252 vs 552

Looking at my next upgrade and trying to decide between 252 +SCDR vs 552 + 552PS non DR (all second hand). The source will be (eventually) NDX2 and 250DR power amp. What do you think will sound better?

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Given your ambition for the source, I would say neither. I would be inclined to re-assign your overall budget to better effect. This means more on the streamer and less on the amplifier.

I would look at more like an NDX2/XPS or NDX2/555PS with a 52/Supercap or 282/Hicap and your planned 250DR.

Both a 552 and a 252 really merit a more capable source than a bare NDX2.

Hope this helps, BF


I agree with BF!

Urm, many ways to skin a cat! If the OP is looking for a permanent solution I’d be inclined towards the 552, it really is very special across all dimensions. One highly respected Naim dealer says on their website “ and if the choice of upgrade is this or a better source component, the 552 could well be the better place to start.”

Only one way to find out though!


It’s a view Lindsay. A bare NDX2 in front of a 252/552 would not be my choice. I do get the upgrade if you have an amazing deal and commit to upgrade sources later. Otherwise I still agree with BF….

I am one of those on here who have ran a 552 (non DR) with a 250DR. I initially used these with a NDS/PS555DR but later upgraded to a ND555, but still with a 250DR. Later still I upgraded to a 500DR.

If you plan to stick with a NDX2 and 250DR, the highest I would go pre amp-wise is a 252/SCDR, but 282/HiCapDR/250DR might be a little better balanced.

To get the best out of the NDX2, you should budget for a power supply for it (XPSDR or PD555DR).


Go with the best pre funds will stretch to but the 552 is a real ear opener and ahead over the 252 in every way.

Source wise you could opt for the ND5XS2 and output to a high end DAC.


I’ve never heard the 552 but I’ve owned the 252. IMO it’s the most ‘un-Naim like’ Naim pre-amp that I’ve heard. It’s very refined and does all the hi-fi stuff wonderfully well. But my initial reaction on hearing it was, and I came from an olive 82, where’s all the excitement, drive, and sheer fun gone? I was never happy with it but never got around to doing anything about it as other life factors intervened and the hi-fi took rather a back seat for some time. If I had to sum it up in one word - boring.


Totally agree…the 552 is amazing and will serve you very well over the years… the NDX2 is a great streamer/dac and the 250dr is good but possibly the weak link…


Food for thought.
I heard a 252 super cap with my dealer and was blown away.
Never heard a 282 , just compared to my 272.
I have 300dr on order so I believe 252 300 dr is the natural fit.

My only decision next year is ndx2 or nd555

Exactly what I had. It’s just my personal opinion obviously, but I have read similar comments here in the past from others. However if you’ve listened to it and like it then no reason whatsoever to pay any attention to my views. we all listen differently and have different expectations.

In the last three years I’ve upgraded substantially from a Nova.
The two best bits advice are go and listen to a similar system with the proposed upgrade at your dealers and then go for a home demonstration.
The other is source first!

One last thing…the 552 is almost kinda end game so you wont really be replacing it in the future the 252 is great but…eventually you may end up replacing that…so the 552 skips that…just a thought…

This is what I did … I went straight from the 272 to the 552 and never regretted it - obviously the cash outlay is always an issue…but if you can bite the bullet it will put you in a good place. However, make sure you have very good cables between the NDX2 and the 552 - I found that made a big difference. Good luck take care…

On a happy note I have bare NDX through my 252/300DR and it certainly does not lack for musical detail - more than happy with the music

as a footnote it is not my main source and I only use for FLAC file using Asset, main source is LP12

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One last word of caution in my experience the 552 takes no prisoners compared to the 272 it was more upfront and had more detail and very open with superb dynamic bass - I found I had to reposition my speakers and changed the hi line cable for super lumina… The 252’s I have auditioned were very similar to the 272 but better more expansive very nice - but it kept the smoothness with nice detail. I can see why the 252 is popular.


552 makes the most of every source. It goes against the “source first” doctrine, but I’d take it over the 252 any day. The DR upgrade is highly recommended.



Oops… agree with address the source first…

I think you are best to try and decide where you want to end up and for what budget. Either the 252 or the 552 deserve a power supply on the NDX2. Clearly the 552 is the better pre-amp, but if you can only afford the 252 and the NDX2 with a PS, that would be a more balanced system than the 552 and bare NDX2. FWIIW, I’ve gone for a NDX2/555PS/252/250 for budget and box count.


IMO the 252 needs the ndx2 to have a 555ps to sound amazing… I wasn’t happy at all with the xps dr… plugged in the 555ps and it was a total game changer….
And I mean TOTAL !