Upgrade - Next Step

I have just completed a major upgrade as the introduction of New Classic line gave me some financial room to make the jump from a Supernait 2 to a NAC282/Supercap with NAP250. Overall I am pleased with the improvements however my B&W 802 D2s were already bright but now the treble can be unpleasantly sharp. All other aspects of the sound quality have improved, solid base, huge staging, smooth mids and typical Naim strengths. My Supercap and Nap250 were used, so only the Nac282 is new and I am waiting for its initial break in period before passing final judgement - in hopefully a few weeks it will settle in. I already hear some improvement within 3 days use.

Question: given limited finances, what next step would take the harsh tribble off, perhaps an upgrade to NAP300 or a NAC252 would be the fastest route to a smoother top end - (currently the treble sometimes it sounds like finger nails across a chalk board).

Maybe it’s just a characteristic of the speakers, have you considered something less strident at the top? You could always investigate, a home demo with 1 or 2 alternatives might show you the electronics are good.
There are always adjustments you could make in the room eg adjust speaker toe in.

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I have the 802d3. Went from 282/250dr to 252/300dr. The extra control of the 300 was beneficial for me. I have a carpeted room plus a thick wool rug in front of the speakers. I spilled a teapot on the rug which ruined it. We got rid of the rug and the sound seemed less smooth and rich. Buying a replacement rug (3 metres by 2 metres) restored the sound back to its former glory.


I’d say you need to give that 282 at least a month of very regular use before it settles down and you can really start to hear it at its best. I hate break-in, so much so that I actively seek out mint used items wherever possible, helps to make the budget go further too.
When upgrade time does come, you’re all set for a 252 which opens things up quite a bit in my experience (did that change once before in my Naim system mk1)


You have extremely capable and revealing speakers. You now also have an extremely capable, balanced and musical Naim amplifier.

Together, they will absolutely crucify any streamer that is less then outstanding. Any digital glare or RFI issues that manifest as a bright, relentless or fatiguing sound will be shown up now that your amp and speakers are more revealing.

It may be time to focus on your streamer. Further amplifier upgrades may make matters worse by opening the acoustic window even wider.

There are many, many streaming options open to you and countless threads on the Naim Streaming forum about some of them. Naim’s own streamers are excellent and there are other great manufacturers of dacs too.

Sorry if this is not the answer that you were hoping for but it’s the streaming set up that I would be looking to improve now.

Good luck! BF


I’m not sure a 282/250 is up to the 802s, but you are spot on that opening the window wider lets more through, ruthlessly exposing the source. A really big source upgrade is in order. If that’s impossible, more sympathetic speakers could be another route to consider.


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It may be that no 1 thing is wrong. Either the 282 needs to settle down or it is revealing a more general non-ideal match.

  1. To my ear, many B&Ws had a top end that could get harsh and a bit beamed-at-you, with a little provocation, and that included the D2 era.

I had had 82/HC/250, but had got a 52/SC. I was persuaded to audition 804D3s at my house and they had lost that harsh effect completely even at higher volume (as long as we kept them properly away from walls). I have since heard D4s and they seem better again. So, in part, this may tell us something about the speakers.

  1. After all that, I was then encouraged to try a 300DR in place of the 250 or the 135s I had been imagining I would buy. That was considerably better, but bass grip, detail and stereo image were largely where we noticed the change.

  2. I swapped back to my old 82 for a couple of weeks. Now 82 is not 282 and 52 is not 252, but the family similarities are pretty clear on listening. The 82 & 300DR into B&W804D3s sounded a bit crude, flat, obvious and indelicate, esp. if turned up - female vocals suffered particularly. Plugging the 250 back in with 82 helped make things less sharp and edgy, but the B&W speakers still revealed harshness from the 82 that was never noticed with the previous speakers.

  3. I have a nice rug (and a little coffee table). Even with 52 and 300DR, removing the rug for a clean and revealing the floorboards made the reflections a big problem -treble was weird and not pleasant. This had not been much of a problem with my old speakers.

Putting the rug back did not restore things properly because I had moved the speakers a bit - toe-in directly at my head and a bit closer to the side wall was a nasty combination. After a bit of messing about, joy returned.

  1. Putting the speakers on Isoacoustic Gaia feet was a big improvement, but helped bass tightness and sped much more than treble.

  2. Following comments here, we tried my old A5 speaker cable over TQ Black - ok, but marginally less clean and even. That cable, like the 82/250, is now doing a good job with Neat Xplorers in Tasmania.

  3. As if that lot does not give a few things to try, it could simply be that your speakers and amps are together now showing up a source deficiency.

Assuming that a couple of weeks running the new 282 has not fixed things, I’d suggest first trying to fine-tune placement and putting down a thick and/ or bigger rug. Then I’d suggest borrowing a different source. Then I’d try borrowing a 52 or 252. Then I’d try a 300DR.

Good luck! Please let us know what works.


I use the old standard speaker Naim cables and followed there recommendations for installation. The connectors for components are naim with some upgraded power cables that dont sound any different then standard cables from naim.

My source equipment is intel nuc running roon with linear power supply. Mytek Manhattan dac is a very high end dac, i believe arguably superior to anything naim has - or at least equivalent. Using my focal utopia headphones to review these two front ends without naim results in quite smooth treble ( the utopia are revealling but a somewhat smooth headphones). The problem appears downstream, and i did not have it on the supernait2 which i replaced.

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As you use Roon this might be the best use of your money, before messing with cables etc.

Home Audio Fidelity



I’m familiar with the Mytek dac too.

Good luck tracking down the source of the brightness/tiring treble in your own set-up, whether that be in your streamer, interconnects, pre-amp, speakers or system set-up. It can be devilishly hard to find sometimes.

Best regards, BF

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If you have a tv between your speakers, try putting heavy towels over it to see if the harshness reduces.


And if that doesn’t work, put towels over the speakers. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I had some top end harshness too a while back after an otherwise successful electronics upgrade. My OCD had led me to tape my speaker cables (NAC A5) together (shock, horror) so I removed all the tape, cut a load of 1" lengths of pipe insulation and used them to a) separate the cables and b) lift the cables off the floor. The harshness instantly disappeared! Granted, I have a completely different system but as a minimal cost upgrade for an hour’s effort it must be worth a try if your cables are touching or on the floor.

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