803 D4 Nap300DR - upgrade to amp or add subs? The bass seems to lack grip

OK so further to my last post about whether the Nap300 DR is enough to drive the 803 D4s…

I LOVE the 803s. OMG I literally cried twice today in a listening session as I was playing with some of my fave tunes. A beautiful Passenger acoustic and a Damien Rice through Tidal did it. I have to use Tidal because Apple Music, even lossless through the NDX2 is now so flawed in comparison.

I can’t imagine what good vinyl would be like - I have my core ready to push my CDs through next week. I have had the Core for years (since it was released) but with the 805 D3s and a 250DR I really couldn’t discern the benefit… Sorry to say. Maybe I have bad ears, although I have worked in the sound industry (theatre and recording) so they can’t be that bad.

Soooooo. I have been with my set up for a month. I REALLY wanted 801s or 802s but the size put my wife off. What I am beginning to notice is that the bass is not as grippy or as round as I would like. Its particularly weak at low levels.

Look this is a very definite 1st world problem but I am aware of it. It leaves me thinking there is more to have from these speakers or from this set up.

That is where the question lies as you are probably way more educated than me… :wink:

OK so I am thinking two possible routes:

  1. Amplification - I could get a second had NAP500 DR for like 6k these days!!
  2. Amplification - I could shift my game to new classic and get a pair of Mono Blocs
    3 Amplification - I could go BEAST mode and get a Macintosh type solution or at a lower cost a Rotel Michi type option…
  3. Add a Sub or a sub per speaker…
  4. I play with the positioning of the speakers - I just thought of this… maybe some know more than me BUT these are not Rear Ported are they… does that make a difference? I know with my old Neat Ultimatums and my Ruark CL20s position was crucial.

There are many more I am sure but I thought I would come ask for help…

Sorry if I seen fussy I am really in love with what I have but it feels like something is missing despite all the gains I made…


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What preamp do you have, and are you using a power supply with the NDX2?

See this post - 803 D4 and NAP 300 DR - #14 by lamby2244

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I would lose the B&W and look for something a lot easier to drive such as a pair of Naim Allaes or NEAT Motive SX2 - use NAC A5 supremely terminated - sit back, let the feet tap and allow the flares to flap…

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Oh dear.

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Thanks for asking.

NAC282 and no I don’t have a PS on the NDX2 - a few have said that is the route directly to me. What would that make so much difference?

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A better quality signal should mean better controlled sound


I have played with so many options on speakers and I LOVE the B&W sound of the Naim it’s just something is missing…

Great, so let’s assume that you are settled on having these speakers. This means that you will be able to get more from them by improving your source and amplification. I use Totem Forest Signatures, which started out on a Nova and are now on a ND555/552/300 system, and they have improved greatly in their performance as I have upgraded the rest of the system over several steps.

I agree with others that a XPS DR is a good option, they are good value either second hand, or new (as they are discontinued and will be on discount). As Tim says, better control across the dynamic range and a lower noise floor will give more detail and depth.

Having an end goal and budget could help with a decision on amplification. Staying with Naim the options are really improving the preamp to a 252 or 552, both will give much more all round with your 300, including the bass. An ND555 is much better for bass over the NDX2 I found, but it quickly gets very expensive unless buying used.

I think maybe the XPS DR on the NDX2 and a 252 with the 300 would be a good option overall.

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You have a real mullet here. £20,000 speakers and a bare NDX2. What do you expect? A 555PS for the NDX2 and a 252 should be a bare minimum. Get a 500 by all means but don’t be surprised if that makes it sound worse.


I think that that may well be the right route too. More source and preamp precision will almost certainly help.

I have 804 D3s with 52 and 300DR, and an XPSDR on my NDX2. Going to 52 from 82 (very like a 282 imho) improved grip alongside much else. A 250 worked with the B&Ws, but the 300DR was clearly better at avoiding vague and waffle-y bass, and made nearly as much difference as the XPSDR or the better preamp.

However, those were all expected. The shock was that the biggest improvement to bass clarity specifically came from adding Isoacoustic Gaias to the B&Ws. Much cheaper than a 500….

