CD3.5 vs CDX2

I liked my CD 3.5. A little later I preferred the CD5 and its electronic design close to the 3.5. Probably the new thicker and stiffer aluminium case and feet provide an improvement; I felt the CD5 was accurate and analogue compared to the CD 3.5 which in its own way provided good satisfaction. The CDX is still better than the CD 5 and CD 3.5, I am less familiar with the CDX2.

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CD 3.5 was good, CDX even better, CDS2 better still, CDS3 extraordinary. Adding power supplies always a boost in performance to all Naim players. Eagerly waiting for my CDS3 to be serviced by Naim, to be reunited with the PS555, in my all Naim system.

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Hi Richard, could you elaborate on how this works please? I would expect you could connect two different sources to an amp without one affecting the other, how does one CD player affect the other?

For my initial comparisons, I had the CD3.5/FlatCap combo feeding the CD input of the SN1, and the CDX2 connected to the tuner input (and my TT/phono amp connected to the AV input) so I could quickly compare the same music on two warmed up players.

Thanks everyone for your input. It’s helped me develop a plan of attack which will be along the lines of;

  1. Remove the FlatCap from the SN1 (and only have one player connected at a time!)
  2. Work on the isolation (a Fraim won’t work in my situation though)
  3. Upgrade the cable (probably a WH Morgana as it’s half the price of a HiLine here)
  4. Service both units
  5. Add a HiCapDR (eventually)
  6. Reconsider if I really need to sell the CD3.5!

Naim CD players have their signal grounds connected to main earth and provide the system earth reference. However, you should only have one earth reference in the system. If you have more than one then overall performance takes a hit. This is why Naim’s DACs and streamers have switchable signal earth just in case you have a Naim CD player also in the system.

If you absolutely had to have two Naim CD players connected to the one pre-amp at the same time then Naim could do a signal earth lift to one of them. That way performance would not be impaired.

It does mean though that you should not try to compare Naim CD players by having both connected to the same preamp at the same time (you should disconnect one of them). Otherwise performance is impaired for both, and indeed, any performance differences will be minimised.

One other thing; quick comparison flicking back and forth between players tells you nothing, and indeed, all you tend to focus on that way are the less important facets such as tonal or spatial differences. To properly compare you need to choose a piece of music and play it through. Then swap to the other player and do the same. Then repeat and reverse. All being well, one should convey the music in a more revealing and engaging way.


Thanks Richard, I understand now. Appreciate the explanation!

I wasn’t swapping players track-by-track or anything, just leaving both players set up so I didn’t have to muck around, I was listening to 2-3 albums at a time before switching.

You need to actually only connect one player at a time. Press the Mute button and unplug the DIN lead from the amp of the CD player you are not listening to.

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Back in the olive days I upgraded from a CD3.5 to CDX and the improvement was noticeable. I’ve never had a CDX2 but I’d expect it to be a noticeable improvement over a CD3.5.

I have had 3 Naim CD players. CD5Si which was my entrance to Naim. Sounded great with the Nait 5Si. Swifly followed with uograde to amplification and had the CDS2 with XPS. Beautiful CD player. Sounded wonderful. The CDS3 followed after I sold the CDS2 which I missed, after buying an NDS with 555PS. The CDS3 was amazing too, I had it with an XPS2 which sounded great. Even better with the 555PS. However I used the 555PS with the NDS.

I have a Nait 3 for my son in a small room which sounds really good. Reckon a CD 3.5 would sound great with that.

My favourite Naim CD player I have listened to is the CDS2 with XPS. Sounded gorgeous. Not as much dynamics or clarity as CDS3 but had more organic sound and more boogie factor.

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The CDX-2 had a unique presentation, nothing like any other Naim CD player I’ve heard. I really liked mine before I went the “way of all flesh” and got an HDX. I’m surprised you don’t hear a phenomenal difference between the CD-3.5 and the CDX-2 and a significant improvement.

Compare apples to apples, CD-3.5 into SN1 followed by CDX-2 into SN1 (no flatcap). and disconnect each player while auditioning the other.

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