Going from Olive to Classic?

I’ve owned my Olive kit for over 8yrs now and I do love the way it sounds. However, it’s looking a bit dated to my eyes and I much prefer the Classic look. As I have too much time on my hands these days I’m always looking at “what if” scenarios and have started to consider whether a move to Classic would be a good thing and the limits I might set myself.

Firstly, it would need to be funded mainly (80%) from sale of my existing equipment. Secondly I would be expecting no degradation in SQ. Different sound I can handle as I’m not wedded to a particular sound as long as I can enjoy the music.

I reckon conservatively my 52/PS, 135s and an NDX might get me £6k. So what would I replace the amps with? Obvious choice would be 252/SC DR/300 DR. However that blows the budget a bit too much. Normally I’d have given up here but recently I have become more aware of the 250 DR as a potential replacement for the 135s. Another option would be to go non DR which would allow for a 300 rather than a 250 DR. So these are the two options I’m thinking of.

In terms of staging the change I would first replace the 135s which could be a no or little cost for a 250 DR or a little more for the 300. I’m not interested in auditioning so I would resell if I hated it.

The 52/52ps would probably have to go as a pair and with the NDX sale would probably fund the Non DR combo outright and leave not too much to find for the DR combo.

This is all hypothetical at this stage but it is starting to feel like the way I’d like to go over the next year or so. My source is an NDS/XPS2 which will only get a PS upgrade if I decide to sell my LP12 which is not getting much use right now. I’d be looking for this system to last me for the next 10 years or so after which I’d probably downsize to an active system, something like an NSC222/SCM40A or Linn hub/Exaktboxi or Dynaudio focus 30 type system.

Any and all opinions as always gratefully accepted. Thanks in advance.

An interesting dilemma. I’m not sure you’d find the 252/300 any better than your excellent 52/135s, so the question is whether it’s worth the money just to get something that looks different. Bear in mind also that the 252/300 will be worth much less in 10 years and may already need recapping.

One thing you don’t mention is your speakers. I’d say that the Kelidhs are by far the weak point of your system already, and will be holding everything back.

I’d suggest either doing nothing other than changing the speakers, or moving straight to the 222 and active ATCs now. Why not add an NPX300 at the same time. You may well find that it all sounds better than what you have at the moment.


I love the olive look when it’s all lit up and have had my core kit for the better part of 30 years. However, if I was changing the look, I like chrome bumper even more. I thought how much I liked the Nait 50.

I wish you well in your search.


@HungryHalibut is dead right imho, but the right answer will depend on why you are changing anything. Is it really just being bored with how they look?

Instead of the 135s I expected to get as an upgrade from my old 250 a couple of years ago, I got a freshly serviced but bargain 300DR - slightly more detail and slightly more grip for surprisingly little extra money.

I use it with a 52. A 552 would be an upgrade (if also a bit different), while a 252 would be different but not an upgrade at all imho. For SQ, I am not the only one that prefers 52 to 252, as long as the former has been serviced in the last decade or so and has POTS 7 or POTS8.

Iirc, the 500 was originally developed with a 52. If you want to move beyond 135s, a 300DR is imho a little better than 135s, but you might well need to jump to a 500 to justify the effort of changing.

My suggestion would be to put up with dated looks of boxes and spend on speakers and perhaps on getting your LP12 (and phono stage) up to a spec where it encourages you to use it instead of only streaming.

My girlfriend uses Keilidhs and Neat iota Alphas with her Nova - the Kelidhs are good but not great, especially as drive units are quite old and have had vigorous use. In better systems I have heard Kelidhs sound good but still eminently beatable - Neat Xplorers, ATC SCM 40s ( active or passive) and perhaps Fyne F702s are all worth a listen, and there is a reason so many dealers stock B&W and Spendor.

If you are keen on more of a change than that but don’t want to go down a rung in SQ, then the obvious answer is a 332 pre-amp, 333 streamer and possibly 1 or even 2 NPX300 power supplies, plus either 350 power amp and new passive speakers or active speakers (with ATC as first name on your audition list). However, that just shows how much you’d have to spend to move up instead of down from what you already have.

Good luck!


I’ve just updated the tweeters! Mid and bass units in my Keilidhs and recapped the crossovers so they are sounding a little better than they were. Unfortunately the Keilidhs seem the most suitable floorstanders for my room. 3mx4m log cabin. They can go 10cm min from the back wall which is really what I need plus they are closed boxes so no boomy bass issues. I would consider stand mounts but that might be a second stage. Future downsize speakers are most likely to be in a different location.

Aesthetics are one consideration here but also I’ve been reading a bit about the design improvements with the classic amps especially the 250 dr and have an open mind as to the end result. This looks totally doable for a very modest outlay which is what stirred my interest.

A pair of Naim speakers?

A dedicated radial, if you don’t already have one in your listening shed?

Sell the XPS and TT and get a 555PS?

