Ok so I tried a 252 and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Is this preamp the weak link in the Naim line up?

Ive recently purchased a used NDS and 555PS DR and initially have had them running with my Superuniti and 300dr into Ovator S400's.

I have had the 252 and SupercapDr on home demo for a week and it hasn't excited me enough to even try and do a deal with my dealer when I returned them today. Now I'm faced with demoing a 282 or a 552. I can't see the 282 being the best thing for an NDS and the 552 is a bit steep (although I'd buy it if it was the right one for me).

Have and of you been faced with this problem in the same way as I have? Is this where people buy the cheaper item because they can't afford the one they really want before selling the lot and downsizing?

It will be interesting to hear other's thoughts as I'm aware the 252 devides opinion.

Original Post

Maybe the 252's presentation doesn't work for you, Drewy. It didn't for me and I tried it twice at home, each time for a couple of weeks.  I found my 282 (with SC) less refined and detailed but just so much more exciting.  I ran my 282 with SCDR and 300DR for a while and found it an excellent combination. Perhaps you should try a 282 in your system to see if its presentation pushes you buttons. Some don't like it but you won't know until you try.

I agree the step to a 552 is steep, and is a big step up in performance from 282/252. I took that step but remain a big fan of the 282.

Mike 

I installed it myself. I did have a play around with it on the single Fraim stack. Power supplies were lowest, from the bottom 300ps, Supercap and then 555ps. The others were in the same order as their power supplies above. As I said I did play around with things to make sure it was good as it could be and there was a nice improvement particularly in the bass resulting in the soundstage opening up but it just didn't do enough for me. 

Maybe im expecting too much and only by trying other preamps will I really be able to put in into perspective.

Drewy posted:

I installed it myself. I did have a play around with it on the single Fraim stack. Power supplies were lowest, from the bottom 300ps, Supercap and then 555ps. The others were in the same order as their power supplies above.

I think most would expect brain and brawn stacks at this level.

C.

MDS posted:

Maybe the 252's presentation doesn't work for you, Drewy. It didn't for me and I tried it twice at home, each time for a couple of weeks.  I found my 282 (with SC) less refined and detailed but just so much more exciting.  I ran my 282 with SCDR and 300DR for a while and found it an excellent combination. Perhaps you should try a 282 in your system to see if its presentation pushes you buttons. Some don't like it but you won't know until you try.

I agree the step to a 552 is steep, and is a big step up in performance from 282/252. I took that step but remain a big fan of the 282.

Mike 

Thanks for the reply. You obviously can see where I'm coming from. 

I once had an 82 and Supercap, with a CDS3. I swapped to a 252 but didn't really get along with it. It was very nice, but seemed somehow restrained. I quickly sold it and got a 552, which was wonderful. Others love the 252 though. These are all expensive purchases and it's important to get it right. 

As you know, a single stack isn't optimal with the gear you're trying. It really needs 'brain' and 'brawn' stacks to get the best performance.  That said, I would expect you to be able to hear enough of a performance lift from trying a 252/SC or 282/SC over your Superuniti to know whether the investment is worthwhile.    

Do a search on here, there are lots of conflicting opinions on this subject, the 252 seems to divide opinion more than any of the other preamp in the classic range.

Im running virtually the same with just different speakers and I just love it.

It is very sensitive to set up so maybe get the dealer to check that ?

Is it a new one or has the amp or power supply yet to run in ?

Properly set up and run in it should trounce the superuniti preamp section.

One final thing, I moved up from a 152/155XS system first running the 252 with the 155 power amp before adding a 300 then 300DR. At first, I wasn't sure what difference the 252 was making but after a period of listening the "penny dropped" and I loved what it was doing so, maybe a bit of time is needed.

If after all the above it's still not for you, move on, try the 282 or 552 and see if you prefer either of those. If your end game is the 552 and you can afford it, you may be as well just going straight there and missing the 252 all together.

