Going active

Current system nds, 555, 52, sc, 300, SBLs. None of the above has been dr’d. I have ten shelves of Fraim, also lp12. In a fit of something, I am picking up a 250dr in a couple of days and also considering SL2s. 

Contemplating going active. Not going to rush into anything but main options seem to be:  

1. Trade 300 for second 250dr so I go active with 2x250dr. This is least cost / least shelves option, I could do sooner and could end up being end game (though I might always wonder what might have been if did 2x300)

2. Forget about active until I can go 2x300 (250dr then used elsewhere) - maybe next year

3. Go wonky active with 300 / 250dr as a stepping stone on the way to 2x300 - could later on trade towards a 300 (got it at v good price) or use elsewhere

Active 2x300 would def be the end game - mentally I could not cope with going 2x500

i think I would need a wall shelf for lp12 before I can house 2x300s

thoughts?

Original Post

Option 3. As you'll need a SNAXO & HC (at least) and another couple of speaker cables, I suggest you leave your amps alone. Note that olive NAXO & SNAXO 2-4 are wired differently to the black SNAXO 242, so go for the latter and put the "better amp" on the trebles.

living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:

The general idea is to get views from people who haven’t already told me what they think I will be reading your messages again shortly 

i think I am minded to go for 3 (long term always the best approach) but want to gauge general opinion, if there is such a thing

😂👍🏼  I am sure you will. 

I think wonky active may be less than ideal if the amps have different characters, and it seems to be a general view that 300 and 250 sound quite different. So the result would be doubtful unless the difference is confined only to something positive in the frequency range an amp is covering (e.g better bass control or extension on the one to be used for bass).

But it is fine to have different power capability of amps on the different sections, less power being needed at higher frequencies than at the bass end - against which, for clarity on the crucial midrange area it is often suggested that the best amp go on the driver covering that. 

Having been up and down the active ladder in the past I would say that Naim's hierachy of amp design is very difficult to beat and for me I think goes something like this...passive 135's will beat active 250's, a passive (stock) 500 will beat active 135's (it did in my system and to my ears). I think active DR'd 300's might give a (stock) passive 500 system a close run but then a DR'd 500 will pretty much devastate everything. Then of course you have the passive Statement that will easily overshadow active 500DR's.

My reccomendation would be to avoid an active wonky system and either go 300DR or, better still, find a nice used 500? I'm sure that cost wise this would also be the cheaper option?

On the topic of wonky amplification. I decided that my activate my 102-SC, 250, SBL system. For sure I had a long term plan, but in the interim I pressed into service any old amps I could find. A NAXO & HC duly arrived over Xmas a couple of years ago, so the first iteration was 102-SC, NAXO-HC, 250 on the trebles and a Meridian 103D on the mid-bass. 

I found that I preferred the the wonky amp active SBLs over passive, and as a “proof of concept” it was deemed a success. Enjoyed it for about seven months, until I managed to grab a SNAXO + Burndy for a very good price.......the Meridian amp was then enjoyed for another half year before the second 250 arrived.

In conclusion, even a wonky amp setup was a good stepping stone towards the current 82-HCx2, SNAXO-SC, 250x2, SBLs. (All Olive, of course).

 

There is something about active that just grabs me. I understand the thing about 1 x 500 should blow away 2 x 300 but actually I don't believe it. There is an immediacy, a drive, an in your face factor about actives, (well good ones), that is sooooo addictive. PRaT to the max. My goal is a great 2 way active system. Trying for a passive with a NAP 300 doing the boogie but if my boat came in heck  2 x 300s into some killer medium sized two way speaker would be Nirvana. And to hell with the box count. 

Willy posted:

I initially went wonky active with IBLs, an IXO, a 250, a 180 and some bespoke signal cables. Definite improvement over passive with a single 250.

In due course added a second 250, snaxo/hicap, then supercap. Improvement at each step.

Willy.

Heard some IBLs with 4 x 135s about 20 years ago. What's the favourite Naim forum expletive?  Blimey! And I am not even English. Had active SBLs driven by CB250s on a brief sojourn in my lounge room a few years prior, and even though audio memory is very unreliable, the IBL system ate it for lunch.

