252 replacing 282?

This is a debate I have followed with interest for many years, so when the opportunity to get hold of a newly serviced 252 at a fair price arose, I took the plunge. The 252 arrived this afternoon. You can see it has been back to Salisbury as it looks like new. Good start. I’ve followed the advice with regard to having the snaic cross over and touch the burndy. So without too much in the way of expectation I powered everything up and put Radio 3 on in the background and got on with the afternoon. After doing a dad taxi run I got home and risked putting a record on to see how things were coming on.

The Kick Inside by Kate Bush is first on. First impressions are a noticeable improvement in the quality of the bass. Yes, it sounds deeper, but more importantly it’s more nuanced, the notes can be heard developing and decaying more clearly. The silence between notes is more profound too which enhances the dynamic impact. There’s also far more detail, I’m picking up things going on in the background that I’ve not noticed before.

On the downside, there seems to be a hint of glare in the treble at the moment. I’m hoping that will calm down as it runs in but on the other hand maybe it’s the pressing being exposed.

So, early days, and I suspect it needs to fully run in as the service was only in March and I don’t know how much use it has had since then. I’m not noticing a lack of boogie factor compared to the 282 either which is a criticism I’ve read many time.

Good - just be patient with it. And 252 will reward you handsomly.

I actually use 282 and 252 in my two home sytems - and for critical listening I always go to my 252-based setup.

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There was no debate, just a couple of people who tended to post a lot and so it started to read as common opinion. These people never had good sources and weren’t anyone worth listening to anyway. The 252 is in a different league to the 282 and worth the money.

The 252 is a phenomenal NAC, very much higher pedigree than the 282… enjoy recorded audio on a quality system and you will get a whole lot more emotion and insight… as well as non highlighted detail.
The 282 is a cracking NAC, it provides great exuberance and fun, and is in itself a significant setup up from the 202… but I don’t get the same feel, emotion and insight from the 282 as I do the 252. I also find the 282 is fussy on sources, with some sources just sounding too forward…the 252 seems to maximise what ever source it’s given.

However if your system has been optimised to tame a 282’s exuberance them upgrading to a 252 within that same system might result in somewhat flat or subdued replay experience.

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I recently got my new 252 to replace my old 282. I’ve partnered mine with my 250DR. I’m very pleased with what it has brought to my system. I agree with the improvement on bass, and it opens up a lot more detail in the music overall. I prefer the smooth presentation compared to the rougher, more visceral sound of the 282. Some here say otherwise.

I have a 282 and love it, but if someone put a 252 offered to put a 252 in my rack i wouldn’t say no.

I switched 52 to 252 and decided the latter is a subtle pleasure, not something with huge wow factor immediately. I think it is such a balanced and rounded product that it takes a while (or switching back) to realise just how good it is because nothing stands out as a single defining characteristic.



Love mine with a Supercap DR. I started with a 202, progressed to a 282 and then to the 252. Yes, no doubt I’d love a 552 but my daughter comes first and her education. Perhaps one day but until them I’m more than happy with an NDS/555PS one side feeding a 300DR into Focal Sopra 2s.


When I was deciding on my upgrade path from Nova, I asked around. I considered 282/SC/300 or 252/SC/250

I wanted to know what was more impactful to the sound…quality wise. better Pre or better power amp. Advice I was given is, 252 with the SC is gonna get more from the SC than the 282 will. and in my room, 250DR is more than enough (ProAc D30 speakers).

