Naim 52 Preamplifiers

5/5 (4 Reviews) MSRP : $7000.00

Product Description

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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Bruce a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 28, 2002

Bottom Line:   
A special product

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Purchased At:   Secondhand

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Robert Holloway a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 7, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I love music.

This preamp delivers great music.

When we first auditioned it my wife heard a difference from another room!

Hard dance, techno, classical, rock, it doesn't matter.

it is at the same time exerting a vice like grip on rhythm and being airy.

Hard to describe until you hear it.

Not cheap. But 5 years on i would not change it.


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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $5000.00

Purchased At:   Forgot

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by David Antonelli a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 13, 1999

Bottom Line:   
Just thought I'd celebrate my 1st Naim aniversary by picking up a 52. A year ago I walked into Audio two and came out with a 3.5/92/90 and a year later to the day I walked in came out with a 52. I can't beleive I've come this far so soon. But here's my findings:
Just out of the box the 52 was nothing short of brilliant. Everything had a greater sense of depth and grace about it. Although there was a trace of grain in the high end this dissapeared within a few hours. I've never had so much fun mopping the floors of my house!

What was immediately aparent was not only an increase in realism and bass and many have described previously, but an increase in tonal color and emotional impact. This was first obvious when listening to John Coltranes Crescent. The opening sax in the second track never sounded so...well...emotional, for lack of a better word. It seemed to be telling a story all its own. Every note and inflection seemed to carry an underlying emotional message that hit me straight in the heart.

I tried other music. I went to U2's attrocious Pop CD because apart from Staring at the sun - a clear sid barret rip off (who haven't u2 ripped off?) the album normally sounds bright and a bit hard. I was immediately astonished by the new sense of softness about everything. Not a trace of hardness anywhere but an overall increase in everything good. I actually found myself liking the CD, picking up on Bono's vocals, and even sympathizing with his plight as portrayed in the songs - and I hate Bono.

I flipped through half a dozen CDs testing out the changes that the 52 had imparted on my system, but with each one I found myself becoming so absorbed in the music that I couldn't take it off. I listened to Grooverider (Mysteries of Funk) and a whole universe opened up in my living room, Bob Dylan (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) and it felt like I was sitting around the fire listening to Bob tell the tale of Billy the Kid, some lonesome and misunderstood desperado. I listened to the tindersticks second album and though I know this inside and out there were all these emotional nuances that kept coming out that I'd never considered before. The 52 had seemed to open up a whole layer of feeling that was completely lost to the 102.

After listening for hours with my jaw dropping to the floor every second minute, expecting to find some CD somewhere where the 52 would dissapoint or even anger me, all to no avail as it seemed to tocuh every recording with something like the breath of God, I tried some older harsher recordings. Certainly, said the source-first apologists, having a 52 will just make your CDX sound like a stream of bat piss, but they were wrong again!

"Follow me the wise man said, but he walked behind..." are the words that come to mind.

I listened to 'Be Careful with that Axe Eugene" from Pink Floyd's Ummagumma and although this sounded very thin and annoying on my 102 I found myself playing it over and over again. I was sucked into the psychedelic cyclone of early floyd like I hadn't since the good old days twenty years ago with refers the size of zepplins and vinyl strewn all over the floor.

Recalling my teenaged years I played Angie, by the stones and I tell you, the closing lines never meant so much. It made me think of the first time I heard the song and for the first time in my life I realized I wasn't a kid anymore and the possibility of girlfriends and love was suddenly THERE. "Ain't it goo dto be alive..."

Then I went through my "David Antonelli, the Angry Years", punk collection, selecting Bad Brains Rock for Light, The Damned's first album, The Undertones Peel sessions (sin of Pride) and The Birthday Party's Junkyard. In every case I was again astonished how the 52 seeemd to take the recording, consolidate and maximize everything that was good abaout it, and create a startling musical experience that is very difficult to describe. Even Dead Joe, a Birthday Party track designed only to shock, annoy and intimidate, was suddenly involving. And the openeing lines of the title track that go "One dead marine through the hatch..." had never sounded so wet, bilious, and seedy.

I was so happy, violently happy, in fact, that I wanted to run around barefoot through the march snow. And this was only a few hours into ownership. I went out to my favorite bar, got pissed with my favorite waitress, and went to meet my colleague, the illustrious Professor Mutus - a biochemist in our department - at a punk gig where all the band members (Luxary Christ) were totally naked except for a band of duct tape around their wastes and crotch - and had a night to be remembered.

This morning I awoke and dragged my face out of bed and started playing CDs again, convinced that the night before was some impossible mistake. Music couldn't sound this good.

But no, it sounded even better. My system had just stepped up from Gandalf the Gray to Gandalf the White. Something like an ineffable mystical transformation had just taken place.

Put this way:

The CDX 102 supercap to the CDX/XPS/102/suppercap was like comparing a south african cabernet to an australian one (I prefer the former) the XPS made everything thick and chewy and deep in a way that was not so appealing to me.

Going from the CDX/102/supercap to the CDX/52 was a totally new thing altogether, like comparing common table wine to '59 Gevery Chambertin, one of the best vintages of the century from any vinyard. When I had the oportunity to try this wine I just couldn't put into words how good it was. It wasn't even like wine at all. It was something almost divine. And I'd had some great Latour vintages in my day, but even the finest clarets were no match for this burgundy. This is how I feel about the 52. It's one of those things in life that inspires awe and can't really be put into words. Like the roof of the cistine chapel or the tripple point of helium, the music it plays is one of the truly remarkable things I've ever experienced.

Many might think this sounds fanatical. But the 52 has really reversed my opinion of naim. I was feeling very cheated and let down by the XPS but now I'm happy again.

I said that in my upgrade path supercapping the 102 followed by going from 3.5/flat to CDX were the biggest steps. Well, this upgrade makes the others seem like pale shadows.

Somehow rating this product with stars seems ridiculous, its so good. Even for the price its good. It just makes everything just that much more vital and emotional, moving and profound.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by rkeen a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 1, 1998

Bottom Line:   
Naims top of the line preamp with a seperate power supply connected with a garden hose cable with about 2 dozen pins. The phono input has different cards to match all types of cartridges. Fully remote controlled with 6 record and inputs. The phono is uses BNC inputs and all others are 5 pin DIN. This requires the use of Chord interconnects when connecting to non Naim components but Naim feels strongly that common grounds are essential for the best performance and I can attest to the fact that interconnects costing hundreds of dollars per meter do not sound better and usually worse. What can one say about this preamp. It has the musicalness of tubes with the detail of the best in solid state. The detail it is capable of is truly astonishing and every music part is fully in tune. When you listen to a familiar song it is as if it has been redone with depth, more harmonies and a smoothness that begs you to listen at sound levels that you would never normally use. Of course the source must be top quality like LP/12 or CDS to really use its performance. This is certainly one of the best preamps available. It is the best I have ever heard in all respects and the Naim products are definately worth an audition. I believe their goal of making music enhance lives has been met. I just turn mine up and it sounds 95% as good regaurdless of what room I am in. So you can just enjoy all the time. I even run the sat and vcr through it and although I don't have the full surround sound I feel the few times the rear speaker effects are missed are more than ofset by the fabulous quality of the audio. It puts a lucas theather to shame.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast

Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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