12yr old NAP500 back to the Mothership for service and DR upgrade. Hello 300s. Hellllooo 500DR!

I've never liked it despite trying to like it and buy it on two occasions. The up side is that  I got to keep a considerable sum of money in my possession twice. I had hopes for the DR but nothing fundamental has changed. It's a Marmite amp and I remain in a disliking minority. 

The closest I can get to describing how it seems to present material is to use a photographic analogy. Take  a full length portrait shot, crop the top of the head and the soles of the shoes so close that they are not quite visible. Nearly but not quite. Over saturate the colour and render it ever so slightly out of focus. Not so much that it appears blurred but doesn't quite snap in.

Would I have preferred silence? Of course not.

Were we grateful for the loan? Of course we were.

Nothing comes up to 500 levels of magic. I wouldn't try to compare a 250 with a 500. But unlike the 500 I don't think it is peerless and I do think it can be bettered for less. I love Naim but I'm not *that* desperate.

Dustysox posted:

Dam....500 went back to Naim Friday and here I am Sunday climbing the walls with no music to listen to. How did you guys get by? 

My Naim is  Dusty...and I'm addicted to music...not silence!!!!

After amalgamating my two systems I had 2 x NAP500! so I sent my 2006 unit for DR upgrade and used my 2010 500 until returned. The day it returned I listened to my system for around 30mins and then a quick swop over and fired up the DR'd 500 and wow instant improvement!! lovely base, clearer sound that just get better. Now just got to sell spare 500!!

analogmusic posted:

that is true, 500 series is something else altogether....

what source do you use Harry...?

NDS/555PS-DR/555PS-DR. The 250 (and 282) auditions were back in our CDX2 and CDX2/XPS2 owning days. We never dreamed we would get to something like CDS3/252/300 level and if you had told us what innovations lay in store with streaming and HiRes we would have laughed.

It's been a good ten years or so for music lovers everywhere.

Hi I did the same I compared the 250dr to 2000 unmodified 500 ..... absolutely no comparison the 500 was way way better in all areas ... it is not a subtle difference. One thing that I did not expect - with the 500 when you turn up the volume - the stereo image does not collapse - it is quite staggering. The 250dr is still a very good amp - unless you compare it with the 500 directly. My 500dr is getting better and better - fantastic clarity and timbre combined with powerful base drive - giving a superb stereo image with superb timing. A secondhand 500 is sensible proposition.

It’s not fair to compare them directly but it serves to illustrate that as you go through 200, 250, 300 and 500 you don’t get “more of the same”. The presentation of the 300 couldn’t be more different (or to my ears better) than the 250.  And the 500 is different again in all sorts of ways.  There is no Naim house sound and paying more doesn’t get you more of it. It’s about the difference between listening to HiFi and listening to music. Where I think the 500 and 300 differ from the 250 and 200 is that at their price points they are peerless or nearly so. To my ears the 250 and 200 can be beaten and for less money. But not the 155 which to my ears is another Naim bulls eye at its price point

Insert subjectivity disclaimer here.

Harry posted:

It’s not fair to compare them directly but it serves to illustrate that as you go through 200, 250, 300 and 500 you don’t get “more of the same”. The presentation of the 300 couldn’t be more different (or to my ears better) than the 250.  And the 500 is different again in all sorts of ways.  There is no Naim house sound and paying more doesn’t get you more of it. It’s about the difference between listening to HiFi and listening to music. Where I think the 500 and 300 differ from the 250 and 200 is that at their price points they are peerless or nearly so. To my ears the 250 and 200 can be beaten and for less money. But not the 155 which to my ears is another Naim bulls eye at its price point

Insert subjectivity disclaimer here.

Subjectivity indeed.   However, somewhat strange that you assert that there are viable alternatives to the cheaper amps for less - which of course there are - but the £20k amp has no completion? 

Regarding price point I have no doubt there are comparable amps as naim gear is not cheap ..... there is some great gear out there such as Vitus.... to my ears there is diffinately a naim sound ... a kind of explicit rhythmically charge presentation .... even present in the nait 5i .... what you get as the price increases is more control separation and detail.....in corresponding amounts.

