Integrated amp for ND555dr

It happens, and very often to Naim too, unfortunately…


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Hi Lars, Shahinian speakers are very polarising of opinions as you may know, so a Universal recommendation can’t really be made, but for those who’s preferences align with their capabilities, nothing else will do. Equally, the room that they are used in becomes part of the system and the optimal distance from the back wall depends on the room. I’ve used them in 3 different rooms now and the distance from back wall I’ve settled on has varied from 30 - 90cm, currently 60cm, so no easy answer to your question I’m afraid …

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Hi KJC, many thanks, sounds like a truly special speaker. I hope I get the opty to listen to them one day. Br Lars

One, admittedly extreme, possibility would be to replace your power amp and passive speakers with active ones. You might even run say a dCS streaming DAC straight into active speakers. A couple of boxes (if you add a clock) plus speakers might win you domestic harmony as well as high quality sound. Worth thinking about?


He has already the Nd555 .
So perhaps a Townsend Allegri reference and active ATC would be another choice.
The Townsend is not a big box.

Someone said to me years ago, just listen to the music if you can hear the system you will never appreciate the music!
Stay enjoying

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Sorry, missed that, but yep that would reduce box count to three, one quite small.


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Varyat, I once asked you your impressions on Vitus 030 vs 552/500. You had at that time both, if I remember well.
You answered me that you needed more time to evaluate the Vitus.
Can you tell me today what are the main differences between both? In a few words.

One thing became clear to me when I started my hunt for a new amp- nothing out there sounds like a 552/500. It has a unique sound sig and tons of boogie. It’s fast, fun and tight with the performers. It puts you in the front row of the show.
The Vitus puts you further back, broadens and deepens the soundstage. The air is effervescent compared to Naim’s electric. Bass goes deeper with better tone, bass has more impact. Top end is smoother with less grain.Common adjective for the Vitus is “liquid”- the music tends to flow out and over you. With 552/500 music comes out at you and grabs you.
Different presentations. I have been a Naim man since 1986 but I just fancied a change…Very happy that I did. Hope that helps?

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So the 552/500 hijacks you more, involves you more, and the Vitus is more seductive? A bit that?

Yeah, I like “seductive”… but it is not soft or boring. It is a very fast amp with great energy. The energy is just directed as a thousand pin points of light rather than a direct beam- know what I mean?

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So more refined in some kind than Naim? But with same urgency?

Yes, more refined. The “urgency” is the characteristic of the Naim sound that I could not find anywhere else…

So you keep both? I would not be able to separate myself with that urgency, it’s too much addictive.

No, ultimately it did not make sense to hold on to the 552/500 as I grew more and more fond of the Vitus. My Vitus dealer was kind to take them for a fair price.
I wish Naim would consider a super integrated at the 500 level.


FR, have you heard the Lavardin integrateds (ISx, ITx) and would they be a good match?

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No, only their speakers which I enjoyed very much ( Lecontour stabile 160).
From what I read, but it’s only reviews I know, Lavardin are very nice and sweat. But a bit slow.

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As others have mentioned you could go the active route with your Naim streamer and Naim preamp… 4 boxes on 1 rack into ATC 40a actives or 50 or 100 actives from ATC if you have a larger room.
With a smaller room you could also look at the ATC 19 actives.

I have a Naim 52/SC into ATC 40a actives and it’s pretty amazing.

If you wanted to reduce down to 3 boxes you could do the Naim streamer with a 1 box balanced preamp like the Ayre preamps or Townshend Allegri Reference.

For integrated amps I’ve heard good things about the Lavardin and LFD NCSE mk3…they might not have the PRAT of the Naim gear but they are supposed to be very good with the right speaker.
You could also consider the very musical Leben tube integrateds.

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Nait 2.