To DR or not DR

Hi All,
first time posting. I’ve been lurking for a while. I have just made the jump form Nova to Supernait 3 mainly so I can add a bi-amp to drive the Monitor Audio Platinums that run with it.
I am fortunate enough to have a couple of other systems in the house in various locations, and they also have Monitor Audio’s on them, which are bi-amped. They definitely sing much better (definition, separation - they just sound better)
I am keen to understand whether the amp I want to add to the Supernait needs to be a DR unit or not, given that I already have a Hicap DR feeding the Supernait.

I know this is contentious issue for some - with many commenting on the active bi-amping vs passive bi-amping opinions.

I guess, what I am trying to understand is whether I can bi-amp with an older NAP 200 or NAP 250, since I have the Hicap DR doing its thing or must it be a NAP200 DR or NAP250 DR to drive the high or low frequency ends of the speakers?

I notice whenever anyone asks this question, especially the bi-amp question, there seem to be a lot of opinions that ignore the question, and push for upgrades in amp or different combinations.

I have read equal numbers of comments saying that the bi-amping speakers that were specifically designed to be driven by 2 amps worked extremely well or completely ruined the sound. I even saw a post where the OP pasted the section from the Monitor Audio manual explaining why their speakers work well in this configuration, only to be dismissed by another poster. - MA obviously do not know their own business.

I have Monitor Audio’s bi-amped. They sound great that way. I just want to know the most cost effective way to do the same on my new Naim, having finally got a decent sound out of a Naim rig. The Nova was a little underwhelming for my taste compared to other systems I have…
The Supernait sounds much more akin to how I expected NAIM to sound (I don’t have the luxury of demoing the products because of time constraints and that I am too tight to buy new, and I won’t waste a persons time in a shop if i am not going to purchase from them)

Hopefully someone out there can give me a relatively scientific answer without too much contradictory opinion. NAP DR or non DR. - does it matter in a bi-amp situation when I have a Hicap DR doing its magic…?

Thanks in advance all. I can see this thing getting expensive…

Newbie.

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Hi @Richyriches
I think the short answer to your question is that a DR’d amp in the configuration you’re proposing isn’t necessary. That might save some cost in the short term?
Many here, possibly including Naim themselves, don’t recommend biamping, but it’s your system and your ears. The DR amps are the regulated ones 250, 300 and 500, except for the 200 DR which isn’t regulated, but has a DR to benefit its accompanying preamp. There’s no difference in the configuration you’re proposing to using a 200 without DR to the DR version. Regulated amps sound better to most people’s ears as they should do for the additional cost and complexity.
A non DR 200 seems to be the obvious recommendation to the system you propose, as it is close in performance to the Supernait. It may also be worth considering a 250DR for the treble duties, then you would be benefitting from a 250’s regulated performance, although using the Supernait as a preamp is likely to hold back the full performance of the 250DR.
As always it’s a case of listening and making your own decision. Also as you imply future system building around whatever you purchase, it may be worth listening to a few different systems and speakers to get a feel for where you’d ultimately like to be. For example, the 250DR recommendation may be a little expensive right now for the performance benefit it brings, but if the 250DR becomes central to an improved system in the future, then it becomes a smarter buy. I like the 250DR a lot, for many, depending on speakers and room, it’s all the amp you need. Having said that, I had a SN3 in my last apartment and I never thought I was missing out on the music. You have a lovely system already, make sure you enjoy your ride whichever way you go.

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I’m not sure whether Naim are willing, or able, to ‘DR’ all their power amps at the moment. Does anyone know the latest from Salisbury on this?

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I think they are still not able to DR non DR items. Supply chain issues are cited for this decision and it’s possible that if supply issues change that the current situation may change.

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Thanks for jumping in guys.
This is what is was worried about.
NAP 200 will do.
NAP250dr is more sensible for upgrading later…
This is going to get expensive :laughing:

Restless spirit

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People can get what I might call ‘Spec Tunnel Vision’ - meaning they HAVE TO have a certain ‘spec’ - such as DR.

The non-DR Naim amps were the best they ever made until… And there is little wrong with them now - other than perhaps a lower price… (cf DR versions). Which IMO is a Good Thing.

Buck the trend - go non-DR…!!!

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Agree with that. Had a 250-2 before having it DR-ed a couple of yrs ago. I would have been v happy with keeping the 250-2 though. It was a great amp with a very organic, powerful sound. The DR just seemed to speed it up a bit.

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Loving that…
“Buck the trend”

So, thanks to all the responders. So does the
Hicap DR negate the circuitry in the second amp? Agree with the sentiment that a 250DR would make a more sensible purchase long term, but will there be a difference in the signal to the speakers between a 250 and a 250DR? Anyone know the technical signal routes? I read somewhere that the Hicap DR does the heavy lifting and the Bi-amp is there just for driving…
Or am I all confuddled?

