Upgrade Path 300 to 500

My current system is NAP 300, 252 with Supercap DR and an NDX2 with a 555PS . I also have a modified Michell Gyrodec for vinyl duties.
The Supercap is 10 years old and about to be serviced and the 555PS is also being DR’d at the same time.
That is the upcoming upgrade but I am of course already thinking what comes next. My thinking is as follows but I would be keen to get feedback and input on whether this is the right order ?

  1. Upgrade 252 to 552 - that way streaming and vinyl benefit
  2. Upgrade NDX2 to ND555 - source first and all that
    3, Upgrade NAP 300 to NAP 500 - (there is a 500 for sale on that auction site at the moment but this feels the wrong place to start?)

Even procuring on a second hand basis this will happen over a few years so keen to get it right .
I look forward to feedback & comments

I would go for 552 first. Nigel compared nds/ 552dr vs nd555/ 252 dr and preferred the 552/ nds( with 555dr).
But better try yourself if you can.

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Having followed much the same upgrade path, other than my having an NDS rather than NDX2, the 1,2,3 order in your list makes sense.

The 552 spreads it’s goodness throughout any further upgrades, and will make the most of an ND555.

And then, just when you think things couldn’t get any better, the 500 seems to pull everything together.

Saying that, though, there are some real bargains out there in NDS’s, so, regardless of any logical sequence, if you can take advantage of one at a bargain price, then I’d say do so, as it’s still a very fine streamer, ND555, notwithstanding.

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Terry smi

Having done the 552 & 500x3
The 552 is the logical route, however the 500 s/h is a much rarer beast and even more so for a good price



if the 500 is sold at a very good price, perhaps worth consider it. Not a lot on second hand market. But be careful…

Your order of priority looks spot on to me. Good luck.

I wouldn’t describe the price as very good and it would need DR’ing so think I will pass

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Im a 252/SCDR/300DR owner, and when the mood strikes and something gently used becomes available, (for some reason) I’m much more interested in adding a 552, vs. a 500.

IMV, a 300 will get more out of a 552 than a 252 will get out of a 500, putting it crudely. I have gone even further and use a 552/250DR combination.

I did indeed compare a 552/NDS/555PS/300DR against a 252/ND555/555PS/300DR and preferred the former during an extended demo at the dealer. Although this demo could not be defined as…err…definitive, it nudged me towards a 552 first, which I then demoed at length at home. I was sold!

So I think your listing of upgrades is spot on and in the right order, unless of course a bargain presents itself out of order. But I would only do that if you intend to go through all 3 upgrade steps.

The usual advice…demo as much as you can, preferably in your own system at home.

My best advice is to listen yourself, as your system and room is unique to you. At this level of upgrades its very personal and subjective. I preferred a ND555/252 over a NDX2/552 into 300 dr.
Neither is wrong…just listen yourself.

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I’d snap up a 500. I was looking for a 552 and could not resist buying the 500 it was paired with as well. Amazing combo even without DR, which I have no intention of doing. Adding 500 first may depend on your room and speakers, but so musical compared with 552/300 DR combo when I briefly demoed the 552DR in place of my 252DR. My 552/500 is so effortlessly musical.


Yes Phil, but you have a 552 to go with the 500, an ideal combination. The OP is contemplating getting the 500 to use with his 252. It will be good but not great IMHO. As I have said previously, if the OP is intent on eventually pairing a 500 with a 552, then picking up a bargain 500 now does make sense. But beware of ‘bargain’ Naim components, particularly if you can’t demo them first.

I have always gone for the best pre I could afford (having a source to match) and then looked at the power amp. But YMMV.

Listening to my 552/250 this afternoon (with my broken NDS/555PS), I continue to be struck by how ‘transparent’ and musical the 552 is, even with ‘lesser’ power amps.

Just my opinion you understand and a demo is mandatory at this level of expenditure.

552 first. It will amaze with a 300, and give the 500 and sources their best shot at proving their worth. Some prefer the 300, I have been told more than once.

Have fun, whichever way you go.


I loved the 552-300 we had for a while. It is so musical, and something you could live with for a long time. 552 should be the centerpiece.

IMO, speaking from my own experience, the one who had NAC 252/NAP 500 once before:

(1) is my 1st choice
(2) is my second choice

NAP 300 to NAP 500 would be the last step once the front-end is properly sorted.

Hi all the 552 is the logical route…however, I did it the otherway round …as I got an old 500 for for only a little more than sh 300. The 500 non dr (14yrs old) replaced a 250dr on the end of a 272/555 combination. The 500 sounded amazing it was vastly superior to the 250dr. More detail, better stereo depth, faster - better everything. I was quite shocked - all from an old timer … but the biggest difference was - when turning up the volume - the sound/sonic space of the image did not collapse - and it sounded fantastic. I later added a 552dr - this was better everything was improved - but the improvement was not as great. changing out the 272 for the NDS was good improvement.So - with the setup you have it is tricky…by the sounds of it you are ultimately going to end up with a 552/500…so to be logical if you can get a good deal you will benefit either way … they are all great products. Enjoy!

One last thing … if you go for the 552 - be prepared to spend some serious money on Super Lumina interconnects … they make a terrific difference especially between the source and the preamp. The highline interconnect for me was too brash - the thing to remember is the 552 has a different sonic footprint to the 252. The 552 (to my ears) is very upfront and dynamic - and pacy with a very agile bass - it has the potential upset the balance of your system - this happened to me - and I found that the super lumina din to din fixed my issues (which were mainly with the highline)…

Interesting Rich…i did not like the SL interconnect between nd555 and 252,it was dull and compressed. Preferred my hiline and other makes. I held off on decisions on cables to wait and demo SL with a 552. Sounds like that was a good move on my part.

You’ll enjoy your 252 with a DR super cap, it really takes the 252 to another level. On reflection I could have stopped there and been very satisfied.

A used NDS would also be a nice step up from NDX.

This naim stuff is blooming addictive - don’t forget to enjoy each upgrade before racing to the next one!

On the vinyl front I loved my gyro but when I picked up a well sorted LP 12 it pushed me to focus on vinyl!

I bought a demo SL - pre run in - I recommend this is the way to buy SL - otherwise you are unsure of the benefits. Regarding your situation - the 252 is a more relaxed preamp (rather like the 272) - the 552 is allot more lively…so you definitely made the right move.

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