Actually the 500 was OK but past its best. What wasn't OK was my stack order. I had turntable, CDX2(not ac powered), 552, superline and 500 on the left and initially NAD 4020A, 555ps,552ps,supercap and 500ps on the right. The 552 replaced a 282 and the 500ps replaced a 250-2 that preceded them. This put the 500's burndies on the floor with speaker and a power lead. This is how I first heard the 500 (I'd had the 552 a year by then) and it was revealing detail previously unknown and lyrics I'd never understood were obvious but it wasn't boogying as well as the 250. After a couple of weeks of this I moved the 500ps up the stack and the 552ps down to the bottom, this lifted the Burndies clear, by an inch, and there was an improvement but not full satisfaction.  It stayed like this for 6 weeks until I got the go for DRing whereat I put the 250-2 where the 500 head unit had been to save relaying the speaker cables again. The boogie was back, at which point I realised it had gone missing. When the 500 came back I put it back where it came from, with a similar result, the lack of boogie wasn't due to a lack of servicing.  Various experiments ensued resulting in the 552 going above the CDX2 and the right stack going tuner, 500ps, supercap, 552ps and 555ps. The one that returned the boogie factor in full was rasing the 552. When I'd tried that order with the 282/CDX2 I'd prefered it the other way round, a preference  I've since verified when I set them up in our second home in France.

The 552 really didn't like a big ps higher in the adjacent stack than it was, with perhaps, the iron cored transformer in the CDX2, though unenergised, also factor when above the 552 but not when below. Or something else entirely.

Proximity of Transformers to Pre, Source and (for me) Snaxo makes an unpleasant difference when you get it wrong - and you only find this out when you find there is a 'wrong'! 

Unless discovered for oneself, usually people scoff at this being possible and roll-out all sorts of ideas to prove that you are deluding yourself and no need to consider this - ho hum!

But I've found that a learning experience of trial and error re-stacking of one's system components can yield-up very significant results which are at least as significant as an esoteric cable upgrade. Since this effort is just that - an effort - and does not cost any money, it is well worth getting it right.

DB.

analogmusic posted:
Harry posted:

 There is no Naim house sound and paying more doesn’t get you more of it.

interesting.... in that case the whole Naim business model of upgrading from Nait to 552/500 is based on...?

Money......kidding!!!

 

yeti42 posted:

Actually the 500 was OK but past its best. What wasn't OK was my stack order. I had turntable, CDX2(not ac powered), 552, superline and 500 on the left and initially NAD 4020A, 555ps,552ps,supercap and 500ps on the right. The 552 replaced a 282 and the 500ps replaced a 250-2 that preceded them. This put the 500's burndies on the floor with speaker and a power lead. This is how I first heard the 500 (I'd had the 552 a year by then) and it was revealing detail previously unknown and lyrics I'd never understood were obvious but it wasn't boogying as well as the 250. After a couple of weeks of this I moved the 500ps up the stack and the 552ps down to the bottom, this lifted the Burndies clear, by an inch, and there was an improvement but not full satisfaction.  It stayed like this for 6 weeks until I got the go for DRing whereat I put the 250-2 where the 500 head unit had been to save relaying the speaker cables again. The boogie was back, at which point I realised it had gone missing. When the 500 came back I put it back where it came from, with a similar result, the lack of boogie wasn't due to a lack of servicing.  Various experiments ensued resulting in the 552 going above the CDX2 and the right stack going tuner, 500ps, supercap, 552ps and 555ps. The one that returned the boogie factor in full was rasing the 552. When I'd tried that order with the 282/CDX2 I'd prefered it the other way round, a preference  I've since verified when I set them up in our second home in France.

The 552 really didn't like a big ps higher in the adjacent stack than it was, with perhaps, the iron cored transformer in the CDX2, though unenergised, also factor when above the 552 but not when below. Or something else entirely.

Hi,

There is a rather informative little thread that may help in this department.....i'm not not sure if you have seen it.

https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...95#46901104054698795

I don't know (and I say this with no disrespect at all, as I use to own B&W 805s speakers) if one can really obtain the Naim sound with B&W diamond speakers, as those speakers have got a very strong character of their own, and  in fact the attributes mentioned by Harry - over saturation, too much treble and bass, tends to be the trait of those speakers rather than any I can recognize in the 250, after having compared to a 500. Yes there are differences between a 250 and a 500, but why would there not be, look at their prices !

In fact I find their (Diamond tweeter) treble rather ear piercing. Still good fun, but after auditioning the latest range, it was a relief to come back and listen to my Dynaudio/Naim. I'm always open to going back to B&W, but now they are priced to a point where there is a lot of very good competition, and some of them really that outshine and outperform to a very large extent the diamonds to my ears.