If you have a lot of vinyl that is in demand, sell it and buy a 500 series system?

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Listening will do what reading (including my waffle) can’t of course.

10cm is pretty close, though owners of Isobariks and several Naim speakers won’t be impressed. Klipsch, Fyne and Tannoy would be options too if trying out ideas. Some front port speakers would be fine, but many definitely wouldn’t.

There are threads comparing chrome bumper, olive, classic (i.e. 250.2) and 250DR with New classic 250. The last of those seems to be regarded as considerably better (approaching or at 300 level), but otherwise most seem to think even the 250DR is more different than vastly better versus a serviced olive 250. A s/h 300 is of course much cheaper than the NC 250.

I suspect that you will need to listen to options with your chosen speakers and in your actual room to make decisions, but I definitely wouldn’t assume that (say) 252/ SCDR/ 250DR would be an upgrade.


My experience of moving from Olive to Classic was:

  1. A good 52/PS is a good thing. The 252 was technically better but could I say hand on heart always more enjoyable? Maybe with the DR Supercap it probably convinced more but I am not alone feeling the 252 maybe misses something from the 52 that’s hard to define, a sort of effortless clarity and ‘flow’. My newly acquired 552 has that magic in spades incidentally.

  2. I moved from an olive active system (52/252/2x250 etc) to a more or less equivalent classic setup and I think that the real benefits came when all the components were updated and everything was in DR form. A mixed olive/classic setup somehow didn’t quite fly until everything was changed. I would be cautious about non DR classic kit as being worth significant investment over what you have, especially as the factory DR upgrade option is no more.

I think my conclusion is; don’t assume newer is better. It may be different but you might need to spend a fair bit to acquire the system synergy you currently have. That was my experience anyway.



Interesting replies and definitely food for thought. As before, this is purely hypothetical currently. I had assumed that when Classic came out many Olive users would have “Upgraded” but maybe this is not the case or perhaps there are not many of them use this forum.

Well… probably … incorrect on both points… Think there are quite a few Olive users who are on here… Me for one… :grimacing:


I think it’s case by case for lots of us.

I wouldn’t trade my olive 52 for a 252, but would swap if I saw a really cheap 552.

I wouldn’t trade my olive 250 for any Classic 250 (though a 250DR was close), but replaced it with a Classic 300DR instead of olive 135s.

I wouldn’t replace my olive CDS2 for any CD player short of a 555, but you could argue that the Classic NDX2/ XPSDR are effectively replacements.

That lack of loyalty to one version or the other may be quite common on here.


Classic prices have tanked (at least here in the US) in the last few months with the arrival of the New Classic series. Having said that… My read over the years is that the 252 is NOT an improvement (or even comparable to) the 52. To improve on the 52 you really need to go to the 552. So you’re going to have to do this in stages to get what you really want (552/300). Don’t forget you need to budget in an NDX2 if you’re going to fund the amp/pre purchase with the NDX plus 52/135.

Me? I’d stick with the 52/PS/135s and just get them recapped/serviced. You might then consider a used NDS - they are going for silly money right now!


I upgraded from Classic to Olive… that said, ended up with a mix as the SNAXO is Classic, along with the SuperCap that powers it.


I’ve got an NDS already :blush: but my aim really is more of a sidestep with not a lot of spend. I’ll never spend the sort of money required to go 552 I just haven’t got the space to let it breathe. My limitation is mainly my relatively small log cabin so I have set my expectations accordingly.

I’ve read loads of old posts about Olive vs Classic but I tend to believe that there must be a lot of Classic owners out there that dont share their experiences. Naim must have sold thousands. As a seasoned forum user I don’t expect instant answers but the coming together of opinions on this subject is most interesting to me.

The classic series has a different style and presentation to the sound and in my view really only came into its own with the DR versions. It then produced fantastic music in my system. I wouldn’t go back, and I am happy I had a 252 (I am aware not everyone raves about it). I just think you need to be cautious losing something you like to spend serious money (even with a fall in s/h prices) just on the assumption you will like the classic kit more because it is newer (or prettier). Also of course bearing in mind you cannot demo the changes.



Olive to classic from where you are, 300DR first, then the 52. 252 /scdr sounds good to me with the 300DR. 250DR is a very nice amp but you need to listen to one against your 135’s.

Edit. Oh btw I find the DR massively different and better than the non DR at all levels. More grip and control.


I do own a Nait5si. I know it’s in a different league but I really do like the sound it makes through my Emit M10s. I guess that is irrelevant though in this context.

I probably should have mentioned, I would be looking and used items only.

I don’t think that a change from my (Olive) system would produce any discernible improvement in sound quality.

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Are you missing something, in the current step?
If all the components have been serviced ,in your place, I would upgrade the streamer to NDX2 and also look for a 555PS supplier.
Simple and easy.
According to the current price level of Naim, you must invest a considerable amount in order to reach the components at your current musical level and result-
555 PS
Food for thought, before taking rash steps…