NAC52 & NAC52PS, A way forward?

Have been offered to buy Naim NAC52 and NAC52PS but know nothing about the sound signature compared to the Classic series that I have today. What do you say, is that something to consider?

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I would say so. I’ve owned a 272, 282 and a 552 from the Classic series and enjoyed them all, prior to them I owned a 52 and prior to that a 72. I sometimes wish I could test all these together and really evaluate the differences, but just relying on my audio memory, I’d put the 52 only second to the 552 and quite a way ahead of both the 272 with XPS and the 282 HiCap that I had.
My 52 had POTS 8 which I believe is the generally preferred volume pot, so that might be worth checking with Naim, if you know the serial number of the item you’re considering. It’s a really beautiful preamp and I have great memories of my time with it.


The 52 was the pinnacle of Naim’s amplification until the 552. Subsequently replaced by the 252, which is based on 52.

It’s a great preamp and some mix it with a 500, or 135s or 300DR.

The sound signature is slightly different to Classic series, but you can mix and match. It’s part of the Olive family. When paired with 135s a tad warmer, but rich dynamics and great bass, sweet highs and superb mid range.

Note that when the 500 came out it was paired with the 52 until the 552 came out.

In a classic system the 252 Supercap DR would be the classic system match for you.

But some prefer the 52 with Supercap and 300DR.


I’ve got a mixed system with classic, olive and Chrome Bumper so I am not a purist with the same grouping of boxes. And I am not the only one.


Well if the price is right … then I would buy them. But then I I already have them powered with 135s. This is a round about way of saying it’s a great preamp, and I don’t intend to upgrade, baring accidents.


I preferred the NAC 82 to the NAC 282. Hence preferring the signature of the older pre. It’s hard to say what you like but to me the Olive sound signature won me over in the above case.


In summary, buy a well serviced 52/52PS with confidence.

Best regards, BF


I have had my NAC52 for over 30 years. It’s a wonderful preamp (or control amp, in Naim-speak), and I would never even consider changing it.


Just do it.


In line with @Bluesfan above - another yes for the purchase - I have always regretted selling mine.


A good 52 still holds it’s own mixed with modern kit in my view but definitely ensure both units are recently serviced and the 52 in final spec (POTS8) if possible. Naim service will be able to tell you from the serial nos.

As for the second part of your question, I had mine years ago and am not terribly good at describing sound character but I will try. I recall it as having a very clean, fast, organic and natural sound. Toes will tap! What it probably lacks is the slightly darker character and the bass control that I got from 252/555 and definitely from my 552 (which is better in every other way too in my view). However my memory of the 52 is of a sweetness and musical connection that was genuinely special. When launched it was the absolute apogee of Naim’s range, and the toast of this Forum for years.

The bottom line from me would be that it will probably be a bargain and might just be the last pre-amp you buy. You could probably sell it on without a loss f you don’t like it.



Buy it, and get it serviced by Darran.
End of, assuming you can afford both.


Early Nac 52’s don’t mute the signal completely,so always a hiss from the speakers.
A Nac 82 /SC outperform the 52 and especially the early Nac 52’s which sounds rather laidback,in my opinion.

I could be mistaken, but wasn’t there an “original” olive 52 then an updated olive 52? Great product though and maybe an endgame pre for us?
If it were me i would :wink:

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That is very much a minority view, and needs to be challenged.

The NAC52 is very much more capable than the NAC82 (as good as the NAC82 may be).

Otherwise, Naim got something very wrong indeed!


The main change came within the first couple of years when the multitude of interchangeable daughter boards for each input were rationalised and the RC was changed from a proprietary system to Philips RC5. Of course, there were many updates and improvements throughout production - logic board, pots board etc… More detail can be found here:


I don’t think that there were ever two versions, or iterations, of the NAC52.

But it was Naim’s top-of-the-line control amp for about a decade, so I imagine that small tweaks were incorporated into the build process.

PS I was posting this at the same time as Mr Dane, whose knowledge of all things Naim is greater than my own!

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Given it comes with the 52 PS and not the Supercap, I guess this 52 could be rather old…? Suggest you find out as much as possible about its history. Has it been updated (et POTS8) or serviced…?

I guess the 52PS could not now be updated to a Supercap - and believe in some ways the 52PS is considered better…?

@Richard.Dane - ?

The 52PS update to a Supercap is not available any more. It was an entirely new unit - slide out the old tray, slide in the new.

The Supercap is generally considered an upgrade to the 52PS, apart from by those who judge things just by the number of capacitors inside the box…

The main handicap of an early NAC52 is the proprietary RC system. If you lose the handset, or it dies, you’ve pretty much had it. Naim offered a logic board update but it was very expensive as the entire logic board had to be replaced. Obviously it’s no longer available after so many years.

The NAC52 went through considerable development early on, and there are plenty of staff builds, pre-production units, and “ex JV” units floating around that may not be quite up to snuff, so you should be cautious of an early unit. I would want to listen to it first as I’ve heard at least one that was distinctly sub-par and would probably need a total rebuild (expensive, and perhaps not even completely possible now) to be properly representative of what a NAC52 can do.


The Op is in Sweden… :thinking:

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