I was aware of the debate of sound quality of 282 / 252, I decided I did not to be bothered with auditioning a 282. The 252/250 is “streets ahead” of the Nova, I couldn’t be happier

@marksnaim i think I am a couple of weeks ahead of you on moving from 282 to 252

firstly I have to say 282/SC for me is one of the best combo’s in the NAIM range and as you mention the boogie factor is sublime

advice on here and from fellow owners is time and yes the 252 does need time to settle and bed in, mine was in for 3/4 weeks of good playing before the 252 really started the shine, focus and soundstage over the 282 is more deapth and character in the music -

it will come and when it does… the rewards -

I moved from 272/555 to 252/SCDR so haven’t had a 282 in my system but the improvement over the 272 was immediate and profound. Completely different league.
I’ve had the 252, which was almost new, for nearly a year and it has continued to get better over that time.
I never understood the criticism of this preamp on the old forum (as others have said I think it was actually a limited number of regular posters who seemed to see it as some sort of campaign) as it has consistently delivered me a compelling insight into the music.
I do think it is fussy about placement and having it on top of a decent support with plenty of air around it seems to be well worth it.
Enjoy your 252; it’s a stunning piece of kit.


I don’t think it is fair comment on those posters.

Said posters had very good sources and having heard a 252 a few times I can understand where those posters are coming from. Although I did like the 252 very much indeed.

It’s an easy decision for me, as I am not prepared to pay the price for a 252/SCDR and would rather easily spend that kind of money on improving my source, in this case a Chord MScaler for my Chord Dave…

Sources is where it (the magic) all begins to my ears…


The 282 vs 252 does seem to rather polarise opinions. I had both and they do sound different, the 252 rather more mature in presentation compared to the more exuberant 282. I didn’t get on with my 252, my fault, i bought blind. At the time my system was fronted by a Weiss DAC202 and looking back the synergy was probably all wrong - something like a CDX2/555PS would have been the ideal front end for me with the 252. Still you live and learn and it all worked out right in the end.

System synergy is key and a long home audition is a must…


Buying second hand as I did was less of a financial risk. Just the risk of buying on trust. The item could after all have been not as described. Fortunately I could not be happier with the condition. And at this point I am very happy with the sound. Fronted with a reasonable spec LP12 and NAT01 I don’t feel there is any lack of synergy or quality there. Always room fir improvement of course :grimacing:. The 282 is packed away in the loft just in case something changes my mind, but at this point I’m thinking that’s highly unlikely.

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I went from 82 to 252 when it first came out. I am so impressed with it that it is still in my system 15 years later. Recently serviced it’s all the amp I will ever need. I think you have made a wise long term investment.



It’s where it begins, but I know from experience it’s not where it ends. I was for years very ‘top heavy’ on source. NDS with SN2, and then ND555 with SN2. I traded the SN2 towards 252/SCDR/250DR (then shortly thereafter 300DR), and the change was AMAZING. The SN2 is a fine fine amp, but the 252 showed me what I was missing in very obvious terms.


I used a 252/SCDR with a 250DR; NDX and Dynaudio Contour 60’s. Stunning detail/PRAT but I couldn’t cope with what I perceived as glare - I have hearing akin to a bat. No amount of run-in, I/C changes, power/cord changes, speaker positioning, room treatments etc helped. I thought I was going mad. Eventually changed it for a tube pre-amp. That then became a fabulous set up for me, at that time. One man’s ‘glare’ is another man’s ‘extended treble’; another good reason to home demo’ before committing.

I wouldn’t assume the glare was necessarily due to the pre. I have a NDX2 with 555PSDR into 252/SCDR/250DR with ATC SCM 19s. I have no issues with glare in the treble whatsoever. In the fact the ATCs have one of the best tweeter units I’ve heard on a speaker. I’ve not heard the Contour 60s but when I demoed the Dynaudio Special 40s the bass was very forward, and the treble glared on many tracks - in fact to the point of being unlistenable.

Wow - surprised re: Special 40 as the Esotar is noted for its extension but smoothness. The Contours and their Esotar 2 tweeter (admittedly different to the one in the Forty’s) were much better than the painful Sopra 2’s before them. I’ve never heard of glare being associated with Dynaudio before - perhaps the Forty’s were ‘too’ revealing for you :wink:

I have Contour 30 and 20 prior to that and have never had any such issues either. That said it just shows how different things can sound to different people.