NAP500 off to AVOptions for DR upgrade

My 16 year old NAP500 is (past) due for an overhaul.  It still sounds very good but the DR upgrade pushed me to pull the trigger.  The cost is a good value in my opinion.  It will be gone for about 5 weeks, I'll be using a Supernait 2 during the interim.  My 552 (which I bought in 2003) will go in next for the DR upgrade.   I am asking Chris West will provide me with progress photos which I will share here.  Looking forward to hearing the improvement I've been reading about here on the forum.  

 

There's a hole in my heart:  

Original Post
Chris Bell posted:

My 16 year old NAP500 is (past) due for an overhaul.  It still sounds very good but the DR upgrade pushed me to pull the trigger.  The cost is a good value in my opinion.  It will be gone for about 5 weeks, I'll be using a Supernait 2 during the interim.  My 552 (which I bought in 2003) will go in next for the DR upgrade.   I am asking Chris West will provide me with progress photos which I will share here.  Looking forward to hearing the improvement I've been reading about here on the forum.  

 

There's a hole in my heart:  

Artwork and curtain perfectly in keeping. The best-accommodated Frame range I've seen.

i actually didnt know that NAP500's once came in those flight cases! they are very nice and i agree a lot better than the flimsy cardboard boxes -- even though the amp is packed very well in there. one of my boxes came back from the DR upgrade without one of the handles -- very annoying -- i could have raised a fuss -- but hey there are more important things in life.

does anyone know -- is it still possible to buy those 500 cases? i for ne would be willing to buy them...

enjoy

ken

Hungryhalibut posted:

While it's away you can get those Fraim stacks at the same height - look at the bases. I couldn't cope with that!

One of my Fraim bases is an early prototype and sits at a different height than my other stacks.  There's no way to make them all at the same height. Besides, it sounds better ;-)   

ken c posted:

i actually didnt know that NAP500's once came in those flight cases! they are very nice and i agree a lot better than the flimsy cardboard boxes -- even though the amp is packed very well in there. one of my boxes came back from the DR upgrade without one of the handles -- very annoying -- i could have raised a fuss -- but hey there are more important things in life.

does anyone know -- is it still possible to buy those 500 cases? i for ne would be willing to buy them...

enjoy

ken

From what I understand the first year's run of NAP500s came in those flight cases.  I'd love to know the backstory.  

Ron Toolsie posted:

16 years old and no service!!! You probably don't even have the 'resistor lift' sanctioned mod done, which alone will significantly improve the sound, as will recapping the 120,000 uF worth of filter caps, even without any DR upgrades being fitted. 

Yep... my 500 is factory original. It had a unique "sweetness" to the sound which I never wanted to mess with and why I have waited so long to do any service.  I am convinced my 500 was forged on moonless night at Stonehenge.  

Chris Bell posted:
ken c posted:

i actually didnt know that NAP500's once came in those flight cases! they are very nice and i agree a lot better than the flimsy cardboard boxes

SNIP

ken

From what I understand the first year's run of NAP500s came in those flight cases.  I'd love to know the backstory.  

Perhaps Richard could enlighten us?

ken c posted:

SNIP

even though the amp is packed very well in there. one of my boxes came back from the DR upgrade without one of the handles -- very annoying -- i could have raised a fuss -- but hey there are more important things in life.

SNIP

enjoy

ken

I've seen a courier carrying a CD555 by only one handle - perhaps that's what happened with your 500? Might be worth 'raising a fuss'?

Chris Bell posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

While it's away you can get those Fraim stacks at the same height - look at the bases. I couldn't cope with that!

One of my Fraim bases is an early prototype and sits at a different height than my other stacks.  There's no way to make them all at the same height. Besides, it sounds better ;-)   

Is it not just the height of the spikes? Can you not get new ones to match?

Drewy posted:
Chris Bell posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

While it's away you can get those Fraim stacks at the same height - look at the bases. I couldn't cope with that!

One of my Fraim bases is an early prototype and sits at a different height than my other stacks.  There's no way to make them all at the same height. Besides, it sounds better ;-)   

Is it not just the height of the spikes? Can you not get new ones to match?

Chris, I believe that you can still order the slightly-shorter, current-production threaded studs for the bottom level, which should even those out quite nicely.

Since I am without my 500 for a month it's time to experiment.  I fired up a borrowed Supernait 2, which sounded OK but was lacking sparkle.  This surprised me as I enjoy listening to the SN2/NDX/Allae combo where this amp usually lives.  Perhaps the SN2 is not a good match for Kudos Titan's?  I don't know.  

