NAP 300 DR vs. Subwoofer

Hi guys,

my loudspeakers are Bowers & Wilkins 804 D3 which I use with a Naim Uniti Nova and Super Lumina Speaker Cables. The main cable is Naim Power-Line. My Room is about 30qm. On paper the speaker’s frequency response goes down to 24Hz (+/-3dB from reference axis). I played around with the loudspeaker position quite a lot when I bought them some years ago. Because I missed some “oomph” in the bass I bought a Bowers & Wilkins DB3D Subwoofer to help the speakers playing to my taste. Right now the subwoofer does play along from 80Hz downwards. With this set-up the sound quality and bass performance is quite good to my ears, BUT my wife doesn’t like the aesthetics of the 2.1 set-up. She always asks if there is an alternative to boost the bass level without a subwoofer. Sadly Naim doesn’t provide us with a digital equalizer (sadly = just my opinion). But I do often read here in the forum the NAP 300 DR does have very good bass performance resp. more overall authority with a little bit of bass gain. Some people write it’s sometimes even too much bass and didn’t work for them with their sepeakers in their room to their ears.

So my question now is:
Could a Naim NAP 300 DR connected to my Uniti Nova (as a Streamer-Pre-Amp) replace my Subwoofer regarding bass gain/level (bass quality and overall reproduction quality would be much better with the NAP 300 DR, I know)? In future I could trade in the Uniti Nova for a NAC-N 272 successor for sure…

Thx a lot!

To find out what is going on you need to measure the room properly. The simplest way to do this is to get a laptop, a copy of REW and a miniDSP UMIK-1. You nay find that at any viable position of the main speakers, there is a large null in the bass response. If this is the case, then a sub is the only possible solution.

A side benefit of this is that analysis of the output of REW will help you properly position the sub and acoustically integrate it into the sound of the speakers and the room (you may be amazed at the improvement this can achieve).

Incidentally, where is the sub positioned? Hopefully not right by the main speakers! Other than in the corner of the room, that’s one of the worst places you can put it!

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I’m not sure a 300DR will give you deeper bass than your Nova + Sub and it’s not a given that it will even improve things.
Matching a room to a Hifi is one of our biggest challenges measuring you room first is always good advice.

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I think Xanthe has a point … my experience with subs you should be able to locate the sub discreetly in a corner … which usually helps launch bass … so the sub should be very unobtrusive. The addition of the NAP300DR will tighten the bass and make it more tuneful (in my view) … it may give the perception of going deeper as well. As you have such a good sub … analyse the room and you may be able to play with the sub location to make it very unobtrusive. Looking at your main speakers … they should give pretty good bass … it sounds like you are suffering from listening at a room ‘null’ point… I suspect your wife would not appreciate you re arranging the room! Which really only leaves … the sub…

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Thanks for all your answers. I appreciate them a lot.

I will investigate some time into the suggested harware/software for measuring my room. That’s a very interesting topic and good to know anyway.

My subwoofer is placed between the main speakers, at the inner side of the left speaker, directly next to it. It’s hard to put it to another place, because of the arrangement of our room and it’s forniture. The only alternative is on the outer side of the left speaker. There is also a sideboard between the speakers (with the Uniti Nova on it) and a TV on the wall. It’s all styled in a modern living room, so no separate listening room. Is the subwoofer’s location next to the main speakers so bad because of distortion entering the loudspeaker’s enclosure?

Actually I’m quite happy with the sound as it is. It’s really good. It’s not like the main speakers do not give enough bass at my listening position. It’s more like I do like the voicing of the sound more bass heavy. That’s why the subwoofer does play along from 80Hz downwards already instead of an extension to the main speaker’s bottom end. And of course there’s the aesthetic thing of my wife… Thus my hope was a NAP 300 DR could give me that little bit of more bass gain my subwoofer does give me right now.

If it’s just bass you are after you are probably best sticking with the sub. Are you able to locate it on the back wall out of view? They seem to work best that way. Alternatively you could cover it in a cloth and put a plant on the top.

The 300 is a fantastic amplifier but really is way too good for the Nova. When I had mine I had a 272/555 with it, which worked well. The B&W is too good for the Nova as well really and something like a NDX2, 282 and 250 would be more appropriate. All these options are costly of course so if you are broadly happy with the sound you are getting you may be better moving the sub, getting the pot plant, or getting used to a less bassy sound. 80Hz seems very high to start augmenting the sound so maybe try turning it down and weaning yourself off the bass. You don’t want the sound of a boy racer’s Corsa.