Geko posted:

Having been up and down the active ladder in the past I would say that Naim's hierachy of amp design is very difficult to beat and for me I think goes something like this...passive 135's will beat active 250's, a passive (stock) 500 will beat active 135's (it did in my system and to my ears). I think active DR'd 300's might give a (stock) passive 500 system a close run but then a DR'd 500 will pretty much devastate everything. Then of course you have the passive Statement that will easily overshadow active 500DR's.

My reccomendation would be to avoid an active wonky system and either go 300DR or, better still, find a nice used 500? I'm sure that cost wise this would also be the cheaper option?

I have discussed that option with someone - he helpfully pointed out that one of the issues I am probably facing is that the passive crossover on my SBLs is now probably restricting me more than it was a few years ago.  Naim don’t supply new paxo’s for SBLs anymore. Better to get SL2s than put money into my SBLs I think - or go active (and get SL2s!). Possibly ... as nothing’s certain

Hungryhalibut posted:
living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:

But I will have a lovely shiny 552 to look at

You can’t sell my SBLs!! 

Well, if you want them back, I’m sure that Living in Lancs.... would swap them for, say, a nice pair of SL2s.....

OTOH if a 552 is incoming then the 52 will need a home.......have you ever heard of the South Coast Retirement Home for Olive Preamps (unreg. Charity no. xxxxxxxxx)? No? I’ll post my, er sorry,  the charity’s address.

living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:
living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:

But I will have a lovely shiny 552 to look at

You can’t sell my SBLs!! 

I’ll swap em for your SL2s! 

Bingo!

And just could drop off the 52 on your way to collect the SL2s ....... Result!  

Franz K posted:

Some questions how old is your 300 ? Does it need servicing ? Ditto 52.  nothing wrong with a 552 but an enormour outlay. You have already a 250dr or just contrmpkating ..? Cheers f

52 serviced when I got it (or shortly before) around six years ago. I think 300s will be due service in a couple of years. I am picking up 250dr in a couple of days - impulsive purhase brand new as it was stupid cheap (and yes I have checked it is pukka) - may use with my unitiqute and nsats in the loft, will be able to trade towards a used 300 in a year or two without losing much . 552 won’t be happening until I retire I don’t think but a 252 wouldn’t be enough of a jump over the 52 I don’t think to be worth bothering with

So just go for it then. All you need  is a snaxo a psu and another set of cables. Oh and maybe one or two more fraims. A wallshelf for your lp12 is definitely worthwhile will free a fraim and doesn’t cost an arm or leg. A 52 is up to specks for active as is a 300 and a 250dr. And then you’ll see. Of course options are numerous. Dring, 552, Sl2s Another 300, etc. 

Enjoy the ride

cheers F  

Franz K posted:

I would challenge the view that passive statment poweramps will eclipse an active 500dr setup, yet depending on speakers. 

I only say this because a friend of mine went from active DBL's with 3X500DR's to a full Statement system with DBL's. I heard the before and after, which was nothing short of astonishing. It could be that the S1-Pre had more of influence than the amps but the system easily accounted for the re-introduction of the passive x-overs.

Geko posted:
Franz K posted:

I would challenge the view that passive statment poweramps will eclipse an active 500dr setup, yet depending on speakers. 

I only say this because a friend of mine went from active DBL's with 3X500DR's to a full Statement system with DBL's. I heard the before and after, which was nothing short of astonishing. It could be that the S1-Pre had more of influence than the amps but the system easily accounted for the re-introduction of the passive x-overs.

Geko, this is truly an interresting find and I would love to hear more about it, maybe not just me..;-).  It reminds me of the situation years back when the claim was that DBLs driven by a single passive 500 would exceed an active 135 sixpack.  I find active DBLs are really special. I have had them passive for years and just recently went active with 3x500DR and the difference it made is huge. Maybe you or your friend can comment more on this "transition" from active 500DR DBLs to passive full statement DBLs. I would think that an active S1pre/3x500DR/DBL setup is more "fun" than passive S1pre/S1poweramp/DBL with the POX being reintroduced.

