NAP250 or Not?

I run an LP12 into 12S / CB160 and Kan 1s. I love it but there is an itch I’d like to scratch which is the famous 250. I’ve already tried a serviced and unserviced 110 (and olive 140) and they were a little full-on and tiresome for me, although great fun with rock.

What’s the thinking here - will a serviced 250 be more like the 110/140 or more laid back like my CB160, or perhaps somewhere in between?

Also, another issue is that I’ve never liked my serviced CB HiCap when added to my 12, 32 or 32.5. It improves all the HiFi stuff, so deeper tighter bass and more refined top end, etc., but musically it seems to rob some of my enjoyment. No doubt I’m in the minority but clearly this doesn’t bode well for the 250 since it won’t power a pre-amp. I assume it’s futile but perhaps I missed something or maybe a SNAPS could change things (unlikely I know).

I already tried a third party Y-cable with the HiCap but that was much worse.

I can’t really offer a useful opinion (apart from “go for it”). But something that I have noticed often over the years is that we get to like what we are used to. What leads me to this conclusion is an observation I have often made. For years I would record music from the radio - sometimes onto reel to reel, sometimes cassette - and edit the music by copying onto other tapes. The quality often deteriorated, and could get quite bad - but I enjoyed the music. More recently, having found high quality recordings of the same music, I still enjoy it, but it isn’t the same. It seems somehow wrong - part of me prefers the rather lo-fi original recordings I made. I’m sure that if I had had high quality recordings then heard the lo-fi, I would prefer the former.


Thanks Beachcomber. I know what you mean but don’t think this is a case of preferring something familiar over something better.

I mistakenly put CB160 instead of BD160.

I can’t help specifically about the NAP250 but, out of interest, did you ever try NAC32.5 and BD NAP160? And if so, how was it?

You should really try to compare yourself. My preferences are not in line with the majority. I go with whatever option makes the most sense of the music, but of course, we are all different and I know other people will have alternative preferences.

My preference (using BD160) is 12 > 32 > 32.5 in terms of enjoyment. In terms of HiFi criteria, it goes in the opposite direction with a big step up from 12 to 32 in terms of 3D soundstaging - my NAC12 is basically 2D :slight_smile: . I used the same set of Class A serviced cards in all three boxes.

I’m sure there are varying levels of synergy between different pre/power combinations but I do not recall my pre-amp preference ever changing when using the 110 instead of 160.

I don’t have either of the two boxes. I was interested in what you thought of them together, in case it was able to clarify your thinking for your way forward.

No worries - thanks for trying to help. Partly my fault not comprehending your intention.

1 Like

Up until recently I’d have said 110 over 250 any day of the week. A change of speaker stands later and now the 250 is going nowhere. With the new stands adding midrange clarity, the 110 was just too full-on, as you put it. The 250 gives a slightly more laid back and warmer sound, but this is just what was needed to restore the balance. On top of that comes the advantage the 250 will always have over any of the unregulated amps in terms of bass slam, agility and clarity.

There’s really only one way you can find out if a 250 will work for you though.

1 Like

The 160 adds warmth and fullness that Kan 1’s need to sound balanced, along with a pre-Cirkus LP12, but must admit the system could do with the bass slam you mention. I’ll think about it. Thanks for sharing your impressions.

What pre and PSU do you use with the 250?

250 on its way. I would always have been wondering otherwise.

Slotted back in the Hicap in preparation - music is a bit boring/less coherent as a result, but clearer and more refined. Deeper/tighter bass helps with Kans though.


Let us know!

I tried the NAC32 only recently in place of the 12 and it was a bit relentless for me, although it did provide the Kans with a bigger sound. It’s interesting, the Hicap seems to correct that and calm the 32 down. 32/Hi/160 into Kans is a very fine sound. Not as coherent and fun as 12/160 but still enjoyable. Might even give the 32.5 another whirl before tomorrow (using the same serviced cards).

Yes, will let you know (tomorrow hopefully)

EDIT: No, don’t like the 32.5 in this setup. It cleans up the sound even more but re-engages ‘Hyperactivity’ mode and would get on my t1ts quite quickly. 32/Hi/160 ain’t bad though.

1 Like

I’m using mine with a 102 plus PSC and Hicap. Front end is either LP12 (Valhalla Cirkus RB1000 2M bronze) or Karilk Numerik CDP. Speakers are Gale 401.

I think it sounds pretty neutral and is certainly revealing, but I’m guessing you’d likely find it too full on. For years I was very happy with just a basic early LP12/Grace/Supex into 42.5/110 but I’m hearing stuff on records now that just wasn’t hinted at before.

I’ll be very interested in hearing how you get on with the 250 - is it CB or Olive? A buddy has a very nice all CB 32.5/Hicap/250 driving Tukans and it’s a very relaxed yet dynamic and musical sounding system.

1 Like

It’s CB. Didn’t want to spoil the look :slight_smile:

I like Tukans and have hung onto a pair. Last time I tried them was against kustone Kan IIs and I seem to recall preferring the Tukans. They were definitely not the best Kans I’ve heard though.

Does anyone know how the sound of the 32 changed in its lifetime?

I think the CB 250 will be a better match in terms of SQ as well. My friend’s system has a warm, almost valve like sound, but with bass timing that’s definitely Naim.

The base 32 didn’t change much apart from when the 32.5 dual rail retrofit was introduced to take full advantage of the Hicap. A 32.5 with the link plug in is effectively a 32. If you want to hear how an early 32 would sound with a 250 then you should look for a single rail SNAPS to power it. The daughter boards have had some revisions over the years, but are relatively minor AFAIK. The big change was when the 729 ‘time aligned’ filter buffer boards were made available when the 72 was introduced.


Yeah, I was already thinking that I should get a SNAPS. Not many around though.

Does anyone here prefer SNAPS to HiCap with the CB/BD 12/32/160/250 gear?

Got a 32 / SNAPS and also a 32.5 / HC here with 160BD and 160CB (also got a 250CB). Doing the comparison between my 32 and the 32.5, its quite easy to find the best one, as the 32.5 serviced is really better of course. Doing SNAPS / HC difference on the 32.5 is more difficult. A well serviced SNAPS offer a really good rendering. About 160BD VS 160CB and 250CB, frankly speaking nothing can beat a serviced 160BD in term of sound from my point of view. The only drawback is the lack of power of this amp compare to the CB version or the 250. Listenning some instrumentals like guitar on a 160BD is not beatable.

Thanks Guibo.

The CB 250 is still cold but I like it so far. It doesn’t have the rushed manic presentation of the 110 so that’s good. There’s also a lot more information coming through compared to either the 110 or 160.

Musically, not sure if I prefer it to my BD 160 or not yet - the 12/160 is definitely a more coherent and enjoyable combination for me but I’m just trying to get a feel for the power amps on their own at the moment, hence using 32/Hicap with each amp.

Based on listening so far, I reckon it’s a keeper for the main system with Kans and 32. I can then use the 12/160 in my office with Keilidhs. I would like to try a SNAPS though. This 250 needs a service ASAP so gonna have to stop playing it now and send it off.

EDIT: I prefer the 160 but I still like the 250 and I think it mates well with the Kans. Maybe a SNAPS will help but that will take a while to find.

The need for servicing is often overstated here but a good rule of thumb is that cool running boxes deteriorate very slowly. The 250 lives at the hotter end of the scale and can start to sound sibilant at the 10 year mark, so you can expect a sweeter and smoother overall sound when it returns.

Thanks. This one is making a kind of quiet bubbling sound when there’s no music playing which I’m told is a sign the caps are going.