Vivaldi and no pre amp in the system

Hi guys

I’ve been running my vivaldi directly into my naim 500dr amplifier for a few days now, and it’s been very interesting indeed.

It’s very funny seeing, or should i say, not seeing all the green lights on, as i have switched my naim 552dr pre amplifier off along with my naim superline/supercap.

My first reaction to the sound was that it was different, i don’t remember it like this last time i tried it with my rossini.
It’s certainly got more top to it all. It sounds faster, almost too fast. The bass is quicker and has a reel stop to it if that makes any sense.
But things are certainly quieter and even more detail coming out from the very black background.
No more hiss or noise from the speakers at all when not being used, plus only one naim transformer to hum as well, so that’s all good points.
But even with what i have said above, i feel something is missing, and i am not sure what it is. The system sounds great still, has lots of ptat, more detail, etc, etc. Maybe i am just missing what naim Pre Amp’s add? I don’t know, i was hoping that by now i would, but i am still in the same place.
I am certainly liking the darkness and the extra details that is coming through from that, the extra speed of it all could be what i am finding hard to adjust too, ot it could be the extra top the system has and maybe lost some midrange.

Also love using the dCS volume remote, its so much nicer and so is the one on the box.
Also there is no unbalanced volume at low levels that the naim has, it’s just perfect.

The big question is can i live without a pre, well not really if i want to play my record’s again, can i live without my 552? Well probably yes, as the positives above i like and this has got me thinking, and highlighted a few things wrong with a 552 in my system. As it is holding back what my vivaldi can do, as details are being lost.
Maybe its time for the naim to go and its time to find a new partner?

Also i haven’t got this set up as good as i could, my cables aren’t exactly the best, using a not so good mains cable, and its on the house ring main, and not the hifi ring for the vivaldi dac. The reason for all this is because, that’s what i have and its difficult to get at the mains cable to swap it over.

Anyway thats about it for now, going to keep it like this for atleast another week, plus i have a PhoenixNet coming monday and that will require me stripping the rack down so i can install it properly.


Hi Dunc,
please keep us updated- this could be my journey as well ( some say keep the pre-amp;-) )
If I would sell my pre-amp and my Rossini, I could fund a Vivaldi using this directly connected to power-amp…


chuckle I think what you’re “missing” now is the inherent warmth (some might say HF rolloff) that both my 252 and 552 have that possibly makes the midrange stand out more … but having notes that start and stop when they should do rather than needing to be coaxed into action like my 17 year old stepson is what really did it for me.

I absolutely love the sound of the setup I have here at home which is running through a 300 and Titan 707’s … every time I need to check something out through the day for work I end up losing three hours and with both the dog and the leaving the room because it gets too loud for them.


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Well, when i tried this back in 2020 with my rossini, it was much closer, but in the end went with the naim pre and my rossini set at 6 volts out.
Now with an apex vivaldi, the difference is very significant, it’s easy to hear the extra details popping out and the much better stop, strart etc as i have already said.

I do need an extra input for my turntable and this is a problem i need to over come if i get rid of the naim pre.
Maybe change the amp as well? Not sure right now

I had the Naim 252/300 years ago (282 as well, HDX, NDX, NDS, ND555) - imho they sounded “limited” in terms of resolution/highs (yes they got PRaT…). I listen a lot baroque music and was missing that part of resolution, that’s why I left the Naim path. But I got your point of having two inputs (digital and vinyl).

The 500dr is sounding very good without its mate, it’s certainly better without it, and i am really enjoying the way it’s sounding.
Don’t know how or what to do, about my turntable, as need to somehow get that back into the system.
Maybe a new supper integrated amp? But i don’t want to lose the sound i have.
Maybe a new balance amp, plus a separate passive pre, just for the turntable, and just have to swap over connections into the amp when i want to play records. I could live with that i think.
But right now i dont feel like putting the 552dr back in, as i know its going to be a backwards step

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I’m now running my Bartok direct into my Bryston 3B(3) and I echo @Dunc and @Phil comments. I posted about this the Bartok as a pre thread… Net net, without a preamp things are objectively quieter, more micro-ly dynamic and ultimately less fatiguing (I can listen at higher SPLs. Subjectively my Bartok sounds best running between 0dB and -6dB of any given voltage output. That means .2 and .6V. out for me

Because a couple of Bartok reviews insisted that best performance was achieved with a pre amp, I simply didn’t give the Bartok direct a chance.