Cheers, F

Excuses to the OP, I dont intend to shift this thread to another  issue here.

Comparing like for like passive/active systems is really hard. First there are not many of the type where where you can just add in the bits to go from passive to active. And if you are lucky enough to get a comparison going is very time consuming to swap from passive to active.  Long term live ins with them are the only way to get indoctrinated into the active cult.

I was lucky enough to do this with Kans, Sara’s, Isobariks and latterly Majik 140s. Also I have been up and down the active ladder, and sideways (Meridian, Mark Levinson) and to the outer limits with single way designs from Jordan, Stax, Quad and essentially one ways, (via bi amping Appogee and Magnaplanar and bypassing filters). 

So basically a loon I is. So far I have been hooked. And the current thinking of all things being equal a passive 500 out doing 2 x 300s (or wherever you are on the ladder), doesn’t accord with my experience. 

There is a quality that a good active system has that I have never experienced with passive set ups, no matter how brilliant they’ve been. It’s the “speed”. So satisfying. But things do change, so I will have to be open to things as I progress up the ladder again.

Just getting back to the OPs initial query, I wouldn’t get too hung up about “wonky “ set ups. Some of the most engagiing active systems I’ve heard have been very twisted. Just have fun and overdose on “speed”.

Franz K posted:
Geko posted:
Franz K posted:

I would challenge the view that passive statment poweramps will eclipse an active 500dr setup, yet depending on speakers. 

I only say this because a friend of mine went from active DBL's with 3X500DR's to a full Statement system with DBL's. I heard the before and after, which was nothing short of astonishing. It could be that the S1-Pre had more of influence than the amps but the system easily accounted for the re-introduction of the passive x-overs.

Geko, this is truly an interresting find and I would love to hear more about it, maybe not just me..;-).  It reminds me of the situation years back when the claim was that DBLs driven by a single passive 500 would exceed an active 135 sixpack.  I find active DBLs are really special. I have had them passive for years and just recently went active with 3x500DR and the difference it made is huge. Maybe you or your friend can comment more on this "transition" from active 500DR DBLs to passive full statement DBLs. I would think that an active S1pre/3x500DR/DBL setup is more "fun" than passive S1pre/S1poweramp/DBL with the POX being reintroduced.

Cheers, F

Excuses to the OP, I dont intend to shift this thread to another  issue here.

Yes, apologies to the OP for the diversification.

I'm not sure what more I can say, except that the Statement (vs active 500's) gave a more fundamental change in the way music was presented. Much the same way as going from a stock 500 to a 500DR does. It's like the DNA of the replay system changes completely. Describing the way the Statement presented music almost becomes meaningless. It was so natural and gave so much acoustic information related to the venue of the recording that it was more than slightly unsettling! I think it's only when you hear a Statement in a well-sorted domestic setting that you fully appreciate just how good it is. And I must be rather lucky because this is the second (domestic) Statement system I've heard. The other one was running Ovator 600's that were, pretty convincingly, out-performing my DBL's.

As I think I mentioned, I've have run an active 135 six pack system myself but I don't think I could go back to them after hearing what a single passive 500DR does!

Would I go active with 3 x 500DR amps? You blooming bet I would!

   

"The other one was running Ovator 600's that were, pretty convincingly, out-performing my DBL's."

That's interesting.  I have S600s and though I like them very much (run on the end of a non-DR NAP500) I don't think they sound as good as a 6-pack DBL system I heard many years ago (so age and memory could be factors, though I don't think it's my memory).  I also borrowed S800s plus NAP500 a while ago - which was better (of course) than my S600s, I still felt that the DBLs were better.  But then this is my (somewhat strangely-shaped room) as opposed to the rather excellent (large Georgian) room I heard the DBLs in.

I hope one day to get the 500 DR upgrade...

 

Geko posted:
Franz K posted:

I would challenge the view that passive statment poweramps will eclipse an active 500dr setup, yet depending on speakers. 

I only say this because a friend of mine went from active DBL's with 3X500DR's to a full Statement system with DBL's. I heard the before and after, which was nothing short of astonishing. It could be that the S1-Pre had more of influence than the amps but the system easily accounted for the re-introduction of the passive x-overs.

