CD555 - Questions to former or current owners

I have a CDS3/XPSDR which is a lovely player however I fancy trying a CD555 before I make the switch to streaming.

  • Does the PS555DR make much of a difference vs the 555PS?
  • What difference does adding a second PS add?
  • Is it sensible to mix a 555PS and PS555DR
  • Would there be any difference between a DR upgraded and serviced 555PS and a new one? I.e. can I mix an older but upgraded one with a newer DR one?

The plan would be to get the CD555 and get to a double PS555DR level and then replace the CD555 with an ND555 if I thought the jump was significant enough. I am assuming however that a CD555/2xPS555DR will still be an incredible source and a big jump from the CDS3/XPSDR that I currently own.

I have thought about the NDS vs CD555 so if people think strongly the NDS would trump a CD555 please say! The cost of NDS and CD555 is similar at the moment.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer.

1 Like

Hi Steve, i can’t tell about 555ps vs DR since i had the latter with my previous CDX2. However with the introduction of second 555ps DR a few years ago, i immediately noticed a reduction of digital glare ,especially the voices and the upper part of the spectrum became more natural.
The next step has been the S. Lumina interconnect but the improvement at the beginning vs. the Hi Line was not so obvious.

Regards
Roberto

1 Like

I’ve listened to a CD555 quite a few times and always came away with the impression that the CDS3 is the more musical and enjoyable player. If it were me I’d get a 555DR for the CDS3, which gives it a really good lift. Then you can try a CD555, NDS and ND555. A second power supply could come later. Who knows, you may not even feel the need for a second.

1 Like

You probably need some input from Dark Bear as he’s got a lot of miles under his belt with the CD555. My understanding is that you shouldn’t mix DR and non DR power supplies. My dealer suggests that a single PS555DR may just be better than two non DR’d power supplies but I’ve not tried it myself and suspect it will be swings and roundabouts?

My personal experience with the performance from the CDX2, CDS3 and CD555 is that the CD555 out performs both in all areas by quite a long way. I’ve come from a CDX2/Ndac/555PS and my mate has used a CDS3 for around 10years and moved to a CD555. We both agree that the CD555 is the best we’ve heard any digital format. Well until the ND555 came along that is.

1 Like

I agree with @hungryhalibut - try a 555PS(DR) and you will be say 85/90% on the way to a CD555/555PS combo. I had a CDS3/555(non-DR) combo and it was very, very good. Sure a CD555 was better (to my ears) but it wasn’t a huge leap, unlike some other Naim-kit jumps.

Also, a CD555/2 x 555PS (whether DR or not) introduces other things e.g. with better detailing comes an enhanced bass (to my ears), which may not suit taste/room etc. There are a fair few Forumites who preferred a single PS.

Personally, I’d be inclined to go the easier route of getting a 555PS(DR or not - but not many non-DR’s around nowadays due to service timings?) and trying this with a CDS3 and the evaluating this against an ND555 down the line, as this sounds as if it now (clearly) eclipses the CD555.

1 Like

With all due respect to the CDS3 the CD555 is clearly to my ears and what I like heard done well in music the better player - but I do hear that the CDS3 has an elegant insightful presentation of its own.

The CD555 really offers a lot better low frequency capability and that can mean the system and installation that was fine for CDS3 gets injected with a lot more energy and you can’t assume it will make no difference - I always found and still find that as I increase in any way the LF energy through my system, be it from Speaker, Amps, cables or Source, it can cause problems and has always made me identify what was letting down the performance in the install - fixing it in terms of cable-dressing, rack-positioning and speaker-placement - and then it was remarkably better in terms of scale, space, ease - everything.

As to 555PS - it is the same story, more supplies gives you more resolution everywhere and also more bass power - that is resolved into solid clear bass presentation with excellent timing - or goes full-blown and off with a poor install.

I like two supplies on the CD555, although one 555DR does raise the bar a lot. I tried mixed DR/non-DR supplies on my CD555 and it does work well - but you will find one way around works better and just try swap DR onto either Analogue or Digital and stick with the better-sounding one - it will be obvious.

So you do not have to immediately upgrade to two DR supplies and can choose any path and explore and enjoy them to good results.

DB.

2 Likes

Thank you to everyone who posted on this thread today. Your individual views have been very helpful and have certainly answered the questions I had. Its been nice to get a mix of views and that gives me plenty to think about. Thanks again.

