NC 250 vs Ear 534 shoot out

Which one to keep?

I will not explain again why I have them both now. Some know already ( thtreads on pop pops and stridency and Audioquest 707).

I just want to share here how these two amps compare in my system.
I can keep the NC 250 or Ear at the end. The choice will be difficult I feel.


Only you can make that choice FR! You have said you like them both. Go with your heart, not your mind. I think you’ll choose the Ear. May have more synergy with your preamp.


I feel that for a better shootout, you should try to get a 332, so that you can compare 332/250 with 912/534.

Good luck!


I’m lost. I thought you didn’t get on with the NC250 and went for the Ear. Now……

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I think the answer is staring you in the face FR :wink:

Just joking, best of luck deciding, hopefully the music replay is the deciding factor, and whatever the issue is with interference doesn’t get in the way too much.


The Ear pre and Naim complement each other very well.
I will not take a definitive decision today, but this afternoon I listened one hour to the Ear 534. Then connected the 250 . Went for shaving, bath….tea.
Listened then to the 250: it’s more melodic and involving. My feet were more tapping.
The Ear is fuller, richer, with nicer tones. Richer midrange.

Today the 250 won. I was just more involved.


Sounds as if I am comparing the NC and OC? :slight_smile:

I suppose you no longer have your old 250DR to put into the mix?


My goal is just to know which one I will take and which one I will return.
It’s not a real comparison.

With the 250 in the system, I got some noises in one speaker. I thought there was a mismatch, because we tried a lot of things.
So the dealer accepted that I take an Ear instead. But with the Ear the same noises returned.
So now I have to decide which one will stay.


Good spot :+1:. And it’s exactly that, I would better have the Naim 534 :grin:

No, no longer the 250 dr.

Sure, but it would be reasonable to assume that both power amps would perform at their best when used with the preamp designed to match them.
Not that isn’t automatically wrong to mix and match, but to my mind it would be good to know how a power amp performs when used as intended by the designer, especially with Naim pre/power amps and their carefully designed grounding arrangement.


It’s odd isn’t it? Coming from a classical background and preference, I often have the same observation. I know that Naim is not the best regarding Timbre in classical music and sometimes I just want the right sound but then the Naims are indeed involving.

If someone here has the final answer how timbre and ‘prat’ can be one, please enlighten me!


I had 282/ 250 then 252/ 250 then Ear 912 / 250. The last combo was my favourite , by a good margin.
Ear bring something that Naim lacks and Naim what Ear lacks.
For my ears and preferences, I find that the Ear pre with Naim works very very well, much better than 332/300 ps/ 350 with my speakers. At dealer place. When I write « much better « , it’s for my preference.

In my situation I have just to decide which of the amp I will keep, as I have no desire at all to get a Naim pre. And no budget to buy a 552 or 332 / 300 ps with an external tubes phono.

If you want, the tittle of the thread should have been : which one I will keep, the NC 250 or Ear 534.
I feel it will be the Naim. But I will take some days.


The why I have the Ear pre. I agree, but it can be extended to all solid states. They can’t deliver all the magical timbers, nuances, colours and textures of instruments.
But it’s more complicated, as sometimes some tube gear sound more solid state than other solid state.
You could borrow an Ear 868 pre. I am not the only one to find the match between Ear 868/912 and Nap 250 is wonderful.

But the Ear amp still delivers more for the midrange richness. But lacks a bit some Prat. As I mostly listen to modern jazz, jazz rock, fusion, soul, funk….the Prat is important. Dilemma, dilemma.

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Go for PRaT ,Pace Rhythm and Timing are the most important things to get right.


I think too.
But to complicate the choice, the Ear prat is not bad too. It’s just on some recordings that the Naim involves me more. I have to see the proportion.


Take your time and make sure you make the right decision. It sounds like you are somewhat torn and have a dilemna. A nice place to be in many ways! Keep listening for next few days. The answer will become clearer with time.


Good advise :+1:. I will take my time, but not too much time. Another listening session with the Ear in the middle of the week. Today and yesterday it was mostly the 250. On Friday my dealer has to take one of the two.


Is that still with the same cables as before? Or did the ear come with new ones?