552 a bit underwhelming? No! It's magnificent!

I wonder if you are experiencing what I found going from 52 to 252, namely that a balanced and effective pre-amp is not necessarily a component that blows you away out if the box.

I nearly gave back the 252 but the longer I went on with it I realised just how good it was at so many things without any instant or defining characteristics. Every time I swapped back to the 52 I realised that although it was thoroughly likeable the 252 in my system was better and more satisfying in pretty much every way. It took a while to get there though.

I guess a pre-amp facilitates the system in a different way to upgrading the source for example. Every source upgrade I have made was an instant hit.

I have never had a 552 so if this seems like nonsense please ignore! I generally avoid posting about components I have not owned.


it does matter, as I have heard an alternative to a Naim PSU.

yes it is different, but it wasn’t the Naim sound.

Anyway, good luck to you, so you think you are close yet so far away from the Naim sound when using these after market PSU.

in your own words, “As its easy to trick yourself into believing as the mind is a funny thing”

In my words : there is simply no way I would run a 52 or a 82 or a 252 or 282 with an non Naim PSU.

I’ve also tried a non-Naim SNAIC with my Hicap DR, and it wasn’t the Naim sound either…

My experience, my ears, my money.

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Not all upgrades are equal!
One thing you can say about Naim is any upgrade is just that. Only you and your wallet can decide if its worthwhile. My usual buying decision ( at this level it needs a home demo) and the product should be the dealers well run in demo unit. Left for as long as they can do without it.
Then when it goes back and you plug in your old one, do you miss the potential new item?
Of course, sometimes the upgrade is a must have as soon as you hear it.
Always more, but high end hi-fi is really pretty good these days. Its the Law of diminishing returns which is the deciding factor.

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I’ve not read, seen or heard of many 552 owners regretting their purchases. And I’m sure many would have been using 52’s before they made the change. I’ve made the same step from 52 to 552 and would say that I was initially a bit underwhelmed. However, you need time to understand what a 552 needs to be able to work at peak performance.

The first thing is source. It has to be the best possible. Playing a CDX2 through a 52 and then a 552 might have you thinking that there’s not much difference between the two pre-amps. Play a CD555 through a 52 then a 552 and you will see the micro dynamics and detail that the 52 just simply misses.

Secondly., it’s about set-up. By comparison the 52 is almost ‘plug & play’ and you will extract 95% of its potential if you just sit it on a half reasonable surface. Have a single cable not touching in the right place or the 552 not in the correct position on a Fraim glass and you will lose 20% of its performance potential. That is the nature of the beast I’m afraid.

What the 552 will do, when it’s working well, is throw you a long way down that ‘rabbit hole’ called ‘wonderland’.

Anyway, who needs their money sitting in an ISA?

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Well i had a naim olive supercap that i used on my 52, it was 8 years after a service, but in that time it had been switched on and off when not needed.
I was going to get it serviced but tried something else that i found i liked and so sold the naim supercap
I guess it gave what a dr upgrade on say an olive supercap cap might do, extra detail and a push forward to what the newer naim kit sounds.
Anyway I liked it

Also to me if it doesn’t smack you in the face the first time you hear it ( one thats had burn in time like this one has) and you have to wait weeks ect to come round to it, then maybe thats the time you need to convince yourself thats its better?
As with my NDS over my last naim streamer and then the 555 power supply on it over the xps, out the box it was better.

But like i said the 552 was better than my 52, just not as much a difference as i would or was expecting to hear.
Thinking about this at work this morning, i dont really know what more i was expecting to hear, maybe more detail, clearer i dont know.
But for now my desire to own a 552 is not as great as it was, i would like to own one but in no rush at all to spend my dosh

My take on the 552 when I lived with a 52/Supercap side by side for a couple of months, and frequently swapped them over was this…
The 52 had all the excitement and gusto of the 552, but portrayed it in a rather more uncouth manner. Highs were not as silky, midrange not as creamy, bass not quite as extended or textured, imaging slightly flatter, note separation not quite as distinct.And the noise floor of the 552 is also considerably lower. But the truth is greater than the sum of its parts…the 552 was better than the 52 in every way, but either was equally adept at holding your attention for a long time.

If you are one who likes to dissect the musical performance, there is no doubt that the 552 does get deeper into the musical threads, but both the 52 and 552 do a stellar job at portraying the fabric of the music.

BTW, when I intially got the 552, the transit bolts had come loose during shipping and the brass plate had come off its suspension. In this state the 52 was actually the better performer-which is a testament to the efficacy of the whole suspended boards with a low resonant point and a pretty low Q-factor.


Interesting note on the transit screws, my snaxo when it was delivered had lose screws, maybe i should check all is well with it inside

A perfect description, Ron.

