NAC 332 vs 282 and 252?

Hi everyone

Curiosity seems to have finally gotten the better of me (and this is dangerous for my wallet), I don’t have a Naim dealer anymore where I live, so has anyone done this comparison

It seems the NAC 332 according to some dealers can sound better than a NAC 252/SCDR.

My Chord Hugo/NAC 202/200DR sounds quite good to me in my AV system so I find no reason to upgrade (if indeed the NC are an upgrade), but still… curious… my other system is Mscaler/Chord Dave/NAC282/HCDR/250DR…

Yes likewise

I think a few forum members say the NC 332 preamp betters the 252/SCDR

No one actually puts their n**ts on the line and says by how much ie: 20%, 40% etc

Maybe it’s just different

Audition would be required


NC 332 and NPX 300 I believe is the view being touted, but I’d take it with a pinch of salt. The 252 doesn’t have space taken up with a large internal power supply, and the SC seems much larger than a NPX 300.


It’s going to be [hard] to quantify. It’s still in the first year hysteria phase so there will be some extreme statements for a while. On top of which, a 282/FCxs, 282/HCdr, 282/200dr, 282/SCdr are all effectively different preamps.


Well put feeling_zen


With an MScaler / Dave as source your 282/HC is the weak link the Dave can deliver far more with a better pre instead of 332 a pre loved 552 would be the direction I would go.


I can’t answer for the 332 but having gone 282/200>282/HC/200>282/HC/250>282/SC/250>252/300 I can say that whilst there are clear step changes in all the configurations the 282 majors on dynamics and the 252 on refinement, but neither exclusively, the 282 is certainly not crude nor the 252 boring, in fact the latter has a decidedly rhythmic ability of its own. It took me 30 minutes, no more, to get that the 252/300 gives a very special rendition of the music at least with Kudos boxes.

If everything I read is correct the 332 captures the lot?


Naim would not have released the 332 if they didn’t believe it was better than the 282 or 252. Whether it gives you as an individual what you want sonically from a pre-amp is another matter. Personally, having heard the 332 briefly, my initial impression it is a step up, but until a fully run-in one is available the jury will have to be out.

I haven’t seen any claim by Naim that the 332 is a sonic improvement over 252, and I would be surprised if there were such claims.

Naim do certainly freshen up the looks of their equipment every so often, but I don’t think that they necessarily claim sonic improvements over the older stuff.

I have an NAC52, and I remember that, when it was replaced in the product range, Naim explained that the 252 was easier and quicker to build (with robotic insertion of parts being used on the production line) than the 52 (which was essentially handbuilt). I don’t remember Naim claiming that the 252 sounded better than the 52.

Of course, I may be entirely wrong, and I stand to be corrected.


Graham - you do stand to be corrected - again! Richard Dane has said before that there was no significant difference in how the 52 and the 252 were built. Whether one is ‘better’ than the other is of course a matter of opinion.

To return to the main question - I thought that was whether the 332 made the 552 redundant!


There’s a YouTube video online where Jason Gould from Naim states that the NAC332 with NPX300 exceeds the performance of NAC252 with Supercap


Naim personnel have made numerous statements to the effect that the 332 is better than the 252 and some have explicitly said it is. Whether you personally like the new pre against the 252 is another matter entirely and as with the 52 v 252, some will prefer the older one.


And some will also prefer the 252?

I’m assuming - I’ve never heard the 52.


Dealers cannot order a “NAC 252/SCDR” from Naim any longer, don’t expect them to recommend a product they cannot provide.


The last sentence diminishes a critical design goal of naim - to make sound improvements with the introduction of the 200 + 300 series, and in my view your phrase do nicely regarding the NAC 332 is way off and below the mark.

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Isn’t the great thing about music that we all hear and interpret it in different ways? The Beatles didn’t suddenly make Bach irrelevant. Surely the same applies to the equipment it’s played on, I say again, it’s all good😎


i like what you did there!

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If you can’t demo the NC for yourself you’re taking a risk. I recommend finding a way to demo before you take the plunge. I find the 222/555DR/250NC to out perform the OC separates up to and including the 252. I assume the 332 will as well but I’d prefer a 333 in front of it to the NDX2. I don’t have experience with the Chord source kit so can’t comment there.

I believe @IanRobertM is referring to the 332 on its own. @110dB has previously advised that the 332, without a power supply, would be better than a 282 x2 with hi-caps, and that the 332/NPX300 combination is superior to the 252/Supercap, as we all should expect. This may be a reserved judgment on 110dB’s part. Therefore, what @IanRobertM is trying to convey is that if the 12.5k 252/Supercap is indeed equal to an 8k 332, then this is excellent news for the consumer


My dealer visits tomorrow with a brand new from the factory 332 without psu. This has to outperform my current 252/sC with the second hand prices going down . The nice thing about the 332 is that later on it can be used with my 555 if I can find a solution to power the digital side of my nd555 but this is an interesting road ahead. However it had to outclass the 252 from the start otherwise it will have to leave my house again later tomorrow.
With all the new thinking in so many areas in the 332 I think this is a reasonable suggestion and people my dealer knows that has heard the 332 says it is good so chances are good, but you never know until you have
heard it.