The 300 Series - Just Listening Experiences

I created this thread so we can focus on actual listening experiences of the 300 series and discuss those. Hopefully this will keep diversions to a minimum.

I had the pleasure on the 9 September to visit the nice folk at the The Audiobarn to listen to the new 300 series, hosted by Mark Raggett of Naim. We started by listening to the 333/332/350 without any power supplies. Once we were accustomed to the sound Mark added two 300 power supplies, first to the 333 streamer so we could hear the improvement this addition made to the source. Mark then added the second 300 power supply to the 332 pre amp taking the system to a full six-box configuration.

I had a chat with Jack of The Audiobarn before the demonstration and he made a rather interesting comment about the sound signature of the new 300 series compared to Black Box classic. Jack had observed that the 300 series is a tad ‘easier on the ear’ (I am paraphrasing) than some of the black box classic series. The visceral nature of some black box configurations, that can occasionally tip over into harshness, had been tamed, or should I say controlled, by the 300 series. I wasn’t entirely sure what Jack meant but all became clear when I sat down to listen.

My initial impressions of the system without any power supplies was a clean, extended and ultimately a lovely musical presentation, with plenty of PRaT. I will say now that, as I was sat to one side, it was virtually impossible for me to get any real sense of instrument placement and soundstage. Compared to a 500 series I would say the 300 without power supplies was a little softer in the bass, vocals possibly lacked a tiny bit of focus and separation was slightly lacking. I then had to remind myself that this system was brand-new out of the box and was far from its best. I got the impression this bare 300 system had a lot more to give, some of which I would discover was delivered by the addition of the 300 power supplies.

As we continued to listen to the bare system things began to improve. Mark then played a track I was familiar with - Chris Stapleton’s Death Row. Blimey! I was hearing stuff on this track I’ve never heard before. This track is about a prisoner awaiting his fate on death row, and it came complete with dread, fear, foreboding, despair, and a sense of hopelessness, as of course it should. This track alone showed me the 300 system, even bare, was superbly capable at communicating emotion. If I was being critical I would say Chris’s voice softened very slightly when he hit the loudest notes, when compared to say a 500 system - but read on.

Mark then added a 300 power supply to the 333. Now things were beginning to tighten up with increased focus and PRaT. At this point I began to understand Jack’s comment to me before the demonstration. With black box classic, even a 500 system, crescendos could have you on the edge of your seat. Not so with the 300 series where even at the extreme peaks of the track things remained completely in control, without any loss of impact and excitement. I put this down to the iron grip the 350 mono power amps were exerting.

Next the second 300 power supply was put on the 332. Now things really started to take off. More of everything, above all yet more musicality. I asked Mark to replay the Death Row track and now I could hear Chris’s voice in all its glory, an absolutely fantastic rendition of this brilliant song.

In my view the addition of the 300 on the 332 provided a greater improvement than 300 on the 333. In my mind I put this down to the fact that this was the second 300 going into the system and there was some kind of synergy happening. However later Mark told me that the 300 that went on the 333 was brand-new out of the box, whereas the 300 that went on the 332 had been more run in. This would certainly explain the greater uplift I heard with the 300 on the 332. It was then I had to remind myself that, other than one 300, all the kit was essentially brand-new out of the box. It is clear to me that this system has a lot more to give, which is a rather exciting prospect.

As I have owned a 500 system I am in a reasonable position to compare 300 to 500. For some reason I am finding that difficult to do. I sold my 500 system several months ago and I’m listening to the 300 system in a different room with different speakers to mine. What I will say is the 500 and 300 systems are different and you will absolutely have to go and listen for yourself.

The 300 system is superb. In my view it is not better or worse than the 500, just different in the way I very much appreciate.

Many thanks to Jack and Mark for putting on a great demonstration - The Audiobarn is a great venue and they are nice people to do business with.


Hurrah - an actual review. Thank you!


Lovely review……i am dreadful at putting the emotions in a page. I have my demo Saturday 23rd, hope i like the sound. I guess there was no chance to mix and match old and new components?


Great review thanks Nigel

Let’s hope all posts keep this thread on track


No chance to mix and match.

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Thank you for that Nigel. I think it was only right to listen to a full 300 system as a comparison to the full 500 system. It was designed as a system not as individual components. Having said that I am a mixer and matcher so your comment on the 350 intrigues.

“ Not so with the 300 series where even at the extreme peaks of the track things remained completely in control, without any loss of impact and excitement. I put this down to the iron grip the 350 mono power amps were exerting.”

I hope to in the not too distant future to arrange a visit to the UK to hear the 350’s with a 552 and compare that to a 552/500 DR set up.

Your last comment also attracts my interest.
“The 300 system is superb. In my view it is not better or worse than the 500, just different in the way I very much appreciate.”

My liking is for a very clear articulation of individual sounds if I care to pick them out, but with a musicality of the whole. What is it that you appreciated about the differences in sound you experienced, particularly at an emotional, visceral level?


Well said! It is great to be able to pick out individual strands if you wish but also great when everything just gels as a whole.

Excellent first insight to the potential of this system. For many on here it will be good to know that making it a 6 box system is a great possibility.

From my personal perspective I am afraid that I may end up costing myself an extra £6k+. I will never have the money or inkling to wring the last bit of SQ possible by adding PSUs but I have to be aware that the ‘basic’ system contains 2 x 350s, I was hoping to get away with a NAP250!

Obviously I still may find the 250 perfectly adequate with my Titan 606s as I am sure they would hit their limits before the ‘basic’ 300 set could be heard at its full potential.

Like you I am very impressed and even satisfied with what I have. I am also though committed to wanting ( not needing) the previous ultimate for me, 500 sytem at some time. The 350’s now demand my attention. :grinning:

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Thanks for the link to Chris Stapleton.

The stuff played from a Core or Qobuz?



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Not sure if a server or Qobuz was used…sorry.

I suspect it was a Core and Qobuz for requests Audiobarn did not have on the Core.

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Thank you for starting the thread with your review @NigelB - a very interesting read, and a high benchmark to start with!

At this point in time I am still listening at home to the NAC 332 preamplifier, fitting in as many hours as I can before its return to my dealer on Tuesday morning.

My sofa and coffee table are covered in piles of CDs pulled off the shelves, but not returned yet as I rush to grab and try the next one… two… three… etc

Hopefully my busy schedule will allow me time to make my contribution here in the next day or so.


Thanks for the review. It seems like the dealers would let the units run in for at least a few days before doing a demo.

Audio T in Bristol had been running their 300 series in for a few days before I collected the NAC 332.

Perhaps I should charge them for my time / electricity in continuing for them while they are shut?


Finally soeone lucky has the possibility to audition the nac332 and most probably I will audition it really late because I m still in Egypt. I m really interesting to have listening impressions, especially compared to 282 and 252. I would really appreciate any post in this regards




Should be renamed as the dog’s b@ll@× thread :smiley:


Thanks for the review. My NC250 is less fatiguing than the 250DR was. I never really noticed it until I had the NC250.

It’s crazy how much deeper it digs out information. I’m sure there is even more to come with the 332/300.

I was so impressed with the NC250 that I ordered the 332/300. Just waiting for it to arrive at the dealer


You are definitely addicted. Time to go to hospital, for a desintox. The 250 was your first crack.

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Too late