Ten grand

Is the 552 really £10k better than the 52? I’ve never heard a 552 but do own the 52 which is pretty decent.

The 552 is bought used does not need to be £10 grand better as the 52/PS has a value of around £3.5 which makes the gap only £6.5. I suspect a demo is the only way to tell.

You don’t mention the PS for the CDP. If you don’t have a 555PS this would be a worthwhile upgrade over an XPS if you continue with CDs and don’t intend streaming. If you do then move to - say - an NDS the 555 would be available for it.

Yep good point. Definitely would try and demo at that price level.
You have a very nice system in terms of amplification at present.
Some demos of different pre amp or maybe source upgrades should tell you where best to spend your money.

Hi Cooky,
What a nice opportunity to savour!

That sort of money buys a lot of live concert tickets, LPs and CDs. Alternatively, you could use a tiny fraction of it on a music subscription service and start streaming.

The one thing that I wouldn’t do, despite being in a similar position to you fairly recently, is to change the amplifier. Your serviced 52/135s will readily support better sources and better speakers.

Great though PMC OB1 speakers are, Kudos Titan 606 or Titan 505 (which I may even marginally prefer) will revel in being driven by a serviced 52/135 amplifier. The PMC sound is different to Kudos, so I would absolutely have the PMC twenty5 26 on the audition shortlist, the ATC SCM40 too.

A 52/135/OB1 will let source improvements shine through though.

If cd is your primary source, try a 555PSDR on your CDS3 and prepare to be amazed at what it brings over the XPSDR. You have to spend a LOT of money on a music streamer to better the CDS3/555PSDR. I have just been through this very process myself and it takes an ND555/555PSDR, Chord DAVE + M Scaler or equivalent to better a CDS3/555PSDR to these cloth ears.

If vinyl is your main source, then I would trade in your P6 for a P10/Alpheta 3, keeping your excellent Aria.

For 10k + dealer trade in allowances, you could almost certainly do 2 of the 3 above, i.e. improve both sources or improve your main source + the speakers.

Hope this helps, even though it drives you down the path of multiple auditions…

Best regards, BF

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Back in the day I switched from a 252 to a 552 and the difference was astounding. I also swapped from an XPS to 555PS to power my CDS3, and it was an excellent improvement, though not in the scale of the 252 to 552. Whether you make the change is entirely your decision, but it’s worth beating in mind that for £10,000 plus trade in, you could do both.

The thing with systems is that you get used to what you have and need to decide if you really need it to be better. When I had the CDS3 and 552 I used it with a 300 and SL2s. After about ten years with much lesser systems I’ve arrived at a 272/555DR, with a 300DR and another pair of SL2s. So while the front end is more modest the back end is the same. But, and of course memories fade, it really doesn’t sound much worse and my enjoyment is no less. I have money in the bank that would let me get another 552 and an ND555 but I simply don’t feel any desire to do so and I’d rather keep the cash to help the boys buy houses one day. Which probably doesn’t help you at all. Maybe, if vinyl is a big part of your listening, swapping from P6 to 10 would be a good compromise. And with the 52 having phono boards you avoid the need for a phono stage that would come with a 552.


Hey @Cooky its great to hear the XPS-DR upgrade worked out for you! I really loved the CDS3 with that PS. I preferred it in fact to the 555PSDR which I felt took away some of the sophistication the CDS3 has. It sort of turbo charged it, which initially I thought sounded exciting but over time, probably because I listen mainly at night as a wind down was too much. I have the CD555 now with double 555DR’s and is a lovely player but for the money the 552 has been the biggest ‘bang for buck’ upgrade I have ever made. The 552 just made everything sound as it should, the cleanest and most natural I have ever heard music reproduced. Thats my ears, room etc though :grinning:

Edit: everyone here seems to prefer the 555 on the CDS3 so maybe my preference is in the minority!! It was a substantial difference for sure so maybe disregard my preference for the XPSDR!!

My first thought was speakers but seeing your sources the old mantra resurfaces. The ps on the CDS3 is unknown but i agree a 555ps here is worth investigating will set you up for a move to a streamer in future if you end up going that route. That would still leave room for a planar 10 assuming a contribution from your current gear. On the other hand a 552 does extract the best from lesser sources so could be a viable next step if you’re prepared for further itches to develop.

the cds3 has a xps ps witch was dr’ed around april with witch im more than happy with i tried a 555ps about 12 years ago and wasn’t to impressed.
As for speakers in 2002 i spent a year demoing wbarcs naimallaes dyaudio various same with b&ws various in the end tried pmc fb1 witch were my favourite to replace my ageing epos es14 but my very accommodating dealer told me t hold fire until feb as pmc were releasing a new speaker at the bristol hifi show me and the wife went along liked what we heard spoke to pete thomas and ordered a pair there and then so as they were the first customer pair off the production line are kind of sentimentle wife says their staying what ever i do (second system in her study) Im waffling on about speakers coz for me anyhow i know its notoriously dfficult to choose one you really like that does everthing in your own space. having never heard kudos atc or neat in my own home was just wondering where to start?

That leaves vinyl or 552 then and at a guess you’d have upgraded the p6 a while ago if that was a major source for you so 552 it is. :grin:

If vinyl is the first source, I would go for a rega p10 with a good phono.
If not, 552 second hand .

That echoes my own experience, which is why my first post mentioned only PMC speakers, which have the transmission line character and bass quality, though the two with developed in different directions, while with both the midrange in particular is improved

I have an RP10 with the Aphelion cartridge and Aria phonostage. The Aria with a preloved 552/500 serviced 2016 is a major step up on vinyl playback. I thought I’d need better phonostage but definitely not. In fact any source hugely benefits.


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If I had a spare 10g the last thing I would spend it on is HiFi.

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Why not, I don’t understand you? You could achieve a tiny incremental improvement of the Hi Fi sound or instead buy yourself a new fridge, oven, dishwasher and a microwave oven (not trying to sound like a day dreaming housewife…).

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Really? If it is spare and you’ve got/had enough money to do/buy/donate whatever else you want? (Though taking you literally, that does leave the hifi as the last thing!)

Hi @Cooky

If you have your speakers on spikes try to audition Townshend Podiums or similar isolation.
Purchased Podiums this year for my Kudos T88s, improvements in every department and rediscovering my music collection.
Many seem to favour IsoAcoustic GAIA, but for me the Podiums won out.
Really is worth a bit of research on the Net.

Game changer.

Best wishes for Christmas :santa:t2::christmas_tree:

hi,Rustyneedle I do indeed have the isoacoustic gaia s under my speakers and i couldnt agree with you more absolutely amazing upgrade
Happy christmas

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I dont need to spend that much money to get satisfaction and enjoyment from music. Why spend more on something if you don’t have to. It’s things like this that are killing our planet

Killing our planet more if spent on cars… But that is way off topic, and akin to the strange response sometimes that someone’s issue us a first world problem. Each to their own on the value for money they assign to hifi, and on the satisfaction or enjoyment they get from hearing music more clearly or whatever is the benefit they hear, otherwise the cheapest radio or streaming speaker will do for everyone.

I for one am very pleased I am not limited to such poor quality of sound!