In praise of 272/250DR

I did a 20 mile cycle ride this morning and a six mile walk this afternoon - not a lot I know, but it was really hot - and am now relaxing with a glass of rosé and a Toumani Diabate album before dinner. Since getting my 272/250 and SL2s, and finalising the wires early last year, I've just forgotten about the system, stick on a record and enjoy it. It's not been like that for years. One of the reasons I chose the system is because it's hard to upgrade and is just right as it is. Hifi is a means to play records, not something to stress about. 

I upgraded recently from a Cyrus x-power to a Nap 250DR on the end of my 272. The music is back, the finger tapping is back, the finesse, the mellow yet crips sound has returned! Happy times!

My question is: should I upgrade my Monitor Audio Gold 200 (which are starting to show their limitations) to a pair of Dynaudio Contour S1.4 or Focal Electra 1008BE? While Electras sound ok for my taste (a little bright without too much body), I never heard the Contours which btw are 65% of Electras price.

Thanks for any comments on the matter.

Dan.S posted:

My question is: should I upgrade my Monitor Audio Gold 200 (which are starting to show their limitations) to a pair of Dynaudio Contour S1.4 or Focal Electra 1008BE? While Electras sound ok for my taste (a little bright without too much body), I never heard the Contours which btw are 65% of Electras price.

I would consider an XPS next. A bit more expensive than the speaker upgrades you're thinking of, but unless your speakers are a real problem, that would be my priority. 

Dan.S posted:

I upgraded recently from a Cyrus x-power to a Nap 250DR on the end of my 272. The music is back, the finger tapping is back, the finesse, the mellow yet crips sound has returned! Happy times!

My question is: should I upgrade my Monitor Audio Gold 200 (which are starting to show their limitations) to a pair of Dynaudio Contour S1.4 or Focal Electra 1008BE? While Electras sound ok for my taste (a little bright without too much body), I never heard the Contours which btw are 65% of Electras price.

Thanks for any comments on the matter.

I don't know about the S1.4 but I think the new Contour C20 sound great on the end of my 272/XPS DR/250 DR. 

Selecting speakers is like selecting wine.

Given system components you have (or what are eating), there are some things you know won't work well, but beyond that the choice is still bewildering and down to personal taste.
What suits one person won't necessarily suit another - you can't describe it completely, you can only give a vague idea of what to expect...
So in the end you just have to try them for yourself in combination with the rest of what you have.


One thing though... adding an XPS DR (and don't be tempted by a cheaper non-DR unit) will add quite a lot more finesse, detail and 'musicality' to the sound without taking away any of the drama, emotional connection or the 'PRaT'.

What about the run in time? My 272/250DR combo sounds marginally better than my late SU. I've read somewhere that a trick would be (instead of just waiting for 6 months) to switch both nac and nap off -> wait 5 minutes -> switch on -> wait 5 minutes -> repeat for 20 times in order to completely discharge and recharge the capacitors.

Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

Dan.S posted:

What about the run in time? My 272/250DR combo sounds marginally better than my late SU. I've read somewhere that a trick would be (instead of just waiting for 6 months) to switch both nac and nap off -> wait 5 minutes -> switch on -> wait 5 minutes -> repeat for 20 times in order to completely discharge and recharge the capacitors.

Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

I'd just listen to it as much as you can and enjoy it. 6 months seems to be a long time to expect it to get better. I'd expect it to be on song in a couple of weeks with perhaps some marginal improvements further on. Did the 272/250 combo you demo'd sound significantly better than your SU ?

Dan.S posted:

What about the run in time? My 272/250DR combo sounds marginally better than my late SU. I've read somewhere that a trick would be (instead of just waiting for 6 months) to switch both nac and nap off -> wait 5 minutes -> switch on -> wait 5 minutes -> repeat for 20 times in order to completely discharge and recharge the capacitors.

Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

The TQ enhancement disc helps the process remarkably well, just let it run through your system a couple of times......also leave your system on at low volume when you are out ......then it's just a waiting game

I'm sure that if that switching off and on trick actually worked, everyone would be doing it already. On that basis I'd suggest that it will achieve nothing whatsoever. 

When I installed my brand new 272/250 in place of my then SU, with PMC twenty.23 speakers the improvement was absolutely massive - nothing subtle about it at all. The sound improves a lot in the first couple of weeks, with a few ups and downs and off days. After that the sound continues to gradually improve. As James so rightly says, the best thing is to just play music and enjoy it. You can always leave the radio playing while you are out. I'm assuming that you are leaving it switched on all the time. 

