What (& how big) is the difference between 282 and 252?

What is the difference between the 282 and 252? I’m talking in components/construction/features. Obviously sound as well however I am conscious that sound differences usually manifest in different ways to different people so that is a more personal experience. Nevertheless your opinions on sound would be appreciated as well.

I’ll leave the technical details to others who know. Here are the photos of the 282 and 252. Spot the differences yourself. :blush:

(apologies for the low resolution image of the 252 as that’s the only photo I can find from the internet. Perhaps there are others who might have a better image quality of the 252)



1 Like

To me, the 282 sounds more forward, perhaps a little brash and unrefined in purely relative terms. By comparison, this can lead to the impression that the 252 is a bit dull. Certainly a straight swap in the same system might give that impression.
As ever, system matching is key. Source, speaker and room matching all come into play, and might sway you towards one preamp or the other, but I would also consider this in the context of the amp as a whole. The ‘natural partner’ in Naim’s range is 282/Hicap/250 and 252/Supercap/300. The usual advice is to upgrade the preamp before the power amp, and I can imagine that some who have done this might, in some systems, go from 282/250 to 252/250 and judge it to sound a bit dull. If so, listen to a 300 and how it can really grip your speakers by the scruff of the neck and control them. Still think the 252 sounds dull??

These are just my impressions from listening to these amps in a few different systems. I can well imagine that others would have a very different take on things based on different listening expriences.


Do they both come without a power supply and need an external one?

All Naim preamps have their power supply in a separate box. The lower end separates have the preamp PSU in the power amp box, as in the NAP200 for example. So you could use a 152, 202 or 282 powered by the 200.
In these systems, a separate preamp PSU such as a Hicap is an optional upgrade. In the higher level systems, the external PSU is required.
In the case of a 282/250, a Hicap is required, and the 250 does not gave a preamp PSU in it. Likewise, the 252/300 requires a Supercap.


So, can the 300 drive a 282?

If you’re planning on the 300 driving the 282, then be prepared for a big bang and fireworks :grinning:

The pre-amps drive the power amps. Pretty much any Naim pre-amp can be partnered with pretty much any Naim power amp - but you’re after synergy in a system so it’s balanced. Just as you’d not put racing slicks on your daily car because there’d be no point and it wouldn’t actually drive well, so you match components.

But whilst the suggested pairings are typical, many have the 282 driving higher spec amps, and others have the 252 doing that. The sound changes a bit, and for that you need to listen to them. Both are built well, both are serviceable by Naim for decades, both will work fine. You pay for refinement, precision and focus in the sound. The boxes and how much they hurt if dropped are about the same. And yes, both take external power supplies, which hurt even more if dropped. Note that dropping is not a recommended auditioning or ownership technique… :rofl:


You can pair them, but the 282 needs a Hicap or a Supercap. The 300 can only power itself.

1 Like

They look pretty identical except the extra wires at the power supply input connection?

And better quality pots apparently. So that will account for a few quid.

If you look closely (hard to see from above) you’ll see that while they look superficially similar, the NAC282 is mostly on one large board, whereas on the NAC252 the boards are split. Layout is slightly different, obviously more wiring on the 252 as there are many more supplies from the Burndy connection. Componentry even more rigorously selected in places.

This photo of a show unit gives you a better perspective although you can’t see underneath the central board;


In my experience, the performance is huge.the 252DR is far closer to the 552DR than the 282. The 252 provides a more coherent musical performance with greater nuance and detail.
So the 252 is refined and more laid back than the 282 so high quality speakers and amp are required to get the best, where as the 282 can excite more laid back less resolving speakers.
The 252 is more accommodating of sources getting the most from them of various qualities, where as the 282 is more sensitive on sources, with some sounding too hot or lesser quality sounding simply lacking.
Finally the 252 is more fussy on support and cable dressing to sound it’s best. Getting it wrong can make it sound un involving… getting it right and it subtly sparkles.
The 282 I found more forgiving here, and wasn’t pivotal to get right.

Finally the 252 requires its SuperCap powersupply with dedicated and specific Burndy connector lead. The 282 can be powered by various sources including by the SuperCap using its HiCap outputs.


My 2 month old 252 has died due to a failed display board. Where is that in your 252 internals photo? (The Naim technician says it’s the first time he’s seen such a failure in the 25 years he’s been there):slightly_frowning_face:

The display board is the PCB that runs along the back of the facia - so you can’t easily see it in the picture. I’ve not heard of it (display board failure on 252) either, so it must be a critical chip failure of some kind.

Thank you. They’ve fixed it so I should have it back next week.


Slightly different at areas highlighted

NAC 282 ;-

NAC 252 ;-

1 Like

Perhaps Naim can point out the £2,000 worth of different bits/components between the two? I’ll assume that any development costs have long been paid for.

Excuse if I say it again: you really need to look closely at the product pages of naimaudio.com. The explanations could be better, but they are there. And the power supply options are listed again in the Specifations sections at the bottom of the pages.

The 252 (link) requires a SuperCap power supply. It can use all 14 supply voltages coming from the SuperCap.

The 282 (link) comes with a NAPSC. In addition it needs a separate power supply. This can come from one of the smaller power amps: NAP 200 or a NAP 155 XS (caution: the 282 page has an embarrassing error and says NA"C" 155 XS in the first paragraph; it is correct further down). Or the additional power supply can come from a separate FlatCap XS, HighCap, or SuperCap - in which case you are free with the power amp choice. The 282 however cannot use all the supplies from the SuperCap, while the 252 can - big difference between the 282 and 252.

The 300PS is a dedicated power supply for the NAP 300 (link). You need it to use the NAP 300 and it cannot be used for anything else. the product page:

The NAP 300 power amplifier incorporates all the advances pioneered by its siblings and adopts the radical two-box configuration of its bigger brother, the NAP 500: one box houses the amplification circuitry, while another – the 300 PS – hosts the power supply components.

It might seem “fair” if the development costs of an item were shared only by the buyers of units using it, and this being ceased when the costs are paid for.

However, I believe this is too simplistic: the finances of a business need to be seen as a whole, not compartmentalized. Once development costs of items in a unit are paid, the unit becomes more profitable, and those profits can - if the business is smart - be invested into new developments.

Otherwise, in the compartmentalized scenario, new units using new developments would have to be far more expensive, as there could be no subsidization from additional profits generated by the older units.

Of course, either is possible and the business is free to decide. In some markets it may make more sense to discount items after some time when they have recouped investments. It’s just that it’s a trade-off with differing advantages and disadvantages.

1 Like

I always understood that one of the fundamental differences is that the 252 has separate boards which are physically decoupled from critical components, whereas the 282 is built on one board.
Various components are also of a higher quality (allegedly) on the 252.
All I can further say is I noticed a significant improvement in sound quality when I changed from an 82 (not 282) to a 252.

1 Like

Listen to both…your answer will be in what your ears tell you! Only you can decide if it is worth the extra £2K.

1 Like