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I use a DB4S with a Nova and that seems to be a good match, im extending from 45Hz down and as @hungryhalibut mentions 80Hz would feel quite high for me to start extending, especially with large speakers like the 804’s.

The B&W app has an auto-integrate option for combining with B&W speakers, are you using that?

Covering the sub up or moving it next to the listening position (if possible) might be a good option.

I own a pair of B&W 805N, which still sound superb and I use a 300DR matched with 252 my sources are NDX & LP12

B&W do need to be powered well and controlled well also I’m with @hungryhalibut 300 & NOVA is not the correct way to go demo is a must to be honest

Moving the sub to the back wall or out of the listening view is not possible either. At the back wall we do have a gigantic couch and on the left and right side of the wall behind the speakers there is the walkthrough to another area behind the wall. I think my wife has to get used to the subwoofer. Actually for a subwoofer the B&W DB3D is a very nice looking one.

I’ve tried a lot of crossovers, also the auto-integration of the subwoofer’s app by choosing the B&W 804 D3 as my main speakers and extending them at the bottom end. I took a lot of time for testing. There was always too less of support in the mid bass for my taste. Then I raised the subwoofer’s crossover frequency incrementally and did find the sweet spot at 80Hz for me. I also do use the EQ “Music” in the subwoofer’s app, that does take back some bass gain at the very very low end of the subwoofer frequency range. There we go, it’s now a good bottom end extension with adequate support to the mid bass, at least according to my taste. But perhaps @hungryhalibut is right and I have to wean myself off the bass one by one. Maybe I will like this even more after a while.

I always try to get a home demo, but as more expensive the equipment gets the harder it is.

When I had flat topped speakers, things I put on top of them would fall off after a while.

Putting the sun in a corner tends to exacerbate the room modes causing very n=marked peaks at one or two bass frequencies; placing it roughly half way along a wall reduces this problem (although it doesn’t completely eliminate it). It often also allwos for better time integration between the signal from the sub to the signal from the main speakers.

My experience of power amps vs subs tells me that lower and more tuneful bass comes from a better power amp.
My current power amp is a 300, albeit from Musical Fidelity. This has the ability to find low,controlled bass in most recordings. I have long since sold my REL Strata 3 sub. It was a cheapish way of shaking the room. But my current set up sounds so much better.

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Luckily my sub is positioned along a wall that’s 4m long with no side walls. On the left and right side of the wall you can walk by. Together with the main speakers’s bass, the bass dispertion in the room is very uniform with just very little room modes. (@Xanthe I just saw there is a new improved miniDSP UMIK-2 available.)

I wish Naim could integrate a digital equalizer into their Uniti Line (and perhaps Streamers). Just a little bit of adjustment in both directions. Lossless. I probably would sell my sub instantly.

How do you keep it there?

OK might try that…thanks…

The gravity of the situation!
:stuck_out_tongue:
:rofl:

G’day arekey,

I thing HH is on the money. I have learnt to appreciate my bass poor speakers for where they do excel in vocals. I still find myself tapping along with the bass line and enjoying my music. Upgrades for new speakers are out of my financial range at the moment.

Happy listening.

Mitch. My speakers FYI are a pair of Celestron SL6Si from the late 80’s.

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Don’t berate them they are really nice speakers…which you can enjoy for hours…I remember hearing the SL700 their big brothers…they are a match for anything today in my opinion…because of their amazing midband…

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Dear Richieroo,

Thank you for your reply and I am very glad to read your post.

I apologise for my negativity about the SL6Si speakers. Your post gives me more confidence in being happy with these speakers even longer. I will be more fully appreciative from now on.

With my post I was trying to align myself with the OP that I enjoy my speakers for what they are and have been told by others that they are a bit dated these days. Though I do happily enjoy them still and was lovingly surprised when listening to some Australian First Nations Gospel music last night over a glass of shiraz. I will not be replacing them and have them saved in my eBay search list. Though possibly I am too nostalgic.

Warm regards,

Mitch.

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I have a 300DR and it really, really needs a proper front end, or – I think – the bass won’t sound proper and refined. Too much chance for boominess and ugliness for lack of balance. I have an Atom and I know that isn’t up to the task. I’m not so sure a Nova is either. 252, 272/XPS (or better) and great source(s) or go home, in my opinion.

FWIW: I use floorstanding speaker that are -6db at 28 Hz with a pair of REL subs with my 252/300DR and it is sublime.

I did at one time pair a 250-2 with a UnitiQute and it sounded OK, but that drove me to the 202/282/252 path. A 300Dr is a very different beast, however, and needs to be in the right system, or it’ll be disappointment and money wasted, IMO.