I think Naim electronics are better able to show their qualities with more neutral speakers and phase correct crossovers, like from Dynaudio, Ovators, Focal, or Sonus Faber.

 

analogmusic posted:

I don't know (and I say this with no disrespect at all, as I use to own B&W 805s speakers) if one can really obtain the Naim sound with B&W diamond speakers, as those speakers have got a very strong character of their own, and  in fact the attributes mentioned by Harry - over saturation, too much treble and bass, tends to be the trait of those speakers rather than any I can recognize in the 250, after having compared to a 500. Yes there are differences between a 250 and a 500, but why would there not be, look at their prices !

In fact I find their (Diamond tweeter) treble rather ear piercing. Still good fun, but after auditioning the latest range, it was a relief to come back and listen to my Dynaudio/Naim. I'm always open to going back to B&W, but now they are priced to a point where there is a lot of very good competition, and some of them really that outshine and outperform to a very large extent the diamonds to my ears.

I think Naim electronics are better able to show their qualities with more neutral speakers and phase correct crossovers, like from Dynaudio, Ovators, Focal, or Sonus Faber.

 

I don't get this fascination with the 'Naim Sound' and trying to preserve this. Surely the most important aspect is the end result from the combination of components that the owner has chosen to get the sound they want ?

Step back a few years and Naim electronics used to show their best through some speakers which were very far from neutral (Kans, Saras etc...) !

yes but back then as I understand, Naim amps were themselves not that neutral, and analog sources like tape, Vinyl and FM radio didn't have the dynamic range of Digital sources.

Now there is a trend towards neutrality, certainly with Chord DAC sources, and the DR range from Naim, certainly more of the music comes through to my ears, along with the latest speakers like Ovator, and also the latest Dynaudio, Focals and Sonus Fabers.

As you go up the range, there is an effort to lower the noise floor, and I fully agree that the 500 series is a quite superior electronic design to every Naim  amp below it, but then at a price.

james n posted:

I don't get this fascination with the 'Naim Sound' and trying to preserve this. Surely the most important aspect is the end result from the combination of components that the owner has chosen to get the sound they want ?

Step back a few years and Naim electronics used to show their best through some speakers which were very far from neutral (Kans, Saras etc...) !

+1 James. WTF is the Naim sound anyway? Some virtual sonic image conjured-up in the mind of someone owning Naim components and for some reason on a bender beating an unending Naim drum? I really don't give a rat's ass whether my speakers are neutral or have phase correct crossovers. I only care that the end result of my system moves me and gets me involved with the music. One person's neutral is another's color. My gear, my ears, my room.

That's you then, with Chord and Dynaudio destroying the ''Naim sound'.

I agree with James and Joe here - just get what you want. So long as the music moves you - which is infinitely more important than choosing something just because it comes from one manufacturer or another. 

analogmusic posted:
Harry posted:

 There is no Naim house sound and paying more doesn’t get you more of it.

interesting.... in that case the whole Naim business model of upgrading from Nait to 552/500 is based on...?

Getting closer to the music? Having the HiFi removed to leave only the music? Works for me.

Naim can nail the timing. Better than anything I've heard. And bring fourth detail and insight without taking the picture to bits.  But all Naim amps do not display some kind of tonal distortion which gives them a house sound.  Maybe (and not uniquely) a style of presentation which is musically appealing, but then again, not in the case of the 200 or 250 for me. Each to our own. 

Going back as far as I can remember, the key for us was that we were happy that our system was the best, or one of them, for the budget available. If what we could come up with, given the circumstances, sounded right, then it was right. Many components have been auditioned when considering upgrades and most of didn’t fit for some reason. In a different room/system/pair of ears…..

analogmusic posted:

just an alternative view to Harry's view of the 250.

 

I think it's called "having a conversation".  Or something like that

I'm not too passionate about Naim and brand loyalty. I tend to be loyal to brands and dealers but only until I find something better - or not, as the case may be. I suppose it's a mix of contentedness and laziness. Given that it's a once-in-a-lifetime outlay our kids will likely inherit the system. Or it will be sold when it no longer fulfils a purpose due to limited space or poor hearing.  Our chopping and changing days are over.

What I'm a lot more passionate about is music. Always have been. It's the closest thing I have to a religion. In that context, my liking of Naim is self explanatory.  Thank (insert your deity here) we're not all the same. How boring would that be?

yes, thanks for understanding it's just a conversation.

When I finally got around to hearing 252/300 and 552/500 I did understand what you mean all along that the realism of music really improves.

