500 v 2x300 active?

I have been running a pair of 300dr active into SL2s for 18 months now (and non dr for 6 months before that).

Have 552, nd555 (powered by 1x555dr) and Lp12 (about to return with keel, karousel etc Added). That’s 12 shelves stuffed with nowhere to go laterally or vertically (starting to block a window if go up higher). As it is I am having to get a half width quadraspire rack for the Core to go on when Radikal arrives

For present purposes let’s assume only the SL2s, kudos Titan 707s or 808s are likely / possible. And I am more bothered about position with the 707s or 808s

Have always wondered if I should have got a 500 rather than go active - it would save four shelves (300, ps, supercap, snaxo) though one would need to be taller. I don’t really mind 12 shelves but do not want to go higher

Without going taller and staying active, I cannot get a second 555ps for the nd555, and I would also like the opportunity to try a full width melco.

I am wondering if I would be long run better going to 500 (even if that is sideways) to leave scope for second 555ps for nd555 - it would reduce the wiring and mean I could space out the remaining boxes, which may bring benefit. I could in theory do active 250s (pair with SL2s or 707s or trio with 808s) but that would feel like a backward step from active 300s, and I wonder if that would be weaker than a single 500. I really don’t see that 3x300s could be fitted in with 808s

Is there an obvious answer, or is it necessary to listen? Listening to all combinations is well nigh on impossible, even if acoustica Pete is very obliging (which he is!)

So in short - getting a second 555ps (and / or a full width melco) cannot really happen unless I swap from 2x300 to 500. Would the gains from the source outweigh any possible loss (not that I imagine a single 500 will be inadequate!) from leaving active behind?

1 Like

I have no experience of active systems. But the idea of bypassing the crossover is appealing and, theoretically, should provide better results : revealing speakers!

If “revealing” is your thing, which I suppose it is, then you’ll surely enjoy the 500 DR with Magico S or M series. Magico speakers are extremely revealing speakers. The 500 DR and Magico blend perfectly.

So I wouldn’t go for passive unless being sure to have the right speakers.

As for adding a 555PS DR to the ND555, I wrote little review that could be of some interest.

–> 2x555DR vs. 1x555DR on a ND555

We last year i was at the same crossroads, i had at the time active ovator S600, running 300dr on the bmr, and 2 x 250s on the bass units, also had a supercap running the snaxo, plus the 552.
Like you loads off boxes, loads off cables and lots of uncertainty off wether all was well, all the time with it all. Also at the time had a melco N100.

I decided to go back to passive and must say haven’t looked back, the 500/ 552 are just fantastic together and for me, the way to go.
The one thing for me about your system will be the SL2 crossovers and probably the main stumbling block in going passive, but you really need to try, as the 500dr amp certainly has a different presence than the 300dr.
Also the melco, you will be right in thinking that the larger ones do sound better than the N100

Not based on any experience with active systems myself, but I always understood that the perceived wisdom was that any active Naim system would be trounced by the next power amp up the range, in passive mode.

Yep , thats where i have come out on it so far…but it is personal, and just a dealer demo without my music, with others with other interests.

1 Like

Not sure that is always true. It obviously depends on the speakers you’re driving passively.


You could consider the Melco N10 which is a head unit and separate power supply. They come in half width cases and could go on the quadrasphere. Its the second most expensive in the range and some prefer the sound signature over the most expensive. Its an option worth considering anyway. Several of us now have the N10 and I can say hand on heart rips made to the Melco 75% of the time are preferable to hires downloads (not streams).

It seems to me you are mixing two things: how to fit in another PS555 and a Melco, and whether to go for passive drive with 500 instead of the active 2x300. If sound quality is your driver, then in my view you need to consider the active vs passive without any consideration of the fitting challenge, and only worry about the latter when you’ve decided. If speaker change is on the cards, then make that decision first, or as part of the decision.

Of course, you could always go for 2x500 active, via asymetric 300/500…!

