52/135s vs. 52/500?

Anyone who has changed 52/135s for 52/500 - did it all just get better, or is there anything you missed about the synergy of the 135s with the 52?

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Yep, it all got a lot better. I used the 52 and 500 (pre DR) combo for about a year before I found a 552. I still maintain that going from 135’s to a 500 was one of the biggest and best changes I’ve made. By comparison going from the 52 to 552 was ok but a bit of an anticlimax.

I really loved my 135’s. In fact I still have them (as I couldn’t bring myself to sell them) but the 500 is in a different league I’m afraid! If it’s also DR’d then it really will be a WOW moment.


As much as I thought they did i was wrong, the 135 do not power the Sl2 like the Sl2 need. You really need to try and hear the difference it is night and day.
I did it two months ago. More synergy between the a Nap 500 and a good 52.
The 500 has a very very similar sounding DNA to the 135 but is superior in every way several levels times over.
My SL2 have finally come out of their shell and so has the 52 . Just jaw dropping! wish i had the made the move years ago.
Probably the biggest upgrade ive done to date.
No brainer to do the upgrade.


Bearing in mind the 500 appeared before the 552, on the Forum 2 iterations ago there were various comparisons of the 52/6x135s (in to say DBLs) as against 52/500 and, if memory serves, the consensus was that a 500 was better, which confounded some. More detail, pace, control, with a fuller soundscape, perhaps as the mid-band focus was removed by the 500. Having had a pair of 135s for a bit with a 52, I’m with that view.


This is why it’s surprising that a couple of the well known Naim/ Kudos dealers say that they prefer 3 x 250 actively driving 808´s over a 500 passive. At the very top end the question begs how would your S2´s driving the same speakers compare with 6 x 350? Only listening will determine. I’m working on it.


Anecdote/slight thread diversion - back c.2006/7, a kindly dealer visited as part of my 'speaker hunt. My budget was reasonable. They suggested that my room would suit SL2s (a bullet dodged for me, as I like my rock with feeling) and that changing to an active set-up would work. The cost was (obviously) way more than my 'speaker budget – stiff drink time :grin: …and this was in the days before SL cabling.

As you know, one of the issues with active has been the fickle nature of the set-ups sometimes, as there are far more links in the chain plus, if like me, you are eyeing a house move (a last one!), I think re-homing an active set-up, with the de-facto 'speaker limitations, is a risk too far.

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If the only other DR component in the system is a 555DRPS would a DR 500 still be much better than a non-DR one?

SL2s are great at jazz - with plenty of feeling.

What speakers give you the feeling with rock?

Is it the feeling of your eyebrows vibrating, or the feeling emotion via connection to the performance that you’re after?

I’ve heard SL2s several times in different environments and, as good as they are, IMHO they are no match for a fuller-range 'speaker – especially where you can get the latter to breathe with plenty of space around it. And, yes, my listening orientates towards the visceral end, especially with rock.

One the flip side, if the room size is modest (by UK standards), then the SL2’s are a wonderful solution and will deliver.

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Surprisingly the bass speed from my 808’s is on a par with the SL2’s that I used before. Same room, same nodes etc. As you know our hifi systems are the slave of the listening room. Often overlooked.


Interestingly the bass also improved when I changed 552 for an S1. The reason that I am reticent to go active now is about not wanting to increase the pressure in the room especially as my system has to be positioned between the speakers. Going active I’m sure would in itself improve the bass but all those extra boxes in a 14 x 12 x 9ft room would counter it.


My room’s 3.6 x 6m and the SL2s have their backs in the centre of the long wall.

I listen on very quiet (at night), quiet, and (when I’m really going for it) medium volumes.

I don’t have any awareness of a need for more or better bass - although I’m sure much better bass could be obtained, e.g. with a sub or speakers with bigger woofers.

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You obviously aren’t exciting any room nodes just above the SL2 60htz roll off Jim. The rectangular rooms that I’ve used have all sounded good :+1:

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I have a couple of GIK panels behind the listening chair, and 2 symmetrically placed bookcases on the rear wall, plus other two other chairs absorbing and scattering to some extent.

It sounds great! :grinning:

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Brill. Yes if your head is back up against a wall then I found absorption there really works. Your room width negates the need to fixate on first and second reflection points but for what it’s worth I prefer scattering/ diffusing in my room there. Too much absorption kills the sound IME. My room sounds twice it’s size after treatment. It took a month of trial and error to find the best options. Still better than the very knowledgable and pedantic PeterR who was fettling for 18 months :see_no_evil:.

I expected one day to get a 52, having admired the SQ for about 30 years. Eventually, I did and it is good enough that I wouldn’t change it for (say) a 252.

For all that time, I expected to follow that addition with swapping my 250 for 135s - great every time I have ever heard them.

However, I was advised to hear a 52 with a second-hand 300DR, despite never being ultra-impressed with the non-DR version. It was so good I scrapped the idea of 135s and bought it.

My understanding is that the 500 was initially developed as a top level partner for a 52 ( do correct me if I am wrong). That certainly suggests that, DR or not, it would be better with a 52 than my 300DR and much better (quieter, cleaner, more detailed and open but just as much boogie) than the 135s that so bowled me over in the 90s.

EBay suggests that older 500s don’t take long to sell and still cost very roughly £10K, which certainly suggests they are regarded as a step up.

I think some regulars here may still have 52/500. If so, perhaps they could comment.


IIRC, when the 500 came out, it didn’t receive glowing reviews in some quarters (primarily mag reviewers), and the new Naim price-point was, ahem, a tad OTT to some too (lots of green-eyed comments about). You’re right that there was only the 52/252 back then noting, of course, the 500 had the max power available from Naim’s design philosophy and constraints. To many it seems the 252 was a re-boxed 52 with few changes?

IME, what the Old-Classic amps did, was let through and present more information. I’d still skip the 300 and aim for the 500, as there’s a marked difference to my ears.


I have had Nap 500 both with Nac 52 and Nac 552.The Nac 52 really is holding the Nap 500 back.
552/500 is made for each other,absolutely fantastic combo.


This thread is torture. Leave my 135s alone. :cold_sweat:


When the 500 came out, some people claimed it was better than 6 x 135.

I have heard a 500 with a 52, it is very good. Then I did a detailed demo with 500 and 552 vs 52 and 135. The full 500 series was out of this world, just better in every way. I used to own a 52 and 135 and it has an awesome sound.

If I had a choice, I would always start with the 552, it is a good step ahead of the 52 which in itself is epic, or said another way, if I had to give up our active 552 systems with a 52/135 set up I would not be too disappointed.