NAP 500 versus NAP 300

Have the opportunity to upgrade my 300 to a 500 at a discount but home demo not possible.
What improvements can I count on?
Rest of system in my profile but it’s 552/ND555/Sopra-3

Bass and impact, lots of it. Perhaps a slight loss of smoothness.

Thanks for the reply. Can you elaborate on the smoothness issue?

I found my 300 very easy to listen too, always a joy. Detailed and very refined, very musical and engaging. The 500 has more impact and wow, it can make really you chuckle more than the 300 ever can but at times you find yourself turning it down. It’s perhaps like being at a Rock concert and a bit too near the speaker stack, after a while you drift back a couple of rows. I guess it depends a bit on the mood your in, what you want at the time.

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I moved from a 300 to 500 a few years ago. At the time I had nbl speakers which I found to be quite a difficult load to drive successfully with the 300. Plugging in the 500 immediately provided the extra drive which the bass units had been missing and, in part because of the extra drive available, made it possible to enjoy listening to music at a lower level with the 500. Of course, there is a significant amount of additional power there should you wish to listen at a higher level! But it is not just additional power for bass - the 500 brings with it considerable additional dynamics across the range. As the previous poster mentioned, this can come across a bit lively compared with the 300, but you really are getting more of everything in a good way.

When considering swapping over to a 500, if pre-owned, please consider the age of the unit and when it may be appropriate to have it serviced and upgraded to dr (if not already done/ relevant to your unit).

Peter

Thanks for the replies
The unit would be a new DR

In case you haven’t already, look at the hificritic review of the 500, available on the naim website. It has some commentary on comparisons vs the 300.

In my experience the NAP500DR is just about the finest power amp out there at the moment.

However, like all Naim products, as you move up the ladder you have to pay more and more attention to set-up. I’m not saying that the 300, or 135’s for that matter, are plug and play but the 500 is so revealing it needs that extra attention to detail to pull 100% capability.

I’ve owned mine for nearly 4 years and I’m still discovering small little tweaks and improvements that push the envelope of what I thought possible from a piece of hi-fi.

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I decided quite some time ago to stop at my 300 and not go to the 500. I find the 300 incredibly musical and plenty powerful for any of the speakers I have heard it with, though there are undoubtedly some difficult loads they would struggle with (same for the 500 for that matter). The 500 is clearly a superior amplifier but there are negatives, quite quickly highlighted already in this thread. To spend what I would need to for the upgrade, I wouldn’t want to have to accept the negatives so the 300 is where I decided to stop.

Im not saying I wouldn’t change my mind in the future and I will say I have not heard a 500 with DR but that is the thinking which has kept me happy where I am for many years already.

Many years ago I auditioned Olive 250 versus then new 300. The 250 had oomph, speed and dynamics, something which the 300 didn’t to the same level. Yes, the 300 offered far more detailed, was more powerful and smoother/very slightly less exciting/a tad relaxed but some of that Naim magic wasn’t there to the same degree (usual caveats of in my room and as set-up). The 500 had it.

The 500 offered up speed & leading edge (attack), enhanced detail, control and better defined bass. It isn’t a larger current-pumping monster amp - it just does Naim PRaT very well…and you don’t have to play it loud.

I had Focals at the time and some of the detailing was wonderful. The DR just made it better still.

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the 300DR is a wonderful amplifier but the 500DR is much better engineered, it disconnects the negative speaker terminal through the bridge design, so current from the speaker movement doesn’t flow back into signal earth, adding distortion to the signal

to my ears this has the effect of adding a level of clarity and ease to the sound that simply isn’t there with the 300 or any of the lesser amplifier as you turn the volume up… the music sounds engaging, and doesn’t get confused with demanding speakers.

A google search of the pictures of a 500 dr vs 300 dr internal parts will give an idea of much more complex and elaborate regulation and engineering inside the 500

I went from 135s to 300 (non DR) - good, but not quite what I was expecting. I then moved to 500 (non DR) and that was what I was looking for. Got it converted to DR and that was even better, but the 300 to 500 was the bigger change. Glad I did it.

I went from a 300 dr to 500 dr, the 500 has a certain poise and sounds effortless by comparison. I even preferred the 500 dr over active 300 dr into Kudos 707, the 500 seemed unflustered whatever you threw at it musically, the active 300 dr seemed to my ears a little too eager to please. Both are great amps and i could happily live with either if i had to.