Christopher_M posted:
Drewy posted:

I installed it myself. I did have a play around with it on the single Fraim stack. Power supplies were lowest, from the bottom 300ps, Supercap and then 555ps. The others were in the same order as their power supplies above.

I think most would expect brain and brawn stacks at this level.

C.

Maybe but not in my room. This is my lounge dining room and it has to fit in with other items of furniture and meet the approval of you know who.

Yes the 252 is fussy to setup with cable dressing and support... the SuperCap obviously is important, is it new or has it been recapped if old?

But as said above it might not be your cup of tea.. it's a very neutral and insightful preamp, some might prefer the slightly larger than life presentation of the 282.

When set up right I think it's hard to beat.. so much so I went and bought one... but yes it took a little bit of effort to get it sounding like it does now...  my SuperCapDR I bought used albeit only a couple of years old.

Simon

Hi,

A search on here will reveal much discussion about the virtues of the 252 and 282. Personally i love the sound of the 252 even thought I've made a decision to stay with the 282.  But have no doubt about the ability of the 282 to stand alongside the NDS mine partners a CDS3 and it's superb.  Perhaps if you  tried the 282 you'd at least get the difference between the 2. 

The 552?  Don't take me there - if I could I would!!

Good luck,

Lindsay

If the comparison is between using an SU as a dedicated pre vs a 252 (into a 300 DR), and your finding is in favour of the Superuniti, my thinking is that something is off. Either of the 282 or 252 should be a marked improvement... granted which you prefer of those two is down to taste.

I'd give the 282 a shot... unless you have the deep pockets for a 552.

 

Massimo Bertola posted:

I've heard my brother-in-law's 252/SC a few times; I won't discuss dynamics, treble or bass, or the sort; but I was struck immediately by a feeling of 'time coherence', of 'flow' I had not experienced before, but recognised at once. To me, the 252 is essentially that.

M

Good description, Massimo. I thought the 252 timed very well but it seemed to do so as if sitting in a nice comfy armchair, which is fine if the music is is relaxing.   When it came to rock music I wanted it to jump out of the armchair and cause me to jump out of mine. It didn't so I didn't.

Hungryhalibut posted:

I once had an 82 and Supercap, with a CDS3. I swapped to a 252 but didn't really get along with it. It was very nice, but seemed somehow restrained. I quickly sold it and got a 552, which was wonderful. Others love the 252 though. These are all expensive purchases and it's important to get it right. 

Totally agree. A few years ago I would have gone for the 252 straight away but I've grown up a lot since then. I promised myself a real Naim system since I was 17 years old and am determined not to let this final piece of the jigsaw lead to disappointment. 

My dealer has offered to get a 552 to demo in their room alongside the very same 252 to see the difference in real terms before letting me try the 552 at home if I then wish.

Drewy posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

I once had an 82 and Supercap, with a CDS3. I swapped to a 252 but didn't really get along with it. It was very nice, but seemed somehow restrained. I quickly sold it and got a 552, which was wonderful. Others love the 252 though. These are all expensive purchases and it's important to get it right. 

My dealer has offered to get a 552 to demo in their room alongside the very same 252 to see the difference in real terms before letting me try the 552 at home if I then wish.

My advice would be don't do it unless you're really prepared to pay for a 552. 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Yes the 252 is fussy to setup with cable dressing and support... the SuperCap obviously is important, is it new or has it been recapped if old?

But as said above it might not be your cup of tea.. it's a very neutral and insightful preamp, some might prefer the slightly larger than life presentation of the 282.

When set up right I think it's hard to beat.. so much so I went and bought one... but yes it took a little bit of effort to get it sounding like it does now...  my SuperCapDR I bought used albeit only a couple of years old.

Simon

Both supercap and 252 are 2015 models so I assume there quite well run in and I did give it some welly over the last week. 

Personally I don't think it's for me but then again I can't really say as I've not compared it to the other two options. I might demo the others and decide the 252 is better than it seems to my ears.

What is the 555ps powering, can it go below the 252?

