Does the 552/500 bring out the best in your source?

I added an Innuos Zenith Mk 2 to my nDAC using an Audiophilleo + PurePower usb to spdif converter. Previously I used a CXD2. Particularly since adding an unDRed 552/500 I have been blown away with the SQ as over 4 months now the 552/500 settles in. Even though the previous owner serviced the boxes in late 2016 it’s been as if they were not burned in. Who knows there may be more surprises to come. Really not missing my 252/300 DR combo.

Getting to the point, I kept the CDX2 and connect it via the standard Naim IC and playing it for the first time in ages it sounds amazingly good. So do other members feel that the 500 series bring out the best in a source even without extra power supplies?

For me neither the 282 nor the 252 +SuperCap DR with 300 DR approached same level even with Super Lumina. Would the best advice be to looked for a preloved 552+500 at half the retail price and start with a (preloved) source without extra power supply? Is source first valid?

Retaining the CDX2 has proved a good move because it gives me a different sound to nDAC as @Simon-in-Suffolk has always stated. Malia is sounding very alive



This is one of my favourite albums/singers, she sounds great, doesn’t she?

Yes, but I am not sure her other albums are as good. Which ones are as good? Off topic though.


Apologies, I just could not help myself making a comment on Malia.

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I’m confused about your question
You say you have a 552/500
Yet you ask if you should look for a s/h 500
Are you thinking of going active



No. Just suggesting the better route into a satisfying Naim system is with a preloved 552/500 even if unDRed. What it does to a bare source makes source first sound not the right approach. I wasted money upgrading preamps and amps.


@Richard.Dane could you change the thread title and in the body by replacing 500 series with 552/500? Also a single 500 to 552/500 in the penultimate paragraph.




The source first is the tried and tested method and will bring the best results
That said, you will never go wrong with 552/500 DR or not
But if you’re going to these heights then at least have a plan together for source, speakers, cables
For us “poor” people we often need to do things out of sinc due to offers and availability
The 500’s I found were the hardest, I had a line in the sand max spend of £7k non DR
I ended up paying
£7.0k dealer non DR
£9.5k dealer DR
£6.7k private non DR

The 500’s I found are the hardest amps to find s/h

the 9.5 is also by far the newest

I also avoided pre 2002 models as that’s about the time of the resistor uplift, although I believe this is rectified on a service

And that’s the only modification I think has happened to both 552 & 500 other than the DR

One last note:
Being wonky active, there is a significant difference between 500DR and 500


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Lyndon, quite a few people like me just end constantly upgrading. I can love my CDX2 now. Should I have started with a CD555 - the source first approach? Should I have bought full SL loom before a 552? Do better speakers come before a 500?

Just thought.


You have to be careful - IMO - of dealing in absolutes with things like an extreme ‘source first’ approach.
I’ve found far better to favor the source and have it always ahead of other items, but then having the Pre and Power quickly follow never more than one Naim ‘hierarchy level’ down in general - no absolutes as some items are individually very good in themselves.

Speakers are very difficult and I’ve usually owned a set of speakers for tens or years before changing-up and then after maxing-out the other items. Also there is a big interaction between Power Amp and Speaker (and your listening room) that you have to get right and a better Power Amp can really transform a System more than upgrading the Source ever would if the Speakers are not under control it can really let things down.

The 500 Series components work well as a system IMO. Also and especially with the DR but even before then, the 500 Amp is not a limit as you would hear if you swap a 552 Pre for S1 Pre and realize that as good as the 552 is, the S1 is a lot better - and the 500 lets you hear it.

But realistically once you have 552-500 then get the best source you can and Speakers that you get on with in your room and personally. Even dropping one hierarchy level to 252-300 I’d still get the best source possible - then upgrade to 552 then the 500.

…some thoughts.


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All done for you Phil.

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@NigelB last year contemplated upgrading either his 252 to 552 or his NDS to ND555. With a non DR 552 available from his dealer he decided the 552 was more of an uplift than ND555 with 252. I found this also with unDRed 552/500, and quite surprised now that the bare CDX2 sounds so good. It’s qualities were hid by the lesser NACs and NAPs.

Having heard a 282+HiCap DR, 250 DR with NDX2+XPSDR I quite see where @Adam.Meredith is coming from. Similarly the 272.


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