Io a 252/sc a real step up over 282/hcdr?

I know that this request has been made many times so I apologize for the repetition …

I’m about to buy the 252 / supercap combo (both from 2008) at a really great price. will replace the combo 282 / hcdr (2011/2013 respectively).

the 252 service is not a problem because the Italian Naim official center told me that it will cost me around € 350. the supercap will keep it that way until I get the money to sell it and get a DR.

my doubt is what I have to expect from this change

I have read so many conflicting opinions that I don’t know if this really constitutes an upgrade or more simply I will have a different way of presenting the music and in what way.

any comment is appreciated to help me make the right choice (obviously I don’t have the possibility to make a demo)

my current system is RP6 (ania) / NDX/282/HCDR/250.2/SBL MK2

Many years ago, when I asked a similar question about what to expect when upgrading the pre-amp, I was told to consider the pre-amp as a window onto the source that progressively gets bigger and the glass cleaner and clearer as the pre-amp gets better and better. Which sounds good, until you realise that it also means that any masking of any weaknesses with your source will progressively become less and so the weaknesses more exposed. This is why a “source first” approach works so well and gives so few problems because you have minimised any weaknesses in the source at the outset.

So, while the NAC252 is most definitely a real step up from the NAC282, you need to ask whether it may “unmask” your sources, in which case it may well be a backward step. I can’t answer that one definitely for you - you will need to listen for yourself and decide. However, if It were my system and my money I might be looking to put it at the front end first before upgrading to the 252.


Hi, in my experience the 252 was a huge uplift in enjoyment and satisfaction over my 282… and, slightly contrary perhaps to Richard’s post, I found it more forgiving and harmonious with a range of sources, allowing the characters of the source to flow including lesser sources, where as the 282 could sound too hot or sharp or flat with some lesser sources.
I’d be surprised if you don’t enjoy your 252… however one comment… the 252 is more neutral and transparent than the 282… so if you have tuned your speakers and amp to slightly tame the. 282 slight exuberance, you might need to look at your amp/speakers again if it is not to sound a little dull.


That’s great advice from Richard but If it’s too good a price to turn down, I’d say go for it. My 252 was a 2006 and SuperCap2 2003 models. Neither had been serviced and sounded fine. I’d grab them if they sound good, forget about servicing either and put the money forward a better deck. The RP8 and RP10 (even you can go that far) must be coming available for decent money used now. You can always do the serving a few years down the linen the 252/SC2 if/when you think the sound has drifted too far from optimum.


Very good advice from Richard and Simon. I had a demo of a 282 against a 252 some four years source was a NDX which I was using in a Olive system.

We started with a bare NDX into a 282/Supercap/250dr the addition of a XPSdr power supply on the NDX was a revelation changing the 282 for a 252 was another superb uplift and I much preferred the refinement and detail of the 252 which I purchased along with a XPSdr power supply for the NDX and a 250dr.

As Richard has said the pre-amp is the window for your system and I have since upgraded to a ND555 and changed the 250dr to a 300dr
The 252 is at a level that allows you to appreciate these upgrades but as always try to listen and make your own mind up.

Simon’s reference to the slight exuberance of the 282 compared to the 252 which I noticed at my demo is a very good point and reinforces the point of a balanced system that works well in your listening room.

From experience I’d be very careful here. I’ve owned the 252/250.2 combination and found it really dull. A lot of that was very likely down to the 250.2 rather than the 252 itself, and I’m sure a 250DR would be different matter entirely. It would be foolish to buy it just because it’s cheap, especially without hearing it first. I bought mine without hearing it first and lived to regret it. You may love it of course, but then again you may not.


let’s say I am encouraged to do this upgrade because my current system seems too far ahead … at times fatiguing in the high frequencies … a little too hectic … I would like to feel softer and sweeter without losing the dynamics and the details. …

I’ve owned both of these and I consider the 252 a considerable upgrade with more detail revealed, ‘space’ between instruments and a better balanced/natural sound (voices and ‘clapping’ more closely resemble a live performance in my opinion). It took me a while to adjust to the different sound when I upgraded as the 282 had a more ‘hi-fi’ sound with a brighter lit treble and thicker bass which is why, I think, that some report the 252 as ‘dull’ whereas I think that it is simply more neutral and revealing of partnering equipment. Given that I use Kudos speakers with the arguably ‘bright’ SEAS tweeter the 252 complements them well. However I can see how the 252 might not suit speakers which already have a tendency to be more ‘lush’.

