Hello everyone, I’m new to NAIM. My system is ND555, Mcinotsh ma12000 integrated amp with Sonus faber AMATI tradition speakes. I mostly listen to classical musics, I love my streamer, I’m considering to get a full 500 series and match with my ND555 before the price increase in Dec, but that’s a BIG investment, the 500 series is been out on the market for around 18 years , also 7 years after DR. I can see naim is focusing on UNIT, MUSO, and integrated. So my question is it still worth it to invest another $100000 to buy new 500, 552, cables+rack now? (There’s no demo from where I live, so I haven’t heard naim separates. And it’s really hard to find used 500, 552 in Canada ) Or I should be patient because the current 500 series will be replace in next year or 2 ? or even a 500 series integrated ? I will not want to spend a huge amount of money to buy them new and be replaced in anytime soon, so I want to make a smart move. Will like to hear what naim owners think, Thank you guys!
Welcome to the Naim sound. Tread carefully, it can be overwhelming.
You are unlikely to get a definitive answer, because no one on this forum knows for sure and if they do they have they will not be able to reveal. So you will only get opinions.
My bet will be it is unlikely to be replaced in the timeframe you are referring to. Naim do not change their products frequently. Also, the cure of their products, pre amps, power amps and power supplies keep their value very well. Because the technology in there is the same as the original and very first amplifiers.
Unfortunately for you, it’s the streamers like ND555 are the ones that have been enhanced and the old one loosing. But, it’s safe to say the ND555 is relatively new and is unlikely to be replaced in the next few years.
All the very best in making the decision.
I think that you’d be crazy to spend $100,000 (either Canadian or US) on a system that you’ve never heard. There must be a dealer somewhere in North America where you can go to listen to the Naim 500 series that you’re thinking of buying.
If you’re thinking of spending that amount of money, any dealer would fall over themselves to demonstrate the full Naim system - plus valid alternatives - to you. It may be slightly inconvenient to you, but you’d be mad (in my opinion) not to have a proper audition first. What if the Naim sound is not to your liking, for goodness sake?
If nothing else is possible, buy a cheap ticket over to the UK to visit one of Naim’s many excellent dealers here.
Would you buy a top spec Jaguar, Marc or Beemer without at least a test drive? I think not, unless you really have money to burn.
Incidentally, you say with some conviction that Naim’s 500 series will be replaced in the next year or two. Do you have access to some secret inside information about Naim’s product lines to which the rest of us are not party?
But it’s your money, so you have to make your own choice.I just hope for you that it’s a wise one.
70% of BMW buyers in the UK buy one without a test drive. Amazing but true.
However, that does not undermine the wisdom of your advice, which I wholeheartedly second.
Best regards, BF
I think you’ve misinterpreted what the OP wrote regarding planned replacement. It’s a question rather than a statement, and ‘because’ should be read as ‘in case’.
As to whether it’s a good idea to get the 552 and 500, it’s an awful lot of money to spend and ideally needs an audition, as you say. By all accounts the McIntosh is a fine amplifier. The OP should bear in mind that the four Naim boxes require good support to work at their best, so that means four shelves with head units and power supplies carefully separated, which means further expense.
That said, for someone who is very happy with an ND555, the full 500 system is an alluring prospect. If money is not an issue and the heart says get the Naim, and it can be accommodated to get the best from it, then perhaps go for it. Every time I’ve heard the full 500 system is been hugely enjoyable. It’s a lovely setup.
Regarding the fundamental design thinking of 500 series there not going to be a change in the 552/500 Dr for another decade or even decades) in my opinion
If you can afford it buy with confidence
Welcome to the wider world of Naim.
Unless you can afford to take the financial pain involved if you don’t like the 552/500DR, I wouldn’t do this blind/un-heard, for the following reasons:
1- the presentational differences between the Mac (on paper also a very powerful integrated) are likely to be material e.g. Macs and other valve kit tend to have a warmth to them, whereas Naim kit is all about pace, rhythm and timing.
2- It’s my instinct here that the Amatis & (powerful) Mac are a good combo for classical music, with the warmth of strings et al, but perhaps at the cost to (subjective) ‘pace’ in the flow?
3- Simply trying to beat a price increase at this level as a driver to purchase when the price differentials in play are so, so big doesn’t appear sensible against the backcloth of never having heard the kit in any setting. And that horrible ‘what if’ aspect should you not like things hangs as a bit of a cloud here.
Plus, as others have flagged, you may need new cabling and other ancillaries - and, ultimately, at this ticket level you’d hope a dealer would be ‘sensible’ at purchase time.
The Naim kit still delivers great performance and an alternative is that it could see in-box upgrades rather than being replaced - in truth nobody outside Naim knows. But there are clues that due to electrical reg’s and alike, the days of large toroidal transformers powering kit may need to be changed/reined-in a bit.
Can you reach out to Naim NA and see what can be done?
What is it that your 16500GBP amplifier is not giving you?
I hope it works out for you whichever path you choose. Hint: get on a plane!
It is a conundrum, particularly in these covid times when dealers that may have demo stock are so far away. I had no idea what level of Naim I would arrive at when I started an upgrade path 20 months or so ago. I took a path of trying out incremental upgrades via the used market and have finally decided that the 500 series is where I want to be with new kit. I haven’t heard it but have decided to buy blind on the basis of the incremental improvements I have experienced along the upgrade testing path I’ve pursued. If I had at the beginning known what I was aiming for, I would have considered it complete madness to go from a base Naim system to the 500 without a demo that included my sources and speakers. Can you arrange a demo and spend a couple of days away enjoying the experience?
Given the sum of money you’re considering, travel even transcontinent to audition surely would be justified and wise?
I’m running 500 series through Amatis and live on the west coast in Canada. Would be happy to give you a listen if you’re ever out this way.
Or the train. Think of the carbon footprint.
I won’t repeat the good advice above and hope you can take up @Petersfi kind offer, although that still leaves one of the biggest factors untested, your room; so a proper demo is still best.
It is worth noting that Naim do incremental changes over the years. An original 500 will not be to precisely the same build as today’s. Naim catch up the older variations during servicing.
552/500 are great amps, if you get the chance to listen look forward to your thoughts!
ND555/552/500 with Amanti would be a great combination, it will sound different from McIntosh ( Naim better of course because we are in Naim Forum!)
Having said that, there is something to say how Naim North American handle dealer store in Canada and US. There is no dealer carry 500 system on demo? It is not because 500 system is too expensive. Dealers have a lot more expensive other brands on floor demo. But when it comes to Naim, most dealer has Uniti series only. So something is not right here.
So customers, who is interested in 500 system, have to come and ask in the Forums.
Should Naim Audio look at this as a problem ? If Naim think… no big deal and people will just buy it…
Sorry to tangential a bit and did not help answer the main question.
There is the Focal Powered By Naim store in Houston with 2 more coming in Miami and Chicago. I’d assume they’ll be able to demonstrate 500 series kit, the picture for Houston shows Utopias and Statement. (I did try to see whether they did 500s, but the Book A Demo only lets you choose which Focal kit you want to hear.)
I guess FPBN is the Naim approach to getting demonstration dealers.
He said, and started his old camper van up!
We don’t have a camper van, but a caravan. Very different!!
Call me Johnny ATB Peter
Although the drag will mean high carbon footprint when towing (I speak from experience having towed quite a lot over the years)
When you come to collect your new 555PS you’ll see how small Dora is. She’s very aerodynamic, but I’d agree that the fuel economy takes a bit of a hammering.