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I’ve had my 500 for two weeks now.
After a 2 week home demo back in late January, I placed the order before the price increase.
I was always happy with the 300 and never wanted to hear the 500 due to the cost so wouldn’t be influenced on how it sounded.
However, I took early retirement at Christmas and after discussion with Finance Director she agreed to me using some of my pension sum to buy the 500 as a retirement present to myself, home demo pending.

Getting back to the home demo, what a revelation the 500 is. From the first notes there was a dramatic change in the presentation of the music, dynamics, power and detail all at a new level. My wife could tell by the look on my face I was spending the money.

Two weeks on the 500 is playing 8 hours a day and settling in nicely.

So, as my wife always says to me on matters relating to this hobby of mine “Can we afford it (yes), is it going to put us in debt (no), then have it”

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I had the opportunity to compare the 500DR and 300DR side by side on my system.

I bought the 500DR new and let it burn in for about ~280 hours using my previous 252/SC.

When I swapped the 300DR with 500DR I was then able to really compares both amps.

The difference is impressive and not easy to describe.

I don’t like hyperboles. I would say that my first impressions and later conclusion are similar to the description and conclusion you may read on the following review (which I consider can be trusted. Usually I don’t give much credit to reviews…)

–> https://www.naimaudio.com/sites/default/files/Naim%20NAP%20500DR%20HIFICRITIC%20Complete_1.pdf

"One might have assumed that a 500DR would
essentially be a moderately louder version of
a 300DR, but this didn’t prove to be the case.
Although the 300DR is undoubtedly a class leader
in image scale, detail, and rhythmic musical drive,
the 500DR adds substantial extra majesty, alongside
a further expansion of spaciousness, the image
width, and depth actually rivalling the Statement
monoblocks."

Whatever kind of music you listen to, the 500 DR will present it marvellously.

I like chamber music, but with the 500 series system I now listen to much more symphonic music and even some Pink Floyd :blush:

If you have the means, like Naim amps, then go for it.

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I had the opportunity to compare 300 DR and 500 DR recently. Preamp was 552 DR. The 500 DR was better on all the audiophile criteria (soundstage, noise, bass, grip…) but the prat of the 300 DR had disappeared. The listening was too quiet for my taste.

The 500 DR was properly stacked on a fraim and ex-demo, so probably burn-in.

It’s worth listening before buying…

The 300 dr (has been serviced and DRed) was a real pleasure…did everything well with the Kudos 707 I had then. When the 300DR was replaced by a 500DR I liked it too much to let it go back to dealer. It did less hifi, it just let the music be there in the room. But then I felt the speakers held back the full potential. And it proved to be exactly the case, as with the Kudos Titan 808 it was very satisfying to listen to all sorts of music - as mentioned in posts above. As you wish or if you prefer a cable/interconnect upgrade can be a possibility to take things further.
With the right speakers it portrays music an convincing way, with coherence and without drawing attention to itself (as the 300Dr sometimes did - albeit in a good way).
And for it’s all about the music, go for it if possible (speakers, funds…).

About 4 years ago I had my 500 DRd and serviced in one hit. My dealer kindly loaned me their run in demo 300DR whilst mine went back to Salisbury.
I liked the loan amp but over the next few days started to miss my non DRd 500.
Straight from the off the upgraded 500 was really worth doing. No question. Apart from the better bass grip there is a naturalness about the way it plays. It will play very loud without strain to the extent that classical orchestral music is often probably louder than it should be. When the phone rings or someone speaks to you and you can’t hear them, then that’s loud. An effortless amplifier.
When Andrew Everard reviewed the 500DR for Hi-Fi News he felt it was no second rater to the Statement but justified its presence in its own right. We are talking circa £21K with £170K!
I heard a demo courtesy by Jason Gould of the 500DR V Statement at my local dealer.
Yes, more from the Statement. But you are getting a good slice of it in the 500DR.
Its that good. Enjoy.

Might also be worth considering how strong your back is and how often you tend to move your hi-fi components around! The 500 is a very considerable weight. There you have it - the one down side to the 500 which I am aware of (depending on the condition of your back!).

Peter

I have to admit that it’s contemplating this sort of scenario that keeps my 300 firmly in situ.

Also the various Vitus threads show that the 500 is far from audio nirvana for everyone.

Interesting how many of the posts above quote reviews.

But I suppose one can safely say that the vast majority of people who upgrade are (at least initially) very happy with it. So if you can do it, why not?

.sjb

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