NAP500 off to AVOptions for DR upgrade

For those who have lived through a 552 DR upgrade and now a 500 DR upgrade, how does the 500 DR upgrade compare in scale of SQ improvement? Basically, is the 500 DR upgrade as good as the 552 DR upgrade? Better? Worse? Thanks in advance..

ATB,

Mark

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Indeed, I heard that the modules were built elsewhere.. but assembled at the factory... I'm sure all rumour and tittle and tattle however.

I stand corrected.  The modules start their life at the Linn factory, before being shipped over to Rega for further refinements. The secret sauce is then applied at the Meridian factory before a final inspection at Naim.  

varyat posted:

For those who have lived through a 552 DR upgrade and now a 500 DR upgrade, how does the 500 DR upgrade compare in scale of SQ improvement? Basically, is the 500 DR upgrade as good as the 552 DR upgrade? Better? Worse? Thanks in advance..

ATB,

Mark

you will probably find this will vary from system to system -- and of course user to user. in my case i can state that the 500 DR upgrade has been much more emphatic. even though my 2x500s are not yet fully run in -- i can tell.

hope this helps

enjoy

ken

Chris Bell posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Indeed, I heard that the modules were built elsewhere.. but assembled at the factory... I'm sure all rumour and tittle and tattle however.

I stand corrected.  The modules start their life at the Linn factory, before being shipped over to Rega for further refinements. The secret sauce is then applied at the Meridian factory before a final inspection at Naim.  

varyat posted:

Thanks Ken, good to know. Anyone else??

just to qualify my answer a little more.  i think its important to note that my experience is based on having done the 552DR upgrade first.

i am not sure what the result would be if you compared these as independent upgrades -- i.e. 552DR without 500DR and then 500DR without 552DR (which is counter to 'source first' philosophy anyhow). i strongly suspect that without 552DR, i would probably not be hearing the full benefits of 500DR -- but i dont know for sure as i havent tested this myself.

enjoy

ken

Thanks Ken and Graham- I understand what you are saying. I already did the 552 DR and my 500 is not due for a recap for a long time...Just wondering if laying out the considerable sum for the 500DR is VFM at this time or just wait until the amp needs servicing.

I will be curious to see how Mr. Bell gets on with it ...

ATB,

Mark

Varyat wrote:

"Thanks Ken and Graham- I understand what you are saying. I already did the 552 DR and my 500 is not due for a recap for a long time...Just wondering if laying out the considerable sum for the 500DR is VFM at this time or just wait until the amp needs servicing."

I have a similar/related question to Varyat's. Having just splurged on an ex-demo 552, I swore no more expense for a while , but perhaps because of the 552's wider window, I think I can now hear my 13 year old 500 starting to struggle and a service Probably can't be delayedvtool much longer. Question is whether to just service the amp or to go the whole 9 yards with DR upgrade. I doubt that many have relevant experience of both options of course, but if anyone has views I'm all ears.

Kevin, In view of the fact that your 500 probably needs a service I think it's a no brainer to have the DR upgrade at the same time (funds permitting). I think I would wait until I could do both together.

In my case I PX'd my relatively new 300 for a new 300DR, so the price differential wasn't too great. In your case I think it's less viable. Anyway the service+DR is such a comprehensive re-build your getting a virtually new 500 with a greatly improved performance over the non DR500.

p.s. It may be worth looking at the SL speaker cables too. Or maybe not .

kevin J Carden posted:

Varyat wrote:

....

I have a similar/related question to Varyat's. Having just splurged on an ex-demo 552, I swore no more expense for a while , but perhaps because of the 552's wider window, I think I can now hear my 13 year old 500 starting to struggle and a service Probably can't be delayedvtool much longer. Question is whether to just service the amp or to go the whole 9 yards with DR upgrade. I doubt that many have relevant experience of both options of course, but if anyone has views I'm all ears.

funny you should raise this issue. in my case, i had a choice of whether to go for the SL speaker cables first -- in fact quite a few of my Hifi friends suggested this. but one of my 500s was in dire need of a service and i decided to get the service and DR upgrade done at the same time so i could forget  this issue for a very long time. the cost of it all was not trivial -- and the bank account is still severely bruised -- such that in fact the SL speaker wire upgrade will be on hold for some time.

enjoy

ken

Thanks all. I think I know where this is going and, tbh, probably did all along, but interested to see if anyone would actually shout that Service alone was half the improvement or some such view and save me some expense!

it makes sense in that both the 555PS on the NDS and the 552 are already DR, so for the sake of balance .... It's just that I never got to hear either of those in non-DR form, so have no experience of the effects of the upgrade. Ah well, another delicate conversation with my better half to be had!

As for SL speaker cable, I can definitely wait (honest!). My (un)helpful dealer kindly lent me a set last week to try. I'll reserve judgement until everything else in the system is settled, but on the strength of what I heard last week I honestly preferred my Mogami, and not by a small margin in my rig. But, as I say, that is far from a fully formed opinion and I will try again at a later date as I found the SL IC between NDS and pre to be a total transformation.

