Source or Pre

I had a similar dilemma and was faced with either initially going from NDS (with a PS555DR I also owned) to ND555, or going from 252/SuperCapDR to 552 (non DR), keeping my 250DR.

I demoed both options at the dealer (in a similar system to mine) and then took my preference home to try in my own system, and many thanks to James at Tom Tom for indulging me.

The result: 552 first, followed by a ND555 a few months later. Buying both pre-loved/ex-dem minimised the gap between the two purchases.

If you like, I could swap my 250DR for your 500DR so you could try this out. No rush to swap back and no need to thank me. :wink:

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@cavemanzm as others have said what an nice choice to have! and as you currently have 252/SCDR as pre which is not at all a bad pre, I would look at ND 555 using your 555 PSU - this also future proof’s your main source

in saying that of course demo is the only true test - which ever direction you go in more music is going to follow

Hahaha! Nice offer Nigel! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::grimacing:

I’ll take that as a ‘no’ then.

This question could be answered by looking at the situation from the opposite direction: of the two components to be replaced, which of these is the more limiting in your system?

I really enjoyed what my ndac/555 did. Great sound and unbeatable connectivity. My vote would also be a 552 to do it justice. You wont get bored of listening to it and the savings can mount up until you are ready to jump at the ND555. Moving from 252/300 to 552/300 was hugely exciting, my 500 non DR was last to the party. OH boy do they sing well together as others have stated. Enjoy!

No one forgets the first impact of a 552 on their system. When I added mine it was with a 300DR. Nothing has made such a difference in my system/room. I now have a full 500 system inc ND555. The 500DR was great but not as impactful as the 552. The CD555 again was great but not as impactfuk as the 552. The ND555 is an evolution of the CD555 and again not as impactful…

I think you get the gist! For me if I was doing it again I would add the 500 last but seeing as you already have that I would get the 552.


I had an audition at my dealer place w a 252 w 500dr w Focal scala evo… now i was advised to stick to my setup but go for the scala instead… wats u folks opinion here?

improve the system and then choose the speakers would be my goal

Well optimal synergy would suggest that the NAP 500 would work best with the NAC 552. So that’s a minimum risk albeit quite expensive way forward. As to the speakers would the Scala work in your environment in a way that is a significant improvement over what you have now?



Trying to arrange for a demo of scala at my place.

@AJK sorry for the late reply. Once firm, i will share my decision n the outcome. :blush:

Ugh… tough call. I consider the 552 a source and would be inclined to lean towards it. But the ND555 is exceptional. Demo both separately and let us know how it turn out. Have fun!

How is a preamp a source?

I consider it as important as a source.

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I look at your choices as being several very good ones. One thing I would consider is this; the 552 and the 555 are probably the endgame in your upgrade path. I don’t see another product taking their place (unless the New 662 comes out lol). The speakers could be another story. Your choice of speakers is endless, your choice of preamps is not. There are a few different streamers out there, but not nearly as many as speakers. I would build with the 552, then 555 and finally whatever speakers you ultimately choose.

I had just made up my mind n choice - 552 ordered! :grimacing:


Today my 500dr n fraim lite arrived, together w 552 dr loaned from dealer. Also fitted my newly acquired SL interconnect.

One word - what a wonderful sound… :heart:

I was previously testing the dealer 500dr w my 252 dr. Now w this combi, i really fully understand y some pple say in Naim, Pre is King…


Congrats… the 552 is so good. I’ve had mine for 17 years now… still blows me away. The DR/ReCap raised its performance even further. Give your new 552 a few months to run-in. It’s a slow burn.


Congrats, enjoy your dream system.

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