I’d just add that a 552 doesn’t impress like a 500DR does on first listen, where everything has so much oomph and drama. It requires listening to in order to become fully aware of the insight it allows. Spend a week or more with it and you notice some fundamental elements that Ron so eloquently described, that are incredibly alluring but also immensely satisfying. If you’re a drummer, listen to cymbals, particularly on live recordings. Guitar tone, too, is just so exquisite. Muted trumpet…

I loved my 52 and I’d got it installed to the nth degree and yes, it was sad to see it go - I would happily have one again if circumstances changed - but the 552 just does things that a 52 doesn’t and can’t.

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Just a bit more info about yesterday
The system was up and running and we listened to a few of my favourite tracks and his first. I would say about 45 minutes, then we just swapped them over and that took about a minute and then replayed the same tracks.
As said we couldn’t tell much difference and so swapped back to his 552 and played the first 2 tracks again.
So in all i only got to listen to the 552 for just over an hour, not long i guess and yes i would like to take one home and have it for a few weeks

Dunc…the sonic differences between the 552 and the 52 should be pretty much immediately obvious, as it is much lower in coloration than the 52. It becomes a question If these differences significantly contribute to the musical enjoyment or not. If the Burndy cable is not well dressed and exerts a torsional stress on the socket the performance will suffer in a non small way. Ditto if the power cable is not fully seated. The fact that they sound so similar makes me wonder if the installation was not optimized.

Brilliant! I think Naim Audio ought to have that question painted on the wall in the entrance foyer.:joy:

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Most box changes just clean up the hash, but i when you spend your hard earned cash then it s BIG sTEP uP, etc … or wait months for it to settle, so you have no point of reference.

It is what it is to you.

If you can’t notice much difference between the 552 and the 52 I would say that’s good news. Saves a lot of cash you could use someplace else.

better is not always more musical in a system / room context. I experienced it with my last 300 dr. 2 years after i sold it and bought a nap 250 dr which suits better my system.

I dont believe in all this cable stuff, go grab a burndy cable and move it from side to side, or what ever you like, nothing happens to the sound and the only way it would do is if the connections didnt touch correctly
Look inside a naim box and you will see all the cables bunched together, hanging and bent at tight 90 bends, now if hanging a cable out the back is that prone to problems then naim should put their hands up as other cables and manufacturers dont suffer this.
Or naim should have the connections looking down as thats the only way you are not going to stress the connection unless you loop it in a large horizontal run and use sky hooks to hold it. lol

I think its more trying to re invent the wheel or try make a problem when one doesn’t exist.
It nice to have all your cables nice but come on


This is harder to do than it sounds. When I initially installed the 552, I took care to ensure that the Burndy was routed in a smooth curve, with the digital cable running close and parallel but not touching and no other cables touching either. But when I plugged the second end in, the plug was not fully aligned with the socket, and so there was some degree of torsion on the pins, despite my attempts at gently “persuading” them to line up correctly. Given how sensitive Naim gear is generally to proper cable dressing, I should have taken more care with this. It’ll be one thing I’ll take more time with when my 552 comes back from service.

A heck of a lot of time went into getting the internal cabling just right. It’s something that is planned out first on the basis of past experience learned, and then finely tweaked and tuned in the final stages of getting the pre-production units sounding just right. For 500 series kit Roy G insisted on listening to each unit and fine tuning the internal wiring so it would be just right. I recall listening to a number of 552 head units and trying to weed out those that needed more fine tuning. Roy showed me what a difference just getting one particular wire wrong made to the performance - it was an ear-opener. And even then there was a discovery made early on in production of the 552 that changed the way the cabling was tied together just before the Burndy connector, and it made an appreciable difference for the better. It’s the little details that really do seem to make the difference between good or very good performance and that intangible greatness that just gets you closest to the performance.

Oh, and getting the Burndy cable just right is essential here. Both at the factory end - making sure the strain relief clamping is just right (not too tight, not too loose) and in dressing the cable so there’s no stress or twisting forces acting on it. Again, difference easily demonstrated by playing a piece of music with an over-tightened and stressed Burndy against the same piece played with one that is just right.


Well Richard, i will take your word on this as i know you know your stuff.
I probably have a lot to learn on all this stuff, but its funny that only naim owners talk about all this cable dressing stuff.
Its probably more like i get very little time to sit down and just enjoy my music without being hassled and when i do get the time, i just want to sit down and listen and not stress about whether i am getting the last drop off performance from my system.
Maybe thats the problem and maybe it would be great to get someone round my place to set it all up so its at its best and then the 552 might be that large jump i was expecting

Maybe it’s just one of the things that makes Naim a bit special and allows it to rise above the rest.