Kevin

I can't wait for the return of my 500. Interestingly I originally started with - a Nap250.2 this had a warm base tone..... when I upgraded to a 250dr ... this character changed to a more explicit amp... with less lower base warmth. Going from 250dr to an old Nap500 ... I noticed the warmth returned - albeit in a much more dynamic way. I am hoping the 500dr will return the highly detailed explicit nature - together with more dynamic punch.....time will tell....

Things will likely get comparatively bland and then bloated in cycles but I don't imagine that anything will discourage you from listening. Even on a "bad" day it's going to impress. It's just that when the "good" cruising altitude establishes itself - wow!

Good stuff Chris. Love the mono pic. Like you; I heard lots of good things happening right from the start, and it will get better and better via some bumps in the road over the next few months.

'Bland and bloated' are good predominant sonic-signature-journey adjectives Harry. To those I would add a soupçon of 'nasty' - which thankfully only lasted for one day for me, a couple of weeks into the experience.

It's not really a NAP500 any more, but something quite different - a NAP750 perhaps?

'Enjoy' as Ken C would say.

John.

 

Chris Bell posted:

She's back!  Ice cold and up & running.  I'm going to hold off on any critical listening for a week, but initial impressions are I hear a greatly reduced noise floor, more transparency and an astonishing amount of killer low bass.  

Always good to have more bass

Chris Bell posted:

She's back!  Ice cold and up & running.  I'm going to hold off on any critical listening for a week, but initial impressions are I hear a greatly reduced noise floor, more transparency and an astonishing amount of killer low bass.  

 

Very good looking as well, can I just stop by for an hour arrange the tall fraim at same level and go away? 

I was fortunate enough to get to hear this amazing set up, before and after the AV Options DR upgrade.  After being allowed to audition the Statement last week in Chicago, what had been my historical reference was changed dramatically.  What came out of Chris's new 500 was the same unbelievable detail, resonance, hearty layered emotional connection and microscopic details.  Tracks which touched on low bass before, came through in waves which sounded like a theater sub in the room, with no boom and concise control.  Chambers of the spaces in which recordings were made, could be distinguished between different tracks with which both Chris and I were very familiar, from Radiohead, Suzanne Vega, and Zero 7, to large theater pieces as well.  Every instrument was presented in the same shocking realism as was present in great recordings off of the Statement Pre-amp.  We would both just look astounded at specific junctions where the artists were intimately in the room performing.  I have never heard music presented like this.  Owning the same system, it reiterated a hard lesson in our upgrade paths ...there is always more to be heard in every recording we so love and enjoy.

One of the greatest shops I have ever visited, Pro Musica, the origin of many of the Naim Recordings out in print.  Not only did I get to have Ken Christianson take an entire afternoon of his time to demo the new Pre, but was given a doctorate level education on the art of recording and SQ involved in their studio.  I was quite ignorant about the involved history of Naim and this shop, and Ken took the time to share not only his collection of master tape recordings through the Statement, but his long relationship with Julian Vereker and members of NANA and current Naim engineers.  

Above all was a personal, vibrant passion for the music to which we listened, and the artists performing.  Pro Musica offers locals an opportunity to stop by and witness some great small ensembles in their studio, which doubles as their gear demo room.

Chris's 500 showed common traits that were evident in the Statement sound presentation....minute delicate details came through with  an immediacy I have not heard before.  Having been fortunate enough to visit shops around the US and Europe, it was a little dumbfounding that the best sound I've heard was at a neighbor's in Seattle.  We own the same gear, with my 500 being rebuilt by AV Options just prior to the DR path option.  I imagine all forum members will receive the same warm, enthusiastic welcome as I, when they stop in Ken and John's new digs, and I know Chris enjoys sharing his set up.  I agree with him...it's a different amp now.

 

Ah, yes. I was at ProMusica for the Statement demo a while back..I was not aware that they purchased a set- good for us here in the USA !

Totally agree with your description of Ken and John. In fact it was their very small garden store that introduced me to Naim in the 80's. I still have very fond memories of going down the steps and into a very peculiar stereo shop demonstrating Naim with a few other, equally unheard of British brands ( Rega, Onix, Linn ). It was unlike any other "store" that I had previously encountered. Changed my world...

ATB,

Mark

J.N. posted:
...It's not really a NAP500 any more, but something quite different - a NAP750 perhaps?

This is very much the case. My NAP500 amps have been DR updated about four months ago now and still improving in ways that amaze me - and I'm not easily amazed by HiFi upgrades.

There is a continual opening-up of more and more detail within detail that I thought had already 'arrived' a few weeks ago. I came back from a week away on holiday and on listening to a track I know well was a bit stunned at how much it had opened and detailed over a week. The bass has a character that it is hard to describe - a vibrant and clear timbre to all notes played however complexly arranged and a sense of presence that was not there before.

The DR 500 reminds me more of the experience I had with the S1 Pre run-in, but about three-times faster. There is a quality of reproduction that both the S1 and DR500 have that show similarity in how they reproduce the music in a no-nonsense 'not-there' way that gradually endears you after you get used to it not having any obvious sonic signature. So I'm saying the DR500 is really in the Statement league and has almost nothing in common with the old non-DR 500.

So J.N.'s idea of calling it a NAP750 tells it right.

DB.

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