Would you get a 252/552 in 2020?

While it seems clear that upgrading goes through separates and more boxes, climbing the steps through the Naim range, up to 500 series / Statement, I can’t help to think : do the 252 or 552 preamp belong to the last decades ?

When funding allows, it will be tempting to go from my current 272/555PS/300 to a 6 box system with 252 or 552 (I could live with 6 boxes, though less would be preferable) but looking at the 252/552, I would be worried that they would get upgraded/revamped in the range shortly after I buy (and not even mentioning the potential new 272.2).

Has there been much evolution on these products in the last 20 years ? when were the products last updated ? who still needs so many inputs today ? and tape / recording, etc…

A 252 or a 552 is a lot of money. Thinking the tech or the version of the product may be obsolete soon makes one think twice before committing the funds.

Am I the only one to think this way ?

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Obsolete? Unless the utility co. starts injecting something into the AC power that adversely affects these devices, I suspect that they will work as wonderfully in 2021, 2022, etc. as they do in 2020.

Let’s look across the industry. Given that the Naim preamp designs haven’t changed in a long time as you point out, others certainly must have advanced things. So what do you see out there? Have others left the Naim preamps in the dust, technically or sonically? I see passive preamps, but those are different. Lots of all-in-ones (but they aren’t pure preamps). But if separates are on the way out, maybe Naim has missed the boat on the all-in-ones? Well not really as they did the Unitis, then the next-gen Unitis, and now the 3rd gen Atom/Star/Nova Unitis.

The serious reply is that if a preamp killer technology was around the corner, unless there is a Nobel Prize type top-secret project going on in Salisbury, you’d see others introducing it and lapping Naim. I’ve not seen it - how about you?

Yes a 252 or 552 is a lot of money. But the Naim Advantage ™ is that you can buy a 2, or 5, or 10 yr old preamp at a fraction of MSRP, and even get it serviced and brought up to 2020 new performance if you want. And whether you buy it new or used, unless the power utility has read this, it won’t be “obsolete” very soon.

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New - no.

Pre-loved, depending on the price, perhaps - and part driven by the longevity in play.

And what mustn’t be forgotten with the more expensive kit is that servicing is more expensive too - and IME, the suggested 15Y timelines for 500 series kit is over-long (I’d work to max 10Y).

Over the years, there have been Forum posts asking whether a stripped-down 252/552 would be made with fewer inputs, in the process saving quite a few bucks. The flip side is that instead of Tape and alike now, people are running AV through their systems.

To me, it’s such a shame that Naim (driven by their philosophies) haven’t got a more powerful & better quality integrated amp in the range.

Of course, in terms of widening the brand, the big question hangs as to whether the Classic and 500 Series products will see much/if any updating, with the R&D focus perhaps being on products with a wider market appeal*. Only time will tell.

*should these deliver say 85/90% of the quality of the separates’ ranges now, I’d be interested.

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These queries were there almost a decade ago on the old forum.

10 years later, the 252 or the 552 have not been updated

Does it make a 252/552 in 2020, yes absolutely if you can swing it financially.

This is one topic that has been spoken about by many, for many years.
I agree many of the products remain unchanged in many years. But has the technology on Pre/power amps improved significantly over the years?
I don’t think so as there is nothing out there that I know of that is in a league of its own using new and improved technology.

DR was the last significant improvement and is a technology that stems from Statement.

If Statement is the pinnacle of Naims Pre/power then realistically it’s only other technology within that, that may filter down to the classic range.
That’s if there is anything that could be realistically implemented without significant additional costs involved.

An updated chassis with inputs removed/ re-worded would be welcomed but it’s nothing to loose sleep over.

Agreed in this day and age people are all for clean minimalist living rooms and box count is a consideration these days but there is only so much you can do with integrated units.
If they are able to get an integrated as good as say a current 252/300 then you can bet your boots they could make them even better if kept separate again and so on.

As analogue devices sure. Analogue technology and electrical engineering hasn’t moved as fast as digital technology at all.

The gap between top quality analogue gear of the 80s and now, despite 40 years, is there but it isn’t huge.

No way at new prices.

@AhTiong, I had your exact system except for Sopra-3 in rather larger 17X25 foot room. Very happy with the SQ and as has been said many times on this forum, that combination is a very cost effective 4 box setup. I was waiting for the 272 successor but had an opportunity on a 552/ND555 that I didn’t pass up. Was slightly worried about 552 update but as it turns out that was 18 months ago now.
Is it better? Yes, in every way but not by an amount commensurate with the cost differential. Perfect example of the law of diminishing returns.
So you seem to be in the same situation. No absolute answers here. It comes down to discretionary funds and box count. Wouldn’t be too worried about a 252 or 552 update though.
In the meantime hope you are enjoying your excellent system

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All, thank you for sharing your respective opinions.

