Hi everybody. I have been lurking on this forum for a long time and have finally taken the plunge. First post, so please be gentle with me.
Like many on here I have been a Naim aficionado since the late 70s when I bought an NAC 12s and power amp (can’t remember which) and upgraded over the years, always buying new. Circumstances obliged the sale of all my Hi Fi gear some 10 years ago, but I managed to hang on to my LP12, having bought this new in 1974 for £80.
I am now in the position to replace my system and thought to buy a mix of new and second hand. I started by buying a 202 and CDX2 from a well-known auction site but, after some deliberation, decided to try and shorten the upgrade ladder and money lost by buying / selling and to instead gradually buy, as funds allowed, my final or near final system. The thought was that after waiting some 10 years to replace my music I could wait a little longer. To this end I now have a 3 year old 300DR, and my speakers will almost certainly be Titan 707s. I was considering a new 252 / SC DR but it appears for similar money I could get a 10 - 15 year old 552 with DR upgrade. I wondered what people on here thought about the relative merits of these two options, bearing in mind my current power amp and intended speakers?
Many thanks for any advice.
My immediate reaction would be for the 552, but at that sort of age, a service through somewhere like Class A should be factored in. (They’ve recently serviced my 252/SC and it’s a bargain price for the improvement!)
- Repeat 552 ad infinitum! Although I do understand that you need to be sure that the suspension hasn’t been damaged
I think your plan to do a big leap to the end system rather than go through lots of steps is very sensible. Some people say they have enjoyed gradual / multiple changes, but I have always tried to do fewer, bigger jumps, and haven’t really ever been bothered by not trying out everything in between
I would consider a gently used 252 and SCDR, if those are the components you want. Then consider price vs. performance and take the advice of those here.
552 DR s day long
Also bear in mind it’s likely to have had the DR & service in the last few years anyway
I’ve been through a few system changes from SN2 to 282/SCDR/250DR, 252/SCDR/250DR and more recently 552DR/300DR. I’d recommend 552/300DR over 252/SCDR/300DR (not withstanding the 552 service costs for older units). The jump in performance from 252 to 552 is significant.
Thank you to everybody who has taken the trouble to reply so far. These opinions, from people who own, or are familiar with, the components and have no vested interest (ie are not trying to sell me something!) are invaluable. The consensus so far is clearly in favour of the 552. Dealers, as you might expect, try to steer me to new products, with their warranties and (not to be sneezed at) dealer back up. I just want the best sound for pound spent, and buying second hand Naim products with their inherent reliability does not bother me as it might some. I would certainly get a Naim service on anything bought second hand, if it had not been done recently.
I do wonder, though, if there is a gradual deterioration over the years in any of the electronic components that are not replaced / tested during the course of a Naim service, or if the item is truly “as new” (performance-wise) after a service?
I would echo bongoman above as we have gone through almost identical upgrade paths.
The OP is very wise to make large jumps to his end game system and don’t be afraid to buy pre-loved or ex demo kit - much cash can be saved with this strategy. I would however offer one word of caution before the OP jumps in. It is worth demoing an interim step (e.g. 252) and compare to the projected end game kit (e.g. 552) to make sure the end game offers VFM in the OP’s eyes (or should that be ears). The 300DR already bagged will be wonderful with either a 252 or 552. I even use my 552 with a 250DR!
If you are proposing to spend a lot on pre-loved Naim kit, it is always best to acquire such items from a dealer, or take the usual precautions if buying on-line. There was a recent thread on here that went into this in detail and it is worth reading it and taking heed!
And yes, a cherished pre-loved 552 any day over a new 252. But that is only my opinion - the OP needs to do some listening to satisfy himself.
