NAP500 off to AVOptions for DR upgrade

The worst is over by week 2-3 run-in.

There are small bumps in performance after that, but they are atop a growing increase in performance, so it is all good.

One thing that strikes me is the incredible increase in music-making the system has now. The extra fluidity and clarity is especially striking in the mid-band on voice articulation - I keep thinking how really exceptional the singer is over and above what I'd previously registered.

DB.

I can't remember the DR upgrade for the 552 making such an impression. I wonder if the amplifier DR is from what everyone is reporting far exceeds the pre amp. 

O well, i'll keep doing the lottery in the hope I can get my 500 upgrade done. Or, maybe if everyone could contribute a a measely £2 per letter they have wrote on this post then i might just be able to get things moving!!!!

I'll take that as a no then!!! 

Great read gents...keep the posts coming I  might be able to go active.....still a no then!!!!!!!

Darke Bear posted:

The DR upgrade for the 552 was the 552PS DR; the NAP500 DR is the entire amplifier electronics changed as well, so it is more. The only thing that returns unchanged after DR upgrade to NAP500 is the box - even the plugs are changed.

So what's the point of having a 500 serviced plus a DR upgrade?

Darke Bear posted:

The DR upgrade for the 552 was the 552PS DR; the NAP500 DR is the entire amplifier electronics changed as well, so it is more. The only thing that returns unchanged after DR upgrade to NAP500 is the box - even the plugs are changed.

Darke Bear posted:

Service is for the 500PS - two boxes. DR is only for Head Unit which also has the regulators.

Only get the 500PS Serviced if around the 10 year mark. Mine were about at the 9 year mark and I don't want to keep sending stuff back so got it all done together.

Thanks DB.

Wasn't sure which boxes you were referring to. Seemed too good to be true that both boxes innards would be completely replaced including the transformer.

Seven days of break-in and the 500DR is starting to open up.  Early on there was quite a bit of tension in the sound but things are starting to relax a little. I agree with the consensus of 500DR owners,  this amp is unique compared to its predecessor. The sound is much more real, present... less hi-fi.  Choral singers are much easier to follow as the complex layers of music are well sorted out and easy to follow.  There are surprises like detail and texture not present before. Bass is bigger and faster.  I'm sure the amp has a long way to go and I am looking forward to more.   

My 14 year old 552 is scheduled to go back for recap/rebuild/DR service in late January.  Pretty cool that gear this age can be made state-of-the-art again.  Makes my investment in Naim all the better.  

If by investment you mean investment in happiness, I'm right there with you. And I bet there's a lot of us.

The 500 is a case of less being more. It doesn't fit on the diminishing returns curve because it's too good and too different. I think the 500DR carries this on. Hard to believe if you haven't spent an hour or two with one, preferably in a familiar room. But easy if you have. 

It can sometimes be difficult to separate cost from value. Happily the 500DR and IMO the 552DR allow this with black and white clarity. You're going to be having some even bigger fun by the middle of next year. Whereas the 500 was mostly even after a couple of months, maybe three, I ears thought the 552 took a good eight months to give its best post DR mod. Not that it didn't sound superb while it was getting there. It will be different for each of us.

Chris Bell posted:

Seven days of break-in and the 500DR is starting to open up.  Early on there was quite a bit of tension in the sound but things are starting to relax a little. I agree with the consensus of 500DR owners,  this amp is unique compared to its predecessor. The sound is much more real, present... less hi-fi.  Choral singers are much easier to follow as the complex layers of music are well sorted out and easy to follow.  There are surprises like detail and texture not present before. Bass is bigger and faster.  I'm sure the amp has a long way to go and I am looking forward to more.   

My 14 year old 552 is scheduled to go back for recap/rebuild/DR service in late January.  Pretty cool that gear this age can be made state-of-the-art again.  Makes my investment in Naim all the better.  

experienced similar -- and yes, there is definitely more to come. prepare to hear your music as you have never heard it before :-)

enjoy

ken

Darke Bear posted:
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.

I did warn you :-) :-) :-)

I've had the feeling something could be better recently, since I moved the 500 ps to the 4th shelf and the SC between that and the 555 ps, though I thought it an improvement at the time. I noticed the ic from the supercap was touching the Aro leadout wires on its way to the 552 and thought I could make it clear them. Mute on, Supercap off ic moved to socket nearest burndy (I don't know why it was in the one furthest) and rerouted below the leadout wires, All back on and the swing is back in spades. I'd thought the latest VDGG album was a little lacklustre, not any more it isn't.

Looking at the manual I see Naim show the socket nearest the burndy to take the signal from a supercap powering a superline in their connection diagram, so I've checked and I'm using the right sockets on the 552ps already according to the picture.

I still have to try the 555 ps at the bottom which will make all the power supplies diagonal to their head units... Might leave this one 'till the holidays.

I've no room for empty shelves and remote controlled units have to use the 3rd shelf up or higher but I could try the 500 head unit between the superline and the 552, not sure I'm convinced by this one.