I always prefered my 282 below the CDX2 but the 552 needed to go above it, probably to get away from the 500ps which was quite high in the adjacent stack to keep the burndies off the deck.

Play around with plug order too. I always ended up from power in, CDps,(superline ps if I used one), pre ps, power, the rest. This isn't everyones preference.

This sort of tweakery is your fate if you scale the higher end of the Naim range.

Zipperheadbanjo posted:

If the comparison is between using an SU as a dedicated pre vs a 252 (into a 300 DR), and your finding is in favour of the Superuniti, my thinking is that something is off. Either of the 282 or 252 should be a marked improvement... granted which you prefer of those two is down to taste.

I'd give the 282 a shot... unless you have the deep pockets for a 552.

 

Sorry I might have misled you with my initial post. I'm not saying the SU is preferred. I'd take the 252 over just the SU any day but I just don't think I want to pay 10k for a preamp that I'm not sure about. 

Drewy,

At this level of investment your dealer should be making house calls.  It could be that you were not hearing the 252 at its best, and your dealer should be able to help with setup - maybe he could loan some extra Fraim?

What music were you using?  Can you describe what is missing from the music?

Charlie

CharlieP posted:

Drewy,

At this level of investment your dealer should be making house calls.  It could be that you were not hearing the 252 at its best, and your dealer should be able to help with setup - maybe he could loan some extra Fraim?

What music were you using?  Can you describe what is missing from the music?

Charlie

Hi Charlie. My dealer is fine, I'm my opinion there is no magic way of setting these things up. It's common sense stuff and I've spent some time this week moving things around, playing with Burndies etc so I think I've got it as good as I can reasonably expect. In fact I'd like to fall in love with it before resorting to endless tweaking. 

I trust my dealer to help me do the right thing and this is why I'm prepared to spend what I need to rather than just saying bollocks to it and buying a used 552 on a whim.

The 252 is quite neutral and requires a very good setup and a long warmup to show it's qualities. Only people who have had it a bit longer and let it settle in the full qualities show up. While it's not in the same league as a 552 it should bring a lot of joy. But if you consider a 282 than I would suggest to give it a bit longer. If a 552 is possible, just let yourself be convinced by king 552.....

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Yes the 252 is fussy to setup with cable dressing and support... the SuperCap obviously is important, is it new or has it been recapped if old?

But as said above it might not be your cup of tea.. it's a very neutral and insightful preamp, some might prefer the slightly larger than life presentation of the 282.

When set up right I think it's hard to beat.. so much so I went and bought one... but yes it took a little bit of effort to get it sounding like it does now...  my SuperCapDR I bought used albeit only a couple of years old.

Simon

Simon,  I couldn't agree more after hearing the 252 against the 282 I did end up purchasing the 252 as I personally preferred the presentation of the 252 in the system as purchased.

Correct installation and setup of the 252 and Supercap is essential to get the best out of the 252. I was quite surprised at the time and effort the dealer took when installing the new kit particularly with cable dressing to ensure that everything sounded as it should.

 

Ok so I've just had chance to sit down and listen to my existing and slightly odd NDS, SU and 300DR arrangement and have bunged on a bit of Madonna's immaculate collection cd rip (it was played briefly yesterday) and it sounds so restricted (as it should be) compared to the system with the 252 in place of the SU. All of a sudden the 252 seems great to my ears. Maybe I didn't appreciate it when it was there but there must be a reason for that.

I'm going to be seeing a bit more of my dealer before I'm done with this episode. I never expected choosing a preamp was going to be that difficult, every other naim item I have has been a no brainer 

Perhaps it's my taste in music but I've always been happy with my 252/Supercap DR. I progressed from a 202 and 282 and for me the 252 was a real improvement. It's all down to the sum of the parts at the end of the day and in my system it clearly works. Recently the addition of a SL loom made the biggest single difference even with my Ovator 600s - Marmite effects cancelled out perhaps?!

