NAC 332 v 552 - any direct comparison?

Has anyone heard or carried out a direct comparison of the new NAC 332 versus the established NAC552. My power amp is a recent NAP 500DR.

Many thanks,

ADRIAN

I have heard both the 300 and 500 systems in the same space with the same speakers at my dealers on many occasions. Not a direct comparison but the 500 was to my ear better, whether it is worth twice the money is another question. I am very happy with my 333/332/300x2/250 system, if I could afford a 500 system would I upgrade to it and have the space to fit in all the racks, very likely. I can’t afford it, so regard my current system as my endpoint system and I am very contented with this situation.

11 Likes

Hi Adrian,
I have moved from 552 to 332 recently, and this has been one of my biggest box upgrades. Immediately following installation, the bass was so much better controlled. At the same time I swapped a 300DR powering the BMRs on my Ovator S600s for a 350. At first the mid/highs were quite course and disappointing, but over the last 2 weeks the sound has improved and is now significantly better than the previous set up. I cannot pinpoint whether this is due to the 332 or 350. The bass however is definitely related to the 332 as confirmed by my dealer. He had recommended replacing the 552 with the 332 and I was a bit apprehensive, but he was correct he confirmed that the 332 has much better bass control compared with the 552. Certainly worth an audition.
Regards
Gerry

4 Likes

Interesting view from the dealer as I’d in my understanding and experience power amps are key factors in bass control, and based on their specs I would expect a pair of 350s to do better than the 500 in that area.

1 Like

I would agree, but the 350s are only powering the BMRs not the bass units which still have a pair of 300DRs.

Ah, I missed the fact that you’re active. Have you tried swapping the power amps around? If you haven’t it might be interesting to try.

I thought about that but I have a pair of 300s and I’m not sure how that would work. In fact I asked my dealer about the possibility of changing to a single 350 to power both bass units. He instead recommended changing to a pair of NC250s which would be an improvement over the 300s.

Interesting. Paulbysea you go for 500s, Gerry for 332. Gerry, may I ask was your 552 an early model? The 552 has been around for about 20 years now I think.

Source and preamp have a huge effect on bass response, as well as many other aspects of the presentation.

It was a 2006 model, fully serviced and DR’d in 2018.

1 Like

Not done a direct comparison but I’ve heard the new fully loaded 300 series at dealers. Once with Kudos Titan 808 and once with top end Dali speakers. I wasn’t as impressed as I expected to be when compared with my own 500 system at home. Whether this had something to do with the source I couldn’t say.

Surprising when you acknowledge my modest standmount speakers compared to the large floorstanders. I get noticeably more edge definition and a more open and articulate sound from my setup. Alternatively the 300 series sounded very clean with good tone that reminded me of my tube preamp but not as exciting as 500. Not even close.

I would even go as far as to say the 300 series sounded a smidge polite (compared to 500). I’m sure this is in line with what they wanted with this series and I’m convinced that the new 500 series will improve on the good aspects of the 300 series with more attack.

2 Likes

Response, yes (despite claims of flat!), but control of bass (which I take to mean grip on the speaker)?

Not sure I’m understanding here? The 350 is a mono amp, so one needed for each stereo channel.

Edit: Ah, I looked up the S600 and see it has twin bass drivers. So you’re currently powering those separately? (Do they cover identical frequency ranges?)

I have never heared the NC series. But even so I tend to postulate that the 500 is superior.
But with the NC being voiced differently I think this can have an effect of better liking.
From my experience it sounded best when complete - full top olive (52/135), full 500 and think full 300NC as well

I should take more care in posting I have a pair of 350s.

Yes the 2 bass units are identical.

Yes. I still remember when I first heard the ND555, which replaced the NDX2 in my system a few years back (no longer own either). There were certain tracks that simply punched you in the chest that never had before.

The same thing happened when I replaced the 222 with the 332. The bass control improved and the 222 isn’t slow or sloppy by any means. It’s pretty amazing how a system can transform with a preamp and/or source.

1 Like

That is correct - same happened when I went 52 to 552.
But 135 to 500 was very much more in upgrade with bass control

1 Like

I listened with a near distance in time a full 500 series then a full 300 series with twin 300 ps, on same speakers and room at dealer place.
The 500 series was fuller, with more drama, drive, and bigger bass. The 300 series sounded leaner but a bit more detailed and a bit quicker.
Without hesitation, for me the 500 series was more involving for me.

But I haven’t compared only 552 vs 332, with same source and same amp or amps.
As nobody here .

7 Likes

I think that it was a very clever marketing move by Naim to release their new range of amps with a very different sound character to the 500 series. Not only will the more polite sound appeal to a wider market but as it’s “different” it can easily be pitched as better. Only the individual can determine if that is the case. IMO the 552/500 is clearly better than the very nice sounding 332/350. I don’t believe that a happy 52 owner would pick a 332 over 552 or a 350 over the fabulous 500DR. I could be wrong of course but I’m sure that I’ve made my point :+1:

5 Likes