Next up I dusted off a recently re-acquired Nait2.  This Nait2 has spent the last 10 years relegated to running a pair of outdoor speakers.  I assumed it would sound tired, in desperate need of a recap.  I could have not been more wrong.  Switched on cold the mighty Nait2 was significantly more dynamic, tuneful and engaging than the modern SN2.   I'd demoed the two amps for a recording engineer friend and he was floored by the sound coming from the tiny shoebox. Crazy.

I get the mystique surrounding the Nait2. 

 

Ha! i did the same thing a while back ... CDS3/555 into a CB Nait2 into Titans- freakin awesome! Just keep the volume pot at a sensible level and the mighty Nait kept its' composure big time. Also helps that Titans are a very easy load for a larger floor stander .  

ATB,

Mark

Alba1320 posted:
ken c posted:

SNIP

even though the amp is packed very well in there. one of my boxes came back from the DR upgrade without one of the handles -- very annoying -- i could have raised a fuss -- but hey there are more important things in life.

SNIP

enjoy

ken

I've seen a courier carrying a CD555 by only one handle - perhaps that's what happened with your 500? Might be worth 'raising a fuss'?

Mine too (and the burndies were missing!). 'Do panic Mr. Mainwaring' (with apol's to Messrs Croft & Perry).

I suspect a courier tried to lift with one handle and then oops..!

The new boxes appear less robust than the originals.

Above said, the 500, duly DR'ed has returned in fine form.

..am exploring increasingly unchartered territories with the volume knob, with the contributory effect of the SL cables.

hello HL (l'm as lazy as those couriers..!) i don't even want to think what happened when the handle came off else serious neurosis will take over!!!

so is it only a few days since your 500 came back.?

i am into week 2 running in my pair -- and i can tell the run-in is not yet complete -- but i think its getting there, slowly.

lets see how it all sounds this coming Sat when it will be 2 weeks exactly -- things are meant to "happen" then, or maybe its 4 weeks, damn!!

enjoy...

ken

Chris Bell posted:

Since I am without my 500 for a month it's time to experiment.  I fired up a borrowed Supernait 2, which sounded OK but was lacking sparkle.  This surprised me as I enjoy listening to the SN2/NDX/Allae combo where this amp usually lives.  Perhaps the SN2 is not a good match for Kudos Titan's?  I don't know.  

Next up I dusted off a recently re-acquired Nait2.  This Nait2 has spent the last 10 years relegated to running a pair of outdoor speakers.  I assumed it would sound tired, in desperate need of a recap.  I could have not been more wrong.  Switched on cold the mighty Nait2 was significantly more dynamic, tuneful and engaging than the modern SN2.   I'd demoed the two amps for a recording engineer friend and he was floored by the sound coming from the tiny shoebox. Crazy.

I get the mystique surrounding the Nait2. 

 

....and the urban legend of the early Naits running circles around current integrated amps continues. 

....and the urban legend of the early Naits running circles around current crop integrated amps continues. Yes, the Nait 1/2 really was what the world needed-a better 5-cent cigar!

Chris, your system sounded so good when we were there earlier in the year. I can only imagine what things might sound like with your system after the DR mods are done. Hope we have another opportunity to get the local group out to your place to hear things when all has settled back in. I suspect you are going to have some of those wonderful Naim nights upcoming where you find yourself going back to all your musical favorites listening for what they sound like now... a phenomenon I have enjoyed many times after making significant changes in the system. Enjoy!

Oh, and as others have said - those cases are totally cool. As soon as I see those I feel like all my boxes should have serious trunks like those as cases. Seems like it could be another aftermarket thing now... case builders for Naim electronics...  :  

Hi Chris - I have just taken my 500 into Audio T ... for the DR upgrade and service ..... please keep us posted on your experience! Is this picture actually your amplifier!! I find the disassembly of such a brick a bit scary.....  Nice to see you have got the posh transport cases - mine are the same - imported mine from Italy.

DR upgrade is finished.  I should have it back by Friday!  Chris West kindly provided these photos of the process.  

 

Down to bare bones …  (Old amp modules removed)

Old thermal grease cleaned away 

Applying thermal grease to Right Channel DR module Copper heatsink 

Left Channel DR amp module

Left channel module mounted to chassis heatsink

Right Channel DR module mounted to chassis with 18 bolts (tightened in a specific sequence to to maintain flatness of copper heatsink surface)

Chassis ready for bench testing

New rear panel confirms DR status.  Yea! 

 

 

The DR module's are built at the factory.  AV Options does the installation + the power supply was also recapped.  It's like getting a new amp.   

What I find most interesting is how different the electronics look.  So many more parts on the new DR module.  I'd love for a Naim engineer to describe the evolution of the original NAP500 to the DR version.  

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