However I did an experiment, took my speakers to my friends home, and heard the Chord Dave with 552/500, and the sound I got wasn't that much better than what I got with my 282/250DR with Chord Dave. My friend also said the same.

I'm still puzzled why, maybe the speakers aren't good enough,  but I clearly hear the differences between a Chord Dave and my Vinyl turntable on those same speakers. I can also clearly hear changing from NACA 5 to a Vertere speaker cable.

I'm just saying I heard more variability in changing sources (and speakers) than changing Naim amps...?

In any case I'm struggling now for any reason to change anything as it sounds musically good, even though I got a 250 amp 

I also don't feel it is a hardship going down to listen in another room to Chord Mojo, 202/200 with smaller Dynaudio speakers.

We all have uniquely set up systems, different rooms, ears and brains. We all hear different and we each listen for different things. Helen and I listen for completely different things in our music, including the music we both love in the area where out likes overlap. It's amazing that any group of people, such as in here, can relate in any way to the things that throw our individual switches, particularly when discussing audio reproduction. I am old enough and have been skint enough to remember a time when listening was sometimes limited or guided by audible distortion.  Just like most cars would rust and fall to bits with certainty. We live in a better world now.

Harry posted:

I'm not too passionate about Naim and brand loyalty. 

What I'm a lot more passionate about is music. Always have been. It's the closest thing I have to a religion. In that context, my liking of Naim is self explanatory.  Thank (insert your deity here) we're not all the same. How boring would that be?

I feel the same way, music is first and foremost to me, and the kit is a means to an end of enjoying music.

I'm not too loyal to Naim either, as I use Chord DAC and Dynaudio speakers, and kind of miss my old B&W 805s...

One can never say never, but B&W raising prices for D3 range did not help me to go back to the latest 805... 

I would rather have had needles stuck in my eyes than buy B&W speakers. Dull, boring, overrated. Tried plenty at home too. Then I heard a pair I couldn't resist. Never discount the unexpected. And above all - have fun. Big fun. It's important.

And from this day forward, tomorrow will now be called March 500 day!!

She's on her way back, and i hope that this time tomorrow night I shall be enjoying listening to music again with a little something more in the mix...a fully serviced/DR upgrade of my 500.

Bring it on March 500 eve!!!!!

Dustysox posted:

And from this day forward, tomorrow will now be called March 500 day!!

She's on her way back, and i hope that this time tomorrow night I shall be enjoying listening to music again with a little something more in the mix...a fully serviced/DR upgrade of my 500.

Bring it on March 500 eve!!!!!

You will not be disappointed with your 500 DR Dusty. Mine has been back in my system for a week now and has sounded fantastic from cold with no sonic wobbles as yet. More of everything comes with this upgrade.

Happy listening to your music collection afresh.

Cheers

Rick.

Ricky Dasler posted:
Dustysox posted:

And from this day forward, tomorrow will now be called March 500 day!!

She's on her way back, and i hope that this time tomorrow night I shall be enjoying listening to music again with a little something more in the mix...a fully serviced/DR upgrade of my 500.

Bring it on March 500 eve!!!!!

You will not be disappointed with your 500 DR Dusty. Mine has been back in my system for a week now and has sounded fantastic from cold with no sonic wobbles as yet. More of everything comes with this upgrade.

Happy listening to your music collection afresh.

Cheers

Rick.

Hi Ricky,

 

Thats great news, and thank you.

I wish I had equally great news...unfortunately the courier decided to deliver the PSU today and "hopefully" the amp tomorrow!!!! Apparently standard procedure, go figure!!

Harry posted:

Nice one Darren. There is nothing I can say which:

a) has not already been said

b) is probably going to be said by you in any case

You could of said you will get your PSU today and amp tomorrow..that would of been a great prediction!!!!!!!!!!!

Fingers crossed for tomorrow...pt 2 day!!

One more day with out music...I hope. What i have come to realise is how much i enjoy listening to music and it really is a great tonic at the end of the day.

I have had my 2x500DR now for close to 5 months now. and i agree with DB in connection with initial 3 week run-in where you will notice in no uncertain terms, that this is a different and much better amp.

However, if my experience is anything to go by, this initial 'throat clearing' is only a small hint of what's to come. In my case, something very significant happened from around early Feb onwards -- and i found myself wondering just how mere 'Hifi' can sound so musically realistic.

so i guess i am justified in saying  'prepare to be amazed....'

enjoy...

ken

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