The effect of the Gaias was dramatic enough that I also got some for the Neat Xplorers in Tasmania. Sadly, I have so far been unable to unscrew the existing feet so can’t fit them. Having heard what they do back in the UK, I have high hopes and will report back if and when I have worked out how to get them fitted.


I’m not sure where you’re located but. My suggestion would be Pass power amps and Pre-Amp. Bolder Audio, Aesthetix Audio, Gryphon, Vitas Audio. Naim 350 monos.


My 804D2s can flap my flares with bass running off just a 200, so I’d suggest your 803s might be positioned such that you’re sitting in a bass node. I had this in my previous house and it was infuriating knowing there was plenty of bass being produced, it was just destructively interfering at my listening position.

Moving the speakers (or your listening position) if possible would be a free way to check if this is happening. If not, yeah, you might have to spend more…



I recently sold off my active S600 system running on nap 250.2 s to move to B&W802d3 and a new 300dr . It lasted a week in the house . The B&Ws were beautifully detailed and imaged supremely well ,…but the combo could not shift air , the bass was weak lacking dynamics and did not energise room . I was so disappointed , they looked stunning and I so wanted it to work . This was playing in a 6 m x 8 m space with free air behind listening position .
I reverted back to an active setup .
The B&W d ranges can sound amazing but even as a Naim lover I don’t know if Naim amps fully make the most of them .


You have amazingly great speakers, you have to drive them with a Front-end and electronics that are just as Amazing. They aren’t going to sing without the same level of gear.


Are you able to describe in a little more detail as is to what’s not what quite right? IME (mostly), it will always equate to connection issues. Bi-wire terminals are usually very tricky to get right, especially with Naim.

Also bear in mind what other members here are saying, regarding source - you may need to add a PSU to your NDX 2 in search of a more clearer outcome, too boot?

Respectfully, and as others have posted using other words, you’ve started your path of improvements at the wrong end of the hi-fi chain, as the choice of 'speakers (noting how many there are in the market), is usually the last thing to spend big on. It could be you’re OK, in that when fed with better sources and powered by better amps, the magic of the B&Ws will simply improve - but it could go the other way.

The simple reason is that anything you now change in front of them (upstream) may aggravate whatever equilibrium you now think you have.

To use a car analogy, you’ve put Pirelli P-0 racing tyres (the B&Ws) and are running them on a bog-standard mini car, using only a fraction of the grip & performance the tyres offer. Challenge is though, that as you uprate the engine (amp/pre-amp) & chassis (source), the enhanced G-forces incurred when cornering et al may not be to your liking and/or your listening room e.g. far more bass revealed = potential room modes aggravated et al.

This is why ‘system balance’ is all important, and it’s a lesson many of us have learned the hard way.

Without listening in your space, it’s difficult to suggest what can be done. I’d start though with a much better source (avoid subs) and see what this brings, as the 300s, while sub-optimal for the B&Ws, will enable you to hear the changes from an upgraded source. Then upgrade the pre-amp.


Hi, since you are so in love with the 804s I would stick to those and build a system around that. From what I read only the low end could use improvement.I would add two subs to achieve that. It will not change the sound signature of your setup - which you seem to love - but will enhance the bottom end AND it will give you two more things if done right: a more spatial and relaxed presentation plus the freedom to move your subs to the best spot in your room, which is much more difficult with speakers.

And why add two sub? As they will very likely cancel room modes, even without DSP. Get a good dealer to advice you an this and you will be amazed.



The 803 is never going to do bass like the 802, and the 802 never like the 801, etc. if it is bass extension you’re lacking, then possibly subs if the bigger speaker isn’t an option (but they must be good subs designed for music, rather than basic subs designed for cinema effects). 2 likely better than 1. But you mention grip - is that flabbiness, not giving instant response, or, similar in some respects, geed response at first but long overhang, dying away too slowly? The former suggests a need for a better amp, higher power and/or lower output impedance, and make sure speaker cables have low resistance…The latter sounds like a room issue, with over-long reverberation time. I’d first play with speaker and listener positioning, using REW software to aid and show what is happening in the room. If that doesn’t adequately fix then is very possible that room treatment is needed.