Balance on 552

I wonder if it’s my ears or mine 552 has an imperfect balance too. My listening room is quite symmetrical and it is well treated with absorbers. But I consider that I have to regulate the balance at about 1 o‘clock to hear the sound from the middle of the room. Mono is enabled.

I have read that some of you have this problem; sometimes with more regulation. Is this a fault of the 552 or is it quite normal? Perhaps that is the reason, why the default position of the knob is not marked!?

I think this is not the standard that one can expect from such a pricey device.

Or is it possible that the reason for this balance topic is not found in the 552? Do you ever have heard of different amplification of the channels in the power amp? Or differences of left and right speakers?

For what it is worth, I had the balance on my 552 at 1 o’clock too in my small listening room, which I thought was down to the room restrictions.

Turns out it has stayed at 1 o’clock when I moved to a larger, symmetrical room. No big deal though.

Interestingly (or not) when I was measuring my room for HAF filters.

I put the balance at 12 even though my ears would put it at 11. Thierry came back saying the speakers were at a higher volume on the right but he compensated with the filter.

So I think trusting your ears is the best bet and not worry too much about it.


In my room I need to turn the balance to 11 or even 10 at low volumes. I attribute this to an open doorway next to the left speaker. My theory is that, even though the right speaker gets reinforcement from the adjacent wall at all levels, the imbalance is perceptually exaggerated at low volumes.

This was the case with my 282 and my 552, and with two different power amps and two different pairs of speakers, so I don’t believe it indicates a defect in any component.

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Naim don’t seem to try very hard to centre the balance knob, it can be adjusted, mine was.
On a 552 the case needs to come off, not so trivial with the suspended boards. You’ll need your transit screws a screw driver (or is it an Allen key) and a rather large spanner (32 or 34mm I think) another pair of hands is useful, preferably those of someone who knows what they’re doing.
Best left to Naim or a well trained dealer (if there are any left).

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A center balance at low volume control settings is quite difficult to achieve unless you have a resistor ladder volume control. Is the balance off at louder setting (10 o’clock or higher)?

Mine is always at 11 o’clock to be perfectly balanced (to my ears).

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At volume set to “zero” there is only a small signal from the right (not left) speaker. At volume at about 7-8 o’clock the balance must be set to about 1-2 o’clock to get it centered.
The higher the volume, the further the balance knob can be set to 12-1 o’clock.
Because my listening volume is usually at about 10-11 o’clock, the balance can be set constantly to 1 o’clock. If I would often listen at different volumes, I would not be very happy frequently adjusting the balance. That should not be the standard for a 25 kEUR preamp.

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Do you ever noticed, that the balance problem increased over time? When the 552 was new - it is now two years old - I did not notice the balance problem in that strength. The first time I have had the balance knob centred and everything was fine.
Perhaps my ears are the problem!? :woozy_face:

What is low? Up to 7:30 or so it is quite common and normal that the balance is off. It’s a known thing with the Alps pots and they are not all the same. My dealer’s 252 has essentially perfect balance nearly down to zero. My new one was unbalanced up to 8, sent it back to the distributor who put in a selected one from those they had on stock and now it’s approx 7:30 which is OK as I rarely listen that low

By low I mean late night listening levels, as little as 8 or 8:30, where “zero” is 7 o’clock. I was aware that the Alps pot was uneven in terms of volume increments – it’s been the case with every Naim pre I’ve owned – and I’m not surprised to hear people reporting that the balance isn’t linear either.

In my previous place, where the room had no openings near the speakers, I don’t remember the 282 having any left/right issues at any level. So it seems odd that both the 282 and 552 would display the same imbalance, and that that imbalance would correlate with only one speaker receiving side wall reinforcement.

I’m not greatly bothered by it, though if Naim came out with an improved and retrofittable volume control, I’d certainly be interested.

I see, so together with the behavior you described, you are probably right that it’s the room.
And yes, me too, I can live with the variable low-volume balance but could be better

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At Christmas we sometimes put a second xmas tree (a smaller one) in the music room. It goes in the corner closest to the left hand speaker and I find myself altering the balance on my 552 in order to keep the soundstage reasonably centred.

I have not made any changes in the room. Although my balance position has changed in time to get the soundstage centred.

Question: is the balance knob powered? (Yes. So I’ve deleted my now redundant question!)

Maybe your speaker drivers or crossovers are ageing?

Or, as has happened on another thread, maybe the knob is slipping slightly on the shaft.

Balance is powered.

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