52 vs 252 with Lesser Recordings?

I’ve read many times that the 252 has a more relaxed presentation than the 52. Does it follow that the 252 is less critical of recordings, making them more palatable with less HF fatigue?

Having heard both

52/52PS any day irrespective of the recordings



They have a different character but never thought the 52 ‘fatiguing’ or the 252 ‘relaxed’. The latter night be slightly warmer/darker and the 52 has an easy natural flow. Best I can do, and I have had both

If poor recordings are hard to listen to it may be the source? Poor recordings should sound like poor recordings but still be musically engaging with a great system in my view.


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Many poor recordings are just poorly mastered or mastered for a particular platform (I.e. FM Radio in the 70s and 80s). I’ve yet to hear anything that sounds a bit dull on one system sounding significantly better on another. The 252 has the “new” Classic Naim sound so quite different to its Olive predecessors. I liken it to the difference between DR and Non-DR. It’s just different, like listening to other manufacturers equipment. My preference is for my old 52.


I have an NAC52, and would never change it.

I recall that Naim stopped production of the 52 because it was essentially hand made, and therefore expensive to build.

It must follow, I suppose, that the 252 could be produced more cost effectively.


I have a 52 and don’t associate it with HF fatigue from poor recordings - of which I have many. If the music has rhythm, the 52 will let it infect your feet as well as anything I have heard. At the margin, I would argue that a 52 may lean toward mellifluous flow over punch/ sudden drama, but most of the character I hear comes from recording first and sources second and speakers third - the 52 may not be free of character, but it never decides how the music will sound.

If dubious recordings or ‘of their time’ preferences are really noticeable ( how about Led Zep 1, any Deutsche Gramofon over about 15 years, The Only Ones, a fair slice of Manchester’s 90s output et al) in a way that reduces listening pleasure, I might suggest a different source or moving the speakers or several other things but ditching a 52 would not be on the list.

I would agree that you can beat a 52 objectively if you listen really carefully - but it takes a 552 or abandoning Naim (and a lot more money) to do it. I don’t dislike the 252 and have heard several in different systems, but I would not swap 52 for 252 even if the change were free (which it isn’t).


Nac 252 different than Nac 52 but not sure it is better. Agree with NickofWimbledon, 52 not going anywhere, at least for me.


Same here - 52 should stay, that’s why I even hesitated with an good offer for an 552DR.
Reason: Olive sound vs new naim sound.
Today I quit hesitating and ordered ND555 - which is more safe, as I already have a new naim sound streamer with ND5XS2/NDAC … only olive XPS :slight_smile:


Can anyone get the ‘Strokes - Is This It’ to sound good on their system?

On my 42/110 it sounds very dark, like a poor cassette tape recording.

Tried it on my main system and loved it initially but switched off after a few tracks cos my ears couldn’t take it anymore. To shrill on the treble.

It’s very unusual anything sounds bad on either system and I know this was album was purposely engineered to sound like an ‘old’ recording but I find it unlistenable. Am I alone?

Poor mastering is the curse of our hobby….

Olive to classic seems a life time ago but I remember thinking that the classic (now old classic!) had a maturity to it v olive and was more consistent in performance.


The problem is certainly getting worse as more remastered versions come out, as they are being remastered for the younger i pod, and crap headphone listen.
With extended highs and bass, it’s just like they have just got the tone controls and put them on max.
You can still find good remastered versions but most off the time i find the originals are best.


Tend to agree Dunc, I typically stream from quobuz these days with serious listening on vinyl, that said I haven’t bought too much vinyl lately…

I just tried it from Tidal on NDX2/ XPSDR/52/
SC/300DR/ B&W 804D3 and on Atom/ Shahinians Compasses. The mix is less obtrusive on the latter, but over-loud and tinny treble (perhaps cut off a bit in the high frequencies?) and slightly lumpy bass seem common to both to my cloth ears.

Perhaps, as suggested, it works best on an iPhone and a pair of earbuds? Mind you, there were lots of CDs in the 80s that sounded a lot worse and we rarely let that put us off.


Well, my classic line after I moved up to a 52 was, “It takes no prisoners!!”, meaning it shoots poorly EQ’d recordings on sight. I’ve upgraded my TT, tonearm, cartridge many times and good recordings sound better, great recordings sound greater, but poor recordings rarely improve.

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I think poorly mastered recordings are one of the reasons many are driven to upgrade without realising it. Not all, but many. Years ago I clearly remember thinking that a new cartridge would improve the sound of a particular LP. It was an improvement over the old cart generally so I did get some benefit but that wasn’t why I bought it.


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