300DR active vs 500DR passive vs 500DR active - SL2s


Given the recent availability of old classic kit, I got a 500DR to go with a 552DR from NDS into SL2s. Previously running active 2x300DRs. While swapping over I went passive 300DR to see what like. Let’s just say that the previous active was a goodly amount better.

My impression of 500DR passive is that it’s at a similar level to active 2x300DRs, without the box count.

But the $15,000 question is how much different would 2x500DRs active be into SL2s? Overkill?

SL2s pretty much unswappable for domestic reasons.

I had active 135’s a while back and would definitely say that a passive 500DR with a 552DR is musically better. A friend still has his active 52/135/DBL system, so I regularly get to hear a comparison. The active system is very good but it lacks the believable realism the 500DR seems to be able to conjure up.


I would suggest replacing NDS with ND555, and even get a second 555ps before I would consider a second 500dr


having recently bought the 500dr i would ask how long you let it run in before forming your conclusion. My 500dr took a month to warm up. Just saying the single 500 may be even better than you already think

Intuitively, I’m with @davidf on this one as:
1- SL2s, as good as they are (and recognising the limits of the passive X-over), aren’t a full-range 'speaker IME, so sticking a 500DR to manage the lower-end doesn’t seem an optimal use of the 500(?).
2- SL2s shine with upper/mids to my ears, so upgrading source should deliver better results.

If you’ve still got the SNAXO and a PS for it(?) then, perhaps, down the line you may pick up a ‘cheap’ OC 250DR for the low-range, as the standard approach is to run the better amp on the HF – albeit the SNAXO may need to be tweaked for this.


I’m no expert on active systems but surely you can use a 500 on High/mid and 300 on the bass to get a flavour of the differences

Be careful here. IIRC there’s a little difference between the level of the NAP500 and the other amps, however it can probably be dialled out by adjustment of the level trims in the SNAXO

When I was going active with my SL2s Geoff Coleman of Acoustica (founder and owner until 2020 when Pete and Ross took over) he was most insistent I should not consider wonky active - I had a 250dr and a 300 and I dr’d that 300 and another 300 to get a matching pair

What I can’t really make sense of is the general advice to not go active until at the top of the tree. And my experience with 2x300DR active vs 500DR passive suggests much the same, with benefits of somewhat lower box count.

So why go active when for much the same amount of cash and a lot less hassle you can go for the next power amp up the ladder but passive? But this means active is only for (in old money) those with a 500 system which, let’s be honest, massively restricts the market. So why did Naim ever bother with it? While some do run a 500 system active the numbers must be tiny.

Anyhoos, I suspect I’ll hang onto my SNAXO and its Burndy for a bit, perhaps the super cap to power it and then dip a toe in to see if active 500 makes any sense into SL2s when another reasonable 500 becomes available. If anyone has experience of this, obviously I’d be interested.

As to the ND555, I think I’ll have to wait until Naim upgrades and used prices decend to us mortals.

My understanding of this is that it’s simple maths, and applies to anyone climbing the upgrade ladder. If you were to start, say, with a 200, you might go through a 250, a 300, and maybe a 500. Going active before you finished climbing would mean buying two 200s, 250s and 300s, spending money that could have gone in the piggy bank to get you to 500 level much faster.
(There’s also the issue of sources, which need to be top flight with a more revealing active amp, so getting this right early on will always be a big benefit.)

I can see that if 500 series is your goal, but if not don’t go active seems sort of odd. And as per the original thread this might be something of overkill for SL2s. So don’t go active unless 500 level and NBL or DBL? That must have been a tiny market, but was that the advice or intention? Dunno.

I agree with above, rather than spending more money on amp’s, i would go get some better speakers instead as it’s going to make a massive difference rather than an extremely small or no difference.
The only problem is speakers are the hardest thing to get right and probably the most important, good luck.