I think that only people who have made the specific comparison would be able to provide any meaningful view. I went active, but different speakers and different amps, and wouln’t go back: active driving with no crossover between power amp and speaker driver gives best possible grip, and you (or rather I) can hear it - though of course how much of a difference there is will depend on the specific system. Then I changed the top end of the speakers and have no option (unless I design and build my own passive crossovers).

1 Like

I think you are posing a difficult challenge. Active is a different ballgame and is preferred by some people. With passive you would be able to go for and the 500 and the 2nd 555ps, that should easily beat active in terms of detail and resolution. However it doesn’t compensate for the different sound signature of active. Listen in your home before you decide.

These decisions are always tricky, and even at your level, must involve compromises in a real domestic situation. Still, I wonder why you want the network gear close to the rack? The Melco might be a posh, nicely finished bit of kit that looks like a HiFi box, but it’s still a NAS, and it’ll work just fine on the end of an Ethernet cable up to 100m long. Why not stick it out of the way in a cupboard somewhere?

I‘m running active systems more than 30 years now and I want miss that detailed soundstage you get from an active system especially if played with low volume. Since 6 months I own Kudos Titan 808 powered by three NAP250DR and that sounds excellent. Before the Kudos I owned NBL.


Part off the reason for the melco being close to the rack, is the fact that, you really need a decent cable between this and the dac / streamer.
In my case that would mean a 7m minimum cable, and as i use AQ diamond for the last leg, thats a lot of money.

I think the days of more boxes, so it’s better are long gone.
A 552 and 500, with a decent speaker, that works in your room and suits the amp, will be hard to beat.
Having listened to the modern kudos speakers running both active and passive, showed me that active just didn’t bring anything to the party over the single 500 amp, apart from boxes, more noisy transformers, and more cost.
But as always only you can decide, but home demo a 500dr and see how you get on. But remember the SL2’s will be using the standard crossovers now and as said these might not be at their best these days, and might hinder the demo.
Might be a good idea to run the system you have now with just one 300, and see what you think, as if its now has a much difference sound, it might be a good pointer to what a 500 will bring.

Morning @TimOopNorth I have a similar quandry slightly futher down the ladder

net speakers will be Kudos T505 - should I passive through my 300DR or active through 2 x 250DR

All I can say having heard @Cymbiosis 552 3 x 250DR in to Kudos T808 active is a game changer

tough call

Hi Antz!
Fully agree with your statement. Kudos 808 active with 552 plus 3 x 250DR is a perfect match and a game changer :blush:

1 Like

Hi Tim,

I wonder what @Debs view on this is. From memory she went from active to the 500 with her SBL, and I think she felt that the SBLs ultimately were a bit of a bottleneck. Obviously SBL <> SL2.

Ultimately I fear the only way to know will be to do the spade work …but surely that is were a lot of interesting fun is?

Hope you have the time to try and let us know what you think.



Many years ago @Michaelb compared two 300s against one 500 with SL2s, ultimately choosing the latter.

At a lower level, I thought about two 250s rather than a 300 but all those boxes and wires put me off active. Active also seems a bit more sensitive to setup from what I’ve gathered.

There is of course the do nothing option. It’s often overlooked but has considerable merit. With active SL2s, and unless you live in a barn, do you really need more?

Erm, I do live in a (converted) barn :rofl:

this is just a quick post to thank everyone for input - am having a bit of a hectic day with daughter to take to college, clients to work for etc, so I will respond later more properly when I have a bit more time

1 Like

I run a Melco N1 into 552/500/555 with two 555PS and Kudos 808 with a full loom SL. In my room it is a fabulous system and works really well. However hearing the 808s active with 3x500s at my dealer took the sound to a whole new level but I cannot run to that system so I am perfectly content with what I have. You must dem active v passive for your set up using a variety of power amps and decide what works best for you. Tough choices I know and many combinations of amps to try.
Let us know what you decide in the fullness of time.

1 Like

@Antz @purple66 thanks for the comments on 3x250 - you say it was a game changer but compared to what?

I have listened to 606s active (2x300) and passive and didn’t like compared to SL2s (or rather thought there wouldn’t be any point going to them). The 707s though sounded fabulous. Have heard 808s once only