CD Transport vs. Streamer Transport

I also had a technics b965 tape deck back in the day, wish I hadn’t sold it now, very good recording and playback quality with TDK SA tapes, or better. Nice to see one in such good condition.

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@Stu299 quite a while ago I was talking to a well renowned dealer who was about to demonstrate an NDX and Nac 272 when he declared in private conversation that these streamers are all great, but don’t time like the Naim CDPs do, and there is something about the tonality that is loss with the streamers. Over the subsequent years I’ve been to numerous demos of all the various streamers right up to the ND555 and with the big caveat that I’m yet to demo one in my system I’m yet to hear one that does what my CDS3 does. It presents a dilemma because I run a Qb in my kitchen and I really enjoy the flexibility it offers, playlists and selecting individual tracks and trying new stuff on Tidal. It could be that you’ve arrived at the optimum solution, a great DAC with Streamer/internet radio capability combined with a quality CD transport.




Thanks Lindsay, good info. At this level I think it boils down to what our ears prefer, and now I’ve heard the effect of a CD transport, I can’t unhear it. I’m not making any claims about streaming versus CD versus anything else, it’s just what my ears prefer on my system. And I have to agree with what you say based on my tinkering, the sound signature is different. Ideally I’d like to stick with just streaming, and ‘tame’ (for want of a better word) the presentation. But I must emphasis that the NDS sounds wonderful in its own right, we really are spoilt at this level. I just know it could sound a bit better…

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PS can anyone explain why my Chord Graphite 7m Digital Optical cable isn’t detected by the NDS with my CD player, even when the red light comes on to show it’s transmitting? I know the Chord cable works with the NDS because it works fine plugged into my BT box. When I try the CD player with a cheap 2m Digital Optical into the NDS it works fine :confused:

It would be a lot more convenient to use the BT box cable when I want to listen to CD.

Can’t help with that one Stu!

If it works for you it works. This is all that matters. What works for anyone else doesn’t mater.

In a perfect world, if I had the rack space and more leisure time, I would run a CDS3/XPS2. Not because it is better than ND555/555PS-DR/555PS-DR, or can do anything that the streamer can’t, but because I find its presentation so likeable.

One suggestion for possible future consideration. If you can get a Naim DAC onto your CDP (assuming you could borrow/audition one for a day or three) it might be worth a listen. Although your NDS contains what is essentially that DAC, you can never know a match won’t work until you have listened with your own ears. The Naim DAC is a bit special, even still. Just a thought.

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Interesting thought on the DAC particularly at the price they go for and would save mucking about with cable connections every time I want to listen to CD. That said the NDS benefits from a 555DR which could swings things in its favour I guess?

I’m probably missing something but doesn’t the NDS have 3 digital inputs?

When using a separate DAC, the advantage of using an external PSU for the transport becomes less great. Since the signal is decoupled in this setup, extra PSU noise that is generated on the transport side is filtered when entering the DAC.

So when only using the NDS as a transport, the effect of an external PSU for the NDS will be less than in a setup where the NDS is the device that does both the streaming and the D/A conversion.

Yes good point there are two other different types of digital input which I may be able to use with a hybrid cable. I’ll look into it :+1:

Timing might be one of the reasons quite a few of us liked the ER or Phoenix net switches which include reclocking……certainly was for me. I can get my head around the benefit of say a Qobuz stream that has been sent from some cloud site via a multitude of servers potentially hundreds of miles away etc, but less so for my Uniti Core, just 5m away.

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Well, not really Lindsay, I have always maintained that I haven’t heard a streamer that has tempted me to buy one and thats down to what my ears prefer. I went on a journey to find the best system for me. I didn’t mind investing all that money many years ago to invest in a system which would give me decades of musical enjoyment. My system has been a lifeline through the last few years especially when I was recovering from my illness. All I wanted was to come home, press the play button and enjoy my music and my system does all that in spades.

I don’t care for all those that say streaming is more convenient and technically better and that CD’s are deceitful and lying to us, I simply enjoy my CD555 more.


Wonderful to see some similar kit to that which I ruined my teenaged bank balance for in 1990/1. So I dug them out of the garage:

So many happy hours of listening, so many mix tapes made for old girlfriends…

Tape deck is having speed issues, so I’m looking for a suitable technician in the Wiltshire area. Anyone got any recommendations?



Yet further confirmation that we all hear things differently.

I never made it to the heights of the CD 555, stopping with the CDS 3, a lovely sounding player.

I got hold of an HDX, which, in player terms, was certainly a downward step, but used to stream ripped music via a Naim DAC hooked up to my existing 555 PS power supply was quite a revelation, and made the CDS 3 sound a bit “closed in”.

Next came an NDS, replacing the Naim DAC, and using the HDX purely as a server, and finally, the ND 555, which was a real game changer.

You might argue that improvements in both pre and power amps must have played their part too, as they certainly did, but now, as I’ve said before, I find myself in that Happy Place, where it just sounds great, all the time, and the convenience aspect doesn’t really matter that much to me.

Never say never, Nigel, and arrange a home demo of the ND555 with twin power supplies, if you haven’t already done so.

Try not to see the above as me spending your money for you, even though the reverse has been true down the years, as I followed your thoughts / advice! :innocent:


According to my ears - definitely. According to yours? Only you can make that call.

I was using the Naim DAC with a 555PS. I started with it naked, then went XPS2 (which I had already), then went to 555PS. The DAC (to my ears) was extremely accommodating of power supply, and so, crazy as it might seem to put a DAC with a 555PS on cost grounds, what it gave you was the nearest thing you could have at the time to a 500 level DAC.

When we got the NDS, our 555PS was ready to go on. But we did hear the player with various PSs on two or three occasions during Naim/dealer demos. Even in an unfamiliar listening room the benefits were obvious to me. Some time on from that, mu dealer offered me a good trade in on a 555PS-DR and even cold out of the box, the DR upgrade was obvious. The texture of voices and instruments, the separation, timing and just the overall clarity was remarkable. And to my ears the NDS was no mean performer to start with.

We ended up with a pair of 555PS-DRs on the NDS. It was a potential upgrade I approached with caution and cynicism. It doesn’t work for everyone. But going back to what I originally posted, the trick is to find something that you like and enjoy the hell out of it. Your CDP transport won’t last for ever but it could last a good long time. Have as much fun as you can while you can.


I would try phoning a dealer or two. They know people. They might even have an in house facility. Audience Bath are handy with a screwdriver and soldering iron. They do a lot of LP12 work. Tape decks may be out of their scope but they might know someone.

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In a CD playback only world, this would have been my stopping point. I admire the CD555 greatly. It is a feat of towering achievement on a number of levels. But I never warmed to it. I preferred the presentation of the CDS3/XPS2, a lovely player with still much to recommend it - if that’s your thing.

@Richard.Dane I think may be the go-to man here for contacts and advice :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t know offhand of anyone in the area. Probably worth a google search.

If I am going to upgrade anything Dave it will be the TMS to Vertere but that takes. Lottery win :blush: