NAP 200 to NAP 250 - sound signature

Hi, my last upgrade was to a NAC 282 with NAPSC, which I power using a PSU. I am curious about whether trading up my NAP 200 is a good move. I only buy second hand, and once I start talking to my local dealers then I will get the normal push to buy. So, before I wake up that sleeping lion, can anybody explain how a move from 200 to 250 affects the sound. From what I have read so far, I get more bass control but some describe the 250 as a bit clinical, which is why I am nervous. It could be that the change is not so much an upgrade as a sideways move?

Original Post

250 will give you a bigger soundstage, more resolution, much punchier bass, and seems better that very fast speed of the 200.... with the regulated amps like 250, 300, there is a much lower noise floor, just look at pictures of 200 and 250 DR on the internet and you will see how much more of an amplifier the 250 is.

The 009 transistors inside 250 are almost the same as statement amps, and the DR regulation is better, 30 times better noise floor than the previous generation of 250.2.

don't be nervous, I have a 200 and loved my 250 DR from the second I switch it on and played music on it.

in fact my reaction was "OMG !!!!! WOW !"

I've heard 300 DR also, and I can hear what it does, but I'm no rush at all to upgrade to a 300DR.

GraemeH posted:

Do you mean the 250DR? If so then I agree with ANALOGMUSIC. If you are considering a 250.2 or earlier 250 then you really must audition. I preferred the nimble 200 to the lumpy 250.2...

G

I'd take an old 250 anyday against a 250.2 (lumpy or blown may be the right description)

200 was not my favorit either even a very different presentation

Can't comment on DR

If you need more power it might be a good idea going up in Nap but personally I'd look to max the source/preamp

For me (with a 282 up front) the 200 and 250 had a very different sonic signature. Still Naim, but a much darker and heavier presentation. I thought the 200 and 300 sounded more alike than the 200 and 250. All these were pre DR. 

You don't mention your speakers ?

I went  via a very similar route to you 202/200 to 282/200 and only buy used like you. I traded up from a 200 to a 250-2 my 200 plus 700 pounds intending it as a stepping stone to a 250DR that was about 4 months ago and have not regretted the move or felt compelled to upgrade yet. Unlike other posters on this forum I have never found the 250-2 to sound 'bloated' and have owned both CB and Olive 250's and prefer the 250-2 and compared to the 200 also prefer 250-2.

My advice would be to go for the upgrade let's face it with Naim Audio you very rarely loose money and if you do not like the 282/250-2 then in 6 months or a year you can upgrade to a 250DR.

282/250-2 was a classic Naim combo designed by Naim to go together and was/is an amp many people aspired to and you are very lucky to be in a position to be considering owning one.   

Prior to the 250DR upgrade I cannot recall very many of these accusations of bloatedness against the 250-2  and there are very many very happy 250-2 owners out there in non Naim forum world.

Of course if you have the money to trade up to a 250DR then of course that would be my choice but if you are like me and have to do these upgrades more gradually then go via 250-2 it is a great amp.

ps I have Dynaudio X32 speakers which are of course 4 ohm so perhaps this made a difference and I use TQ Black speaker cables and ND5XS/Chord 2Qute and an LP12.

james n posted:

For me (with a 282 up front) the 200 and 250 had a very different sonic signature. Still Naim, but a much darker and heavier presentation. I thought the 200 and 300 sounded more alike than the 200 and 250. All these were pre DR. 

You don't mention your speakers ?

Sorry, Dynaudio Focus 160s.  

analogmusic posted:

The dyna x32 are awesome speakers 

I moved from Excite X12 to the Focus 160s.  I have a small room and floorstanders are a bit too much.  I loved the X12 but always felt that they were teasing with a taste of what I could get.  When I found the Focus 160s on sale then I impulse bought them and have never regretted it.  

You don't mention your sources either. This may be the area that could better benefit. Putting system details in your profile may be a good idea. 

I wouldn't change from a 200 to a 250.2, but the DR is entirely different. I'd also wonder about the virtues of a third party power supply between 282 and 200/250. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

You don't mention your sources either. This may be the area that could better benefit. Putting system details in your profile may be a good idea. 