Try putting the 500PS as far away from the other supplies as sensible placement allows. The 500PS handles high dynamically-varying current with associated magnetic field that I've found surprisingly impacts other boxes placed very close to it, making them sound duller than when it is away on its own with space around it - then you get a more open dynamically-clear and clean sound.

The Supercap is very sensitive and does not work best when in a sandwich in the middle of other large supplies when using standard levels - if you have to do this then use empty spacers or medium levels. I've usually achieved best results with the Supercap on the top shelf of Brawn stack.

DB.

Looking at the back of the supercap below the row of output sockets is printed "Connect output(s) closest to used inputs" They're not kidding. It doesn't change the level of detail but it does change how it all integrates making the music more involving.

The setup as it is now sounds musically compelling on all inputs, even the 35 year old NAD tuner. I'm just going to wallow in it for a while but plan a major rebuild in the new year. The Fraim shelf under the 552 doesn't quite line up with the others above and below so there's no adjustment cone to cup, this need looking into.

Hi Chris,
A bit of background info. My 500 is about 8 years old so I joined the
waiting list this summer! I decided to have the power supply serviced as
well which included new capacitors. Prior to the 500 I used a pair of 135s.
Talking to another guy with an active system and a six pack of 135s he
reckoned the 500 was superior, so I bought the dealers demo unit soon after.
The on loan 300DR is about a year old so fully run in. At first I thought
it was quicker with better bass control and a fresher sound. Then after a
bit it sounded a little bit "hi-fi" and less dynamic. I played the system a
bit less and in the five weeks without my 500 didn't buy any CDs.
Now its back, out of the box, its just a nicer listen and as with all Naim
kit will improve. There is now better bass control, but with plenty of
slam. Orchestral strings are sweeter, and a more "open" sound.
Having said all that the 300DR is still a great amp. It won Hi-Fi+ amp of
the year! But that's the way any competent manufacturer would grade their
products.
A worthwhile upgrade then. Hope this helps.
Douglas,

Glad I skipped the the 300dr .... I am really impressed with the 500 ....  the non dr old one I purchased blew the 250dr away...... openness and delicacy and pace - that was 16 years old! My 500 now dr - ed at ten days young is gradually getting better and better - it is musically becoming very satisfying....

Douglas, 

Thanks for your thoughts.  My 500 replaced a sixpack of 135s back when I had active NBLs.  The 500 passive was superior to the active setup which was a giant leap for the time.  The DR is another giant leap forward in sound quality.  

I also added a Super Lumia IC 2 weeks ago which is was a big step up from my Chord STA.  There is some great engineering going on at Naim these days. 

A little story: Having an 552 DR and a 500 running on Magico S5, last summer I decided to DR the 500. Enjoyed the original very much but of course with all the raving reviews I just went for it. Turned out I was quite unhappy with the result. Lots of realism, bass, transparency, etc but lacking the flow and the ease. Hence the joy. Missed immediately the 500. Missed the seduction.

 Running in become an obsession. Was able to play the amplifiers a full month full time at nine o clock. That is loud!! Amps even become hot. Definitely better but still not the results like I read on the forums and reviews. Changing the interlinks to AQ Well and got some fine results but were was the speed and emotion? November, 4 months after surgery, maybe a bit better but still not a release of the brakes. Having it checked by the distributor who concluded everything was fine, left me with the unfortunate decision to change the amp asap... So the search began.

 However last week I cryogened the naim cabling, so the Snaic and the Burndy. Conductivity of the cables should go up with 15 to 20%. Two days of warming up again and yesterday the first critical listening; spectacular!!! The feeling was if the 500 was freed up, had the speed and was not holding back like before. It really sounded so nice, sweet, involving and tempting. Really happy again.

My thoughts: the DR electronics are great but the Snaic and Burndy cabling are less so. This is probably the weak spot in the total 552 DR- 500 DR setup. 

Have now been playing for around 18 days-non stop ..... wow sound really improving - so involving - the sound has opened up beautifully - the detail, purity and punch present is  quite amazing - this is a really a big upgrade on the original 500 (which was very good). I find myself - immersed - enjoying track after track. This is a great amplifier ... I can't believe there is more to come ..... as others seem to agree this is only the beginning..... I will keep you posted. Interestingly I note this amp barely gets warm... the old 500 got quite warm and times very warm.

Richieroo posted:

Have now been playing for around 18 days-non stop ..... wow sound really improving - so involving - the sound has opened up beautifully - the detail, purity and punch present is  quite amazing - this is a really a big upgrade on the original 500 (which was very good). I find myself - immersed - enjoying track after track. This is a great amplifier ... I can't believe there is more to come ..... as others seem to agree this is only the beginning..... I will keep you posted. Interestingly I note this amp barely gets warm... the old 500 got quite warm and times very warm.

18 days is definitely 'early days' if my experience with 500DR is anything to go by. Shocking improvements were apparent beyond week 4/5 -- now i am roughly on week 8 and it seems there is no end to what this amp still has up its sleeve to be revealed at the appropriate time. I sometimes hear 3 months? 6 months? Doesn't matter -- i am looking fwd to it all...

enjoy

ken

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