NAC552 ordered…but what to expect?

I ordered a new NAC552 just before the price rise. I had a small windfall and it was a case of now or never, so I took the plunge without a demonstration.
My system already has a ND555 and some active ATC SCM50ASLs. I’d recently had a NAC282 (along with the ATCs) installed and it’s already a big jump up over my Supernait3 (with DeVore 3XLs) but searching through the forum, I couldn’t find many that had made this 282 to 552 move directly and commented on the differences. Some seem to think the 282 and 552 share some character traits and are in some ways more similar than the 252 and 552. Unfortunately I haven’t heard a 252, so that didn’t really mean that much to me.
Of course, I’ll find out what the difference is in due course, although I’m trying not to get too hung up on delivery, as I know there are many potential factors than can cause delivery delays these days.
I did have one of the first 552s back in 2002 to 2004 but then, due to some financial issues, I sold the system. My non DR 552 was a big improvement over the 52 I had before, but I had a CDS3/XPS as a source and I feel the ND555/555PS is a big improvement. Of course, this is all in my head and a long time ago. Just interested in anyone’s thoughts about what I might expect when a new 552 lands. Feels nice to come full circle with my Naim system whatever.

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What to Not expect? a switch relay default.
I know, a bad joke.
I wish you the best , and congrats for your wonderful purchase !

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You’ll only find out when you have it, but it feels like I have read 50 “552 that to expect” threads and I suppose you can expect the same things :slight_smile:

So if you are impatient, here’s some food for getting excited. Have fun!

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Haha @frenchrooster! Thank you. Yes I also found a few of those threads on here when I did my search. Seriously though, Naim must feel under enormous pressure as a result the supply chain issues, I did wonder if that could mean more faulty units leaving the factory. Hopefully not.
By the way, you believe said my system was unbalanced when I had an ND555 fronting an SN3. As I have moved to better preamp and amplification, I see what you mean! It never sounded unbalanced, but it’s potential performance was obviously limited by the weakest component, as that improves, there’s so much more performance available from the front end. Front end first always meant I was getting the most out of my system I suppose, and it always sounded right. Of course there’s be better ways to allocate budget, but unfortunately for me money didn’t really allow me to plan such balance.

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Thanks @Suedkiez! Yes, I also found these threads but they seems to be talking about going from a 52 or 252 to 552 in the main. Not having heard either the 252 or 52 for over 20 years and only previously having a 552 20 years ago, the 282 HiCap is my reference point, so wondering if there was anyone that had made that jump.
To while the months away, I may wile away a few hours looking at these and piecing together the relevant evidence. Thanks again!

Glib answer is to expect left mono only at v low volumes. There’s a decent chance of that happening.

You can overthink these things. My move from 252 to 552 was done without auditioning, and it didn’t occur to to try to quantify the differences or to write down the pros and cons of the two so that the improvements could be highlighted. The 552 is superb in its own right, from my pov the 252 is now history and not relevant.

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I see :slight_smile: The general wisdom is that the 282 is more exciting, the 252 is more refined but some find it a tiny bit boring, and the 552 is the best of both.

I only ever owned a 252 and maybe I should stop reading 552 threads :hear_no_evil: :see_no_evil: but possibly you can dig out something useful from here:

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Gosh! Seems the 552 is a bit rubbish! :wink: I have read about volume imbalances and with the ATCs I have anything above 9 o’clock on the volume is extraordinarily loud with my 282, so that is a bit of a concern, as I do like to have plenty of control between 7 and 9 o’clock on the volume. With the 282, it would be nicer to have a bit more to play with on the volume, but it’s good enough for me. Hopefully the 552 will be better?
Anyway, you’re right overall of course. Bearing in mind my past experience with Naim I think I’m not taking too much of a gamble, it’s just so long since I heard anything at that quality, I was wondering. And waiting!

It’s only an issue at v low volume, on some units, e.g. 3 in the morning below an occupied bedroom.

You can also expect quite some variation in quality over the first few months while it beds in.

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There are many threads about low-volume imbalance. The gist of it is that whether it is a problem depends on the variations of the volume pot in the individual preamp, on the speaker sensitivity, on the room, and on the listening habits. There is a range that is deemed acceptable, but it should only happen at very low levels. If it impacts low-volume listening at reasonable levels*, talk to your dealer and Naim, and they can do something about it by exchanging the pot. (In my case, the new 252 had the issue and had to go back to the distributor, who turned it around within a few days). It’s annoying, so if you have the option, try it at the dealer’s place when picking it up, at least this saves a more annoying roundtrip.

