Low volume listening

So, it’s well acknowledged that 300 is better for low volume listening than the 250, and the 500 is also v good for low volume listening.

What about the 250-03? I don’t think I have heard anyone comment on that yet. Some have said it beats the 300dr but not I think with reference to low volume listening generally.

Anyone with a 250-03 got a view on how good it is at low volume listening compared to 250dr and / or 300/500?

It would also be good to clarify the volume we’re talking about when mentioning “low”.

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An improvement at lower sound levels over lesser models implies either better signal to noise ration or non-linearity of frequency response with signal level. The former is certainly a possibility, while latter would seem unlikely unless there is some deliberate form of auto “loudness” compensation to compensate for the human ear’s progressively reducing sensitivity to bass and treble, most notably bass, as sound level goes down.

I have long argued that “loudness” correction would be beneficial, but absolutely not the crude on-off button beloved of many low-fi amps in the past: rather for correct effect such correction would need a means to measure sound level at the listening position, at least for set up, because the huge variability in speaker sensitivity and room setups would make a single setting inaccurate for more systems that it would be accurate. At present there has been no mention of Naim applying “loudness” correction in hifi products, and it would be surprising if they were to apply a single choice of progressive boost rate that would be wrong more than right.

i can vouch for the 300dr being much better at low level listening, i have heard people say this before but until owning one i didnt realise the difference. i know that doesnt help with your question!lol

You don’t say :joy:

My olive 250s and 250.2 weren’t the best at low level listening but my 250DR seems fine, perhaps the 555DR makes a difference.

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Hmm I should perhaps have said that my experience is based on going from olive 250 to a 300 (non dr). The 300 was obviously much better at lower volumes and I have seen many, many people finding the same. And similar said about 500

Never heard a 250dr in my main system so not sure what that is like

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I followed along the whole NC thread & correct there isn’t much actual comparison of the 300DR & 250.3, the people who actually owned a 300DR & compared the new kit all seemed to prefer what they owned. There was one poster who demo’d them both & mentioned the strengths of each unit & said the 300DR was still better for low level listening. As for if the 250.3 is better then the 250DR at low levels, that I haven’t seen talked about.

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your welcome!haha

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Lower volume playing is a key advantage of an active system. I had no option to compare my active system with 3x250DR against passive with 1x300DR. I assume active will be better.


Just for completeness, it was present in the Unitiqute at least. It’s on, or off!

This was posted by @nicnaim within the last week.

quote=“nicnaim, post:291, topic:29153, full:true”]
Disagree. The NC250 is brilliant with the 252 so the NC350 should be amazing as the NC250 is more fun than a 300DR. The 300DR only betters it at low volume.

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I totally get the passion to talk about amps here however in my experience low volume sound quality is more a function of the speakers

I don’t think it’s either speakers of amps when it comes to a satisfying sound at low levels. In my experience there are both amps and speakers the require a certain level to work well.
One of the main strenghts of my Bow ZZ One amp is its ability to portait size and weight at surprisingly low levels. I remember another, more powerful, amp that always wanted to be played at a level slghtly above my comfort zone to reach a balanced sound. Nice thing overall, but back to my friendly dealer after the demo.

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We use our system for Sky Q.

The difference in clarity between 300DR and 250DR at TV volume (i.e. very low levels compared to music) was noticeable.

Some of the HD channels with great SQ sound fabulous now. Even at TV volume levels there is a wide soundstage and you hear little background details.

On a par I would say with the 300. I always thought that low volume listening was the 300s greatest strength, however it’s only arriving at month 5 that I would now make that comparison.

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Yes. You have to turn up the NC250 a bit more for everything to snap together. Once it does it’s brilliant.

So in my experience the low level listening with the NC250 is better than 250DR but not quite as good as the 300DR


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