I wouldn't change from a 200 to a 250.2, but the DR is entirely different. I'd also wonder about the virtues of a third party power supply between 282 and 200/250. 

I am sorry, so here is the rest.  I use a ssd into the usb of a Bluesound Node 2, via optical into a Chord Mojo, then Atlas Equator III into the 282.  I appreciate what you say about the PSU, it was all I could afford at the time and threads on here compare/contrast it with a HICAP DR.  The jury is out on that, and reading up on dual supplies, SUPERCAP etc has left me without a clear answer.  There are supporters in every camp.

Similarly, I moved to the Mojo from a succession of different DACs.  The Mojo is the best so far and, within my budget constraints, could be difficult to beat.  I am hoping that the Hugo 2 will start to bring down sh Hugo prices, but only time will tell.

I'm now hoist by my own petard, as I have no experience of the Node or the Mojo. Maybe they are great, and maybe they are up to the 282, but I somehow doubt it. If they are not, the 250 would simply exacerbate any source issues. I went the 272 route because I like the simplicity, and though the 282 may be marginally better this could be an option if you like that approach. It's less flexible of course. Otherwise it seems better, if you can afford a 250, to up the source first. That assumes the Node is good enough to front a Hugo. Or you could maybe consider a used NDX. 

analogmusic posted:

Speculation speculation !

mojo is well up to 282 level 

sorry HH but it's better than the DAC inside 272

Speculation indeed!  I'm not sure how you've managed to separate the DAC from the NAC-n272 and decide that the another DAC is "better" here...

analogmusic posted:

Speculation speculation !

mojo is well up to 282 level 

sorry HH but it's better than the DAC inside 272

No need to apologise, it matters not to me whether things are better than what I have. I was simply giving the OP ideas. If I may say so, you seem to be living in a very black and white world at the moment, and are displaying an 'I know best' tendency that could perhaps be toned down. 

Hungryhalibut posted:
analogmusic posted:

Speculation speculation !

mojo is well up to 282 level 

sorry HH but it's better than the DAC inside 272

No need to apologise, it matters not to me whether things are better than what I have. I was simply giving the OP ideas. If I may say so, you seem to be living in a very black and white world at the moment, and are displaying an 'I know best' tendency that could perhaps be toned down. 

I appreciate all of the advice, and hope that I have not started a heated debate.  For what it is worth, my personal view, is that I have moved up the hifi ladder from the lower rungs where matters are black and white, to shades of grey.  My current set up is streets ahead of the single box Dual receiver (them of the 505 turntable - which I also had) and KEF Coda II speakers.  So, we could be splitting hairs a bit, and personal preference plays a large part.  You could both be right! 

fair enough HH, maybe I do need to tone it down.

Richard, it isn't easy to separate the DAC inside 272, but it does accept optical and coax inputs, but again, this is very subjective, and subject to personal preferences.

Naim would of course disagree, and of course I am humbled when Naim take a particular approach to music, as I am never disappointed by any Naim product.

nevertheless the method I used to make such a blatant and maybe uncouth statement, was my own ears, playing an elton john song called original sin - (no pun intended)

I just like the way mojo renders that particular song as it is quite a musical song, and I found some shortcomings in the way the opening guitars are rendered by 272, and then played a number of songs for a few hours which I know very well (as I listen to Mojo for a few hours a day).

Those songs are

- One step up (Bruce Springsteen)

- Wish I could (norah Jones)

- Holding back the years (simply red)

- Shoot to thrill (AC/DC Live)

- Breathe 2Am (Anna Nalick)

- Runaway (Ed Sheeran)

- F***withmeyouknowIgotit (JAY-Z)

Maybe a terrible taste in music, but hey music is music.

Again - I am aware Naim use an IIR filter approach, and these things are very subjective, certainly I would never disagree with Naim's method, No matter what Chord say about their 26,000 tap and Pulse aray approach, as the ear is the final arbiter in these matters. Certainly Naim make sure the I/V convertor is very fast to be able to cope with the edges (44.100 samples per second, so there are edges in between the samples) which is why I guess Naim sources don't have that digital edginess.