I added a 250DR to my Uniti 2 and Core three months ago and the sound improved gradually but early May  I swapped in a 272 as my front end. The difference was a largish jump in SQ immediately but it is now so sweet sounding in about 5 weeks of about 8 hours use daily. Saving for the XPS DR at Christmas to complete my set up.

Dan.S posted:

What about the run in time? My 272/250DR combo sounds marginally better than my late SU. I've read somewhere that a trick would be (instead of just waiting for 6 months) to switch both nac and nap off -> wait 5 minutes -> switch on -> wait 5 minutes -> repeat for 20 times in order to completely discharge and recharge the capacitors.

Although I think the abilities of the 272 have been talked up quite a bit on here, it really should sound more than marginally better than your SU, even straight out of the box. System setup, rack etc. might be to blame if you haven't optimised them, and this becomes increasingly important as you climb the ladder. Did your dealer set it up for you?

As for repeated switch on/off, never heard that one before. Sounds a bit dodgy to me.

 

ChrisSU posted:

Devoting some time to the snake's nest is certainly worthwhile. At first it can seem impossible to get it tidy with no cables touching each other or the rack, but if you tinker away at it bit by bit, it can be done.

What rack are you using?

ChrisSU, what cables are most important not to touch other cables?

Ardbeg10y posted:
ChrisSU posted:

Devoting some time to the snake's nest is certainly worthwhile. At first it can seem impossible to get it tidy with no cables touching each other or the rack, but if you tinker away at it bit by bit, it can be done.

What rack are you using?

ChrisSU, what cables are most important not to touch other cables?

To be honest, there are others with a great deal more experience of this than me, so probably best to let them chime in with their findings, especially as I don't use a 272. What I can say is that spending a couple of hours charming the snakes behind my own rack improved things quite noticeably.

ChrisSU posted:

Devoting some time to the snake's nest is certainly worthwhile. At first it can seem impossible to get it tidy with no cables touching each other or the rack, but if you tinker away at it bit by bit, it can be done.

What rack are you using?

No rack I'm afraid. Don't have the space so the boxes sit on the same furniture as the TV with maybe 3 cm to the wall behind it. The cables are a mess crawled in that 3 cm of space.

I was advised by my dealer to keep powerlines and signal cables as apart as possble and also not have them parallel to each other. I also spent a long saturday arranging my 5 m each side of Naca5 speaker cables in the preferred ribbon layout. This last activity made  a noticeable difference.

ChrisSU posted:

Aaaaargh! Next you'll be telling me that you've got one box sat directly on top of the other! These things really need proper support to work as intended.

No, but I though about doing just that. It would take less space. Dark humor, I suppose..

Dan.S posted:
ChrisSU posted:

Aaaaargh! Next you'll be telling me that you've got one box sat directly on top of the other! These things really need proper support to work as intended.

No, but I though about doing just that. It would take less space. Dark humor, I suppose..

A proper rack and good installation is key to obtaining the best from these boxes you'll be surprised at the difference.

A good rack isn't essential, but (provided the cables are sorted) then with a mid range system or better, an appropriate level rack (i.e. a reasonably good rack [e.g Quadraspire Evo] for mid range systems; and a top end rack [e.g. Full Fat Fraim] for top end systems) is worth as much as a component upgrade.

A good system on a poor support will sound better than a poor system on a poor support

A good system on a poor support will still sound better than a poor system on a good support

A good system on a good support will sound better than a good system on a poor support

The cables behind the rack of my system are also in an (almost) entangled mess. Cables, just like supports are all important as they surely affect the sound of the system. It's just the magnitude of difference that's the question. Some consider the differences as huge, some regard the changes as subtle. Since there is no benchmark for comparison, all remarks are valid in the context of one's interpretation.

I don't use a Fraim for my Naim amps and the rest of the components. I use a Finite Elemente Spider rack and have two types of footers supporting the components on the rack - rubber feet and Ceraball Spider, an aluminium or steel footer with a ceramic ball inside it. These footers affect the sound of the components that they support. The Naim NAC 282 and NAP 250 DR sound better when they are on Ceraball footers. The Ceraball made the sound faster, tighter and more dynamic. As there is less smearing in the notes especially the bass, the sound is cleaner with the Ceraball footers. The sound is thicker and the bass resonates more (sounding a bit untidy) when rubber footers are used on the Naim amps.

With the Chord QBD76 DAC, the sound is better with the rubber footers. It gets a bit too clinical with a lean sound when the Ceraball footers are used on the Chord. The sound lost a bit of body and didn't sound quite right to my ears when the Ceraballs were used on the Chord (unlike the Naim amps).

