Active NAP250DR x 3 or NAP500 single passive?

I suspect I may be treading a well worn path here, but I have an itch to scratch and would welcome opinions and valid pros and cons.

I run Kudos Titan 808’s active with 3 x NAP250DR plus Snaxo/Supercap, vast amounts of cables and sources a fully loaded LP12, ND555 with two PS555s and and NAC 552/PS 552 (forgive me if I have some 5’s and 2’s mixed up, I think you get the picture)all in about £150k. My musical taste is vary wide from Bach organ, Baroque choral works, through Mozart, Bruch, Brahms to all and any rock from about 1960 onwards and my listening room is about 5.5m square with high ceilings.

Why do I ask for your opinions? During the auditioning of the Kudos and many other speakers the 500 was the main power amplifier used as few dealers have a full active rig any longer and I was impressed with the sound. However I have been running active set ups for 30 years or so and have always found they sound better, go louder, deeper, have greater precision and involvement… (have I missed a superlative?) and although unable to make a direct comparison between my current set up and a single 500 my ears said ‘active better’ my brain said ‘costs the same’ and my wife said ‘how many more boxes can we fit in the room?’ (See picture). The dealers said active, so choice made.

So for what it is worth I opted for the active set up. I am unlikely to change this any time soon (or move to 3 X 500) but I cannot help but wonder, has anybody gone the other way, or are you thinking about it?

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I personally preferred the nap500 to 3x 300 with your speakers……but it is really a personal view……both are very good.


Congratulation to your decision going active. We both have the same active setup and I have a dealer where I had the option to listen to the 808 in passive mode with a NAP 500. I wouldn‘t swap from active to passive.
Of course there is still room for improvement of our active setup if we go for NAP 300 or NAP 500 or the new NAP 350. But this bring further boxes in our living rooms and requires a major investment.
Let’s enjoy our system it is really wonderful.

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I have 808s with a 500. Not listened to 808s active yet - hoping to do so soon (with 3x250-03s). My SL2s were active 2x300dr. For some reason I didn’t want to try 3x250dr on the 808s at the time, perhaps because I hadn’t heard them active

Passive Nap 500 is a so much better power amp and it work so fantastic with the Nac 552,having had many active systems before .Have you tried without the record collection between the speakers ?


Check out the Acoustica website. They compared active NC250’s to the 500 with the 808’s.

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That was written by a customer I think. I was at Acoustica yesterday and they are all raving about how good active is into 808s. And three customers have apparently gone active with 3x250-03 on their 808s believing it sounds better than a 500dr


I agree, if at all possible the sound will be much better without the records in the middle (although appreciate that may not be practical). Active vs Passive, we have Active 250-2 with a 552. Also am tempted to see if 500 passive is better, but active is mighty!

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I am active with Kudos Titan 606s with 2x NAP 250s which I got from Cymbiosis.

If I recall they run their Kudos Titan 808s with 3x NAP 300s.

Now given the choice of amps that they could use, this may tell us something.


Active and Passive correctly implemented, both have their merits.
It depends on what you are looking for in music reproduction - which last ounce of the different qualities in presenting music is more important to you.
And then there is the cabling thing - e.g. a Chord Music full loom changes things quite a lot for the nap 500DR…
So as always, you have to try…

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I would also urge anyone to try different amps as well on the 808’s, in either passive or active as a single passive amp can bring great results and be far easier

Ok I have never used an active system…but I compared the NAP250dr with the 500dr in my system…and the 500dr is far more resolving - significantly so…what struck me was the finesse and the extra detail. Obviously there was omph as well…only to be expected. So possibly you might get a little more resolution and finesse…and clout…you may be in for a surprise. My experience is speaker matching is critical…and I know your speakers love the Nap500…

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I’ve not done the comparison with Kudos speakers, but Peter set it up for me at home with SL2s some years ago, and, although I was very impressed with what active brought to the show, I much preferred the single 500, partly for a greater sense of space and scale, but above all for the delicacy and tonal complexity of the midrange.


Yes, I had SL2’s active prior to the Kudos with the first two 250DR’s, and did borrow a 500. The 500 was better in many ways although It took some time for the passive X overs to settle down on the SL2 (so much so that I was loaned a well used pair), however I felt I was reaching the limits of the SL2’s, which whilst fabulous were 20 years old and the Kudos has all of the good stuff and more besides (for a price!). I did also upgrade the Snaxo with the Kudos set up and with a Supercap PS (ratehr than Hi-Cap with the 2/4 by the way)

I’ve heard 808’s being actively driven by 250DR’s but to my ears I preferred a single 500DR by a considerable margin but like all things it will come down to your personal taste and what works best in your room.

Very much personal choice. I have heard Titans on active 300’s and I prefer a single 500. Maybe it’s because the 500 has a greater band width.

What I haven’t heard is active 500’s but that would be ludicrously expensive.


Well put…I endorse that

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You have some lovely equipment, but it can’t be working at anything like its best. You have a sensitive turntable right next to a large speaker. You have sensitive Naim boxes stacked on top of each other in a heap, and I may be wrong on this but it looks as though the Snaxo, probably the most sensitive of all Naim boxes, is sitting on a power supply. Decent cable arrangements must be impossible. Then you have a huge record box squeezed between the speakers, depriving them of the space they need to breathe. It’s a classic case of too much stuff in too small a space. You may have spent £140,000 but you certainly won’t be getting value for money.

For these reasons I’d definitely consider a 500, or even an uber integrated from another company. Do you need the CD player? Can you shift the records elsewhere and give everything the space it needs? There are some good examples of well set up 500 systems on here, Polarbear’s for example, maybe they’d help.


Acknowledgement to HH, who has posted what I had realised was missing in earlier comments. I have looked at the photo a couple of times @Forrestm, as an active user, I would add.
NAC and ND lack breathing space and previously posted on the forum, the best place for Supercap on an active system is to have it on a top shelf with an empty one below.
You will know what you can or wish to achieve, but there appears to be an option for adding extra Naim levels. I simply offer the thought, domestic living with music boxes is a juggling act or compromise.
I am puzzled as to the real basis of your question, dissatisfaction lurking?
Those who have heard 500 v active multiple boxes have a valid view, just sometimes, there is a tendency to chase the bigger/more expensive/more powerful box as an answer.
If you can sort the issues HH raised, hopefully you can enjoy what you have - great setup, with lots of extra potential; active is worth keeping imho, it will not be so easily repeated in the future. I have already acquired a Snaxo for Kudos, for when my S600s expire (not hopefully any time soon).


Of course the answer is active with a 6-pack of the new 350 monoblocks… (He says, never having heard!)

Active is wonderful, so much better to have direct drive of the cones with no crossover between - but whether active with 3 lesser amps sounds better or worse than passive with an amp of vaguely similar total cost is something only you can decide. It will be different, and there will be pros and cons of each in terms of sound quality - in the end it will depend on what aspects of the sound presentation best tick your inner boxes. It is a difficult choice - and with triple 250s plus an active XO already in place the cost and ease of change is of course another factor. Is there any way you can get to compare for yourself.

Until recently I ran an active system (PMC IB1i on bass, with an ATC dome mid and Scanspeak tweeter in an enclosure on top, driven by Bryston 4B on bass and two channels of a 9B for mid and top, using a digital active XO). I loved it. However after a speaker change (to PMC MB2) I have been very happy passive driving with the 4B, but one day must try active with the same amps (easy as I have everything needed, just no pressing drive to do), and ideally compare that with passive using a better amp…