Hi Laxton, I just read all of your thread on the NAP 300DR upgrade and your apparent dissatisfaction with the sound post conversion. Do you have a further update you can share?
I too have some reservations on the 300DR sound compared with the standard 300. The following has been my experience of comparing the 300DR versus the standard 300. I apologise if it’s a bit long and rambling.
I am running the following active system :- (sorry no profile info) Vinyl:- LP12, Radikal, Ittock, Akiva, Superline, S/Cap. Digital:- NDS/555PS, CDI. Amps :- 552/552DRPSU, Snaxo BMR, S/Cap, NAP 300 on treble and olive Nap 250 on bass. All boxes on Fraim, Speakers Ovator S600 active NACA5 with Naim Y connector on bass (feeds both bass drivers from one amplifier)
The standard 300/olive 250 wonky set up has worked surprisingly well for around 3 years but I always intended getting a second 300 at some point. With the advent of the 300DR and all the positive comments about its performance it seemed a good time to have my existing 300 converted to DR and buy a second 300DR to give me a properly balanced system.
My dealer, the excellent Audio Room of Hull, loaned me their 300DR for a home dem. Unfortunately this turned out to be a non-starter in the active system. The timing of a 300 and 300DR was different and the two would not work as a team. My dealer had only one 300DR so loaned me a 250DR which was a much closer match to the 300DR and this cured the timing and the amps worked together OK with the 300DR on Treble and the 250DR on bass.
The sound was very impressive and had many of the qualities claimed in postings and reviews particularly the control, sound stage, bass extension and clarity. However, what did seem to be missing was the beautiful musicality and lyrical qualities of the standard 300. Paradoxically, vocals did have a greater insight and meaning but failed to convey as much emotion and vocal inflection. I also noticed quite a lack of fine detail such as the post echo which is evident at the end of some tracks on certain vinyl records as the cartridge picks up modulations from the previous groove. It also missed those annoying people in the audience talking through the live recording of Alfred Brendle’s Farewell Concert. Another effect I noticed was the dynamics were rather volatile in that I would turn up the volume to bring the vocals closer but then the loud parts seemed excessively loud. I found myself constantly adjusting the volume.
The loaned amps had been previously used for quite some time but of course were not always powered up. I suspected it may just be a run in issue and my dealer let me to keep the amps for another two weeks but whilst it did seem to slowly improve I was still not 100% convinced and did not go ahead with the conversion and purchase. My ever helpful dealer arranged to obtain a second 300DR from Naim so I could try two 300DRs at the same time to give a proper dem. It took several weeks to arrive but I have now had the opportunity to listen to two 300DRs during another extended home dem.
It was clear from the start that two similar amps were an improvement. The sound was immediately better balanced and for the first time ever I was running with the Snaxo crossover set flat. As previously the wonderful control, sound stage, bass extension and clarity were back and the vocals seemed improved too. Unfortunately the more I listened the more I realised the same niggles about low level detail and musicality were still present. This seemed more pronounced on vinyl with quite a hard edge making some artists sounding not quite their normal selves. The amps are now back with the dealer and I am totally undecided about proceeding. I am going to give my existing system another week or so to see if I can live without all the really good aspects the DR version brings.
I don’t want to impose on your thread Laxton but I would welcome comments from anyone who has experienced similar findings and would be keen to know if it all came right in the end. It may just be a matter of time.
I have also been reading Ken C’s thread on 2X NAP 500DR Service + Upgrade. I know these are different animals but there are comments which indicate the 500DRs could take up to six months to reach full potential. Could the 300DRs need a similar time to settle in.