282 > 252 or 552 to upgrade or not to

Come on man, how does it sound?

I love my 252 system. I’m done and have no desire at all to go to a 552 (and am happy to save that large expense).

My journey over a period of about 8-9 years.


Sorry for the delay @Mike_S!

It’s been a busy afternoon and evening, not all to do with the 252 (managed to blow the 250’s surge fuse by fiddling with the Powerline - thank you Naim for including a spare!)
But…I will say say that I have NEVER heard my CD2 sound so good. Blimey. Such midrange richness on vocals (Ese…whoooeee, I fell in love again…) and bass tunes and presence that fairly made me go 'whoa…".

I had to fettle a bit with the Superline (settled on powering it with HCDR) but I do think I’d underestimated how cold the 252 was. Must have been icy in the UPS warehouse and van.

One of my favourite ‘test’ tracks is the 12" 45 of Robbie Robertson’s Fallen Angel - it just sounded delightful. The small percussive details on the song were much clearer, more defined…the splash cymbal/hi hats were just beautiful. Its quite a layered production, and the 252 presenting it was the best I’ve heard of my old Linn amp and three previous Naims (XS2, SN3,282).
Coheed and Cambria on headphones was a solid delight too. More music tomorrow.

I have to say, the 282 is not shown up by the 252…
I think I could happily live with either. But I am looking forward immensely to getting to know the 252.


Great news, for sure - enjoy!


The only valid criticism of the 252 is that it’s not a 552, or S1.




Exactly the same journey I took!

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I have owned both the 252 SCDR and 552DR… they are both huge steps up in performance from the 282 HCDR which I have also owned.

The 252 and 552 are very different however… I be cautious about some of the hyperbole you read about 552.

However in a Naim system, the NAC is first… not source or power amp. Get the best NAC you can that suits your style, and it will bring the rest of the system along with it… (assuming your speaker room coupling isn’t ‘broken’)

So to the NACs. The 252 is more euphoric and smoother. It has wonderful sense of scale and subtle detail, it excels at rock and electronic music… but is a PITA to set up with support and cables to get sounding its best… get it right however and you will be wonderfully rewarded…

The 552 is more forward and in your face in comparison, it digs out the detail and allows a more convincing sound stage and acoustic set recordings… it feels stronger in the treble upper mid areas, so can interact more with your room, get it right and it is wonderfully revealing and engaging… it’s also more forgiving on supports etc… but it isn’t as smooth and euphoric as the 252…

In a way I’d say if you had evolution trees, the 282 evolves to the 552, where as the 202 evolves to the 252… they are different paths.


It will get better as it warms up too !

The other thing I noticed when I got mine is that there is an obvious improvement when you first start listening to it but as the weeks and months unfold and you listen to more and more of your music collection what it is doing to the sound becomes more apparent and you will begin to fully appreciate what it is giving you.

That said, the initial improvement was amazing but I’d missed out 202 and 282 and jumped straight from a 152XS to the 252. If I remember correctly my journey was

NDS/555PS to replace the ND5XS/XP5XS
252/SC to replace the 152XS/Flatcap
300 non DR to replace the 155XS
300DR to replace the 300 non DR

At each stage I’ve seen great improvements. Possibly the greatest was the addition of the first 300. I think in part though that was me finally hearing in full all the improvements further up the chain.


By the way, is there ANY changes on tye 252 since it came in 2002? For example; I have seen some pictures where there is a small edge halfway around the indicator light on the volume knob, but the images might have been a 552?

But i mean both inside and outside.

Also for the supercap, obviously there has been a DR-upgrade, but if I was to upgrade my 2011 supercap, would it become identical as a brand new DR one?

Yes this is the 552 only. :+1:t2:

Congratulations steviebee, many, many hours of musical treats lie ahead. The 252 is a great preamp.

I agree. I went straight from 102 to 252 after listening to the 282 and that’s how I felt. That said, in my system upgrading to 552 kept all I liked with the 252 and made the music more real, which doesn’t seem to match your conclusion.



Embarrassingly, the Naim website has the wrong pictures on the 252 product page, it’s a 552

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Have to say I 100% completely agree with this statement. :+1:t2:

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Unless something changed with the new owners I don’t think Naim would agree with this

I think the quote from JV was “The source of your music is the basis on which the rest of the system depends”.

Even the NAC S1 can only work on the input signal.

Yep I agree on this, source first.

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My goodness.

252 has warmed up!
Mary Margaret O’Hara’s When You Know Why You’re Happy (an apt title, considering…) from her Miss America LP just sounds…beautiful.

Some things I’ve noticed today over various recordings, from orchestral to reggae, ‘pop’ and jazz vocal:

There’s a lovely sense of cohesion, musically (between what instruments are playing, how a piece ‘hangs together’)
Voices really come across emotionally & I seem to listen to lyrics and their meanings more.
All the smaller things (percussion touches is a good example) are clearly heard and…um…in their own space.
Bass is good too, lol.

Could I be any more hyperbolic? :smile:

Job done, methinks.


Remember strictly speaking there isn’t a statement source but a 500 level source so that fits the Bill for Pre rules the roost.

I concur with all that.


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Would be more affordable as well if you only needed speakers.

I think you will find Naim very much concur with this statement about the NAC being at the heart and bringing everything along with it… and I am sure I have sat at a factory presentation in years past where similar things have been said… something new owners perhaps discover after us older ones long ago discovered this… hence the adage, buy the best NAC you can afford.

Clearly a NAC can’t create a signal if not generated… but the NAC effectively maximises the source potential…along with the power amp.