Olive series pre-amps - help please!

I’m upgrading from my NAIT 2 pre-amp to another olive series pre-amp. Can someone please explain the difference between the various pre-amps in the olive series (NAC 72, NAC 82, NAC 92, NAC 102, etc.)?

Which one has the best sound quality? I’ve seen comments that the NAC 82 is really good, is that the one to go for? I’m willing to spend up to £1,000 on the 2nd-hand market.

My power amp is a NAP 90 (olive series, shoebox form factor).

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Naim’s olive amp series is numbered by design order, so the 12 was their first pre-amp, 22 was the second etc. The 52 was the flagship pre of the olive range, followed by the 82 as the next highest ranked. They are both full-width. Of the half-width shoebox pre-amps the 72 is probably the best (some prefer it to the 82). I owned 62, 72, 82 and now 52, and for my taste there is a step-up between each model. I’ll leave others to give views on the 92 onwards as I’ve never used them.
The 82 was a great servant in my system, I bought mine new in 1993 and only upgraded it in 2018, I had 25 years of great music listening with it.


82 is a great pre. Very engaging with loads of classic Naim PRaT. That said, the 52 pretty much destroys the 82 in all areas.


The nap 90 really won’t show the 82 off at its best and will cost you, but if you are going to upgrade the Nap to something else in the future then the 82 is the one to go for imo. If you are planning to keep the 90 then go for the 72. It will still be better than the 90 is capable of utilising but it is the best of the rest. I have been running an 82 with a 90 this evening just as a test and it really isn’t displaying its best.

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The 82 and 52 both have remote control

It’s probably worth thinking where you want to end up. Are you planning on keeping the 90 or upgrading eventually?

An external power supply would also be useful at some point. A Hicap for example

I started with a 92 before getting an 82 and then a 52.

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A good point, the 82 needs a hicap.

I couldn’t remember if it was vital. I think I had a Flatcap when I got my 82.

I think it is vital. The flatcap may be adequate but I think you are wasting money if you don’t run it with a hicap.

I also run an 82 that has been serviced. You have to factor in service cost if these old preamps haven´t been serviced the last 10 years.

With that said, I prefer my 82 to the 282 I had. If adding a Hicap, my personal view is, get a Hicap DR. To these ears a clear step up and no downsides.


I run an olive 82 and chrome Hicap with a CB 250 in my second system. A pleasing combination !


I went from Nait 5si to 82 HiCap Olive and 250 Chrome Bumper. Massive improvement.

72 is highly regarded and good fit shoe box with 90.

Kept my 82 now with Supercap 2 and 2 x 135s.

An 82 with HiCap Olive would be nice. 102 is equivalent of 202. I think 72 and 82 are sweet spot in middle to upper range. A 52 is quite pricey at around £3k plus you’ll need Supercap.

I think if I was going to stick with 90 would go 72. 72 is good with 250, 135s, anything. 82 has remote.

Depends if you want to stick with shoe boxes.

Nice shoe box system would be 72 Hicap with 140.


If you plan on keeping your 90, get the unloved 102. It will beat a 72 and probably cost less + you get a remote.

Been there and done that. It works really nicely.

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Never owned a Hicap. I upgraded from a Flatcap to a Supercap.

Hence my point about working out where you think you will end up. My 82 was probably a diversion in hindsight

All olive style pre-amps have their own voicing, which cause opinions to differ regards to sound quality, but on your budget of £1000 the 82 may go over when you dial in a needed power supply.

The 102 has a very detailed hifi sound, the 72 is warmer and earthy but far more engaging with the music.

If you can’t demo beforehand, i’d recommend the NAC72, it’s the best bang for buck music lovers pre, plus the price of one should easily leave funds for a hicap.


Given your NAP90 shoebox, I would go for a NAC72 and partner with a Flatcap or hicap of some kind for now. Both units should be within your budget. The NAC72 is a very good preamp. It doesn’t beat a NAC82 or NAC52 but neither of those will be within your budget and not such a match for the NAP90.

That’s my two penneth but as always if you can use your best asset when it comes to HiFi and use your ears to decide for yourself.


Count in a change of power amp unless you have very efficient speakers.

otherwise its not advisable to get expensive preamp, a Nac 62 will do just fine.

Also all matters of your source so more information needed.

I’m not necessarily going to keep the NAP 90 forever, I may upgrade that too in the future.

The NAP 90 is the only olive power amp i’ve not heard, back along the local naim dealer never seem to stock one for whatever reason. I suppose most folk simply wanted more power and went for a 140 at least.

I’d bet the NAP 90 is okay, and with a 72 & hicap will be a pleasant upgrade from a nait2, however once the 72 and hicap are in place, there is nothing to stop the NAP upgrade to a 140, or better still a 250.

72/hicap/250 is very satisfying and very classic naim amp, fantastic value for money too.


72p/hc/140 takes a lot of beating. Unless you have upwards of £5k.