Nac upgrade

I’m thinking of upgrading my 282 but the reports I see on the 252 mention the need to set up correctly to get it to sound it’s best,also heard it’s better with classical and jazz.Since I listen mainly to Blues,Rock and some Indie is this a good idea?

Plenty of people here have a negative view on the 252. Don’t listen to them, it’s a superb pre. Good set up helps a bit, but that is the same for most Naim kit. That said, search the forum as all of those views have been expressed many times.


Given the rest of your system, I’d be tempted to pass on the 252 and trade the 282 / SC for a 552 / 552PS

I had a 252 and Supercap dr originaly with a 250dr and it was superb with all genres of music. I preferred it over the 282 after auditioning both in the same system at my dealers.

Really enjoyed it the years I had it but was offered a 552 ex demo from my dealer that I could not refuse.

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Love my 252 - a significant upgrade on 282/SC in my system with any genre


Blah blah

It’s also excellent with death metal, dance/electronica, rock and anything acoustic. Or any other genre.

We auditioned both 282 and 252 and there was a clear difference to our ears.

The 252 isn’t immediately in your face, but you soon realise it conveys detail and rhythm better than 282, with extra clarity.

But as others above say, some people just don’t like it…

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I have the 52 which is not dissimilar to the 252. I had 82 before, both with Supercap 2. The 52 is an improvement on the 82. More layered and more textured. Wider soundstage.

A 252 with Supercap DR would provide a clearer presentation than my 52.

A 552DR would be better still but significantly more expensive. Quite a few on here jump from 282 to 552. Some don’t like the 252 at all but enjoy the 282 and 552.

I was close to buying a 252 but opted for 52 in the end. I have 135s so thought that 52 would work better with them.

I think with your excellent source CD555 a 252 would work brilliantly.

In terms of set up careful cable dressing will help making sure burndys and other cables don’t touch the wall or the floor and ideally no cables touch each other.

I haven’t strictly adhered to this and my cable dressing could be improved upon. None of my burndys touch wall or floor though.

Some use spacers such as pipe insulation to keep cables separate but I think it looks ugly.

I am happy with my set up. I have done it carefully but some are very attentive to cable dressing on here and you can get it spot on if you put time and effort in.

Maybe offer posters can offer advice on cable dressing. It may even be work getting a dealer to set up your system and make tweaks at cost.


+1 for very comment from @Dan_M.

I too have a 52 instead of a 252, but I still regard a 252 as brilliant and a lot better than 82 or 282 - a bit less obvious but it wins on detail, space and quietness without losing on pace or boogie.

A 252 is not identical to a 52, but it is different rather than worse, and beating a 252 really does mean spending 552 money (or leaving Naim).

I have not heard the new Naim range, but others here have.

It’s surprising how affordable a used 552 and 500 combo is becoming. Ok they maybe non-DR but at £13k for the set it’s just over twice what I think I could sell my 52/135s for. Definitely food for thought.

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I am one of those who dislikes the 252. I went from an olive 82 to a 252. I’m not saying that the 252 is a bad pre-amp at all. It’s just that, to my ears, it didn’t sound like a Naim pre-amp!

The 82 rocked, it had all the boogie-factor. I didn’t audition the 252. In those days I just worked my way up the ladder, assuming that the next rung up would be better. It usually was. But in the case of the 252 it just didn’t bring what I expected at all. Compared to the 82 it was more neutral, more detailed, more refined, it had less glare etc. etc. Which was all good. But it completely lost all the boogie of the 82. The sense of speed, rhythm, timing and drive was all much reduced compared to the 82. It was the most un-Naim-like Naim bit of kit I’ve heard, save for the CDS3, which to my ears was the same.

So in retrospect I would say the 252 has a different character to what you’re probably used to with Naim amps. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your personal taste.

NB. I should mention that I was using it with an Olive 250 and IBL’s. I’ve heard say that the Classic black series doesn’t sit well with the olive kit. Whether that’s true or not I have no idea.

I heard it the same as you with both the 252 and the CDS3/XPS. Powering the CDS3 with a 555PS brought the timing & drive back and then some. We ended up with a CDS3/555PS and a 52, a combination we enjoyed for many years until we decided to stream music instead.

Best regards, BF


Do a more recent search on the forums here, lots of threads already comparing the two. You’ll probably find the majority who didn’t get on with the 252 were likely using it with pre DR components. Obviously being a pre, the power supply & partnering amp have a big impact on the actual sound. I think you’ll find very few who don’t think the 252 is a significant upgrade over the 282, when used with DR components. As someone who listens to lots of indie rock, the 252 easily betters my previous 282. As for more attention to detail in setup, yes that’s likely true but it’s also true for any component that becomes more revealing/transparent & by no means 252 specific.

I have a 252 and it is ‘better’ than my previous 282/SCDR to my ears. That said if I had your source I think I would be looking to go 552/500 funds permitting.

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I watched a 252/Supercap auction close last night for a very good price with TOH watching over my shoulder to make sure I resisted the temptation (a rare opportunity that almost never happens here). Probably going to be one of those missed-opportunity regrets, but only time will tell.


In New Zealand by any chance @Artoly? That was a great buy.

That’s the one Mike.

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I would never swap the two NAP135s and the NAP250 that I have in my system for an NAP500, because I’m pretty sure that an NAP500 would kill my electrostatic loudspeakers!

The combo of those 3 amps sounds bigger than a 500, but perhaps I am oversimplifying the maths? I don’t know about electrostatics, but I do drive 350W speakers with a 600W amp…and it’s great. Actually, back when I tried to drive the same speakers with an NAP200, I think my speakers were at much greater risk.

It’s all about the division of the available power. Each of the two NAP135s is driving two panels (LHS and RHS), with the single NAP250 driving the two ‘rear sound’ panels.