2 Likes

Anecdotal answer to one part of Steve’s questions - I recall when the ND555 was launched there were many questions about its audio performance against the NDS and CD555. The response seemed to be that the brief Naim set for itself was to exceed the performance achieved by the CD555. This response rather suggested an acceptance that the NDS performance sat below CD555. This may help further inform your deliberations and, whilst anecdotal, if memory serves was more or less confirmed by DB some time back.

Peter

1 Like

PS Meant to say I agree completely with HH re initial upgrade - 555PS applied to CDS3 would provide you with a platform to consider if this is enough of an upgrade for you or, if not, the 555PS can be used for a CD555, NDS or ND555 at a later date of your choice.

Peter

1 Like

I have been fortunate to progress from a CDS3 to a CD555 shortly after it was introduced going on 10 years ago. I had my power supply uprated to DR spec and have had a new laser unit and mods associated with it. Took the plunge to go for a second new DR power supply some 2/3 years ago and not regretted it at all.
My dealer says the ND555 beats the CD555 and I have two power supplies ready in waiting. Hmm.
Streaming and me are not compatible at the moment. Not sure if they ever will be.
A used CD555 head unit is pretty much a bargain and you have the facility to get it checked over at Salisbury and up to top spec.
Must be time for a CD revival soon. Look at cassettes. Nakamichi Dragon. Yes please.
Douglas.

2 Likes

We bought one of the last new CD555’s. We have the second 555PS DR power supply with it. My wife and I love it and it needs no help desk. I travel for business and she just wants it to go when she pushes the button. Just plug and play. With the Chord Music, it sounds almost as good as the Verdier. My son is just setting up an NAS for 6T of music that he has put together. I see a streamer in our future but I am not ready to part with the CD555. We spend more on CDs than vinyl, if that tells you anything.

We upgraded from a CDS2 which gave us 12-13 years of happiness. Rather than upgrading to the CDS3, we just upgraded CDS2 to the 555PS power supply. The CD555 is a nice upgrade, but we would also be happy with the CDS2 as we had it set up. We also have a CD5X with Flatcap XS upstairs that we have been very happy with. The Naim CD trail has a lot of nice places to stop and enjoy the view.

1 Like

My thinking and situation is aligned with yours. A CD555 remains a stunning piece of kit and the cost of ‘upgrading’ to an ND555, what with all the necessary peripherals (£2k+) and bother, doesn’t appeal at this time. I use the term ‘upgrading’ as in terms of usability, I’m not sold this would be the case. Having a house which doesn’t lend itself to new cable installations is also a factor.

I don’t buy anywhere near as much new music nowadays as I used to (if I do it’s mainly jazz vinyl), as I’ve got so much in my collection I need to re-explore/remind myself why I bought it in the first place. Streaming hubs et al, while unquestionably being a great service, don’t interest me. A radio part addresses this. Plus, the secondary/tertiary sellers market for CDs can render some great bargains.

3 Likes

From my own experience and ownership, I think you’ve got some pretty good information here from everyone. Simply adding a 555PS will definitely take you closer to the performance of the CD555, which is however more dynamic, detailed and articulate than the CDS. The NDS sound is closer to the CDS than it is to the CD555. It certainly wasn’t good enough to persuade me to move over to streaming. The ND555, however, is a completely different kettle of fish, especially with two power supplies, which enable it to surpass the CD555 on microdynamics, the only area where an ND555 with one power supply lags slightly behind. It’s true that you will need to spend on a few other things to get the ND555 working at its best, and that not all dealers have got their head round what is required or are able to let you audition the differences as they would for a turntable, for example, but when you do it is far easier and more convenient than the CD555, has no mechanical parts to wear out and of course frees your room of all those CDs!

2 Likes

I thought long and hard about ditching my CD555. I actually really like the product. That’s why I bought it. Not into internet radio as BBC R3/4 via my 01 Tuner does that side for me.
Dumping CDs onto an ND555 will improve on the original. Once again, not a big deal for me.
So, I decided to upgrade my LP12, already breathed on by Tangerine Audio. I have a lot of LPs and the purchase of an RCMs is my route at the moment.

Douglas.

1 Like

That is the prime reason I purchased the ND555 to do and use it 99% of time for.
I also really loved and still highly-rate the CD555, but I’m finding CD format Rips replayed via ND555 far superior in every respect now.

When I first A-B compared CD555 and ND555 there was enough difference to merit the swap to ND555, but after 9 months run-in of ND555 - and all the tuning updates I’ve discovered further increase its performance, it is now a long way ahead.