All this technology has to result in a musical sound, and while I found the 272 very musical and could live with it (and sometimes I wish I had done just that), I still prefer the way Mojo plays music. It just flows more naturally and sounds more fluid to my ears. Rob Watts got around that problem by simply upscaling all the way to 2048 times, and has achieved a resolution of 9.6ns, so there no audible edges left, and just sounds quite "analog" and has no trace of "digital" to my ears. Indeed his output stage is a lot more simpler than the one Naim uses, as he doesn't need to filter anymore with a complicated filter  in the analog domain .... 

However - these are 2 different approaches, and the case against mojo, musically speaking, can be easily argued in favour of the 272, so it's down to personal taste.

But yes it is my preference, so I should not state such blatant and uncouth things like Mojo DAC is better than the DAC inside 272.

Anyway my over enthusiasm (which you will find also for Naim amplifiers and Naim cables) got me carried away as usual, but I love very much the little musical Mojo, and some might scoff or mock it, but it is a very fine device, and I would find no issues fronting my 282/250 with the Mojo, and certainly it keeps me company when I commute daily for 2 hours.

 

 

Analog, thanks for the post describing how you compared, however, it slightly missed my point.  My point, and one that your further post underlines, is that it's all opinion and so it's much more meaningful to ascribe a personal preference rather than to describe one or other "better" than the other.  I know the Mojo and it's excellent, however, for portable listening through my HD600s I prefer listening from my Pono.  Does that mean that the Pono is "better" than the Mojo, or that the Mojo is worse than the Pono.  The answer is no to both - they're both excellent, it's just with the HD600s I prefer one to the other.

Ardbeg10y posted:
analogmusic posted:

fair enough HH, maybe I do need to tone it down.


 

No you don't need to. It is a forum and your replies are well appreciated. I found HH's comment pedant.

Analog knew exactly what I meant, and there is no issue. Anyway, a comment cannot be pedant, only pedantic. And yes, I am myself now being a pedant, simply to prove that my comment wasn't pedantic, or pedant. 

NJB posted:

Hi, my last upgrade was to a NAC 282 with NAPSC, which I power using a PSU. I am curious about whether trading up my NAP 200 is a good move. I only buy second hand, and once I start talking to my local dealers then I will get the normal push to buy. So, before I wake up that sleeping lion, can anybody explain how a move from 200 to 250 affects the sound. From what I have read so far, I get more bass control but some describe the 250 as a bit clinical, which is why I am nervous. It could be that the change is not so much an upgrade as a sideways move?

With Dynaudio Focus 160, chances are you will likely find the NAP 250 to sound better than the NAP 200 when matched with the NAC 282. 

Not too sure about the NAP 250 sounding clinical. The term clinical means clean and orderly to me. The NAP 200 sounds more clinical than the NAP 250 to me as it sounds cleaner in the bass. Cleaner in the sense the bass does not have the (beautiful) layering and texture of the NAP 250. The NAP 200 puts out a "one-note" bass which is lean sounding. The bass of the 250 is full, layered and textured and as a result you feel a bit of space and depth in the bass and low mids. In summary, I find the NAP 200 to sound clinical, not the NAP 250. The NAP 250 sounds musical.

If you prefer a more lean, agile and lightweight bass, the NAP 200 is the one. If you prefer a fuller, textured or layered bass, the NAP 250 is the one.

Apart from the bass, there are other improvements across the frequency spectrum. The tone of instruments is slightly different between the 200 and 250. The decay of notes is also different. You hear more decay with the 250. Overall the 250 sounds more polished and sophisticated than the 200. Music sounds more real with the 250.

My impressions above were based on the numerous comparison between the 200 and 250(DR) in my system. The rest of the components are 282 and Hicap DR.

 

 

 

I think Jason Kennedy who owns "the ear" website explained it best, and I largely bought my own 250 DR based on this review as I had no chance to hear it before buying (well I was impatient !)

"I got to hear a public demonstration of the previous generation of NAP 250 compared with the DR version at an Audio T event in Brighton. It was a large room with a lot of people in it and I had a pretty poor seat but even so the increase in transparency and reduction in hash/noise was very clear. Most of the Naim amplifiers I have reviewed had a slightly earthy sound with limited perceived bandwidth, which is not unappealing but less revealing than the best of the alternatives. This did not stop their timing skills from being apparent and the success of the company has been built on that sound, so clearly it works. With DR Naim seems to have retained the pace, rhythm and timing and added power and transparency, so the NAP 250 DR now has low end grunt that makes for extremely muscular bass with the right speaker."

