555PSDR vs non-DR on CDX2 when used as a transport only?

For many years, I ran a CDX2/nDAC/555PS, with the 555 on the DAC. The 555 is 2007 vintage and has not been serviced or DR-ed.

Last year, I replaced the nDAC with the Chord Hugo TT2, and so the question now is what to do with the 555. Initially, I was running the CDX2 under its own steam into the TT2, but a couple of months ago hooked it up to the 555. However, where the 555 had clearly placed the nDAC into an altogether different league compared to the bare nDAC, I can’t say the same about its performance with the CDX2 – at least with the CDX2 used as a transport. There is perhaps a tiny bit more bass control, but overall, I’m finding the musical performance less enjoyable. It’s not so much weightier as weighed down. The trademark exuberance of the CDX2 feels a tad compromised.

To what extent might this all change with a service + DR? Can an un-serviced 555 ever get to the point where it becomes a liability rather than an asset? Or is the benefit of the 555 (in whatever state) on the CDX2 only really apparent when using the player “whole”, as opposed to as a transport?

The choice is to sell the 555 or send it in. The service + DR is a pricey proposition. In the event that it doesn’t pay off – it comes back serviced and DR-ed, and provides marginal, or no benefit to the CDX2 – I would probably be able to recoup some of that service cost back, since I should be able to get more for it than I would if I were to sell it right now. But still, the faff and the cost of getting this done when I have no sense of the benefit is a bit of an off-putter.

I realise that I am the only person that can make the cost-benefit-risk decision – never mind the “Will I feel like a right numpty if I sell the 555 only to need/want one later on because I went and bought some other Naim piece?” question. What I am interested in here is if anyone has had experience with a 555DR vs a non-serviced, non-DR unit on a CDX2 being used as a transport?


With the CDX2 just being used as transport I think your findings are what I’d expect. The 555 will be very underutilised.

When you take the 555 to a dealer to have it sent to Naim for a service ask for a demo 555DR to try with your CDX2. It may be quicker, easier, and possibly even cheaper to buy a 555DR, especially if you can get hold of an ex-dem or used one, and sell your old one.
If you’re lucky you may find you are happy with the bare CDX2 - you wouldn’t be the first.

Personally I would service the 555 dr and keep it on Cdx2, until this last will die.
Sell the Chord and Ndac.
Then, one day, replace the Cdx2 with Ndx2. And use the 555 ps on Ndx2.
But if you prefer the Chord presentation, then I would sell the Ndac and 555 ps.

Back in the day my dealer at the time tried to persuade me to upgrade my XPS2 to a 555PS. Repeated auditions persuaded me to stick rather than twist. The 555 exposed the known weaknesses of the CDX2 whilst providing obvious performance boosts in other areas. For some the gains would outweigh the losses. For some like me, maybe not.

Whilst I suspect yours needs a service I doubt either a serviced one or a DR will be especially impactful. I would think the bigger leap would be to lose the power supply and add an M-Scalar.

Sell the whole lot and buy an NDX2 and some sort of music server. The NDX2 can be upgraded by a 555 and could be a really great option. I changed from CD555 to ND555 and was not expecting such a difference. I sold the CD555 very quickly. I would speak to a dealer and audition the NDX2 vs what you have now and then try it with the 555 as it is now. Naim and Chord are different presentations however but the Naim offers the streaming part also.

I should also add I am/was a CD diehard. I had a CD5X, CDS3 and CD555 with 2x 555DR. I loved choosing the CD’s, reading the booklets, handling the physical media etc but sometimes you have try the new way. I have not looked back.

When I ran a CDX2 with an Ndac and 555PS I tried the PS on the CDX2 and like you found a downturn in performance or at least a minimal change. It was great on the Ndac but not on the transport.

I took another path and listened to a CDP555. This was fatal as it showed me what I was missing Then later I upgraded the PS with a service and DR’ing. This was another big step. I’d definitely hang on to the PS if you think you’ll go streaming.

Well using a CDX2 as transport only is not going to need much power and a 555 power supply isn’t going to offer much extra over the standard CDX power supply in this configuration.
If you have fallen out of love with the Ndac and the chord is your choice, then I would sell it and the 555 and add the upscaler to the chord and max that out more

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Thanks to all for the replies so far. If I lived in the UK, I would go for ChrisSU’s suggestion of trying out a current 555DR to give me some sense of certainty. However, I am a Londoner now based in the US, where the on-hand supply of demo units at dealers is notoriously thin. My closest Naim dealer carries very little, while the nearest “full service” place is almost 300 miles away. There’s a reasonable chance that they would have it, but unfortunately, they won’t lend out to people not in their local area. If I were to send the 555 in for service/DR, it would be directly to Chris West’s AV Options rather than through a dealer.

Ironically, I was never a fan of Chord, finding everything that I ever heard (the original Hugo, the original TT, and the occasional amp) to be musically sterile. When I asked my local dealer if I could borrow the TT2, I was, on the one hand, genuinely curious to hear the state of play 10 years or so since the nDAC came out, while at the same time not holding out much hope, based on previous experiences with Chord. In fact the dealer, knowing my system and tastes, and having been a one-time Naim dealer himself, was certain that the TT2 would be a no-go. But what I encountered was all the musicality and bounce of my nDAC/555 with a not insignificant added dollop of tonal refinement.

The question of whether to ditch CD and go with streaming - so far, I’ve not been tempted, but never say never. (Of course, if I were to go for an NDX2 and decided to use it in the same configuration that I am now using the CDX2, i.e., into the TT2, I would be faced with the same question - Is there a point to using the 555 with an NDX2 transport? Which then begs the question - Would I be better off with a streamer-only than with an NDX2? But I’m jumping way ahead of myself…)

It sounds from the replies so far that the 555’s contribution to a CDX2 transport is at best pretty minimal, and that getting the 555 back into top shape is therefore unlikely to do very much.

I remember some people saying how they enjoyed the Cdx2 / 555 dr.
But not all.
As for Ndx2, there seem to be a consensus, the 555 dr on Ndx2 is a must.
But as you enjoy a lot your Hugo tt2 , or I didn’t understood maybe, an Nd5xs2, used as a transport into TT2 should be a very good combo. Some have it here.

If I remember correctly, the later model CDX2’s had an analogue output as well as digital… only the earlier ones, when converted to digital output, lost the analogue out? If that’s the case and you have a later version, you could roughly gauge to how your 555ps is fairing by removing your dac and using the CDX2 analogue output into your amplifier. Then you can try CDX2 only against CDX2/555ps to give you an idea how well the 555ps is currently performing? At least this may help you answer whether the 555ps needs a service?

I have a 2008 non-DR too and I’m hoping to be able to get it serviced later this year, but I found it faired quite well against a demonstrator DR version around 18 months ago.


Jason - Yes, I do have one of the later CDX2 models with both types of output. I will give your suggestion a go later this week and see what happens.

ND555 is really much better than CD555?

I am still using your CDS3

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Yeah it is now. It took about 9months to show its full potential. At first I was unsure, there were aspects I definitely preferred from the CD but with the setup as it is now the ND is a good margin ahead. For the price of the CD555 though you would not even get the Melco server let alone all the other related network stuff so it should really be better!! The CD555 for the money is unbeatable imo. If you fancy changing be prepared for all the inevitable extras which in the end cost me what the ND did!!

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The CDS3 is just bonkers for the money if you can get a good one. Did you ever service it? That player was (imo) very good!

I bought this CDS3 from you in 2019. And yes it was serviced and sounds fabulous.

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One day I will also go to streaming, but before that, still a lot learn.

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