Hence I suspect that the 252 will help to remove some of the fatigue which you report with the 282. Worth trying and the resale value of the 252 will make it easy to sell on if it isn’t what you want…

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I’ve found Richard Danes advice spot on and validated this over hundreds of auditions and trials over the last 10 years since I started my Naim journey

Source before any preamp upgrade works for my ears


I have used a 252 since 2004 with SBLs and a 300. Richard and others above confirm my belief that at this level you really need excellent sources. I use a CDS3 and an LP12, neither of these are ‘lush’ or soft. Others will also chip in and say that the 282 is better and that will be true for them. If you can’t listen first you will be taking a risk, only you can decide if you want to. Having said that, I clearly love mine.


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As @hungryhalibut says, don’t buy the 252/SC just because it is a bargain. You need to be sure that you will enjoy what it does over your 282/HC. The 252 and 282 have different presentations and views on here are divided on which is preferable. Having tried the 252 extensively, twice, I’m in the 282 camp but this is a very individual thing so you really need to compare for yourself before committing.

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unfortunately in my area it is not possible to do any demo … the only way I can evaluate is to buy and evaluate at my house … if I don’t like the result I can always go back and resell trying to lose a little … for this reason it is essential for me to take advantage of good opportunities …

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I fid a demo of the 282 versus a 252 both with supercap. For me the extra transparency and musical insight won me over…the 252 as Richard dane mentioned appreciates the best source you can give it. As posted recently the 552 i bought is a step up, but not massive imo. The 282 is a great all round preamp that sits fairly and squarely in the Naim range and can be paired with many great components. I think-in your situation you need to be brave and jump one way or another. I am sure it will go well.

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In my view and experience, this is more to the speakers rather than the amp

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@angelodipa agree with all posts on the 252, I love what the 252 offers my system, but as other have said needs to be part of a balanced system to shine

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Absolutely you need to compare… although the 252 is more forgiving and transparent of sources than the 282, there might be more to it for you, and if you use predominately a single source user , then it might be more about system synergy rather than appreciating the differing qualities of sources.
I love multiple sources, as I believe the source can add character to a recording replay… the 252 was the first NAC I had where I filled my inputs up… I more focussed on optimising for a single source on my 282.

One of my personal examples, I found my CDX2 somewhat tiring on some discs and had to use with an XPS2 with my 282 to tame it… however roll on the 252DR it excelled at presenting the CDX2 bare (albeit on Fraim)… and allowed that forward exuberant quality of the CDX2 to really come through without the 252 adding too much of its own as with the 282.

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I just have to try and evaluate … this is what I have done so far … anyway, I will have taken away my curiosity to know how a 252 sounds in my system at home …:grin:

I went form a 202 to a 282+HiCap then to a 252+Supercap DR where I’ve been for the past 3 years. It’s certainly not dull with a 300DR. Yes I’d love a 552 but I’d sooner replace the car! Perhaps one day for the 552 but until then I’m perfectly happy with the 252 especially when installed by the wonderful Jason from HQ.

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Naim was founded as an amplifier company, and many posts on the forum are full of knowledge about the various pre-amps and power amps.

I remember about a decade ago, I too was very keen to climb the amp ladder, thinking all digital sources, more or less sounded within a few percentage points of each other, nothing much to it. I was completely and utterly wrong !

I remember many advices, tell me I was wrong, I should focus on the source.

Over the years, I was lucky to hear all the Naim range, and many, many sources, LP12, CD555, and NDS555, NDAC, NDS, Dac V1, NDX, NDX2, all the Chord Dac range, all the Linn Streamers all the way to KDS… All of them superb at their price ranges.

and as Richard Dane wisely advises, putting money in the source is the way to gain maximum musical satisfaction

An amplifier only amplifies what the source gives it. Even a Naim amplifier. Even a 552/500. These amps should have no character of their own, and the improvement comes from less damage to the signal that originates at the source.

Information lost at the source, can simply never be regained at a later place in the chain…

Interesting to see what the OP will decide, having heard a 252/SCDR it is a very fine preamp, but will it make me replace my 282/HCDR… oh well… only after I spent more money improving my sources…I’m perfectly happy with my 282/HCDR for now.

These new Rega turntable upgrades do look to much more tempting to me, as well as the NDX2 as a source to my Chord DACs… as well as a source to play music through their own internal DAC.

And if I were the OP, I would upgrade the NDX to NDX2, that is where I would put my money.

I would also think of upgrading the 250.2 to 250 DR, as well think of a Naim phono stage for the Rega turntable.

I don’t myself particularly look for hi-fi effects from upgrades, or focus on frequency extremes, I only focus on getting the maximum possible recovery of the all important musical signal, engagement, and emotional connection to the music…


Is a ndx2 with xps2 dr a good enough source for a nac 252 / sc. i currently have these with a 282/hcdr and 250dr?