Non Naim PreAmps with NAP 300DR

I’m interested in hearing about other’s experiences using a non Naim PreAmp with the Naim NAP 300DR. Of course a high end audiophile manufacturer other than Naim. Were there material SQ differences? Compatibility issues? Any and all discussion, comments and recommendations on the question would be welcome.

I cannot help you with this but interested in the motivation behind your query, as clearly Naim pre and power amps are designed to work together and you will not better synergy by mixing brands.

You can of course mix and match, but why?

Naim Power Amps are designed to work with… guess what… Naim Pre-Amps. I cannot see why anyone would wish to do otherwise.

But… clearly… YMMV.

You can use Townsend Allegri ( some topics in the search forum), Ear 868, Ear 912, Macintosh…
Why : To have a different sound from an all Naim combo.


You are correct NigelB …I am considering the NAC 252 with combo NDX2 to replace my NAC N272…but I like to think “out-loud”. My understanding is that the 252 has essentially been the same for 15 years. Electronic technology has certainly changed; curious if others have any experiences with Non-Naim preAmps. Besides it’s a Slow-rainy-Covid day here…

Digital technology is moving on but analogue technology less so. If there were worthwhile advances in the analogue domain that could move SQ on, Naim would have embraced it in a new line of pre amps. Where there has been an advance is in DR design which of course has been incorporated in your 300DR and the SuperCapDR to power the 252.

I have used a 252/SCDR, but with a 250DR. Never felt the desire to change the sound signature (which mixing pre/power brands risks).

Anyway, no harm in exploring this area, I was just curious.

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I had the 252 before. Found the Ear 912 ahead, with more fluency, openness and colors. And with inbuilt phono.
And same dynamics and prat.
However, apart the Ear Yoshino, it’s difficult to find a non Naim pre in synergy with Naim Nap.
Good luck.

PS: For the money, the Allegri seems imbattable.

Martin Colloms himself, a Naim specialist and reviewer of the Hificritic, uses the Townsend Allegri plus with a 300dr.
Some members here too, like @Chag.

That is very rare behaviour, I think you will agree FR.

I would however like to hear an Allegri with a NAP and decide for myself.

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I am not saying you will prefer it Nigel. But it works and very good apparently. I have not tried personally.
I don’t think I will move one day from my pre. Perhaps an Aries Cerat integrated, if I find a case with a lot of cash in the street :laughing:

It’s really not relevant what Martin Colloms uses. It’s all about personal preference. If the baby Jesus used an Allegri it would mean no more than if you or I had one.

ohhh…you guys are too funny. I’m almost sorry I asked the question. But its always good to hear other thoughts. too tempting to make a comment about “baby jesus’s” selection in audio gear…but wild guess… he was an oud man.

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I suppose it comes down to taste and… budget!

The Townshend Allegri probably is a good value for money, and certainly should sound very well.

But if budget isn’t a concern, the Naim offer certainly is something to consider first.

I had the 252DR and 552DR with the NAP300DR

Both preamps are brilliant. The 252DR is the natural 300DR partner.

The 552DR, with the 300DR is astonishing! It might sound like an hyperbole, but it’s not. You certainly get what you pay for. It’s an obvious choice.

But even if I was short on cash I wouldn’t go for a non Naim preamp. I’d probably check the second hand market.

The good thing (or not) about Naim is that you don’t need to think. You take the package and that’s it. Just hit the play button and the music flows.

No need to worry about cables, matching electronics, re-matching cables, etc… endless tinkering…

But of course, another preamp could be something rather interesting and result in a very nice setup!

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I use an Allegri+ with my 300DR (moved from a 282/HC DR). Great combo in my room, less cables but also less convenience so important to try first.

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You need to hear a 552 at home.

Just sayin’…


Do you really believe that? That a specialist & critic in this sphere uses one is not relevant? It’s all relevant, especially in the context of this discussion. Yes, in the end everything is personal preference but that doesn’t render my choices more informed than yours.

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If i was tempted to use a pre from another manufacturer, i’d almost certainly go the whole hog and try their matching power amp too. Same as i’d stick with Naim and Naim. Nothing wrong with trying other amplifiers, but half and half seems half arsed to me, but that’s me.

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Of course I believe it, or I wouldn’t have written it. Someone can be a hifi reviewer but that doesn’t make what they use more relevant than anyone else’s choice. It’s just preference.

I lived with both the 252DR and the Allegri+ on 300DR for more than 18 months. Source was NDS then ND555. I found the A+ more transparent and more refined or detailed, but as fast or PRaT as the 252. The 252 may be slightly darker and can show from time to time, more foundation than the A+.
Every time I had the 252 in, I was feeling being loyal and part of the family, remote control and system automation helping, but was always wondering, if not craving for the finesse and transparency of the Allegri+.
I eventually sold both the 252 and the 300, purchased a brand new 500, moved on and never looked back, part in fear of seeing the guardians of the temple running after me.
I will probably move to the Allegri Reference next year and burn in hell later.


I tend to agree with Gary, if you don’t want the Naim sound then look elsewhere in totality. I believe the biggest sonic signature is created by Naims amplification. I am sure Naim and the way they source components, hand build in the UK etc make them far from the cheapest, so buying half of a matching set unless you know for sure you will like the results seems like a bit of a risk to me.

Demo very carefully and for extended periods at home as what sounds exciting and detailed today may not still be grabbing you months later. The difference I found with Naim was the addictive natire of the sound. Every other HiFi component/system I have had initially wowed me and I loved listening but after a while I found I wasn’t listening anymore. I listen everyday and am excited still years later to get my evening session in. Don’t lose that as its not about the HiFi its about the music.