less gap without your system.

There is still run-in going on with my set - another 'wave' of 'bluntness' went through it yesterday for a few hours then cleared, but as each successive episode happens, the level of effect is less intrusive and afterwards the sound quality is better than before. But as I mentioned above, in Passive systems you may not hear this as much. I'm writing for those that may experience this themselves in Active systems so as not to loose heart until it really gets better over time.

DB.

Hi DB

Did you send in your burndy cables as well? Asking so that I know what to do if/when I decide to have mine done 

Thanks ayap1

Good news on the run-in ride delivering principally positive results Gary. Logically, I found that the peaks and troughs become less pronounced over time and I think my DR'd 500 (and serviced power supply) has just about hit its zenith, almost 6 months down the line.

I've been away for a week so powered down and unplugged my set. I re-powered it last evening and it's sounding very good indeed this afternoon. There is obviously more to come because the sound is a little constrained, but pre DR'd boxes I used to get the 'fat and bloaty' thing on day-two. DR seems not to do that. Put another way; run-in kit seems to come back on song more quickly when re-powered after a hiatus.

John.

 

Thanks for sharing your journey with us Gary, it makes for interesting reading.

Great to read things are really beginning to blossom in your system now. As time passes the run-in process starts to become less of an issue as  or course you know. Soon you will just be able to enjoy the music and forget the system.

I would wholeheartedly agree with John in as much as it took a full 5-6 months to fully run-in my previous 250-DR from new and now my 300-DR is only just recently begun to settle down, it can feel like a long ride but it`s a great journey getting to the point where it all comes together.

Rob.

 

DB, presumably the passive system vs active installation divergence in running in experience could be down to the fact in a passive system when the (single) amp is 'in the groove' the system sounds good, whereas In a 3x amp active system it only needs one of the amps to be moody for the whole thing to sound a bit off?

kevin J Carden posted:

DB, presumably the passive system vs active installation divergence in running in experience could be down to the fact in a passive system when the (single) amp is 'in the groove' the system sounds good, whereas In a 3x amp active system it only needs one of the amps to be moody for the whole thing to sound a bit off?

In part you are right - with run-in there is no guarantee that all will do so in sync. But I do think that another aspect is that Active systems are more 'fussy' that everything is right before they give their best. I remember reading many years ago posts saying they are a thousand times more revealing - that may be some exaggeration, but certainly it is a lot more revealing of the dynamics, life and inner-content in music and therefore the same for run-in. Effectively a well designed Passive crossover smooths-over the rough-edges and although it removes some aspects of music, it also takes the worst edge of the run-in.

Also, as my system runs-in and becomes more stable I'm gradually doing the little set-up tweaks that I did before I re-rigged it to send it to Naim for DR and service. These are ensuring all the leads don't foul - the speaker cables don't press the Burndies at the rear - the Burndy leads should be free and you hear when they are not. The other thing is the fine tweaking of boxes on their Fraim shelves - essentially centered near the 'front' (two balls end) of the glass - but not right at the front. Some of these are small tweaks then sit and play some percussion and synth music and it is clear - you would have to hear it to believe it. Once done I find it 'stays' like that for extended periods of years so it is just an occasional thing. I don't like having to do it, but I learned how to and can so it is OK.

Last night music was rather wonderful with so much more musical details and aspects of performance I just have never heard before in well known music. Denser but well-recorded material becomes far more transparent like a cloud of cloying crud has been removed, especially from the bass-end, but the high-frequency performance is also delightfully delicate. The warmth and 'flesh' of a vocalist is so much better - the recording mike pics-up a lot more than you normally get to hear.

For example I like listening to French Singer Mylene Farmer and her album 'Anamorphosee' is a mix of rock and ballads dense in places due to strong drums, bass guitar and synth - but her vocal range is high and she has a delecacy in her musical phrasing and holding of notes that are backed with synth and the rhythm of the bass and percussion. All of this was so much clearer - but the thing that really 'wowed' me was the darkening of the acoustic around her as she sings so that you hear more of her as she is as a person. A delicate velvet-texture of voice I'd never heard that way before. Before it was as if she was singing through a cloud of bright fog - now the fog is gone.

DB.

Absolutely Gary. You've reminded me that removal of a fog around vocalists is one of the 'biggies' I got, straight away with my DR'd amp. The sound is cleaner and more transparent in a musically revealing 'less is more' sort of way. Hi-Fi Wow! it ain't.

John.

Dustysox posted:

Hi all,

I may have missed this (my apologies) are we saying the DR upgrade on the 500 is better than the 552 DR upgrade?

You have "wet" my whistle DB to get my 500 DR upgrade done. Where do I send the invoice 

Greetings Darren,

I hope the world is treating you and yours well?

As good as the DR'd 552 is, I have to agree with HL that the transformation of the 500 is more pronounced. Ditto the 300. Both become very different amplifiers and are far from being 'tweaked'.

Sorry - can't help you with the invoice business.

Good listening.

John.

 

Happy Listener posted:

Dustysox - in a word, for me yes.

I had mine serviced at the same time and straight out of the box the difference (better to my ears), was apparent....with, hopefully, more to come.

 

Thank you, i guess i'll pull the trigger on getting mine done....hopefully in time for Easter 

J.N. posted:
Dustysox posted:

Hi all,

I may have missed this (my apologies) are we saying the DR upgrade on the 500 is better than the 552 DR upgrade?

