Upgrade: 272/300DR or 272/XPS2DR/250?

Hello hi-fi freaks,

I will soon upgrade my B&W 802D2 to B&W 802D4, and would also like to give the electronics a boost. Today I have a 9 year old NAP250 (non-DR) with a 6 year old NAC-N272. My Naim dealer recommended two options:

  1. 272+XPS2DR+250, so adding an XPS2 to feed the 272

  2. 272+300DR, so replacing the 250 by the 300DR.

According to the dealer, the first option will improve the stereo image and refinement. The second option will be more powerful (which I don’t really need for my classical music taste).

Any ideas which combination would give the most refined listening fun with B&W 802?

I’ve gone from 250DR to 300DR. Also from naked 272 to XPSDR to 555PSDR. I would have chosen (1) if you don’t need the extra control (even if 300DR adds more than that).


I’d say that any system fronted by a 272 is out of its depth with the 802D4. If sticking with the 272 you’d want a 555PS and 300DR, not either/or.

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XPS DR definitely before 300DR.

If you can stretch to it though, I’d suggest an NDX2 and then trade the 272 for 282 c Hicap.


With those speakers I’d suggest an ND555, 552 and 300 is in order. But what do I know? Mullets seem to be all the rage.

I spent some time comparing those two systems at my dealers, and I found the 272/300 to be rather wild and out of control. A lot of fun if you are a party animal, but unrefined, suggesting that the 272 was out of its depth with a power amp as capable as the 300.
272/XPS/250 is much more balanced and refined. If you keep the 272 that would be my recommendation, but I must agree with the comment that this setup is not really a match for the speakers you propose.
Also remember that your 250 is likely to need a recap soon if you keep it.

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272/XPS/300 party animal? :man_shrugging::see_no_evil: 250 is far more party than a 300.

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He didn’t say XPS though

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Thank you Slamdam, good advice. I will ask for a demo for this combination. It’s cheaper as well.

You give the same advice as Slamdam: upgrade the 272 rather than the 250.
If that’s the best way to go, then you suggest replacement of 272 by NDX2+282+Hicap, so 2 extra boxes.
I will have a word with the Minister of Finance & Interior Affairs on this matter.

that’s a valuable insight. No need for raving parties anymore, the daughters have left the house. Yes, refinement is what I’m looking for with my large collection of vocal music (from Schubert Lieder to folk), instrumental (classical guitar, violin, organ) and jazz.

So I’m certainly gonna listen to 272+XPSDR+250+802D4. Another upgrade option is simple and keeps it at 3 boxes: upgrade the 9 year old 250 to 250DR, so we get 272+XPSDR+250DR+802D4.

Whether it’s a match for the 802 speakers, well, the combination makes me very happy. I always found the difference in high-end speakers (e.g. moving from 804 to 802) much larger than any upgrade in high-end electronics.
Thanks again and after approval from the minister of interior affairs I will go for it.

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In the right setup, perhaps. We were discussing it partnered with a bare 272, which is an almighty mullet of a system.

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help me as non-native English speaker: for me a mullet is a fish, but what is the meaning on this forum? The weakest element in the chain?

A mullet is indeed a fish, but it is also a style of haircut! Not too popular these days, but it was short at the front and long at the back.
In HiFi terms this is a mildly humorous term for a system which is also short at the front (relatively poor source and preamp) and long at the back (relatively expensive speakers and power amp.
The opposite might be a ‘source first’ system with a great source, and speakers that are not able to expose the full talents of that source.
Somewhere in the middle is a balance which could be argued to be the best choice of components for your budget.


Helpful as always, thank you so much Chris. Are these good examples of how Hungryhalibut sees my system? :slight_smile:


Not sure why this mullet talk always have to come up. With Naim it’s always a journey if you don’t start with 552/500 etc but 99.8% never do. So at most of the time you purchase a better box then another then another. My 272/555 sound better with 300 than a 250DR. Would it sound better with a 552? Most likely. Can I enjoy the benefits of a 300 anyway? Sure can!

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Yes, that’s it!

I think the key thing here is to listen carefully to different systems as much as possible when making your choices. These rules are not always clear cut, especially if you use price as a guide to quality. A good dealer who is patient and understands your needs can be a big help.

Good luck.

Well John de Wolf was an interesting player / person! Those were the days I could watch Feyenoord.

Yes John was interesting but also very ugly. For sure he scared his opponents. :japanese_goblin:

The XPS or even better the 555 greatly improve the 272 and I would start there but I note you have a pre DR which whilst a great amp went well with some speakers and less with others. In this respect I don’t know the BWs but in any event the 300DR is a more refined and powerful amp.

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