Is the Nap 250dr a good match for the Harbeth 40.3xd

Thinking about going from Shl5plus xd to 40.3 xd. Is this a good idea since I have the 250dr and am wondering if it will drive the 40.3 in a 380 sq ft area, with 2 ft space behind them and at moderate volumes particular in regard to control of the 12 inch woofer.

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I don’t have experience with the 250DR and 40.3, but I would venture to say you would be just fine. Alan Shaw the owner of Harbeth repeats often on the Harbeth user group, that any competent amplifier will drive his speakers.
Let us know if you get the 40.3 and how it sounds with your system. I currently have a SN2 with Hicap DR powering Harbeth C7es3-XD. I love the Naim-Harbeth combo.
The 250DR (with 282) and Harbeth 40.3 is actually my dream system for one day in the future. I hope it all works out well for you!


Any Naim 250 fits this spec… So long as its been serviced… :astonished:

Yeah, the 40.3 is quite a big nut cost wise and am not sure I want to take a chance with them. I am also pretty sure the dealers in my area ( NYC) dont do home demos. I ordered a 282 and 250 dr 8 months ago and am still waiting for the latter to arrive… Right now, like you , I have a SN2 with a hicap hooked up to the 5s. Will have to keep waiting too see how it turns out with the new amp. Naim and Harbeth are a very nice match up.

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Good to know!

Not sure what this means really. You can put 1 watt of any crappy amp on any speaker and it will make music. At shows he often used Hegel H390 which is a very powerful amp. I’ve heard 40.2 with a Supernait 2 and a Hegel H390 and it was like an old Skoda vs a Ferrari where the later was the hegel… So I will not agree on his statement (which I personally think is misinterpreted and taken out of context). My personal view on Harbeth is that they really benefit from power which make them sound relaxed and more dynamic. They are tough to drive speakers at around 86dB with a huge 30cm bass that needs power. Not saying a 250DR won’t sound good. I’m sure it will. But those large 40.3 in a large room will most likely benefit a lot from more power.

That is interesting. I imagine a lot more power would be moving up the line to a 300 at some point?

I used to have the 300 with my 40.2s. That worked really well.
Then I got the 500. That worked even better.

I have never owned the 250, but based on my experience with Naim amps I think the 250 would work fine enough. But perhaps 300 or 500 is where you want to be eventually.

I have used Nait XS, 202/200 and 282/250DR with Harbeth SHL5 and SHL5+. The speakers sounded unspectacular with the Nait XS. You hear sound emanating from the speakers and that’s about it. The Nait XS can surely drive all Harbeth including the 40.3 as you will hear sound from the speakers. Perhaps that was implied by the Harbeth designer. Whether it sounds good or engaging, that’s another matter.

In my experience, with the SHL5+,

Nait XS - poor
NAP 200 - reasonably good
NAP 250DR - good to great

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250 would not drive 40.3 XD properly I am afraid

Great to hear of your experience using the 250dr with the 5s.
I never got to try the combo as the dealer did not have it in stock at time of purchasing it last February.

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I think @Slamdam upgraded from the NAP 250DR to a NAP 300DR on the SHL5+ and thought that the 250DR sounded broken after that. :joy:

I haven’t tried the 300DR and have no intention to do so as I have run out of funds to go higher up the ladder. The 282/250DR are my endgame amps with the Harbeth SHL5+. My main system is actually Luxman with Marten speakers.

Hi, did you ever hear the 40.3? In know the whole Harbeth range (I own the SHL5) and like it very much, but not the 40. I have heard them all one day in a demo and the 40 sounded not so balanced and bass boomy to me. Dealer thought the same.

Harbeth and Naim :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Heard it many times but can’t understand why anyone would want to do this

Naim and Dynaudio on the other hand :blush:


Did I? I must have been under the “new product sounds great” drug then :smile: . 250DR sounded great in my system, however, 300DR sound better. More relaxed, more headroom, more grown up.

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I’ve had the SHL5 40th Ann and from my experience the 250 might be the bare minimum type of amp. I couldn’t get on with the SHL5s but if I did I would have tried more power or at least 300 in the Naim range. The Harbeth 40s, and I am guessing here from a brief audition, may actually be better than the SHL5s with a smaller amp or the 250, and if your room is not too big it might just work?

I believe it’s a matter of generations here. I’ve heard both 40.1 and 40.2 and they behave quite different in the bass area where 40.1 is bit more boomy and 40.2 more neutral. How 40.3 is tuned I don’t know. SHL5 Plus sounded rather thin in my Naim system and my Tannoy Eatons easily won my heart in a head to head comparison.

I don’t have experience with the 40.3, but with SHL5+ 40th in the same size room. I moved from SN2 → 250DR → recapped NAP135s → 300DR.
Alan always says what any business owner should, that Harbeth perfectly will be driven by any amp, but he is right. Any Harbeth perfectly hides even lower-class amps’ capabilities and still sounds ok, not bad. I believe 250DR will be sufficiently good to drive 40.3 on mid-level volume.

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First time poster. Been reading the forum for a while and very interested in Naim particularly 300 / 500 level system. Currently an exposure and harbeth user.

From a technical stand point, the nap 250 is more than adequate to drive the 40s to deafening levels in your average size room, no problem at all. The 40s like all harbeths are a very benign load, not dropping below 5 ohms so strong current capabilities are not required, particularly given (per Naim info / specs) the 250 can drive a 2 ohm load for long periods of time - so more than adequate. Additionally whilst not the most sensitive of speakers at 86db this is by no means low with the average being around 87/88, the sensitivity spec is really around volume and what it tells you is that the speaker will produce 86db volume with 1 watt at a 1 meter distance. In short in a average size room you will only ever be using a couple of watts, certainly less than 10.

What I believe people are describing is system matching, as with the 40s it’s a question of quality vs quantity ( in terms of power) as they are very revealing speakers. So from the description of the 300s (being less forward, more mature sounding) they may be a better fit. If you read the harbeth fb page you will see that class A amps are also often used, which typically only produce around 30 watts.

In short the 250 has more than enough power but it’s a question of system matching.

Hopefully this is helpful.


To my ears at least they make a very nice pairing. I listen to classical…they sound natural to me.