CD player in 2021

Looking at your profile,it says you use a Supernait 1.Does it not have a built in Dac?
I am trying to wrap my head around how
and why you are trying to use the Dac in the (old tech) Nd5XS 1,which was never known to have a good Dac was it?
Well your profile says Nd5xs1,you mention that in your post too,but also mention Nd5xs2…confusing.

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I had a decent CD player(Naim CD3) - but found streaming much more rewarding. It gathered dust so I traded it in for better streamer. No regrets. Qobuz gives me better than CD quality and access to much more music. Hardly use the ripped CD’s on my NAS drive. Still enjoy LP’s but it is more a sentimental/ physical thing.

I have a collection of 2000 that I ripped on my Mac Mini and a backup on a external hard disc. I continued to by CD’s until all decent disc shops in Helsinki closed down, and the UK went out of the European customs arrangement. Now I download some interesting recordings at British sites, and listen to my collection and online records through the Naim Unity Atom HEadphone edition with upmost satisfaction.


Love this!

I listen to a lot of music ( and find something new ) on YouTube via my Ipad and ear pods and really enjoy that too. Is it a worrying trend I wonder?! :lying_face: :rofl: ATB Peter

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I made the decision several years ago to “downsize” and focus on Streaming. Traded all away for upgrades. Eventually went ND555 and then the Meridian Ultra Dac. Had pretty much everything I wanted, but took a flyer on a Meridian 598 CD player/transport and its given me access to about 200 CD’s that I have in my collection. Sounding very close to the Streaming/TIDAL/Nucleus+/HDplex PS/AfterDark Clock. I have to try it again–as I have not used it since getting the clock–for no reason.

Yes, the parallel occurred to me, but I’m not sure how deep it goes. LP vs CD involves fundamentally different technologies (analogue vs digital) whereas CD vs streaming is about different ways of delivering essentially the same stream of bits to the DAC. Compact cassettes are another analogue source, but you don’t see many of those around these days. So perhaps we’ll end up with one preferred way for analogue (LP) and one for digital (streaming?).



Apologies. There was a typo in my original post.
Thank you for flagging that and sorry for the confusion.
I only have a ND5XS, not the second generation.

Yes I have a SN1.
No I no longer use the SNAIT1’s DAC for three reasons:

  • The ND5XS’s DAC sounds better to me,
  • I will eventually move to an Integrated or Pre/Power setup without a DAC and the ND5XS enables that,
  • I can use the ND5XS as a transport and DAC for digital content now and in the future if I add a better DAC into the system, I can still use it as a transport.
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Over the past 15+ years I have ripped about 3,000 CDs to uncompressed AIFF files on redundant NAS drives, including an off-site copy for extra protection. I also still own every one of those CDs, but rarely play them because of the streaming library. (If you don’t rip your CDs to uncompressed or lossless, you still need a CD player!)

Should Have Kept Linn Ikemi

After having sold my Linn Ikemi to get top used money before the bottom fell out of the used CD player market, I remembered I never ripped my classical discs as classical CDs are a pain to catalog because of different composers and/or orchestras/conductors on the same CD. So, I decided I should buy my “last and forever” CD player, mainly for my classical collection, but also “just in case.”

Blu-ray Surprise

I went the Blu-ray route and got the top-of-the-line Panasonic DP-UB9000 so I could also enjoy my small DVD collection. I use the digital output to my NAC N-272 for the audio, of course, and the classical discs sound great. Unexpectedly, I began buying select Blu-ray audio discs (XTC and Yes, mainly), and have been blown away by the sound of those. Yes, the Blu-ray audio can sometimes be found as high-res downloads, but not always. XTC is disc only, for example. I’m glad I still have the means to play discs.

Thoughts of SACDs

As much as I love the Panasonic/NAC N-272 sound, I started thinking maybe I should have purchased a player that could play SACDs, since I have a few hybrid SACDs and have always wondered what the SACD layer would sound like (the 272 is DSD compatible). I’m glad I didn’t! The only way to send DSD digital output from an SACD player is through its HDMI port, which the 272 does not have.

