NAP 500 second hand (2000) vs NAP300 DR

Hi all,
I was replacing my Supernait 2 with NAC252/NAP300DR but I found a good opportunity to buy a second hand NAP500 (of year 2000) from a friend of one of my friend.
I’m wondering whether NAP500 (even if not updated with DR) is better than the new NAP300DR.
In case I go with second hand NAP500:

  1. can I update it to DR sending it to NAIM?
  2. can I use the NAP500 with NAC252?

Thanks for any suggestion!

You can “DR” the NAP 500. That service, plus re-capping (likely recommended on a 19 yr old amp) is $8300 in the States.

And you can surely find a gently used one or two year old NAP 300DR as an option too; no need to buy the 300 new either!

I bought my 300s as non dr and am about to dr them both. I think dr to 500 in U.K. is something near £6000

Thanks. I have Canton Reference 3K loudspeakers with 300 watts. I would be more oriented to the NAP500

Thanks Bart. What is re-capping?
Id her big difference in sound between 500 and 500DR?

I bought an old 500 non dr 2002 … and it sounded great vastly superior to a 250dr … the dr upgrade is fantastic. But I reckon a full capacitor refresh would be excellent…I think your model would also need a resistor lift… This amp as it has full control over the negative speaker line…giving terrific grip control and agility.
I would go for it…my bet is it would still be superior to a 300dr.

There have been other discussion threads on the old forum about this. It seems most people say a non DR 500 will outperform a 300DR.

With an older 500 you have three options

  1. Just enjoy it. Amazing amplifier.
  2. Or get it re-capped, which generally should be done every 10-12 years or so. Not a fault with the amplifier, it’s just that capacitors degrade over time. Most amps should have this done, it’s just that Naim are one of the few manufacturers who provide this advice. It’s not black magic.
  3. Go a full rebuild to DR specification. Costs a lot more but still cheaper than getting a new 500DR. Naim gear does last so don’t get hung up on spending on an older amp.

having recently purchased an older non DR 300, I found that whilst it worked, it was not at its best, offering up poorly defined bass and rolled off treble. I was prepared to get it serviced and up graded in due course, but in the end I chose to have this work done within a couple of months of purchase. Whilst your experience my differ I would be prepared to budget for service of a yr2000 NAP500 at the least.

Re-capping is replacing certain electronic parts that deteriorate with time, especially CAPacitors.

@PPT - To my knowledge the service of a 500 is far more than just a re-cap, bearing in mind there are 2 units involved. There were/are some pictures on the old Forum showing the strip down/re-build etc. Sadly, the search function on the old Forum is only very basic at this time (the searches only revealing thread titles it seems).

The DR’ing upgrade adds to this - mine also had a casework change to the rear (heatsink IIRC), done as part of the package.

Personally, I’d go for a 2000 model 500 and have it DR’ed and serviced (if required) at the same time on the basis the cost of acquisition reflects the absence of the service, should this be the case(?). If it hasn’t been serviced, then it’s highly likely to be ‘under the weather’ in performance terms.

If it has, then check out the service paperwork. Naim suggest 500 series kit service timelines are >10Y’s (perhaps up to 15).

Yes, the 500 can be used with a 252 - the signal cables to the 500 head unit are fed from the 252’s Supercap - these should come with the 500.

Attached is a link from the old Forum on DR-ing a 500.

I suggest you go for the 500 and recap it at a convenient point. The 500 is in a different class, DR’ing it will even bring it further - some people call it a NAP750…

I’ve had the chance to compare both the 300DR and the old 500 with the 252DR in my previous setup. Even with the 500 in need of a service (more than 8 years old), it easily trounces the 300DR in every way.

The immense grip that the 500 could muster to control the speakers is way ahead of what the 300 is capable of. Not to add the obviously lower noise floor, and the extended top and bottom end it brings to the party.

The NAP-500 is a 500 level power amp and it sounds like it. The texture, grip, detail and drive is nothing like a 300. The 300 is peerless at its price point in my view. One of the best amps you can buy. The 500 is something altogether different, as you would expect for its price new. I think the DR upgrade is around £2K and if it hasn’t had a service yet, it really needs one.

Hi I had my 500 serviced and dr upgraded last year cost 4.9k ulp … but it is stunning…

Thanks all! You’ve convinced me to move on with 500. I’ll try to buy it next days

For a NAP 500 built around 2000, you will need a rebuild (or recap) as I speak from my own experience.

I bought a 2000 NAP500 a couple of years ago for £6000, it worked fine but I immediately joined the waiting list to DR it and with a service I had my 500DR for ~£11000. Send the Burndys with it, it’s worth getting them checked and they might get a massage too. You’ll have to buy your own powerline though they didn’t replace my standard cable but I did get new boxes.

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Let us know how you get on Quinn…

Interesting thread.

I own a 300DR from 2018. The rest of the system is in the 500 series.

My speakers are easy to drive and I never turn the volume above 9 O’clock, or just a little depending on the recording (some classical pieces).

I mostly listen to classical music. Sometimes some Jazz or Pink Floy type of rock, but not much. Nearly all my albums are classical.

Does it make sense to replace the 300DR?
What would the benefits of a 500 be, in the context of my system?

@Thomas - I would echo the post by @Harry above. A 500DR isn’t just a more muscular amp, to my ears the presentation is far better. Your own ears need to decide though.

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