One can over-analyse such things

MDS posted:

Maybe the 252's presentation doesn't work for you, Drewy. It didn't for me and I tried it twice at home, each time for a couple of weeks.  I found my 282 (with SC) less refined and detailed but just so much more exciting.  I ran my 282 with SCDR and 300DR for a while and found it an excellent combination. Perhaps you should try a 282 in your system to see if its presentation pushes you buttons. Some don't like it but you won't know until you try.

I agree the step to a 552 is steep, and is a big step up in performance from 282/252. I took that step but remain a big fan of the 282.

Mike 

I agree with pretty  much everything Mike says. I was happy with the 282/S.Cap./250 before moving on.

Do you prefer your current set up to the 252. 

Are all the cables dressed correctly. Haven't read all the replies, so sorry if there's duplication in my response.

Ravenswood10 posted:

Perhaps it's my taste in music but I've always been happy with my 252/Supercap DR. I progressed from a 202 and 282 and for me the 252 was a real improvement. It's all down to the sum of the parts at the end of the day and in my system it clearly works. Recently the addition of a SL loom made the biggest single difference even with my Ovator 600s - Marmite effects cancelled out perhaps?!

One can over-analyse such things

Yes you are probably right. 

Ive now got Roger Waters' The Wall album on. I had it on last night through the 252 and it did sound amazing. Now my wife has just commented it sounds like cotton wool and she's never usually bothered. 

I'm wondering if my initial thoughts on the 252 stems from when I first plugged it in and turned it on from cold. Maybe it took a week to gradually improve so I didn't notice how much better it was than my existing system. Mr dealer did ask me what I thought after plugging the SU back in but of course I had to say I'd not tried it at that point. 

Im off to London for new year tomorrow so I will have a good think about where I'm going to go from here and if I'm prepared to dare try a 552.

Drewy, you are close to or at the position when the law of diminishing returns really has relevance.

SuperUniti to 252 and thence 552 is, in reality, not worth the outlay from a bang per buck perspective.

When I got a s/h SuperUniti I put it in my main system to check it was working okay, so it replaced a 552/300 and there was no red faced embarrassment -  something sounding broken moment. The SuperUniti is damn fine, the 552/330 is better but not £25K better.

I love my Naim system, but it's overpriced of that I'm sure, the doubling in price of each pre simply does not equate to anything like a doubling in sound quality, it's in the 10-25% arena if we are all honest.

What am I saying, perhaps you're expecting too much, the leaps you imagine from reading this forum, IMHO simply don't exist.

 

SJB

 

sheffieldgraham posted:
MDS posted:

Maybe the 252's presentation doesn't work for you, Drewy. It didn't for me and I tried it twice at home, each time for a couple of weeks.  I found my 282 (with SC) less refined and detailed but just so much more exciting.  I ran my 282 with SCDR and 300DR for a while and found it an excellent combination. Perhaps you should try a 282 in your system to see if its presentation pushes you buttons. Some don't like it but you won't know until you try.

I agree the step to a 552 is steep, and is a big step up in performance from 282/252. I took that step but remain a big fan of the 282.

Mike 

I agree with pretty  much everything Mike says. I was happy with the 282/S.Cap./250 before moving on.

Do you prefer your current set up to the 252. 

Are all the cables dressed correctly. Haven't read all the replies, so sorry if there's duplication in my response.

Hi Graham. 

Yes the cables are/were I believe dressed correctly or as best as I can get them (it's awkward isn't it).

as you will see in my last reply I certainly don't prefer my current set up. That would be nuts.

i think the main thing it it didn't sound too fantastic when I first powered it up and it slowly improved to achieve its best, slower than I ever thought it would and it might not be a very well run in example (I'll ask my dealer about this when I next speak to him). I think you get more of an impact going back to your old set up than you do trying out the new.

I'd agree with Sloop John B. The gains moving up the chain are there for sure but whether they are worth the extra outlay only you can decide.

Almost any Naim system is better (and much more expensive) than most men in the street would own.

Find the best combination of components your budget can run to, switch it on, run it in and sit back and enjoy the music.