All subtle differences but appreciable. It's the small differences that count with cables and supports as they can fine-tune the sound to one's preferences.

I went from a metal shelving system - to the Atacama Evoque SE and it made a significant difference - the louder the replay the more significant the effect. I think the amount of volume and the amount of energy in the room has a significant impact .... if you listen at really low levels I suspect the effect would be allot less.....

ryder. posted:

The cables behind the rack of my system are also in an (almost) entangled mess. 

 

I'm sure mileages do vary, but after spending a fair amount of kit (and in your case racks and footers) it seems a missed opportunity not to spend a bit of time sorting out the cable dressing. It can be a nice improvement for not a lot of effort. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

I did a 20 mile cycle ride this morning and a six mile walk this afternoon - not a lot I know, but it was really hot - and am now relaxing with a glass of rosé and a Toumani Diabate album before dinner. 

Great to hear you're back on your bike again!

Clive

james n posted:
ryder. posted:

The cables behind the rack of my system are also in an (almost) entangled mess. 

 

I'm sure mileages do vary, but after spending a fair amount of kit (and in your case racks and footers) it seems a missed opportunity not to spend a bit of time sorting out the cable dressing. It can be a nice improvement for not a lot of effort. 

A bit of free tweaking may give a bigger result than expensive footers, which often change rather than improve the sound. It takes more effort though. 

Cdb posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

I did a 20 mile cycle ride this morning and a six mile walk this afternoon - not a lot I know, but it was really hot - and am now relaxing with a glass of rosé and a Toumani Diabate album before dinner. 

Great to hear you're back on your bike again!

Clive

Thanks! The new Felt is much better than the old Cube, and I'm really happy with it. I managed to run pretty fast for 15 minutes at the gym today before being overcome with the heat - best not to overdo things!

Dan.S posted:
ChrisSU posted:

Aaaaargh! Next you'll be telling me that you've got one box sat directly on top of the other! These things really need proper support to work as intended.

No, but I though about doing just that. It would take less space. Dark humor, I suppose..

A dedicated rack is really the best solution, but if you really can't do it, try to put some distance between the two boxes, either on spaced shelves or side by side. A light but rigid support unencumbered by TVs and other stuff is best.

Hungryhalibut posted:

I did a 20 mile cycle ride this morning and a six mile walk this afternoon - not a lot I know, but it was really hot - and am now relaxing with a glass of rosé and a Toumani Diabate album before dinner. Since getting my 272/250 and SL2s, and finalising the wires early last year, I've just forgotten about the system, stick on a record and enjoy it. It's not been like that for years. One of the reasons I chose the system is because it's hard to upgrade and is just right as it is. Hifi is a means to play records, not something to stress about. 

And music always seems to sound better after a spin on the bike.

james n posted:
ryder. posted:

The cables behind the rack of my system are also in an (almost) entangled mess. 

 

I'm sure mileages do vary, but after spending a fair amount of kit (and in your case racks and footers) it seems a missed opportunity not to spend a bit of time sorting out the cable dressing. It can be a nice improvement for not a lot of effort. 

I tried sorting out the cables behind the rack but to no avail. Most of the power cables, interconnects and speaker cables are touching each other. The rather tight space and stiffness of the speaker cable don't really help much. I will attempt to move the cables a bit sometime just to see if it will make a difference. I didn't bother sorting out the cable dressing since music sounds great at the moment.

Hungryhalibut posted:

A bit of free tweaking may give a bigger result than expensive footers, which often change rather than improve the sound. It takes more effort though. 

I wouldn't deny that cable dressing might give a bigger difference than footers, though in my case it's quite difficult due to the tight space and stiffness of cables, especially the speaker wires. The footers are not really that costly. Yes, they do change the sound. Whether the change is an improvement or not is dependent on the listener's interpretation. From my experience as described above, specific type of footers may not improve the sound when placed under specific components. They can make it sound worse instead.

The point I am trying to convey when describing on the changes in sound with footers is the type of support for all equipment inclusive of Naim gear will have a bearing on sound quality.

Hungryhalibut posted:

I did a 20 mile cycle ride this morning and a six mile walk this afternoon - not a lot I know, but it was really hot - and am now relaxing with a glass of rosé and a Toumani Diabate album before dinner. Since getting my 272/250 and SL2s, and finalising the wires early last year, I've just forgotten about the system, stick on a record and enjoy it. It's not been like that for years. One of the reasons I chose the system is because it's hard to upgrade and is just right as it is. Hifi is a means to play records, not something to stress about. 

Super!  Congratulations!  A lot or not a lot who cares, it's a great achievement considering what happened to you!

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