What have I done!?

Replaced the 250-2 which I was very happy with, for a 300/PS . No reason other than I wanted to try one out before choosing which to keep and have serviced. The losing one will go.

Only a couple of hours in but I’m asking what have I done? The 250-2 I loved after only a few months. It just seems to suit the Spendors and the room.

The 300 sounds different but am I going to like it? I can’t quite explain what the difference is but the sound is cleaner, more analytical in the way the separate instruments and voices come out. More detailed perhaps but less musical? Almost sounds a bit ‘thin’ compared to the 250. I’ll leave it in place until after Christmas and try different tracks/artists unless I get fatigued by it, but it’s not looking/sounding as good as I expected. Even saying that as a possibility makes me think. I’d never say that about the 250, no inkling of getting fatigued when listening to that.

Are all changes improvements?

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My take on this is that your sources are woefully inadequate for a 252/250, let alone a 252/300, and in my experience the speakers are truly dreadful. The 252/300 will ruthlessly highlight the sources and could very well make things worse. I’d forget the 300 and plough the money into much better sources and then some decent speakers.

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I think Nigel is right - upping the amp end is only going to expose your sources. Julian used to talk about masking affects, which meant that a source down hierarchy made most sense. I’d stick with the NAP250 and look at putting any extra money towards future source upgrades.

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Interesting viewpoint.
Are you saying a unitiserve running 24/192 files through a qutest isn’t a good source?

Similarly I understand that any source improvement will result in an improvement at the other end, but with a given source is any amp combo going to be too good for the source, especially given the small difference between the 250 and the 300. I am led to understand from this forum that the 300 is much the same internally but with the power transformer separated out?

I realise that your 252 and 300 aren’t the DR versions but to give you the idea: the amplification would be about £20,000 at new prices for the DRs, with the Qutest a £1,200 source. Does that sound balanced?

The 300 is in my experience hugely better than the 250. When I added it to my system the difference was instant, so much more musical and the speakers seemed to grow massively in size. But you can only hear an improvement if it’s there to be revealed in the first place.

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A US into a Qutest is, I’m sure a very good source, however, at this level, is it good enough? Either way, if performance worsens with a “better” power amp then, provided the power amp is OK, it’s usually an indicator that the source or pre aren’t good enough.

Yes the NAP250 and NAP300 share a great deal of componentry - transformer, amp and regulator boards, however there’s a fair bit more to the 300 as you might expect for double your money, not least much more space and separation into two boxes, tighter selection of componentry, and much better thermal management.

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Good points and it has given me something to think about. I have a P8 on the way and a new phono stage which will help the source end for vinyl. I will probably send the 250 away for that service anyway and then see after Christmas how I am developing my ears and my thoughts.

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Without wishing to decry the P8 with set up I think a good quality P10 and quality phono stage are pre- requisites

My other advice is one item at a time

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It’s probably the effect of the forum, focusing so often on Chord dacs. As some say the Hugo can improve over Nd555 , an Audioquest cobalt ( 200 dollars) can compete with an Nds/555dr …the mess in the spirits is done.

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A P8 / Lyra Kleos/ Rega Aura can compete easily with a Nd555.
But already a P8/ Apheta 3/ Rega Aria is a great source, at home with a 252/300.
IMHO

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I don’t know the Qutest, only tge Hugo from which it is derived. Going by the Hugo I would expect Qutest to be very capable, though of course it can be bettered, I personally would look to the speakers.

I don’t know the 250 or 300, but based on what I’ve read I would expect 300 to be noticeably better sounding, and importantly more capable at its job of driving speakers. As you have it on trial it would be a perfect time to try better speakers.

With better speakers you can in the future up the source and benefit if you desire. Unfortunately finding speakers that you like is not necessarily easy: They each have their own character and you have to find what you like.

From a different viewpoint, it seems from at least some some people’s viewpoints that as you move up the amp hierarchy the improvement of other aspects on top of the core timing focus means that the characteristic ‘Naim sound’ is diluted - if that is what you crave then maybe the 250 is better. But if you try both with so e new soeaker options you’ll be able to decide!

Instead of the 300, put the money to a P10 (rather than a P8) and DR the 252/250 would be my advise, or get the best source you can afford. For some reason people get obsessed with the power amp end of the hi-fi chain when a source first principle is always the best strategy (i.e. every preceding link in the chain should ideally better the succeeding, think 4/3/2/1). In my opinion a 250DR will beat (or at least equal) a non 300 DR in a properly balanced system (certainly did with me).

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Thanks, yes speakers are on the list but I’ve been thinking they will be the final piece in the puzzle. I have found the 250 to suit me and my current set up and I think that getting that to its best with a service and then concentrating on the source(s) will be the way forward for me. Speakers will have to wait untill this damned covid situation eases and I can travel again. It will be good to have a trawl round the dealers and try some out. Of course it may be that this previously used 300/ps would vastly improve with a service :slight_smile:

Not everyone subscribes to that philosophy! In fact the best sound is likely to be when all components are equally good and the system is in perfect balance. As for most people that is not an affordable achievement when on an upgrade path, the weakest link is the limiting factor wherever it is in the chain. Because the speakers of all components have the biggest influence on the overall character of the sound it is important that they are right for the individual even if that means much more capable than the rest of the system.

Just listening to something I’ve been using as a bit of a test album over the past few months with the various changes I’ve been trying out. Norah Jones, Come away with me. Best as I can describe is that evrything is still there but the highs are higher and the lows less solid, the mids seem to have gone missing. Piano and guitar sound a bit ‘plinky’ , the high hats sound brash. Could this be the effect of an old 300?

Its a general principle based upon information loss through the chain thats all, of course there will be variances, and speakers are clearly important for desired character, however I had a pair of nSats (a £1k) sounding more like a much more expensive speaker on the back of a NAP300 source first system whilst I waited for delivery of my Shahinians, and presumably no one would vindicate a reverse source first strategy :wink:

Deffo missing the base. See you agin and I’m just not getting that base thump, almost in the chest, that this track usually supplies.

I might just get the 300 combo serviced first as the 250 seems to be working for me at the mo. If the 300 comes back no better (than the 250) then I’ll move it on.

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Bass not base, bliddy ipad.

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Sorry if I missed it but how old is the 300 or when was it last serviced?

Pretty much my experience going from 250DR to 300DR. Or SN2 to SN3. More neutral wideband spectrum with less feeling of punch and muscles on 300 and SN3 compared to the others. Mids slightly more recessed. More HIFI so to say on the 300 and more “party” with 250.