It could be that the tech has not evolved much but a product refresh would be welcome, at least to modernise the preamp inputs and dissipate the feeling that the product may be outdated.

@jsaudio, great setup that you have now. Thank you for describing your journey and thinking process re. upgrade of the 272. I guess I will keep on waiting for a new revamped 272 for now and perhaps work on other aspects of the system in the mean time, like cabling. I confirm the system as-is is a very enjoyable one :grinning:

Naim will not update unless they can make a SQ improvement. If you listen to a Statement S1 versus a 552…to me the Statement is better, but comes at huge cost. To me there very little SQ room to improve the 552, without the Statement being upgraded as well…not likely imo.

Agree - they could spruce up the whole pre amp range

Would I buy a 252/552 in 2020? If I liked the sound that they produced andhad the wherewithal to purchase one (pre-loved), then why not?

Obsolescence is not an issue I believe. I have just had my “Trigger’s broom” Linn LP12 delivered back to me by Geoff at Soundcraft having had a Karousel/Kore/Lingo4 plus new lid/hinges/outer platter/TKable and Trampolin2, plus new cartridge fitted, and have agreed with him that I will have my 52/Supercap and 135s serviced all in one go.

My point here is that the Linn first appeared in the 1970s (mine being purchased in 1984/85) and my amplification, with the exception of the Supercap is all of 1991 vintage. Yet here we are in 2020 and it is still in use and able to be serviced and indeed improved on their original spec. If I had the space and inclination I would love an active six-pack set up.

Massive credit,I believe, should go to both Linn and Naim for continuing to support their products over such a period of time. I don’t go to hi-fi shows and don’t have friends or acquaintances who spend loads of money on hi-fi gear, so I’m hardly an industry expert, but as Bart says, where is this redefinition of the state of the audio art that will render the 252 or 552 obsolete?

So, referring to my original point in this rather verbose post of mine, if want it, like and can afford it, buy it and use it and don’t worry too much about what may come along…


They did with the DR technology, without going through a whole change the case and model number bullshit which could have brought in more cash. Moreover they made it accessible to all existing owners.

That’s what Naim has always been about - the sound and not the usual high-end audiophile rubbish or any excuse to make a fast buck. It’s why so many musicians buy their gear and why so many of us stick with it.

You can spend many times more and just get oozing, mellifluous syrup that sounds nothing like a live performance, but is the very latest model, with even more up-to-date inputs than the marvellous new cutting edge box that was released last year… Naim is something else. Always has been and still manages to carry it forwards despite the odd hiccup…


I didn’t mean a complete revamp.

The tape button name to me seems out of date

I prefer the SN3 button layout but tbh they won’t change that just for me

Have there been no improvements in electronic components - the range hasn’t been updated internally for 18 years now

Is DR much employed on pre amps

As others have said, s/h units are probably worth it but ( and this is as a 552 owner) I think the jump in sound quality Is wholly exaggerated on this forum.

This “my old one sounds broken malarkey” gives a wholly wrong impression.

You will get better SQ and it will last you for years and give years of enjoyment but new the prices seem plain silly.



Second hand prices is just about ok and is what i did, i for one would not pay the new price.
But it does seem that we all aspire to get to the 500 series kit and why not, but then quite a few once they get there move on, like what i might be doing. That makes me think why is this.

over the past 20 years I have owned 202, 282 and now 252 - these Pre Amp’s are still very very musical

Can NAIM improve on these products? well Statement showed where they can get to, I have only heard a Vitus R1 which came closed to my 252/300DR

I plan to keep my 252 for a very long time, so the final investment of hours played vs cost I am sure will be low

NAIM have focused on electronics and with the new streamers have proved this

LInn have just introduced the Karsouel after 35 years of the Cirkus

There’s obviously “fun” in thinking about and shopping for and then actually changing or upgrading the hardware. Seems natural for some to have a 500-series system and still want to experience that. Absent something between 500-series and Statement at this time, would again be natural to think about other brands, other sounds, other ownership experiences.

I feel comfortable selling off a nice watch having experienced owning and wearing it for a while. I’m sure that’s not unique to watch ownership. Cars too, right?

Look, the 252 and 552 sound great. If other designs, either from Naim or elsewhere, come along they will still sound great. If you love music they should be enough. If you want the bragging rights on the latest hi Fi then maybe not. You decide.


They improved the SN2 and Xs2 with SN3 and Xs3.
I hope we will see 553, 253…203…next