Naim has also recently announced an upgrade program commencing at the beginning of 2016 that will be available to many existing owners of Naim’s NAP200, 250, 300, and 500 models, but unfortunately older versions (pre 21st Century models of the ‘olive’ or ‘chrome bumper’ vintage) are not compatible with the new electronics. The NAP200DR is by far the most straightforward upgrade, as it does not incorporate regulated rails for the power amplifiers nor does it demand the extra current capacity of the 09 transistors, requiring instead only the substitution of the on-board preamp supply for a DR board. By contrast, the NAP500 requires the replacement of no less than twenty supplies due in part to its bridged configuration, and together with the 250 and 300, redesigned circuit boards and heatsink assemblies necessitate replacement of virtually all of the electronics. There will be a further option to have the power supply serviced, replacing all the reservoir capacitors in the process.
The demonstration of the NAP250, 300 and NAP500 against their new DR counterparts was handled expertly by Jason Gould, and was both enlightening and informative. While the hierarchy of the range was strongly evident, the improvement in each case was beyond question. The DR amplifiers exhibited a lower noise floor that allowed more detail, greater articulation and presence, together with a far more expansive range of dynamic expression portrayed with a wider bandwidth.
With their predecessors sounding drab and lacklustre by comparison, the technology handed down from the Statement electronics and the way in which it has been incorporated into the new DR amplifiers would have to be judged as a brilliant and unqualified success. This is arguably one of the most significant enduring legacies of the Statement project, as the lessons learned in producing this cost-no-object amplifier are directly filtering down to more attainable amplifiers in the Naim Audio range. That one of those ‘lessons’ involves the production of a transistor specifically for Naim Audio shows the levels of commitment the company is willing to make to get the job done properly.
The prices of the new Naim DR amplifiers and upgrades as follows:
RRP Price DR Upgrade DR Upgrade and service
NAP250 DR £3,495 £995 (£500) £1,295
NAP300 DR £7,295 £1,495 (£750) £1,850
NAP500 DR £19,500 £4,200 (£2,940) £4,900
All prices include VAT. The figures in brackets indicate the upgrade price if the unit was purchased within three months prior to launch.