* Speakers with 100 dB sensitivity and listening at bat levels is not the domain of NACs

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I do have ATCs, I don’t think they’d be favourite speakers of the bat community! As I said above, the 282 is a little less flexible than I’d ideally like on the volume knob, but happy to accept Naim’s call that it’s best as it is for sound quality reasons. I will definitely get my dealer to test it however. I remember your posts on this from before.

I can’t find an explicit sensitivity statement for your ATCs, maybe this is different for active speakers (? as they obviously can’t be measured based on power amp output, but I have no clue) but it seems that they have adjustable input sensitivity - might this be helpful?

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I defer to someone with better technical knowledge, but I believe because of the way an active crossover works, there’s essentially different sensitivity for each driver? Anyway they are plenty loud enough, even in a 50m2 room with ceilings over 4m in places. I do remember reading somewhere that they were equivalent to around 87dB in terms of sensitivity, but I may be dreaming.
I have asked the dealer whether that trim pot is useful. Waiting for his response. Anyway, we can test when the new preamp arrives.

Hi Monkey Jim! I have recently upgraded from a 282/HCDR/200DR in fairly rapid stages to 282/HCDR/300DR to 552DR/300DR allbeit with NDX2/XPSDR. The difference between the 282 and 552 is considerable and I think still widening as the 552 was serviced prior to purchase. The 552 does, as you and others have said retain most of the energy of the 282’s presentation, but gives so much more. Greater detail bringing more subtlety and nuance, depth and width of soundstage is increased Live albums sound fantastic, and although not especially a fan of classical music, I recall a recording made in the royal albert hall which was jaw dropping. Music flows so much easier and is easier to listen to somehow. I find that I no longer try picking out imperfections in the presentation because there arent any apart from those in the recording. I havent heard a 252 either, but dont regret for a minute missing it out. I love my 552 and I’m sure you will too. As you are buying new though, the running in time will most likely be considerable.

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I am glad you enjoyed a lot going from Nd555/ SN3 to 282/ ATC 50 active.
I imagine it was a big jump. I feel guilty, but you have no regrets :grin:
Now you will have probably the same level of jump, and definitive certainly. :+1::+1:

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You should be fine if the 87 dB equivalence is correct. My previous speakers had 89 dB at 2.83 V/1 m, and my new ones have 86 dB. This makes a noticeable difference on the volume dial position for the same volume, and it’s quite possible that with the new speakers I would not have noticed the issue even with the original pot of my 252.

According to the ATC website, the input sensitivity adjustment is useful for attenuating sources that have high output voltage, and that’s indeed part of the issue, because of Naim’s digital sources using the standardized 2V output, which is quite high. (It comes from the time when CD was introduced and probably the CD consortium did it to make CD seem to sound better by being louder).

With the SuperLine that I have now, I have to turn the pot up quite a bit more more than with the NDX2, so it’s safely out of the critical pot range and would have been with the original pot as well. At the time I had the Rega Aria, which has a higher output level, not much lower than the NDX2, so that was similarly affected.

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Thanks @Inmynaim that’s exciting news. I’m really happy to hear that, sounds like you’re enjoying it a lot?
When I was forced to sell my 552/500 in 2004, I went a very different valve based system. In the end I made my way back to Naim. In the end hifi, for me anyway, isn’t so much about how it sounds, but more how it makes you feel. So reading that you’re so happy after making almost the same move is good news indeed.

Attenuating the speaker input sounds like it’s going to be a good idea if that gives a bit more usable volume pot movement. I wonder if any of the ATC owners on the forum have done this?

I’m not sure I will ever go for a 500DR but will be investigating a 555DR and then an ND555 in due course. My 805D3 speakers have handled every upgrade with aplomb, and they suit my room and my taste. I will I think have to spend quite a bit to improve on them, and I am very happy with them anyway! Enjoy your new 552 - when it arrives!

That’s interesting @Inmynaim . In 2004 the 500 system I had to sell was fronted by B&W800 signatures (well before diamond tweeters though). It was pretty mighty. Since then I have fallen for ATCs (also have a strong studio heritage like B&W). I am a little torn about whether active is better or whether a 500 into passive ATCs would be better. But at the moment I couldn’t afford a 500 as well, so it’s not a comparison I’ve done. Anyway just looking forward to the ride, especially after your experience.