Everyone is making v sensible comments. Might help if I add that the 552 was ex dem (installed by dealer - by the way, dealer installation is a major benefit over trying it yourself - at least it is for me!) to replace a 52 that I bought used 8 years or so ago. Very Major improvement. And don’t forget the huge recent thread that started off being about a 552 owned by a thread of the poster being disappointing, the end result being the unit was at fault and post-fixing the poster bought one himself. Immediately. So a used 552 even at a bargain price might not perform well - tho it might be stunning - and not rise clear of a 252. Plus you can never account for individual taste - I am not sure I have ever seen anyone say they prefer the 252 to the 552 outright: quite a few have said it isn’t worth the extra. I and quite a few others disagree with that - but Naim kit does divide opinion (as does most hifi - and everything else in life )
I would just like to add, I think Tim’s experience is very much a rarity, Naim build quality is rock solid
In 30 years of climbing the Naim ladder and all of my Naim gear has been S/H or exdem I’ve never had anything faulty, and I’ve been browsing this forum for about 15years and faulty Naim gear isn’t a topic we see
My experience with Naim amps & P/S is they will last longer than you
My last pair of CB 135’s are soon to leave, these are about 32 years old, sound fantastic and will still be here in 32 years time, doubt the same can be said for me
It wasn’t my experience - forgotten who it was or I would have said
I would always go for the 552. As it’s DR as you describe it must be serviced somehow recently, so I would go for it. Of course it’s also important to have a reliable dealer - so to make sure that it is properly installed.
Thanks, Nigel, for your advice.
You mention a thread about buying online but I can’t seem to find it. Do you remember the title by any chance?
The thread wasn’t about buying on-line but a diversion on a thread of another topic and I can’t remember the title of the thread.
Essentially though when buying Naim on fleabay always try to get the serial number so you can check authenticity with Naim, check out the seller as much as you can, look at their rating as a seller, see if you can pay cash and collect in person, and so on. If the seller is an official Naim dealer, you have nothing to worry about. But beware, there are dodgy sellers as they know Naim fetches a lot of money.
And as Richard Dane says, if it is too good (cheap) to be true, walk away!
A common sense rule should apply regarding buying online, although I will admit that can sometimes be easier said than done when a bargain is to be had.
The problem is the bigger the bargain the higher the risk of a scam,
I wish I would have adhered to my own rules !
Once you’ve paid for something on EBay that’s it, it’s a very awkward, time consuming process to get your money back, had this last year with a hijacked account, I bought a 500 for £6K, I should have switched the alarm bells on as some of the answers to my questions weren’t quite exact but at the time I was very busy at work and couldn’t go to Lancashire to collect
So that’s where I went wrong, I should have said I will pay cash and come and collect
Took me 2 months to get my £6k back from PayPal and even then they wanted to keep the commission
And that’s the key a genuine EBay seller will happily meet
Pink Fish is generally free from the scammers
Also a phone call helps
When I bought my 552
It was a private sale on EBay, I squeezed him down a bit on the price, eventually he took my offer I said I would collect and gave my No. from our phone call we had a lengthy chat about amps, TTS, speakers etc that we’ve both had over the years
So there we are job done, I plonked nearly £10k to his account that afternoon. A scammer is very unlikely to know the detail that we know
Hi Tim and thanks for the advice and encouragement to take a big jump to the end game - moral support certainly helps when making these decisions. Even when the basic system is established there will still be the source improvements and possible streaming to explore, but I guess we all know about that…
I will be looking for / at used 552s seriously, but it might take some time to find the right one.
Tug, the order of upgrades you carefully plan in your mind can be disrupted by the order in which genuine pre-loved kit presents itself. For example pre-loved 552s are rare and tend to get snapped up. So yes, decide on your end game gear, but be pragmatic when it comes to the order of upgrades.
BTW, there is an official Naim dealer in St Albans who has a huge selection of pre-loved Naim gear but again 500 series kit is rare. Listen out for the sound of drums emanating from St Albans.
I was just about to abandon this following but then Nigel said similar so here it is - Another thing I have done is decide on what I am aiming for and then just buy opportunistically without worrying about the order I get them. In 2010 wanted to go from 102/180/napsc to 52/250/supercap. Got supercap first and then got 52 and 250 as and when I saw them. Similar with 300 and nds I got around 2 years ago - started aiming for them about 6-7 years ago but had to wait until I could afford. The last year has been utterly mad as am now ND555, 552, and a pair of active 300s into SL2s…
Replying to Nigel and Tim here - I am indeed buying opportunistically as items appear and funds allow. Not long ago I bought, on fleabay, ex-display from a dealer 2 Fraim bases and six levels, figuring I would eventually have something to put on them. By the looks of them they have never been out of their boxes, so I am well pleased having saved a tidy sum. And Nigel, I have heard the St Albans drums - that’s where the 300 came from!