Asked before - but I cannot find a conclusive answer 300DR vs Active 250's

Hi everyone, long time lurker, used to be on the old forum but recently been buying a few more black boxes so back with a renewed interest, I’ve had naim stuff ever since I bought a 72\140 as a student back in 1989.
System is Zenith3\PhoenixUSB\52\Super\Snaxo24\Super\250x2 with SL2’s
I have 2 old (but serviced) Olive 250s running actively with SL2s (bought just 2 weeks ago from acoustica, had SBLs before)
I’m wondering if a single 300DR will sound better than the olive active 250s?
I have a couple of options, either stick with what I have and upgrade the snaxo24 to a snaxo242
(Downsides of this is my boxes will no longer match)
OR just replace the super\snaxo24\2x250 with a single 300DR
The upside of this is that I will have a bit more space in my single tower of fraim and I will also be able to plug every device into my Chord powerhaus S6 power. upgrading from nac a5 would be considerably cheaper too with just one cable going to each speaker.
I’ll stick a pic of it all on system pics later too. thanks !

Active 2x Nap 250 Olive outperforms a passive Nap 300 DR on SL2, in my opinion.
The Snaxo 242 is an upgrade, in my opinion.


Hi there. I feel somewhat qualified to answer this. Until early 2022, I was running a 552DR, and SL2s active with SNAXO, non-DR Supercap and 2 x 250.2 (also non DR) fronted by a high spec LP12. I moved house in 2022 and couldn’t use the SL2s, so I moved from that setup to a 300DR and Neat XL10s in the new house (and at the same time upgraded my Radikal and bearing to Karosel). I am really incredibly happy with my new set up and there is definitely more detail, drive, bass articulation and richness to the sound than ever before without any lack of engagement or PRaT. That said, I have to say that there’s something missing that I feel active brought to the table that’s no longer there with my passive. set up. I think you should listen before you make any change because a) my experience is just that - mine, and b) I made a lot of changes at the same time, so it would be impossible to be sure the effect of each of those changes. But there’s something beguiling about a well sorted active set up that I feel I’ve lost by going back to passive, even with all the ‘improvements’ I’ve made. Hope that helps


Long time active user. Plenty of options available.
First budget? Second what are you trying to solve considering replacing active 250 to SL2, that replaced your SBLs?
NAP300DR will sound different, but passive v active is v personal - better, home demo without question…
You don’t mention 2 x 250DR - plenty likely to become available as new NAP250 enters the market.
I/Cs - are you using the original Naim ones - have you demoed HL or SL?

What’s wrong with NACA5 - had the option to try SL speaker cables when my set up was briefly passive - ymmv.

Finally you don’t use, despite having an almost end to end Naim system, a Naim source. If you have rejected that for your current setup, fair enough, otherwise before making any decisions, given that you have had a change of speakers for just two weeks, find a good dealer and do some auditioning, plenty of dealers offering pre-loved or ex-demo kit. IME mixed vintage sits v happily, enjoy the sound!

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Others know about active systems, not me. However…

Going from a serviced olive 250 to a 300DR was for me a decent upgrade. On the other hand, it wasn’t any kind of revelation - I’d rate it as smaller than adding Gaias to my speakers or swapping my old 82 for a comparably old 52, or Lingo 1 to Lingo 4, or replacing Linto with Superline. Th ‘problem’ isn’t that the 300DR is not great, but that the old 250 is very good.


Maybe a stupid questions but what is an active amp? Aren’t all amps active?
I thought only speakers could be passive or active.
Can someone explain perhaps?


I think it’s basically switching the speaker taking out the crossover and using an active crossover instead (snaxo). Then more amps are required to drive the speaker hi and low frequency separately.
eg say kudos 808 you can use passively so just one 500. But go active, and you’d need multiple 500s.

Paul Stephenson (might still have?) ovator s800 and 3 x 500s.
Jason Gould had or still has sl2 with 2x 300s (I might not have remembered correctly

Hence you hear of systems like this:
The Linn/Naim ‘Six Pack’ was made up of six NAP 135s, driving NAXOs into Linn Isobariks, with each channel’s bass, mid, and treble getting its own NAP 135.

