CD Player (or Source) left ON all the time? (Technical Questions)

Hi folks,

I did search around before posting this question. I found a lot regarding amps and preamps, but no real answers from a technical standpoint regarding cd players (or other sources) and whether or not they can be or should be left ON all the time.

I recently purchased a preowned CD5i-2 that was just completely serviced by Focal-Naim in Canada, June, 2020. It received a new laser transport, etc. I’m using it with an XS2 that I keep ON all the time.

What exactly is ON when leaving a cd player powered all the time and NOT playing a disc?
Is the laser doing anything when it’s NOT playing a CD?
Does the laser ever go into any kind of “sleep mode” when it recognizes there is no CD in the drawer?

As you can see, my concern in leaving a cd player ON all the time is whether there is any “premature laser wear” when nothing is playing a disc and the drawer is empty.

Does the laser always emit a beam when there is no disc in the drawer and/or is not spinning a disc?


cant answer the techie questions here but I only leave my XS3 on all the time, my source units (CD5si and ND5XS2) only on when in use.

I cant honestly see leaving a source unit on results in sonic improvement, but some do no doubt.

I can’t answer the tech questions either. My CD5XS is left switched on.

To the best of my knowledge (in the confident knowledge that I’ll swiftly be corrected if this is a steaming pile):

  • When (most/all?) CD players are left on but a disc isn’t currently being played, all the internal electronics are powered up: DAC, PSU, display etc. If you have an external DAC and/or PSU connected, the player may switch off its internal equivalents or not, as the case may be. Knowing Naim, I’d strongly suspect connecting a PSU to a player disconnects any internal supply, otherwise there’d be, erm, no point. I’m less sure about the DAC.
  • Unless actually playing a disc, the laser is switched off and the mech just sits there stationary, waiting for you to press play.
  • Whether this adds up to an argument for Leaving It On is perhaps a separate question. Personally, I do, on the basis that lots of kit (and not just hifi) has its life shortened by power-cycling, and takes at least some time to reach its optimum operating conditions from cold.

‘Laser wear’ isn’t a term I’ve heard before. My knowledge (based more in Physics than Engineering, to be sure) of lasers is that this isn’t something I’d expect to have any impact on a CD player. If anything, I’d expect playing discs would shorten a mechanism’s working life, not the opposite.


For what its worth I’ve left my CDS3 on for extended periods without a disc in and what happens when the lid goes down is the laser looks for the CD for a few seconds and then parks itself until the lid is lifted again and a CD is inserted. I doubt that any wear and tear takes place throughout this stationary period as nothing is moving. The circuits are on though as there is a distinctive sort of rubbery “live circuitry” smell that isn’t there when the unit is switched off.

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