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

Fwiw, I did run two tagmclaren power amps in bi amp mode for a while. At first it was a ‘wow’, but slowly I realised the music just wasn’t hanging together as tightly as it should.

Back to one amp and everything timed much better.


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Yes socket 2&3 on the hicap

Stating the jolly obvious :joy: Manufacturers and dealers have also been known to aay unhelpful things :blush:


Of course not all advice is technically right, though there is very little here on this Forum that is seriously wrong, and if someone does post factual errors then someone else usually corrects them. Manufacturers will always have their opinions too - some speaker manufacturers will say that all amplifiers sound the same, straight wire with gain sort of stuff - but they are not always appropriate to all situations. An open mind coupled with a healthy dose of scepticism seems to be a pretty good approach. Of course, what I’ve said on this thread is entirely correct…


LOL I bow to your knowing clearly. I will adopt a healthy scepticism from here.

See here then:

What is an Active System? (Active Bi-amping & Tri-amping) - Frequently Asked Questions - Naim Audio - Community

Quote from the Audio Beat review (802d3 review):

I used a few amplifiers with the 802 D3s, but the most successful were also the most expensive – it is usually thus. The Naim NAP 300 DR worked like a dream. It pulled out previously hidden musical detail on just about everything that was played, from the most refined acoustic recordings to the high-power synth sounds of Deadmau5, whose track “Seeya” (from while(1<2) [Astralwerks 580127-8]) has one of the juiciest kick drums around.

And another one from the Ear Net (review of 300dr):

With Bowers & Wilkins 802 D3 speakers I was quite struck by how much low level information the Naim presented on an album that is usually very strong on dynamic impact but seemed to lack in subtlety. This is a very revealing speaker indeed and lets you hear precisely what an amplifier is capable of, both in terms of resolution and power delivery. It’s not the easiest load but the NAP 300 doesn’t seem to have any difficulty in keeping it under control up to pretty high levels. More obviously grippy amps will give you more bass slam but usually at the expense of subtlety at that end of the spectrum. The bass from the Naim is beautifully defined in terms of shape, it could be more solid but whether amps that have that sort of power could match its timing is debatable.

The 802 D3 are bigger and older/harder to drive than 803 D4s.

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EXACTLY my point - this was my demo experience and I see all these things in what I have. I LOVE the set up just in my space the bass is not as present as in the dem. Room size has been pointed out and proper set up / positioning. Source has been mentioned and I am going to upgrade to a power supply on the NDX2 - I am not going to regret it I am sure. I like the Naim + B&W set up and am going to tweak it to find a solution… I will come back.


Maybe you just need a few bass traps. Let me know how it goes with the bi-amping.

100% going to try and report back.


You suggest bass traps, yet Lamby is saying that bass presence is lacking. Wouldn’t bass traps reduce bass, and be more appropriate in an excessive bass situation? The suggestion seems counterintuitive to me. I’m probably missing something, as the only room treatment I’ve ever used is furniture and carpets.

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I’m not an expert but putting a few bass traps behind my speakers improved the bass response a lot. This was suggested to be by the guys at gik acoustics.

I’m still thinking that the right route here is improving the source with a power supply on the NDX2 (even a ND555 as an end goal) and moving to a 252 or 552. It should be remembered that the Naim pre and power amps work as a pair. A 300 DR on a 252 or 552 will deliver plenty of grip, particularly at low volume. I’ve been up this exact path and heard how the improvement in amplification improves the bass by a large margin.

Indeed fiddle with the room, but given that the room and speakers are staying, source and amplification is the solution within the Naim eco-system.

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I am a great fan of active multi-amping, with direct coupling of each speaker driver to its own amp, without a passive crossover in between. I am sceptical about the merits of passive multi-amping, and If an amp isn’t giving the grip required on full range, I don’t see how it can if just relegated to bass (or treble, but bass is where the issue lies) - however if you already have a spare amp, there is nothing to be lost trying it.

The 555 dr will give you more weight to the sound, a fuller bass, and better defined.

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But if I grab my pals Snaxo 242?

You can’t run the B&Ws active, so the Snaxo is of no use.

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If it’s a speaker-room interaction issue, then the obvious first step which you have probably already tried is to experiment with re-positioning the speakers.
Once you have eliminated this, the next step may be to try speaker isolation feet or platforms such as the Townshend Podium, Isoacoustic Gaia or Herbies products. These can be tried on a sale or return basis. Their benefit is room (especially floor) dependent but can be quite remarkable. A number of Naim Forum members, including us, use one or other of these to great effect.
Could be worth a try before spending a lot more money on electronics.
Best regards, BF


The 803 is a 3-way speaker, so for full active you need to tri-amp (3 stereo amps), with 3-way axo, taking out the internal passive xo. (N.B. I’ve no idea how readily the passive xo can be removed - with some speakers it is easy, others not.) I suppose you could potentially go partially active if you can remove the bass part of the passive xo, leaving mid and treble still using the passive xo. Direct control of the bass driver(s) is likely to sound noticeably better than passive with one of the same amps, but whether active driving of the bass drivers would completely solve your issue I can’t predict with certainty. Of course you need the axo crossover frequencies/frequency in particular to suit the speaker, i.e as in the passive original, and ideally the roll-off slopes also to be as B&W designed.