What’s missing is now more a question of what the pre amp was adding. In my case - that is extra energy in the upper bass around 100 hz that give the illusion increased dynamics and a tiny bit of grit and glare that masquerades as extra detail at lower volume levels.

The other revelation is how little power I must be using. at .2 or even .6v - even at the top end of the range I must be using only a hand full of watts. I it likely my 200W class AB amp never leaves its tiny Class A bias.

Go figure


Can I make what you might think is a REALLY dumb suggestion but I did this with my friends setup and we didn’t think it would work but it worked far better than we thought and it was a “disposable” cost if it didn’t work.

My mate has a fairly decent LP12 setup and he’s using it with a Stageline (not a Superline) and he needed to get it into a TOSLInk input so we just ran it through a basic Amazon analogue to digital converter thinking that it would do for now until we could find a decent solution and in the end we both just sat there and went “You know, this isn’t half bad, I don’t LIKE it as a solution but it does work…”

It’s leftfield and it really grinds at my desire to have something that comes in an expensive box with nice connectors and a big PCB and lots of pomp and circumstance but Steve is quite into his HiFi (he has my 552 / 500 and DBLs) and he was quite happy with how his LP12 sounded run through the ADC…



Worth a go i guess.

The integrated LP12 preamp uses digital outputs , doesn‘t it? Guess you could even use fibre out? Urika ll, just checked…

Depends which phono stage you’re using of course …

My friends LP12 isn’t particularly “flash” - in fact it’s what’s referred to as a “Frankie” and was actually built for him by one of my old work colleagues with all the parts supplied by my old dealers.

I’d wanted to sort him an LP12 for ages as he’s wanted one for as long as I’ve known him (we were at Uni together along with a lad who’s dad used to make the motors for LP12’s) but he’s always had other things to spend his money on - kids and house etc. and he doesn’t really treat himself - and as soon as some of my old dealers got wind of what I wanted to do then they were totally up for helping out which I thought was just incredible.


I totally get the lack of audiophile credibility but if nothing else it gets your turntable into your Vivaldi while you find an alternative solution…

You could always hunt for one of the old Pro series dCS ADCs. :wink:


That’s genius - something that’s never occurred to me. Although I have limited need for vinyl these days I still have a turntable and for the occasional listen that could do perfectly.

Phil, what’s that?

Well, it looks a bit different tonight, as I got busy.

Decided i needed to remove all i could and wire it up better. So i removed all my gear that’s not being used right now, got my old rack back out, and this is the temporary result.

Quite a bit of fraim, if i change to go as well.

Cheers dunc


Quand on Naim on ne compte pas ! :laughing:

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Nice! You could even move most bits to one side and leave just the power amp in the middle if you wanted to go silly.

Hi Marq,

Remember that you need to have an external phono stage so that you have a line level audio feed to run into the ADC - you can’t just run the cartridge output directly into it…

Duncan has a Superline (the good Naim phono stage) and my friend has the Stageline (the basic Naim phono stage).

There is even a standalone phono stage - I think it’s the ProJect-E or something like that that actually has a TOSLink out on it …


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Hi Duncan,

What’s what?

That’s a hell of a stack of spare Fraim!

Am I allowed to take a smidgin of pleasure there that I encouraged you to give it a try?

I hadn’t remembered you had 808’s … I’ve got 707’s here as my OH didn’t like my T88’s and so I had to downsize a little. I still have the T88’s but as with most of my kit it’s mostly out on loan … thankfully she hasn’t complained at the 707’s as otherwise it would have been my S20’s making an appearance. :joy:

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I have a Rega P3 with a Rega Fono phono stage so I think that would be OK.