Calling All Fraim Brains/Brawn Stacks Aficionados!

With the imminent arrival of a 500DR, I am moving from a single Fraim stack to separate brains and brawn stacks. I have bought an extra base, a medium level and 3 sets of medium legs to replace regular legs.

So I will end up with 2 bases, 4 medium levels and 2 regular levels, and have ND555, 1xPS555DR, 552, 552PS, 500 and 500PS to accommodate.

I have 3 main objectives in arranging the Fraim levels and the ordering of black boxes:

  • Optimise SQ
  • Get some air/space around all the black boxes
  • Keep all Burndy cables (and other cables if possible) off the floor

My initial thoughts about a planned arrangement, with these objectives in mind, is as follows:

ND555----555PS—Med Level
SPARE----SPARE—Reg Level
500-------500PS—Med Level

I like this arrangement because it gets some space between all the black boxes, but I suspect the 500’s Burndy cables will rest on the floor. Not good.

So would this arrangement solve that, and how far will the Burndies stretch?:

ND555----500PS—Med Level
SPARE----SPARE—Reg Level
500-------555PS----Med Level

Some recon the Fraim base is the worst place (for SQ) for any 500 component. I could avoid using the base for black boxes with this:

ND555----555PS—Med Level
500-------500PS—Med Level
SPARE----SPARE—Reg Level

The drawback with this is that there will be no space above the 500 Head Unit and it will be immediately under the ND555. Also I am not sure if the 500’s Burndies will be off the floor.

I will of course ask my dealer for his recommendation but, as there is a wealth of experience on here, I thought forumites would be a great source for advice. I know some will suggest ‘try different ways’ but I will be doing the installation myself and wanted to try the most recommended arrangement first, hopefully settle on that, and save my back.

Any thoughts, especially on how to get Burndies off the floor and on optimising SQ, would be gratefully received.

Apologies for the length of this topic post!

To avoid Burndies touching the floor then the option with switching the 552PS and 500PS around should help.


1 Like

I have

On left

ND555 with medium pillars

On right

555 digital PS
552 PS
555 Analogue PS

this apart from anything else keeps everything off the floor… but it also keeps the 500 PS away from the analogue side power supplies

1 Like

I agree with Richard….that is how Signals set mine up with your option 1 brains unit……slightly modified with nd555 at the top, 552 below, space then 500 head unit. The brains units are not opposite their power supplies……but diagonally opposite to get that hang and up from the floor, if that makes sense. That is the 500 head unit is bottom of brains stack, but its power supply on the brawn stack is a few shelves higher. I prefer an air space under my 552, others may differ.

Sounds fun, you have been busy.

1 Like

Hi Nigel,

I would deffo go with your option # two, where your empty standard level puts some air between the 500 head unit and the ND555 above it, whilst it and the 552 on top are going to have some separation using your medium level, and it is, imho, very important to have the 552 head unit is as much clear air as possible.

It will also get the Burndies off the deck.

As for the 500 not enjoying life on a base level, that’s not something I’ve heard before, and I don’t think it would be worth acquiring another couple of standard levels to accommodate this.

Have fun … … … and watch your back manhandling that 500 head unit!


Mine is arranged as both Richard and Gazza have suggested, although I have used long legs over the NAP500 and medium over the ND555 to create some space. I also have a tuner in the mix, which slots in there on a standard shelf.

There’s a pic of my set up at System Pics 2021 - #2362 by Clive

The (Naim) power supplies on the right are (top down) NAP500, ND555, ND555, NAC552.

1 Like

Thanks all so far, very helpful and I am now leaning towards my option 2.

I know @Darkebear has experimented extensively with Fraim racking. DB, as I have just seen you pop up on another thread I thought I would respectfully ask for your opinion on the best arrangement based on the Fraim racking and the black boxes I will have.

1 Like

Side, related, question from me. If you were to require adding additional shelves, namely not just rebuilding what you already had, would using Fraimlite for the empty/space shelves look/work well?

It has been suggested it is a good thing to separate the power amp power supply (500PS) from the analog and streamer power supplies (552PS and 555PS).

With this in mind I have come up with this, with all levels being medium height, except the SPARES, which would be standard height.


