Bloody Naim 2!

Good grief.

Here is Bloody Naim 1:

With my Focal 1008be being killed by the cats I took what I thought was the kind offer of a friend to listen to his MkI SBLs, left behind by burglars who half inched his electronics twenty years ago. Unfortuneately I loved them, to the extent that I have had all the drive units replaced with new ones, so they are now Mark IIs, little did I appreciate that this was a think edge of a wedge.

The SBLs were not tonally consistent with my Audio Physic centre, which was a good match for my Living Voice and, surprisingly, the Focals - hence Bloody Naim 1.

As I was using the SBLs I thought it was logical to try them with my old CB250s, in the loft, and whereas the EAR534 has always trounced them through the speakers I have owned over the last twenty odd years, NOT so with the SBLs …unsurprisingly perhaps.

So, having made the painful decision to sell the 534, which I had recently driven up to Cambridge for a full service, I was left with a wodge of cash …and Signals had a reasonably priced 300DR …Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Sigh. So this morning I have slotted in the 300DR. Even the head unit is heavier than the old 250! And? Well, I am actually disappointed. Disappointed that it is rather good, it is obviously an uplift. Bass quality improved, soundfield no longer centred so directly on the speakers, subtle reverbs on acoustic instruments more apparent …etc.

The amp is occassionally a tad sharp up top, BUT the interconnects are new and the electronics need time to warm up fully. Last week I turned off the 250 when I took out my Townshend Allegri to take the 534 up to Streatham to demo it to the new owner with his Paul Coupe Tannoy DCs - very nice. When I reconnected everything it took the 250 overnight to come fully back on song; so I will not be surprised if things get even better over the next tweleve hours - will this torture NEVER stop.

Currently using my EAR868pl pre to GREAT effect.

On Monday a friend is popping over with his 250DR, so we will do a three way trial: 300DR vs 250DR vs CB250. I suspect I know the answer, but you never know, my wallet might be pleasantly surprised!


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Guilty as charged!!!

And good to see the SBLs have gone to a good home and been refettled.

It will ge good to compare the CB250, 250DR and 300DR. I know where my money is so kerchinggggggg.


I love these SBL related topics. Since I have SBLs I only consider what good loudspeakers would be for someone else.

Your thoughts are appreciated regarding the power amps. I need to jump as well however I think that the Nap140 does a lot already.

That’s why I pointed you at Signals, you were supposed to save me from this!

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Hi A,

I have a CB140 in the loft too. The 140 is an excellent power amp, and one I used for a couple of years in the early eighties …but, I am afraid that the amp hierarchy is fully exposed by the SBLs; excellent speakers.

Yes and they perform well in my room. Way better than my bw cm5’s I had before. I’m looking to upgrade the power amp and the dac. It sounds mostly fine, but on complex passages in symphonies I feel that something gets lost.

I’m not sure what to do yet. I have an evil idea to drill holes in the solid wall and start creating another active stack in the room behind them.

The 140 is now out for service, maybe just wait half a year and start thinking again then.

I suspect than SBL will love the 300dr more than 250 dr. However, if the Tannoy was yours instead, not sure you would prefer the 300 dr vs 250 dr.
I preferred the 250 dr vs 300 dr with my easy driving speakers, and in my room.
Curious to read you later. We have similar pre. :smile:

Now you;re just making me jealous! When I took the 534 in for service there was a rack of completed 912s behind me …they were just a tad large to surreptitiously tuck into my jacket!

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Day 2:

Had a friend over this morning and we listened to a selection of music, mainly Choral as he is a fellow bass. He only popped in for five minutes, and stayed for an hour.

The 300DR is superb at a number of things, including: scale; clarity; and, dynamics. For instance:

His Dark Materials
I love the soundtrack. Through my old 250 this piece had scale and bass power, but although I knew they had modulated the lower end I couldn’t really hear how. With the 300DR you could hear how they had mucked about with the instruments to gain the effect they were after.

What is excellent about this is that while the detail is laid bare it is in NO way forensic, an issue I had with the Schitt Yggdrasil.

Karl Jenkins - Cantata Memoria
Again the choir is in fron of you, with (as Rob put it) wonderful richness. Of course this may well be assisted by the EAR868. Be interesting to slot the Townshend Allegri in on Monday and listen to what changes. The percussiveness and use of the bass is wonderfully revealed.

The top end of the 300DR is detailed and sweet, not saccherine; but there is NO edge. For instance:

Stacey Kent - I Know I Dream
I thoroughly enjoy this album. Through the CB250 it could threaten to move towards sharp, not with the 300DR, and this also reveals subtlety that is masked by the 250, this is too strong a discription but gives you an idea of what I mean.

The size of the image that the 300DR throws is superb, and somehow escapes further from the speakers in a way that just brings a smile to my face.