You have "wet" my whistle DB to get my 500 DR upgrade done. Where do I send the invoice 

Greetings Darren,

I hope the world is treating you and yours well?

As good as the DR'd 552 is, I have to agree with HL that the transformation of the 500 is more pronounced. Ditto the 300. Both become very different amplifiers and are far from being 'tweaked'.

Sorry - can't help you with the invoice business.

Good listening.

John.

 

Hi John,

Lovely to hear from you. 

Interesting Bank holiday weekend...wife came home Friday evening after a week away with the kids and her mum. She was complaining during the week of pains by her ribs. She went to see a local GP to be told it was probably muscular and take Ibuprofen. anyways....she pulled up on the drive Friday evening after a six hour drive barely getting out of the car, Christ, i said best you get to A & E. They have kept her in all weekend, which was a real bummer as it was her Birthday on Saturday. We had a nice coffee in the hospital...who says i don't know how to show a lady a good time..no expense spared!! It seems she has gaul stones, and an infection. They are treating the infection then she will need an op to take the gaul bladder out.Im sorting the kids out...washing machine etc you should see me i'm a natural.

Bet you are glad you asked now John 

Funny thing is my system is firing on all cylinders at the moment and i had hoped to of enjoyed some extended listening this weekend!!! That would be a big fat no then!

I've been really impressed by all the positive posts by the 500DR upgrade....see back on topic  I had thought that the full SL loom upgrade would of seen me for a while...and "ruddy Naim" have done it again.....upgrade time...again!!!

I've really enjoyed DB's journey and the way he is able to convey to the reader his experiences and enjoyment and lengths he goes to extract the very best from his excellent system + he passes on his findings and tweaks so we learn and can introduce tweaks into our systems.

I've already been in touch with "my dealer"!! I'll be interested on how long that upgrade queue is!!!!

Got to go...apparently the children eat, and need feeding!!!!

Jonas Olofsson posted:

Im at the same page here. 500 DR bigger upgrade then 552 DR. 552 was/is always great in the respect that "everybody" loved it. 500 could be a mixed bag depending on what you valued most in music reproduction. Not any more. Now it is just marvellous.

// Jonas 

 

Thank you Jonas, moves are under way.

Gavin -

I will stand corrected but I think the service (both NAP and PS) and DR work generally updates an old 500 (mine is c.2006) to the spec of a new model. They even changed bits of the grill and the logo - it looked 'new' out of the box to my ageing eyes.

..if the c.2000 unit hasn't been serviced since new, I suspect it will have deteriorated a lot performance-wise.

 

A brief update:

It has been over two months now running-in and a week ago I heard a significant improvement in quality of presentation - just far clearer in every department, bass, mid treble, timing, resolution...

I then took the time to 'tune' my system, as the 500 stacks had been re-built after the return from Naim the same as I had before, but the run-in shenanigans made it impossible to tune it up to peak-performance. I made the small positional changes - mainly to the Snaxo which is frighteningly sensitive to having a sweet-spot on its Fraim, but the other boxes all like to be positioned right. This took about 45mins or so with back and forth until it all sang and was obviously sounding very happy.

Since then I've simply been playing music and hearing further small improvements in clarity. Then today there was a large step improvement and it is clearly into a different league of reproduction from the old non-DR 500 set of amps I know so well and lived with for many years -  this has a measure of dynamic clarity and insight I had not really thought possible.

You can turn up the volume and it goes louder in a different way - it presents a fuller more expansive sound into the room, fully detailed - some call it 'micro-detail' of the dynamic structure of notes as they change in playing I have not heard before. Voice is so intimate that the soft breath of a vocalist as they change from one phrase to the next is so stunningly clear - no fuzzy noise, no murky haze - just there. And all done with an effortless ease with no sense of strain.

It plays quiet for my late listening sessions with remarkable detail and sound-stage preserved - the lower noise-floor seems to give a welcome boost here.

To pick-out bits of music to describe the sense of the whole may miss the the fact it sound so integrated and 'happy' as a whole musically.
But to hear the power and extension of bass chords dig far deeper than before and have in addition the texture and 'grain' of the instrument - even when it is an electronic synth, is a delight to experience. Drum hits within denser recording mixes now emerge with power where they were swamped before. Drums on their own were always easy, but the challenge was to hear it properly breath in the larger mix.
Some live concerts that are not exactly the best are resurrected to compelling listening - an old Pat Benatar live CD that was very noisy and thin before now has the nose resolved into a noise acoustic environment of the gig they played and it suddenly has awesome deep bass from nowhere - perhaps some better very LF phase is done better now. Image and presence info is all improved and you hear the artists move about a stage when it is a simple-miked show in realistic way I'd not noticed before.

That is where I am with this now - noticing so many new musical communications in music I thought I knew quite well, only to hear it anew again.

Very impressed with the 500DR. A big upgrade indeed - but it takes a few weeks to run-in for people like me.

DB.

Thank you again DB for your interesting insights over past months into the acoustic evolution of your recently upgraded 500s to DR status. 

Having toyed with the idea for many months, I had instructed my dealer today to book me in for the service and DR upgrade on my humble 12yr NAP500! Early Nov is the return to mothership date and that means it will be back for my birthday and Xmas!  In a strange sort of way, I feel relieved (to have dedcided) and now looking forward to embarking on the journey to musical Nirvana.........

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