This place can be incredibly detrimental to your bank balance if you're not careful !

The Strat (Fender) posted:

Are we suggesting that the 252 is in some way more temperamental than either the 282 or 552?

I wouldn't be in a position to comment on the others but I think I've found out that the 252 at least needs a lot of warming up and settling down to sound it's best. 

SJB, there is a lot of truth in what you say. I once had a CDS3, 552 and 300 and while it was better than the much simpler and cheaper 272/250 I have now, it wasn't that much better. Interestingly, the speakers were/are the same in both setups. It's quite nice to have owned the expensive stuff and to realise that it's not necessary in order to enjoy your music. A well sorted more modest system with good stands, mains and wires can sound much better than an expensive setup slung together. It's also worth noting that a used 552 can be had for less than the cost of a new 252/SC. 

Sloop John B posted:

Drewy, you are close to or at the position when the law of diminishing returns really has relevance.

SuperUniti to 252 and thence 552 is, in reality, not worth the outlay from a bang per buck perspective.

When I got a s/h SuperUniti I put it in my main system to check it was working okay, so it replaced a 552/300 and there was no red faced embarrassment -  something sounding broken moment. The SuperUniti is damn fine, the 552/330 is better but not £25K better.

I love my Naim system, but it's overpriced of that I'm sure, the doubling in price of each pre simply does not equate to anything like a doubling in sound quality, it's in the 10-25% arena if we are all honest.

What am I saying, perhaps you're expecting too much, the leaps you imagine from reading this forum, IMHO simply don't exist.

 

SJB

 

IanG posted:

I'd agree with Sloop John B. The gains moving up the chain are there for sure but whether they are worth the extra outlay only you can decide.

Almost any Naim system is better (and much more expensive) than most men in the street would own.

Find the best combination of components your budget can run to, switch it on, run it in and sit back and enjoy the music.

This place can be incredibly detrimental to your bank balance if you're not careful !

I totally agree with both of you but the biggest waste of money is buying something you later wish you hadn't. It's then that you lose money and the very reason I started by putting a 300 on my SU followed by the NDS. The only thing I'm having to sell on at a loss is the SU and as I got that ex demo for £2600 I've not done too bad there. 

Ive got friends buying expensive Porsches and Audi's they can't really afford and losing more than 20k on those in no time while sat in traffic so that's my justification. I nearly convince myself Naim stuff is cheap until I look and what's inside it.

Drewy,

Several 252 owners here have provided excellent advice on set up to get the best out of a 252.

Several years ago, I too was looking to buy a 252/Supercap. After auditioning 3 separate examples in dealer demos, I couldn't settle with it. After trying a 282/Supercap, I ended up with the 52 that I enjoy to this day.  There are many, many threads about 252 vs 282, as their character is so different.  

If you able to, try to listen to a 52 in your system. On the other hand, I have found the 552 to be head and shoulders above any of these 3 pre-amps, so long as you can afford one.

Hope this helps, FT

While things do improve and settle down, it should be possible to tell the difference straight away. It took literally ten seconds to hear how much of a world away the 552 is to the 252. If after a few days you are not entirely convinced it's unlikely you ever will be. It's easier to believe that something is better just because everyone tells you it is. I'm increasingly  convinced that upgrading without going anywhere near the Forum, and making your own uninfluenced decisions, is the best way to get the right decision. Those who love the 252 tell you it's the best, those who think the 282 is better tell you that there is no point getting the the 252, and then there are those who love the 552 saying that you should go for it whether you can afford it or not. I've owned two 252s and didn't really like it either time. The 552 is wonderful, but it costs TWENTY THOUSAND POUNDS! Is it worth it? Will it make your life that much better? Does this make sense? Probably not. 

sheffieldgraham posted:

Drewy : "I nearly convince myself Naim stuff is cheap until I look and what's inside it."

Do you mean cheap financially or cheap in the looks department? 

 

Financially. I think 

i think I'm losing the plot here. All I need now is Wenger's input

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