I didn’t suggest this before because I thought the 500’s Burndies wouldn’t stretch, but looking at some of your set ups, they will.

Yes - I still look in! :bear:

With Naim Fraim puzzles it is a matter or prioritizing what you can achieve with what you are getting to play with to create your final installation. It is very difficult to get everything right but you can generally get 90% done well enough for it to ‘work’ - your system sings and you are happy and then forget about it.

With 500 - do keep Burndies off the floor! I manage one of mine (lowest in Fraim) by having the large 500 head unit box up one level atop a standard level in its ‘brain’ rack (so an empty standard level underneath). Then the 500PS can be on the next ‘brawn’ stack on the lowest base level and I just pull the two Fraim stacks apart enough so that the Burndy is just off the floor - 1mm is enough - allow for sagging as things settle so allow a bit more. So you do this first when assembling your Fraim as you don’t want to revisit it later.

Also the 500 head unit sound better - faster and cleaner - when off the base level an on a standard leveI found.

Next in importance is to keep the 500PS away from everything else as much as you can - so use a Medium level above that (or an empty level) and you will find the sound a lot less over-full in low bass and a lot clearer throughout with improved timing. You just need a gap between it and the next box.

Keep 552 well-away from any big PS - if in a brain stack that helps a lot.
Both 552 and ND555 like to be either with a gap level under them - or better IMO on a Medium level, the latter saves you height and expense. I also find only one empty level per Fraim stack works best, as I’ve found they ‘talk’ to each other (both the same resonance) and you can hear it as a brightness unwanted that obscures detail - but one empty actually improves clarity in my system.

Then make sure all cables can be dressed and do not touch - in priority - floor - wall - other cables - side of Naim Fraim. Most important are the ND555 signal feed to 552 - try to keep that a free loop - then the Speaker cables out of the 500 - let them freely emerge and drop without touching anything, especially Bundies.

…that’s all there is to it! :slightly_smiling_face:

DB. :bear:


Brilliant DB, that is a great guide.

I’ve decided to stop worrying and love the bomb…

I have a Classics system, not a 500 system. All my Fraim shelves are std, and I have no spare/empty shelves.

On the left (brain) I have:

On the right (brawn) I have:
Supercap DR (Superline)
Supercap DR (252)
300 PS DR

I have all Burndies and ICs hanging free off the floor, with the exception of the 300, where the Burndies lay on the floor. I have not figured out a way to get absolutely everything off the floor, without adding levels, or changing to med levels.

However, we like the way it looks with eight boxes on std shelves and no empty shelves, and it sounds great.


Taking your advice on board, and bearing in mind what Fraim levels I will end up with, I have come up with this:


All levels are medium height except the SPARES, which are standard height. As you suggest, I would separate the stacks so the 500’s Burndies are off the floor.

This gets the 500 head unit up and off the base, and further separates the 500PS from everything else. It does however put the 500 head unit immediately under the ND555.

As you say you can’t have everything but is the best compromise in your view?

Looks very reasonable - try it! :slightly_smiling_face:
Also - since you are using Medium Levels - which I prefer in many places such as Pre and Source - also try swapping 552 and ND555 positions - it should be obvious which is better and I’d personally want to hear it and decide myself.



Just a thought: what length are your DIN-XLR leads? It might be a limiting factor, especially if yours are 1.0m, since the right input on the NAP500 is on the far side of the amp., away from the 552PS. It can be quite a stretch.

1 Like

Fortunately I went for 1.5m DIN/XLRs, so hopefully they will be long enough.

If not, I can always swap the 552PS and 555PS around in the brawn rack in my last suggested layout.


You’ll be fine with that.

1 Like

This works well for me. It keeps Burndies well off the floor without separating the racks, provides space for the 500PS and keeps the racks looking balanced.

552 - 500PS (medium)
500 - 552PS (medium)
Space - Space (standard)


I dont think I’ve ever found a 1,5 m interconnect to be too short. My 500DR is on the bottom of the brain stack and its PS is next-to-bottom on brawn, and the XLR’s are fine. My bottom levels are medium height, like yours. (The rest of my levels are std height however.)

Mine are only 1 meter
Do u think 500-500 ps side to side will work?