Upgrade assistance?

I’ve been using a NAC202, NAP200, CD5XS, ND5XS and Wharfedale Elysium 4’s for a long while. Having saved for a long period, I recently obtained an ex demo NAP250DR, NAC252 and Supercap. Big expectations. Two issues. As you raise the volume from minimum, one channel activates first. I know this happens, but in my case, it’s quite marked. You are at a low listening level before channel two kicks in? I’m also concerned. Having high expectations, what I’m hearing, (as a long term enthusiast) is disappointing? Somewhat lifeless, no wow factor or obvious additional detail and a sound that seems to have shrunk back into the speaker boxes. Just wondered if those with more experience had any thoughts. Thank you.


The 252/250 is a very capable system, so my first thoughts are either that the set up is not quite right, or you are exposing the limitations of the source, possibly both. This level of system really warrants a NDX2 + PS as a digital source, as the 252 will be quite ruthless with exposing a lower quality source.


What wire what power cords is your gear stacked
So many things it can be
You could send it to Naim for a check up

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I can’t really help with your streaming source (no experience of what you have) but a 252, especially with a 250DR, should not be sounding as you describe.

Check the Burndy for one, but when my Burndy wasn’t quite right, the sound was thin and bassless, not lifeless as you describe.

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Do you still have your old gear, or are you able to borrow them back from your dealer? Put back all your old gear, listen to confirm all is well, and then swap the new items in one by one to locate the problem: First just 250 with your old 202, then add SC to power the 202, and finally swap in the 252. Each of these changes should give a clear improvement to the sound.

Here some other things to try:

  • Exercise the volume pot of the 252 by turning all the way up and down, a few times.
  • Try moving your sources to other inputs of the 252.
  • Confirm the age of the Ex-Demo items by checking and comparing their serial numbers with Serial numbers | Naim Audio
  • Post a photo of your rack here (or to your dealer) and we can tell you if there is something wrong with your racking order. Each item should have their own rack level.
  • Turn off all gear and check & re-do all connections.
  • After making changes, let all gear stay powered on for at least 2 days before drawing any conclusions

Hope this helps


Thank you for the assistance.

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It’s a characteristic of the Alps volume control that Naim choose that the channel balance can be off at the start of travel. I think this is being emphasised as your speakers are highly efficient at 92db. This means that you will be using the first part of travel more than others.

As previously suggested do you still have the old components to hand so you could ‘simulate’ the upgrade in stages, although I wouldn’t put the 250 with the 202 but the 252/Supercap with the 200 would be interesting to try.

Another thing to try is just having one source connected, and check the grounding switch which may be set wrong if you have 2 Naim sources.

Ultimately you do need to look at upgrading your sources, perhaps consolidating with a streamer like the NDX2, ideally with a power supply upgrade.

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You’re welcome. I have a 252/250, which was a big upgrade from a SN2. I run a NDX2 and 555PS with it. As it happens, my NDX2 is away for a repair and just now I’m running a Uniti Star as a source into the 252. It sounds pretty good, but there is no doubt the Star is well short of the detail and refinement of the NDX2 as a source. The Star is probably close to your ND5 XS, maybe better? So, I think the source may be holding back some of the wow-factor you should be getting with the 252/250. But the “lifeless” description sounds more like a burndy issue, search the FAQ about how to check that - but basically it should be hung relaxed and free from other cables and furniture. Another thought is too play with your speaker positions, as the 250 will be pushing them much more. Can you post a photo of your setup too please? That might help.

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Hi Timsky.

May be a shot in the dark but I had a similar problem with the volume on my 282. The fix was easy, I just manually raised and lowered the volume control, no source playing, quickly a dozen times and all was sorted. It’s been fine ever since.

As for problem 2, as already said, maybe your source is a weak link. Could you not ask your friendly dealer for a home demo of an NDX2.
I run mine with no ps at the moment and it sounds great in my system.

Good luck and happy listening.

My 250 was ex demo, unplugged in the shop, boxed and taken home, 2 miles bungeed on the back of my Moto Guzzi. It was fine when first installed, on the Saturday, but was lifeless and dull by Sunday. When the shop opened again on Tuesday I no longer wanted to return it.

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Thank you again for all the assistance. I hadn’t though about the speaker efficiency. The 202 was fine however. My apologies, as part of the once in a lifetime upgrade I also have a used NDX2, the ND5XS was part of the previous set up. I will try all the suggestions kindly put forward. It’s just a shame re the balance as it precludes late evening listening at low levels. I’ve tried to upload a photo, but not sure it’s worked.

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And I should say, I still have the old gear, so I can experiment.

You should talk to Naim (probably best done through your dealer), channel imbalance is common on Naim preamps at lower volumes, but if it is very noticeable at your chosen listening volume they can almost certainly fix it.

Good afternoon, How long has the 252/supercap been in your system? and was it new? When i bought this setup from new it did take a long time to sound good, a few months of constant playing. make sure the burndy cable and snaic are running in paralel. also if all the stuff is run in, id say a few weeks to settle down. that and it will be revealing your source.

I had a similiar issue with the volume but i got the initial unit swapped out for another one. if its a used one might be worth enquiring about getting it looked at

hope thats usefull

I will chase up the volume issue thanks. The units have had little use apparently, particularly the 250DR
which is the newest of the three. It is sounding better for being left switched on. Cheers.

Hi @timsky, if turning the volume pot all the way up and down a few times doesn’t get it to work properly at low levels, you’ll just have to send the 252 to Naim for servicing. But before sending, I’d also do a comparison with your 202+SuperCap, and if you don’t hear a significant improvement in every way, I’d definitely mention that as well in the service request.

Your racking looks ok, really nice system!
I’d do the 252 vs 202 comparison with just the NDX and LP12 as source, removing the CD/FC from the rack - one less variable which may affect things. For comparisons, I’d rack from top to bottom: LP12, 252, 202, NDX, 250, SC. After comparisons, I’d keep the 202 or 252 in top position under LP12.

For CD replay it would be a bit better to have the FlatCap on a separate rack level, but I suppose it’s ok like this too, you can’t have too many levels. Although, ideally the 252 / 202 (and possibly LP12) should be on an entirely different platform or rack (freed from all the vibrating power supplies in this rack), but if you can’t do that, don’t worry. :slight_smile:

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Agree on putting 252 under the Linn, away from the SC and 250. More room for the Burndy to hang if nothing else…I don’t know about best streamer positioning, but that 252 looks very low down. Swap?

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mate if thats the case they will sound rough for the next few weeks, keep them switched on until the end of time (like all naim kit), in about two months your system will sounds the dogs danglies. i went from a 282 to a 252 and for a few months i wasnt impressed but i trusted the naim way knowing i enjoyed the 282 i had had for ages. it seems unreasnable that we spend all this dosh and we have to wait ages but honestly…its worth it if you like what naim does

i would swap the ndx and 252 round. ideally you want the 252 on the top shelf (you have a turntable on that one tho

Thank you all again for the advice. Much appreciated.