Thanks again in advance

I am really wanting the answer to be “a NAP200 or NAP250 without the DR will make no difference because of the Hicap…” then I can start on the hunt for a new R2R DAC :laughing:

Love those R2R DAC’s

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With a NAP200 - yes. If you use a HiCap, there will be no difference between a 200 ans a 200DR.

Bi-amping. Just No. No. No. No. And no.

If you can stretch to a NAP250 (any type), go for it. I bought mine in 1985 and still have it.

A 250 is better than a 200… :thinking:

Very true. The difference between is ultimately one of personal preference. There are some performance gains but also some losses. If they don’t align with your owtsknzl listening preferences then a DR box won’t be for you.

The OP has informed us of the only answer he wants to see, so not sure if he can be persuaded that passive bi-amping with Naim power amps is not a good idea. He also seems to have monetary constraints that will limit where he goes next.

Anyway, for what it is worth here is my suggestion.

Sort out your source first, possibly trading in the Nova against a separate streamer like the ND5XS2 or a NDX2. This assumes the SuperNait is man enough to drive those MA Platinums. (I have MA GX300 Golds).

Just because other amps can be successfully bi-amped with the MAs does not mean Naim amps can be equally successful, and wonky bi-amping at that.

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If so, ‘we’ are wasting our time… :thinking:

Thanks for the comments guys - predictably, we seem to be straying into the “…you’re doing it wrong…” territory. You are all probably right, and bi-amping is a wast of time. I have this desire to find out for myself. I can only wonder if Naim only incorporated bi-amping on their amps for the last 3 generations, just to keep us asking the questions on the forum : )

So the consensus is: DR makes no difference in this configuration. 250’s are way better than 200’s…

…But it academic, and really I should be moving towards a traditional pre/power system because that is where the best sound/performance is to be found…

I think I received the answer to the technical question I asked at the beginning - “…does the DR circuit int he Hicap supersede the circuitry in the secondary amp (the NAP) making it irrelevant whether i buy a NAP 250.2 or a NAP 250 DR for the purpose I am attempting to qualify…”

I know some of you disagree, but I really want to be proven wrong, and for the first time, bi-amped Monitor Audio’s take a backwards step.

I think the way forward is to be patient and buy a 250DR. Then, when I realise the folly of my ways, I can look at swapping out the Supernait for a 282 (predictably, ending up with a pre/power system as suggested by some of you…

As for the source comments - I am not using the NOVA as a source, in fact, I am selling the NOVA (unless I can rig it as a secondary amp to the Supernait…. Hmmmm…”
I have a Bluesound Node with a custom PSU and upgraded caps for the source, and it is running through a Musician R2R DAC

I don’t need to change that at the moment…

Once again, thanks for the responses, both positive and negative. The adventure will definitely continue…

I now realise why NAIM created such a well mapped upgrade path… this makes it almost too easy for us tweakers.

Love this lively forum.

Well, I gave it my best….

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I’m glad you got an answer to your primary question, so now I’ll hijack your thread and ask why taking advantage of a feature included in their product, naimly, the biamp output, is such a horrible idea.

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I’ve never heard anyone from NAIM say this. The only evidence of their opinion is with their active crossovers and the historical “6-Packs” etc, which would seem to suggestotherwise (?)

@Richard.Dane - Care to comment…?

@NigelB - You understand. I understand. Am sure a few others do too.

But the OP does not. Are we in Dunning Kruger territory maybe…?
That would explain a lot, on this thread… :thinking:

Yes Naim have always advocated ‘active’ bi-amping. I’ve never read anywhere where they have recommended ‘passive’ bi-amping, but there are some members here who have passive bi-amped 500 amps into difficult to drive speakers with pretty successive results. @Polarbear?

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It depends whether you’re talking about active or passive bi-amping or tri-amping.

Naim have in the past famously championed active bi-amping and active tri-amping, however, this does require specific speakers and, with Naim’s own speakers long discontinued, there are few options for this these days and it was always a pretty small and niche market anyway, with plenty of resistance against the complexity and capricious nature of such systems.

As for passive bi-amping (or tri-amping), Naim have generally felt it to be a bit of a waste; Instead of buying two lesser power amps, better to buy one better power amp for similar money - you generally get a better performance result. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and certain speakers which were always designed for multiple passive amplification (e.g B&W Nautilus), or in the case of 2 x NAP300 vs. 1 x NAP500, the former might well be a better bet than the latter with certain hard to drive speakers.

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