However, my curiosity about SACDs persisted, and I eventually learned of a geeky/hacker method for ripping the SACD layer to my NAS (using an old Sony SACD player from ebay) and sending DSD files to my 272. WOW! Among many others, the classic Elton John albums reissued on hybrid SACDs around 2003 are outstanding as DSD files played on the NAC N-272. Mind blowing. There’s also some Bob Dylan and Stones reissues from around the same time that shine, plus many classical titles, some Joe Jackson, and titles are still being reissued even though everyone said the SACD never caught on!

Ok. I’m done!


This has been a really cool, interesting thread with lots of information and different experiences and views. Good stuff.


Super post

GeerFab Audio D.BOB will extract the sacd layer on the fly and output to a dac.

Since Naim cannot supply laser mechs for my CDS3, I have ordered a new Cyrus CDi XR from the US dealer. I will add the new PSXR power supply when available in October. I am certain it will not equal the performance of the CDS3 but am hoping to be comparable to the departed CDX. I am retired and cannot justify the outlay for a Rega Isis or DCS CD player. I have 1600 cds and have no interest in streaming for the immediate future. I will hold on to my PS555 just in case new lasers can be sourced later but am discouraged that my active Naim system will now be fronted by a non- Naim CD after 20 years of excellent sound.


What about trying to source a late model CDX2 MKL1 ?

It’s pretty good, I’ve had that but also the CDS3 like you and loved it

I understand your position , I don’t think I could have a non Naim CD player. I’m currently running a CD5XS/nDAC/XPS-2 combo and I must say it’s wonderful




While not a perfect solution, my Sony UBPX800 universal player can convert DSD to PCM, outputted via its coaxial connection for conversion to analogue by any DAC. While obviously this doesn’t facilitate native SACD replay, I have found the results with my small collection of hybrid SACDs to be encouraging.

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Have they actually confirmed that?

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Neil – Interesting, and I did not know about that product. Thank you for posting. However, for $999 and some serious limitations with regard to compatible equipment, learning the crazy ripping method I used and ending up with pure, native DSD (DSF, technically) going to my Naim seems better. I was a bit intimidated by the process, but within a few hours I was successful and able to repeat at will for further rips.

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SeasonsEnd – Understood, and, respectfully, your process is likely no better than just playing the PCM layer of the hybrid CD in the first place. However, if you had a single-layer SACD, your method would be required if you did not rip the SACD. Believe me, I know going through the initial challenge I went through to rip the SACD layer is not for everyone. In fact, if you only have a few hybrid SACDs and are not overly curious like me, I say skip it. But if you are curious and want to exercise your Naim DAC’s DSD capability, it is quite rewarding when ripping a well-mastered SACD (which is certainly not all of them!).

I agree - it’s definitely not the best means of SACD replay out there. Sadly my SACD collection only numbers around 20 discs, so investing in hardware to rip the discs wouldn’t be worthwhile IMO. In the medium term I’m thinking of building a multi-channel system which can handle native DSD playback, as I have a larger collection of music DVDs and Blu-ray audio discs with surround sound mixes which I would like to listen to.

My experience of the mastering of SACDs (albeit via my rather eccentric replay chain) is somewhat different to yours - I’ve generally found the SACD layer of hybrid discs in my collection to be much better mastered than the CD layer - usually much more dynamic and with greater subtly. Snapshots by Eleanor McEvoy is a good illustration of this - the track Sophie on the CD layer is over compressed and distorted in places, whereas it sounds much better via the SACD layer. I have heard about some poor SACD releases though - you’ve probably got more examples of those in your collection than I do.


SeasonsEnd – Sounds like a good plan going multi-channel! However, if that plan stalls, and you are curious about that elusive SACD layer, know that I only spent $40 for a compatible player off of ebay. All the necessary software was free (legally), and it was actually kind of a fun exercise.

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