Naim 500

My system first off was a Naim 252, 2 x 135’s serviced about 3 years ago, Naim CDS with PS the PS serviced the same time as the 135’s & a Technics 1200G.
I had a chance which I took to purchase a 2012 serviced & Dr’d 552.
An excellent step up from my 252.
After living with this for a while I thought I would try a Dr’d 250 just to see if there was a difference in quality over the 135’s. I seen posts on here that people think the 250 is a real good amp. they weren’t wrong I thought it sounded really good with the 552.
this was over a month ago.
Then I got curious about the 300 DR (my local dealer had the 250 & 300 for home demo which I took advantage of),
This was another uplift in sound but not as much as I thought it would be but still a little better. I nearly purchased the 300 ex demo then a non Dr 500 serviced 2011 came up from a well respected audio shop they also sent it to Naim for some minor work March this year & Naim gave it a clean bill of health.
Before purchasing the unit I did a lot of reading on this site about how good this amp is & what a step up it is over the Dr’d 250 & 300.
The 500 was still for sale for a really good price so I bought it without a home demo.
I love the Naim sound, everything I have bought in the Naim hierarchy has always sounded better. I’ve also owned olive 82 then onto a 52 which led me to the 252 all great upgrades.
I have had the 500 in my system for over a month now & at first it sounded really good but only on par with the 250 which is still fresh in my mind as was the 300.
I expected this on the first week as it has been in the shop turned off for a while.
I thought it would get better as the weeks went on but I still haven’t had a wow moment in fact it doesn’t sound any better than the 250 did with the familiar recordings I have.
I noticed as well with the 250, 300 & even the 135’s I was listening with the dial at 9 o’clock.
10 o’clock was serious listening. With the 500 I’ve got to start at 10 o’clock on the dial.
I thought this was wrong so contacted the shop, they told me again what they said before I purchased it that Naim has given it a clean bill of health & to look at other things in the chain as it is a revealing amp. I had already done all this as I didn’t want to waste their time going back & forth have you tried this have you tried that.
It sounded good with the 135’s, it sounded good with the 250 it sounded good with the 300.
the 500 sounds OK but not better tho.
The dealer said they would help me out as much as they can. I will get back to them soon.
I just want to know first from the 500 owners their experiences & what if anything could be going on.
Thank you in advance.

Urm as a 250DR user yes it’s superb and the 300DR is a further step up certainly in retirement. But, I’ve always thought the 500DR very considerably ahead of both. I assume the 500 you have hasn’t had the DR upgrade? I wonder if your dealer could lend you a 250 to put back in your system to do a head for head comparison?

Yes that might be one thing to try or another non dr 500.

What speakers are you using? The 300 dr actually can swing more current than the 500…….are you speakers a difficult load. My experience with a 500 dr is it is better than the 300 dr in my system…….it has effortless ease in portraying the most difficult pieces of music.

1 Like

I forgot to mention speakers. I have the Kudos 707

Speaking as someone who went from 300DR to 500DR, the difference between the two was clear on day one, and that was with a brand new, not run in amp. After a while, things gradually got better, and now, there’s a huge uplift over the 300DR.

I see that your 500 is non-DR, so whether this might account for the lack of uplift compared to the 300DR which you listened to, I’m not sure, but something’s not quite right.

I take it you leave your system powered up 24/7?

You need to take my comments in the context of my speakers and listening room, and my increasingly ageing ears.


Yes it is left on 24/7.
It’s the dial thing for me as I’ve got to turn it right up to get it to sing.

Does not sound like a difficult load……time to talk with dealer some more. Are you close enough for them to visit, or you to visit them?

1 Like

I always preferred the 300 to the 500, both non DR. The 300DR is a superb amp and I can easily imagine it being preferred to a non DR 500. It’s worth trying both a 300DR and a 500DR and comparing to your 500.


Cable dressing especially with the Burndy’s can be factor. The 500, DR or not, is more musical than hi-fi. At this level your dealer should be on site to help out on this issue.

I was underwhelmed by the 500 when I first got it. Initially the ps went where the 250 had been and the head unit at the bottom of the clean stack. This had the Burndys running along the floor and I’d read that they should hang free so I rearranged the power supplies in the brawn stack so that the 500 ps was the top of four. This was slightly better but the system had been livelier with the 250. I then moved the 552 up a shelf so it was now higher than the 500ps in the adjacent stack, this did the trick and now the system could sing again.

I then had the idea that maybe the ps order should be the inverse of the head unit order, I could get the Burndys to just miss each other but some how having the supercap for the superline on the bottom shelf sounded better even though the superline sits below the 552.

Plug order is another interesting exercise but leave that for later and anyway it depends on the details of your power block if you use one.

I think Gazza is on the money. The 707’s do dip down to just over 3ohms and are a nominal 6ohm load. The 500 isn’t up to it.

Being bridged, it is of course not a current monster, but Naim writes:

"140W per channel output into 8 ohms; capable of prolonged output into 2 ohms with no discernible impact on performance"

Interesting did not know that……sounded good when i heard them but probably were with a 300 dr on thinking about it?

As others have said, cable dressing, good racking and mains are important factors. As a non DR it may not have a Powerline and likewise the 552 if upgraded to DR. These make a difference especially when all leads are PLs.

I bought a Nov 2016 serviced 552/500 pair. I am very happy, but I had to get things right and the icing on the cake was Musicworks Ultra G3 mains block with a PL feed.

I’d also recommend being patient as these boxes need time to settle to deliver what they are capable of. I sometimes think I fiddled too much in my early days. I have now had my 552/500 over two years now and it is still getting better, with downs as well as ups. I play a mix of modern and classical so as not to judge on one genre alone.


I had Kudos 707’’s and went through 250, 300DR and eventually the 500DR. The 300DR sounds a more sophisticated amp then the 250 and a amp I could have lived with forever and is a perfect partner to the 707’’s.

The 500DR that replaced the 300DR was a immediate noticeable improvement over the 300DR but I still missed the 300DR as I was so used to it’s sound.

It took a few weeks for me to realizes how much better the 500DR was with the increase in depth and control I was hearing and very surprised you are not hearing the same! The 500DR is more than up to driving the 707’s and does so with ease so I know you will get this sorted.

It can’t imagine it’s just down to cable dressing but maybe swap out for some other burndy cables or maybe experiment with another 500, maybe a DR version or try Super Lumina DIN/XLR’s but you sound have an incredible amp.

Advertising blurb. The 500 will of course drive these speakers and depending on music type, room type, ears and volume listened, will maybe sound quite nice. You will always find people who will say ‘…and I drive xxxx speakers with my 500 and it sounds wonderful’. What you don’t know about this are the above mentioned variables. Trust independent test measurements and match carefully. In the OP’s case, his ears are telling him the truth of the specifications.

Had 707 with 300dr, then with 500dr all with 552dr. Then 808.
In my system I thought: 707 with 300dr very good, but got the feeling something was held back from 552. So 707 with 500dr: better, but something said: the 300dr is a VERY good match for the 707…So tried the 808 with 500dr: WOW!
Suspect (with looking at the specifications of the mentioned components): 707/300dr and 808/500dr have synergies!

1 Like

Saying that it can drive a 2 ohm load for long times and then failing with dips to under 3 would not just be a marketing blurb but a straight-up lie.

The 500 would be an abject failure at 25,000 euros to be unable to drive essentially benign speakers dipping occasionally under 3 ohms. The 707 is not an Apogee Scintilla. The OP is not happy but there is absolutely no proof that it’s because of this

1 Like