I’m now experimenting on HD-ripping my Vinyl to 24bit/192k as being rather excellent - and better than replay direct from Vinyl with the Speakers on. You get a large worthwhile increase in resolution when sampling the Vinyl with the sound muted - removal of all sonic and structural feedback makes a big difference.

So hearing Vinyl in some ways for the first time in a very fresh way - better timing and detail than direct from Vinyl with the Speakers playing. I’ve sampled at DSD64 - and then tried various bit rates and pre-filtering and 192k is clearly superior to 96k, which is still excellent - all at 24bit-depth.

DB.

2 Likes

What ADC are you using?

Hi Darkebear. Interesting comments especially improving on LP replay. I see there have been a lot of tuning updates which means you may have more to come? My listening is usually “fit and forget”. Possibly my reason for hanging fire at the moment. As normal with Naim, get better being run in.
I see your post was sent about 2 AM. You must have had a pretty good session.
Enjoy, Douglas.

Korg MR1.

A friend owns it and has been into making recordings of his Vinyl for a few years now with a very modest TT-Arm-Cartridge (30 year old unserviced Axis-Basic-cheap Dynavector MC).

Once I had the ability to host these formats in my system I began to hear that his recordings were rather good - at first we only used 24/48k or 24/96k as that was considered ‘good enough’, but it was certainly better than the many HiDef recordings I have tried and failed with. He had found that he obtained best quality when not having speakers playing - in fact he even turns-off as much of the HiFi not immediately needed while making the recording captures.

We then experimented with different formats and I was interested what the raw grabbed DFF/DSD64 from the Korg sounded like, which the ND555 can host - alongside various pre-filtered versions rendered into different other formats.

I line them all up in a folder all grabbed from the same Vinyl and can get a good idea of what is happening.

In general 24/96k is pretty good as baseline, but 24/192k has an extra insightfulness I’m really liking. The raw DSD64 is more lucid and flowing organic presentation, but the 24/192k has better clarity and dynamics.

I discussed the above recently with the ND555 Designer at an event where he said it was possible not having the ND555 do the extra work on-board to format the DSD64 bitstream data into the required format for the DAC could be part of the differences I hear.

All I’m saying is that if I’m going to Rip my Vinyl - mainly discs I cant get good alternate version of in digital for a number of reasons (not available or ruined remastering) then I want to determine what I like.

In general the minimum or out or bound pre-filtering I preferred - and I did not like the effect of the de-clicking software; these things can be used to tailor presentation and improve some aspects but do have a sonic cost I’d rather just hear it with the clicks and let ND555 do most of filtering.

DB.

1 Like

A little update in my journey…

I ordered a new 555PS DR for the CDS3 based on the advice above. There was a lot of really useful comments and I concluded that the NDS was probably one to skip. This left me with a ND555 or CD555 as a future upgrade which I could compare to the CDS3 and I would already have the 555PS DR waiting!

HOWEVER… I found what is supposed to be a mint condition complete CD555 for what appears to be a great price! Soooo I took the plunge and will give it a try. I will most likely get it serviced first at Salisbury (No reason not to in my opinion unless anyone disagrees?) For me, as I have said before on other threads part of the fun for me is trying new things and I really don’t mind if they are not what I expect. I am sure I will get my money back if I don’t like the CD555 and if I do like it I will most likely get the money back that I paid for the CDS3!! Its like having the money in the bank right now apart from it being sat on a Fraim! Its not like interest rates are particularly high is it?!!

I will most likely hold off the second PS for now unless I get a really good deal on a second new one. I will go new as I want to try and time match these PS’s as they will most likely be with me for a long time and the saving by buying second hand is not worth it to me vs the 5 year warranty and confidence in buying new.

1 Like

Good stuff - a journey I did but not quite so quickly :grinning: - and I was also careful as to the £’s when procuring my CDS3 (mint via ebay), the CD555 and the 2nd 555PS (since DRed).

As recorded above, do be careful if/when adding a 2nd 555PS to the CD555. Such action introduces further variables. It’ll be interesting to learn what you make of the difference between CDS3/555PS and CD555. BTW, my CD555 and the PS’s (both DR’ed) are all just over 10 years old and I haven’t noticed it ‘going off’, nor have I had any issues with the mech (touch wood). But I know an expensive service is not far away.

Perhaps we can compare notes again when it’s time to cross the rubicon in to the world of streaming and network playing!

1 Like