552 preamp

If you buy new prepare yourself for a long burn in. I’m almost six weeks in and the first three or four weeks had several bad sound days but since then it’s just slowly improved day by day. It’s strength is the way it presents complex passages as a non compressed, integrated and rhythmic whole. My former valve system had a lovely full bodied midrange but fell apart on complex music with compression, slow and thick bass and recessed top end. Heart and head. Heart now happier. No regrets!

1 Like

252 boring in comparison with 282 but more correct in HIFI terms?

At some point I’ll need to go 282 or 252 with my 300DR but not sure which one if money is not the dealbreaker. Which one is more close to a 272/555PSDR ?

1 Like

Sorry, I only have experience with 282 and not the 272 and 252. Hence I can’t advise on the matter but hope others who have experience may chime in.

My post above on the 282, 252 and 552 was based on impressions shared by members here on this forum who have done the comparison.

1 Like

M40 is different from M40.1 with the latter more amp friendly. The M40 is rather inferior in comparison. The 40 series ideally require a 300DR and above to open up and sound decent. A friend uses NAP 135 monoblocks for his 40.1.

In my experience, the Harbeth sounds most dynamic driven by a Naim. It sounds more bland and laidback (although gaining on other aspects of sound reproduction such as nuance and refinement) if driven by a non - Naim amp. FWIW the SHL5 + and C7ES3 are my favourites / best sounding speakers that are capable of sounding more open and dynamic than the 40 series due to the smaller cabinet/ drivers and easier or less tricky placement in the room.

1 Like

That makes sense to me, the Harbeth 40.X series appear to be power-hungry and needs more space around them. They will sound rich, organic, but punchy from top to bottom if properly driven by powerful amps in a spacious env, proper speaker stands such as the TonTrager will help boosting their performance even more.


Well said :slightly_smiling_face: not everyone can afford 552 :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

I would suggest the 552 is a lot more than a 282/252 combined goodness. It’s on another planet in another solar system. Truely the best thing naim has ever created for the masses. I would love to own a none DR 552 with all my heart, I know i will one day as it’s my “attraction”, my biggest problem down under is servicing, I just can’t trust anybody outside of Naim to do it these days. From what I understand less than a handful of people on the plant have the Naim certification to do it.
The 552 is the only Naim pre that will drag my 52 from my cold dead hands. Imo the 282 is a great party amp but lacks in refinement and scale, the music doesn’t rise up and rip you a new one like a good 52 and more so a 552. I can’t comment about a 252 as I’ve never had the pleasure of listening to one…… Horses for courses of course.


Right. Corrected.

282 - dynamic, lively, attack.

252 - slightly reduced aspects of the above with added clarity, detail and refinement.

552 - combined strengths of 282 and 252 + further enhancement in clarity, detail and realism. On another planet compared to the 252 and 282.

1 Like

Can we rename this thread, 552 lovefest.


A pre amp should add nothing, it should be 100% neutral, this then allows the sources to do what they are ment to do, that’s why the best pre amp is no pre amp.
I don’t want a pre amp that adds warmth or brightness and I guess the naim pre amps just get better at not adding anything the higher you go.
The best pre amp I have ever heard is a passive unit made by music first audio, just a very expensive volume pot and switch pot, no power, no other features but it did sound lovely, hardly nothing in it to colour the sound and that’s the main point.
I know the 552 has lots off stuff in side it and that will colour the sound to a degree, but I guess it just does it better than the others lower in the range


I’m in.



Send me the check….

1 Like

I hate these threads!

I don’t think it’s as simple as that. Naim preamps and power amps are designed to work together, in terms of frequency response, impedance matching, and possibly other stuff I don’t really understand. Sure, you can take pot luck with a non-Naim pre and it might happen to work well, but there are no guarantees and having tried it a couple of times I didn’t find it entirely successful.


Well now you are adding another item into the mix, I am on about what a pre amp should do and the best ones add nothing or get as close to that.
If you are adding stuff to the mix then it goes down the line to sources as well, as a bright pre amp would work better with dull sources, rather than bright ones, for balance.

I find it’s best to get as natural as you can with things like pre amp, sources and then use things like a cartridge on a turntable, speaker’s or even cables to colour the sound to your liking, as if not its much harder to get it right and you never really get close to what the source is ment to sound like.

That’s my advice and so far it has worked well for me, but if I did ever change my 552, then the 500 would go as well, but don’t have any intention of doing that as I like the balance my system has running through it.

1 Like

I’m sure I remember a passive pre amp phase when I was buying HiFi magazines in the 80s. Kinda surprised it’s not more of a thing. Though maybe the odd DAC with adjustable volume is almost the same?

It’s also a more cost effective way to do it :slight_smile:

[well, cables and cartridge, speakers less so X) ]

I used to believe that no preamp was the best preamp, a ‘wire with gain’ and all that theoretical rot. That was until I went up the Naim preamp hierarchy from 202 to 552, each step getting better and better.

You could argue that with each step on the Naim preamp ladder, the preamp is doing less and less. But each of the boxes up the ladder contains more and more electronics and attracts bigger and better power supplies. You could argue that Naim preamps, as you progress up the range, are trying to be more ‘silent’ with their intervention, but clearly more is going on as you go up the Naim preamp range. Of course, preamps attenuate signals rather than amplify them.

Some have tried to use a passive preamp (the Townshend Allegri+ springs to mind) with a NAP500 with what could best be described as mixed results. Most (if not all) would agree the best partner for a NAP500 (or a NAP300, or even a NAP250 in my case) is a NAC552.


I tried the Allergi+ Preamp, between my ND555 and NAP500. It did not live up the the hype and performed poorly compared to my 552. It did give me great insight as to the benefits of an active preamp and its role in a hifi. Less is not more as I learned.

On a side note, I tried the Allergi+ in a friend’s PrimaLuna tube system with terrific results. In his system the passive preamp was better, or revealed how bad the PrimaLuna preamp was. Not sure.

1 Like

I feel the fallacy is seeing the pre-amp as an isolated ‘extra’ unit in the signal pathway. In fact it’s an integral part of the overall amplifier. Seen in this light it’s no more ‘surplus’ than other components of the amplifier - and you wouldn’t want to listen to a design with key components missing or expect optimal results from half an amp.