CD player in 2021


Do you think that buying a CD player make sense in 2021 or the possibility of ripping CD’s and acquiring Hi-Res versions make CD player pointless ? In strict term of SQ, do you notice any difference between the physical CD’s and their ripping avatars ?

Ps. I own a Nova and an old Cambridge CD player, my collection of CD is entirely ripped and was wondering if playing them with a better CD player is pertinent. If it make sens, I would ideally have a CD player under 1500€.

Best regards

1 Like

Perhaps you need to demo a decent CD player to determine for yourself. I recently sold my CD player, as since getting a streamer, I realised I didn’t use it anymore. Also as 2nd hand market for CD players seem to be dropping, it was a do or die tipping point. I used the money towards an upgraded streamer. The only thing I missed about CD’s was the artwork, which I solved by scanning in the CD booklets of my most played CD’s and all new CD’s purchased forthwith.

1 Like

When I started streaming I picked up a NAS and ripped about 2000 CD’s and to my ears they sound great. The majority of the music I listen to his HiRes albums from Qobuz, some music from my NAS and occasionally internet radio on my NDX 2.

Others on the forum are happy without a CD player while others prefer a CD player.

Setting up a NAS if easy and cost effective. Time to rip the existing CD’s in your collection can be an irritant but once the back log is cleared adding new purchases is painless.

Good luck with your decision!


I had a CD555 the pinnacle of Naim CDPs and sold it on when an ultraRendu into a Hugo TT bettered it.

I don’t think there is any way a £1500 CD player will give better sound than your Nova (unless your network setup is impacting negatively)



I have retained my Meridian 200 CD Transport in the system, acquired 2nd hand 20 years ago. This plays through my NDS via coax S/PDIF.
This was just incase someone was to come round with a CD and ‘here play this’, and not ‘go off rip this CD, update the library and then play the contents”.
The 200 plays CD well, but that occasion has not occurred in the last 2-years or so. Any recently acquired CDs are ripped and added to the music server, before being listened to. Many more LPS have been bought during lockdown.
May be different, when gigs start back up and “Our CDs will be available after the gig at the front”

Anyway do consider an older CD transport or player with a good transport, and use the DAC in your streamer/network player.


It’s a tricky one Lutece

I live in 2 locations , in one of them I have my cds ripped into a unity core and was playing them through a Nova

But to me something was missing - wasn’t that impressed with the Nova , maybe just me

Now have core / separate dac/ nait 2 - and having separates are much better sound wise ( sometimes interchange nait 2 with old 32.5/hicap/250)

I’ve never plugged in a CD player to Nova so I can’t comment on SQ but I wouldn’t be spending too much on the player

1 Like

For 1500 euros, you can buy a Bluesound Node 2i and a second hand Naim dac. You can stream your cd files, hires files, and discover music on Tidal, Qobuz, Radio….
Without leaving your sofa.
A new CD player for that money will not sound as good.
If you buy second hand , a Naim Cdx2 for instance, not sure it will sound better. But the main problem will be the replacement of the mechanism, and it became more and more problematic.

1 Like

Thank you very much for your enlightening contributions. It seems that there is a consensus relatively to this question. I’ll forget the idea to get another CD player.

Ripping CD can be irritating when doing it with computer, can you recommend me a solution to do that with ease (the files should be easily transferable to a Nas or at least on an external hard drive and I don’t need DAC or amplification if it’s matter). I’ve seen online these products : Innuos Zenith Mini XL, Naim Uniti Core and the Bluesound Node. Any suggestions or advices ?

Which ripping SW do you use? Of course you get much more control ripping it via a PC as you can then sort out the metadata at the same time

1 Like

I am using XLD (too long) and dBpoweramp.
Ideally I would something that do the things manually and let me make the adjustment (“Meta” on Mac) when necessary.

1 Like

I still like to buy CDs , I have a Nova and an elderly CDX2

If the CDX2 packed up (and was unrepairable) I would buy a good quality CD transport , there are some good ones out there and one absolute bargain (Audiolab) .

Shock , horror but the front runner would be a Pro_Ject CD transport


With the Vinyl resurgence, it’s the best time to buy cd’s. For exemple, lot of classical box are released and some of them are really bargains.


Only you can really decide how to spend your money. I realise you are asking about the desirability of owning a CD player as well as a streamer. But I wouldn’t mind betting that plenty of Naim owners worldwide are using CD players, as opposed to forum members, who tend to be the most ultra committed and favour streaming only.

Very pleased with my CD5XS.



The Nova has already a streamer so it’s more convenient than a CD player. I was just wondering if the SQ of a CD player under 1500€ could provide a sensitive SQ upgrade, but, according to the majority of replies, it seems that it doesn’t.

Like @Ian2001, I continue to buy some Cd’s and I think the best solution to enjoy them is to rip them.

The signal in the CD player goes into the Digital to Analogue Converter and then into whatever amplifier which produces a sound.

The NOVA is different, the CD player does it’s DAC thing - then is converted back into another digital signal and the to another DAC

So looking at say a SN3 the signal goes to a DAC to amplifier
With a NOVA it goes DAC - A/D -DAC , your £1500 will not be improved in any way , that’s why a CD Transport makes better sense with a NOVA or digital amp

You are paying for the signal to go into the amp and for the amp to convert it. The CD transport does no signal conversion

I am sure if my understanding is incorrect people will correct me

Ripping is another worthwhile option, I like things simple

1 Like

With an Innuos Zen, you can rip very easily the cds. And you have a good transport too. Just connect a dac of your choice, like Ndac or Chord Hugo. And you are done.


Hi Ian,

I don’t understand something : how the Nova can convert an analog signal (from RCA) to a digital signal then reconvert it to an analogue signal (out to speaker) and why ? If so, how I deactivate it (I want to use the Hugo 2 as my main DAC) ?

Nothing beats breaking the rule of ‘the law of diminishing returns’. :+1:t3: Enjoy Peter

My understanding is you can’t . It is reputed not to make any difference, I’m explaining it as to why plugging a CD player isn’t necessary

All the Uniti range are mainly designed to be ‘’ a one stop shop ‘’ , that’s why I chose the Nova

1 Like

I have a relatively inexpensive Oppo (RIP) CD/DVD/Blue-Ray player that I keep strictly as a backup, in the event of network problems or outages. I am slightly uncomfortable with having to rely 100% on the internet, as ubiquitous as it is, to listen to my music.

Besides, even though I rip every CD I have to my VTB, I still must keep them to remain copyright compliant. I also have a cabinet full of DVDs, which I can watch without a network should that ever happen. I don’t subscribe to a music service, so this allows me to have entertainment as long as I have electricity. SQ is so-so, but in the event I must use it, that would be a situation where SQ isn’t as important as being able to listen at all.

The Oppo also has A/B repeat, which can be useful in working on guitar parts - I don’t think any of my music software (Naim, Bluesound, and Squeezer) have that, although I haven’t really looked for it TBH.

1 Like