So same speaker, but:
External crossovers
More amps
More speaker cables
More power cables
More shelves

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An active system puts the crossover before the power amp, so the signal is split into two (high and low frequencies) or three (for speakers with high, mid and low drivers). So you then need an amp for each of these split channels. Then you need two or three pairs of speaker cables. This is the traditional Naim active system. Lots of boxes, cables everywhere , expensive.

Active speakers are essentially the same, except that the active crossovers and multiple power amps are all crammed inside the speaker cabinets. Fewer boxes and cables, less cost.


The simple answer for the OP is that if considering active driving with 250s against passive driving with 300 is that there is no definitive answer. Same amp, then definitively active will be best, assuming the active XO is set up correctly. If others have made the comparison you are considering (with the same speakers, room and rest of setup, of course), then their opinion will tell you what they think - but to your ears/brain, and different room, the conclusion may be different. The only solution, I’m afraid, is to find xome way to try both and compare.

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That’s very interesting!

For some reason many say the 300dr really is much better and a revelation when compared to a 250dr ….,

I’ll be happier staying with my 250dr after reading your post

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I’m not sure there is a conclusive answer to any question asked on this or any other hifi related forum :slight_smile:

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You might take this as a sweeping generalization. But I’ve owned my own active set up as mentioned above using 250.2s, and have heard several others at various times. The one thing that they all seem to have in common is an effortlessness in the way they present and resolve music that I’ve not really heard replicated in passive setups. Maybe it’s the effect of removing the passive x-over bottleneck from the equation that works the magic. They’re more finicky for certain and the extra cabling and box count is problematic. But when on-song, they’re hard to beat.


I agree, had and heard many active Naim systems and always preferd active,the game changer was the Nap 500 which passive outperforms the smaller amps in active configurations,in my opinion.

One thing I have found in my active/passive journey is that active systems sound better and more alive with less volume. This may be a factor if your room is small.

I have done 250 passive v 250x2 active with SL2 (when some kit was off being serviced). Fairly predictable outcome but it wasn’t just better active, it was different. Pacier, fresher and more involving somehow. Never tried a 300.

If you want a great vfm change then try an SL cable between the Scap and the SNAXO (so-called active cable). This was undoubtedly the best of my SL2 interconnect etc upgrades.

An active Naim system with a 52/Scap/Snaxo/Scap (all non DR) and olive 250s plus SL2 (or SBL) is a pretty classic combo. Only your ears will tell you but you may find DR power supplies or amps might upset the magic. I did this transition in stages to my current system (see my profile), and only when all the parts of the chain were in place did I feel satisfied.

Enjoy. No conclusive answers here I’m afraid!



I have Nac 52/SC, 3 Nap 250-2s w NBLs and 362 snaxo. I have not compared 300 in my system but active sound has more presence than passive with 250. It would be difficult changing back. Would love to hear 3- Nap 500s active though!


many thanks everyone, I’m really surprised to see so many answers in just 24 hours. Its such a great community here.
However, it does seem as if the consensus is that this may be a sideways move, so for now I will just stay put. I have ordered a couple of morgana din\xlr cables which should be a nice little uplift, and I will probably try to find a snaxo 242 s/h but they are a bit like hens teeth. I’ll just try to extract as much information as I can from what I already have.
I think the sensible (or not so sensible) will be to wait a couple of years and get a s/h 500DR as it seems that the only real way forward.
Other options could be to upgrade the TT2 to a Dave at some point, I already have the mscaler…

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Great ! I think that a Nap 500 non DR will suit your system even better.

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Great post, we use the similar active system myself and active is incredibly articulate better than high end passive in my view. Still have passive SBLs in other system and active is just magical when set up right. When set up is wrong it is very revealing and also it does not flatter poor sources.


Is “this” the active 250s or passive 300? Neither would be sideways of you are currently passive 250 - I thought the question was effectively which of the two would be more upwards?

Sensible or not can only be judged by you! Of course the question then has to be which is better, active with 300s or passive with a 500…