Early September, just after the Trinity Park show, our cosmetically challenged NAP500 went back to Naim for some fresh casework. Long story, not our fault!
The upshot was that the new, freshly run-in NAP300 DR took over its front of house duties and surprised us by being remarkably like a NAP500. A quick swap back to the older 300 confirmed the breathtaking level of improvement that the DR changes had brought.
Only a couple of weeks after our NAP500 returned to the fold, and many weeks after it went to Naim, it was joined by our new 500DR.
This bulky amplifier definitely needing a bit of run-in, sounding quite the hooligan fresh out of the box. Our Sopra No2 Floor-standing speakers were also in need of some bedding in so we’ve been leaving that system running as much as possible.
Now, the lucky part of my job is that I have this kit at home. The fully Super-Lumina’d system of twin PSU driven NDS, Naim S1 preamp, NAP500DR and whatever speakers is pretty damned capable. Surprisingly, though it has been a patchy old time.
Last night was a case in point. The system may be wide open and astonishingly revealing of inflections, subtle details, the ends of notes etc, etc but it certainly wasn’t easy going, particularly engaging or, dare I say it, musical. I set off to bed intending to move the speakers around today in the cold light of day.
But today, wow! What a transformation. And I’ve done nothing to change it. I cannot recall ever getting the level of bass quality were now getting in this room. The sense of space, speed and clarity has been joined by a serious dose of musicality and engagement. The S1′s ability to make music sound alive is back with a vengeance. The Sopras are superbly coherent, utterly capable of becoming invisible and sound unlike any Focal (other than the lovely Sopra N1 stand-mounts) that I can recall.
These ported ‘boxes with holes in’ can, it turns out, stop and start without a hint of smear, bloom or boom and the level of resolution is spectacular.
I think it is fair to say that our 500 could well be nearing the point where we should be playing it to people. A quick swap back to the old NAP500 will be interesting but I think I have fair idea of how it will sound in comparison.