Hate to say it, but I am throughly enjoying these boxes.



Day 2b:

I have been playing a variety of music, partly with the assistance of the ‘Best Recordings of 2019’ thread, thanks chaps.

Two have particularly struck me, both 9624 needle drops of albums of mine:

Karajan, BPO - Mozart Requiem
Mmmmm. Well, I haven’t heard a choir in my room quiet like this …it actually is the BEST verisimilatude I have heard at home; rather breath taking.

I put on a track and find myself listening to the whole album.

Jethro Tull - Aqualung
An aside - do you think in this time of such heightened victimhood this album would even be released?
This is an album I have been listening to since it was released and I stole it from my brother’s room to listen to on my portable record lathe. I am getting insights I have simply never heard before, not in terms of the notes but in HOW the instruments are being played, where emphasis is being added, or reduced.

Hi FR,

The 300DR is LOVING what it is being fed by the 868. I will use my LP12 tomorrow, all Klimax at the moment.

When George comes over on Monday I am sure he will want the Allegri plugged in. I certainly preferred the 868 to the Allegri with the 250, both are excellent but with different presentations.

Shame you are not nearer, love to hear the 912!



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I enjoyed your description of ‘Karajan, BPO - Mozart Requiem’ being the “BEST verisimilatude I have heard at home” so I had to give it a listen.

Found it on TIDAL and streaming through my humble system it is quite nice. The wife picked up on it right away and thought it was wonderful as well

So thanks for the tip and it does sound like you are having a lot of fun!

Hi Seakayaker,

Thanks, it is rather addictive! looking forward to tomorrow - should be an interesting day.

The height of my Naim ownership USED to be in about 1986 with 32.5 > Hicap > NAP250, sandwiched between Linn.

I didn’t consider this the height of HiFi, I preferred a friends’ LP12 > Home made valve active chain > Tannoy 15" DC. But it was the best off the shelf passive HiFi I had heard, which included: Linn; Meridian; Onix; Sony and others.

I have now returned to the fold kicking and screaming:

Aro / Geddon / 300DR (probably) / SBLs.

The SBLs are being controlled via a bespoke pair of PXO.

You can’t argue with synergy. It works well together and in my room; and is a big step up on my 1980’s system.


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OK I’ll have a listen to the Mozart this afternoon on the Pass/Audionote Es. I swapped out the 250DR as I am reviewing something at the moment. Should be a great day and I am also hoping the 300DR is only slightly better but fear it will not be the case. I wonder what I can sell an ex-demo 250 DR for???

I had a chat with Mike yesterday and pointed out he is FAR from blameless in this!


300DR vs 250DR

Well, that was an interesting day, although we limited it to 250DR vs 300DR.

Opening with the 300DR I used a playlist that included:
His Dark Materials, Lorne Balfe - Qobuz
Wish You Were Here - Qobuz
Wish You Were Here - 9624 - NAS
Woodstock, Joni Mitchell - Qobuz
Son of a Preacher Man - Qobuz
Mining For Gold, Cowboy Junkies - Qobuz
Mining For Gold, Cowboy Junkies - 9624 - NAS
Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed - Qobuz
Leather, Tor Amos - Qobuz
Cello Concerto, Elgar, Du Pre - 16/44.1 - NAS
Requiem, Mozart, Karajan BPO - 9624 - NAS.

The 300DR delivered its scale and controlled power wonderfully. Of course as we all know the SBLs don’t do 3d soundfield, but George and I must both have an exceptionally good and sympatico imagination!

One word that keeps popping into my head is relaxed. It is NOT that the 300dr is laid back,far from it, but its delivery allows ME to relax and simply enjoy the unrestrained dynamics and music detail of a piece.

Plugging in the 250DR was hardly fair. Despite giving it a couple of hours before returning to the same playlist, and the sound growing over that time, we both had no doubt that it would be even better after twelve hours. That said, it is NO 300DR. I am sorry but I cannot imagine ANY system where what it brings to the party would allow it to effectively carry the load of the 300DR.

That said, it is very good, it is just that what it delivers is of a smaller scale, less extended AND it feels like it is trying in a way that the 300DR doesn’t.

I then decided to plug in my LP12/Aro/Geddon. How disappointing, sharpness personified. The solution? Remove the earth lead from the pre-amp earth pin - go figure?

As George said, it is the best music he has heard at my house; and, damn it, I can only agree.


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Don’t forget that you compare 300 dr vs 250 dr on SBL. With very easy driving speakers and average room, the 250 dr can be preferred.

Hi FR,

Yes, your room acoustics no doubt played a role as well. I will get my imagination upgraded!


I just preferred to point that, because I had to sell my 300 dr 8 months later and lost money.
Better try before at home.

I someone have Audionote speakers, a nait 5 will sound better than 250 dr or more.

However enjoy your new amp lucky man !