I'm afraid I also share Franz K's scepticism. The standard Naim DBL passive crossover's a real restriction here. Out of interest, I did try to go back from my active 3X500DR/ DBL system to single passive 500DR recently, and was quite dismayed by the drop in sound quality.

I've used active systems for many years, and try as I might, I can't get away from the unique things active brings in terms of speed, clarity, and rhythmic drive. I've not heard Statement/passive DBLs, but I've heard Statement/Kudos 808 a fair few times, and depite the obviously great sound, I still prefer my active DBLs.

I was comparing how the 600's with a Statement sounded against my then passive DBL's with 135's - I was actually in the process of buying his old NAP500. The bass the 600's were producing was staggering as the owner had absolutely no fear when it came to volume levels.   

tonym posted:
Geko posted:
Franz K posted:

I would challenge the view that passive statment poweramps will eclipse an active 500dr setup, yet depending on speakers. 

I only say this because a friend of mine went from active DBL's with 3X500DR's to a full Statement system with DBL's. I heard the before and after, which was nothing short of astonishing. It could be that the S1-Pre had more of influence than the amps but the system easily accounted for the re-introduction of the passive x-overs.

I'm afraid I also share Franz K's scepticism. The standard Naim DBL passive crossover's a real restriction here. Out of interest, I did try to go back from my active 3X500DR/ DBL system to single passive 500DR recently, and was quite dismayed by the drop in sound quality.

I've used active systems for many years, and try as I might, I can't get away from the unique things active brings in terms of speed, clarity, and rhythmic drive. I've not heard Statement/passive DBLs, but I've heard Statement/Kudos 808 a fair few times, and depite the obviously great sound, I still prefer my active DBLs.

Tonym,

Please don't get me wrong I'm not against the principals of an active system and would advocate its use wherever possible. I can well imagine the drop in SQ going from active back to passive, even with something like the NAP 500DR. I'm just not totally convinced that in all cases an active system will out-perform a passive system. I'm reminded of my first venture into active systems in the 1980's. I had a rather nice set of active Meridian M2's. My dealer suggested that I borrow a 32/Snaps/110 and a pair of Kans as he said it would easily out perform the M2's. I told him that I thought he talked rubbish. Two weeks later I owned my first passive Naim system.  

Chaps, 

First back to the op‘s initial question, and my suggestion would be just go for it ie active, even wonky, it’s relatively easy with a two way speaker, and not much risk to go wrong. 

With respect to active vs passive in the context of 3x500dr/dbls vs Statement I have the feel we have mainly speculations or indirect comparisons at the moment with too many uncertainties. Although not an easy task the only way to come to a fair conclusion is to do a direct comparison .. so someone ought to do it ..😁 all it needs is a well settled domestic 3x500dr/dbl system and an enthusiastic statement dealer ..

Franz, thanks. Am going to try the 250dr out in my unitiqute/ nsat system in my study to start with. Then I am going to have a listen to a local’s active 2x250dr SL2 system and then try a dem with my own speakers on active. If I ever get organised (ha ha) I will swap my 300 for the 250dr to check how a single 250dr sounds compared to the 300 - I think that will be quite informative.  If I go wonky active then the aim will be to get to 2x300 in time though I will need an extra level of naim... unless I can stick my unitiserve and lingo to the side somehow 

Long term active user here, and advocate. I'm a bit confused exactly where this thread has ended up but my one observation is that I'd rather have 2 x 250 into SL2 than 2 x 300 into SBLs. DR or not. I own both speakers by the way, and have run both active. See my profile.

I'd also rather spend money on a Supercap for the SNAXO than the bigger power amps if cash was tight and an SL SNAXO connection cable is exceptionally worthwhile in my experience, and cheap in comparison to the other stuff we are talking about. I'd consider these two steps almost essential to unlock the potential of a good active system irrespective of the power amp side so include these in your plans and budget.

If you have 250+300 in an active system the usual advice is use the better amp on the HF side. Not sure I recall why!

None of my system is DR'd. Still sounds bloody amazing.

Bruce

 

 

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