Not sure why he added "the right speaker" as it is clearly audible with all the Dyna's I tried X16, X32 and Focus 260.

Hungryhalibut posted:

You don't mention your sources either. This may be the area that could better benefit. Putting system details in your profile may be a good idea. 

I wouldn't change from a 200 to a 250.2, but the DR is entirely different. I'd also wonder about the virtues of a third party power supply between 282 and 200/250. 

 Also have you tried to power the 282 directly from the 200 ?

 

You forgot picture of the original 250 which show another completely different design/electronics

Much more order, a work of art, allthough I hardly think pictures decide which one are best, I think the wiring in above 250 looks a bit untidy, the 200 looks fine though not an amp for me.

well there are some differences to observe.

250 DR and 250.2 have a 1020 VA transformer

200 has a 430 VA transformer

200 is unregulated and the smoothing of the raw power supply is done by capacitors

250 is regulated and you will see 4 boards (2 for each channel), basically one board is regulation, one board is the amplifier)

I would change from 200 to 250.2 as I found it preferable. More weight to the bass, more drive and better dynamics.

But that is me talking. You'd be better off listening with your own ears rather than the varied opinions on the forum.

As Richard has said in other threads,  "better" is very subjective .

System, room and your ears and musical preferences have a bigger part to play.

The DR is a further step up which, at a price,  gives more insight into my musical choices, but we've all got to stop upgrading somewhere and just enjoy the music.

 

Ardbeg10y posted:
analogmusic posted:

fair enough HH, maybe I do need to tone it down.


 

No you don't need to. It is a forum and your replies are well appreciated. I found HH's comment pedant.

Humans, interesting creatures!

The Forum is entertaining, to say the least!

But more important, it is educational.

Apodictic!

I didn't know the meaning, looked it up, and learned a lot about my delivery!

Still a work in progress, but one day at a time!

Allante93!

PS. Sometimes, music is the only thing that can describe the unspoken word.

Picture quote.

cheeselet posted:

I would change from 200 to 250.2 as I found it preferable. More weight to the bass, more drive and better dynamics.

But that is me talking. You'd be better off listening with your own ears rather than the varied opinions on the forum.

As Richard has said in other threads,  "better" is very subjective .

System, room and your ears and musical preferences have a bigger part to play.

The DR is a further step up which, at a price,  gives more insight into my musical choices, but we've all got to stop upgrading somewhere and just enjoy the music.

 

So, I took the bait and bought a 2015 era 250.2. It is not DR, which I am sure gets me a black mark from many people.  However, at this point I am not too fussed as the 250.2 is a big step up from the 200.  Now to be fair to the 200, I did love it but reasoned that my power hungry Dynaudio Focus 160s might be leaving it a bit short of puff at certain times.  Having set up the 250.2, well I was either correct in my assumption or the 250.2 is just a big step up.  

It is clearly a darker sound, but the extra bass is tight and never unruly.  However, I am finding improvements all across the board.  There are more layers, more depth, more texture.  It sounds effortless too, which might be what some people find off putting.  For me, this is the 200s grown up brother, more style and sophistication than exuberance and pluck. This has taken my system another rung up the ladder.  Happy chap.

Two weeks on, and the first impressions have proved right.  I changed the Mojo to 282 interconnect and the sound has become even more open.  Yes, the DR mod is on the agenda, but I fully understand how 282/250 got its reputation.  It has brought a new insight into my music collection.

Good to see that you enjoy your upgrade. Always keep remembering that your upgrades contribute in the right direction of what you need. I see to often that people have a weak source and try to overcompensate with amplification upgrades. Obviously when speakers are difficult to drive poweramps need to be considered, but very often that’s something which should be lower on the priority list....

For now enjoy what you have the 282 and the 250 are a nice pair together. With the right source they can do miracles ...

good point Bert, indeed the source is underestimated often, and also the cable that connects the source to the preamp.

It is always easier and cheaper to buy non-naim cables (well not always cheaper), but Naim cables are the ones designed for Naim equipment.

It is easily audible too.

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