CD5XS as Transport - ND5XS2 as DAC?

Decades with NAIM but just arrived at Community. Had NAC202, Flatcap XS and NAP200 from 2010 with Naim CD player. This used the 2 power outlets of Flatcap to support NAC202 and CD player. In 2015 changed from older Naim CD player to CD5XS, which has digital signal output and analogue output alternatives. Again Flatcap used to support NAC202 and now CD5XS.

In 2018 bought the Media player ND5XS2, I found that using the digital signal from CD5XS (as transport) to DAC of the ND5XS2 gave a (much) better sound quality than the analogue from the CD5XS.

A few days ago bought new NAC282, NAPSC and HiCap DR. The HiCap supports the NAC282. I have replaced Link in CD5XS and using it as CD transport with digital (SPDIF) signal to ND5XS2. Sounds very good (though NAC282 not run in yet).

Now the question? Should I sell the Flatcap XS as it may be redundant since it appears that the analogue circuits of CD5XS are not now being used? Or is the situation more complex and Flatcap power supply support of the CD5XS still provides an increase in sound quality? (Actually I’m stuck for more shelving if it should retained but all sacrifices must be made.

What does it sound like with the flatcap removed? If you can’t tell the difference you have your answer.

You’re right @Traume, the FC is redundant when using the S/PDIF output of the CD5XS.

That’s brought an abrupt end to the psychoacoustic experiment.


Some have found that external power supplies can boost a source being used for digital output, so while in theory it should make no difference in practice it might. Presumably as you’ve had two years to test this for yourself, you must have your own view. Does it make a difference?

Now you have a 282, you would do well to investigate upping your streaming source. A NDX2 would fit nicely and can be further upgraded with an external power supply. But not your Flatcap unfortunately.

No harm in trying but the FC only powers the analogue output board so any benefit (eg reduced load on the internal supply) to the S/PDIF would be minor.

Edit - this did come up before.

Hi @Traume and welcome.

To my ears a FCXS made no difference at all to my CD5XS when used as transport. The only reason for hanging on to the FC is if you wanted to use the CD5XS analogue out, perhaps in a second system. I’d consider selling it and putting the money towards an nDAC, which would go nicely with both your streamer and CD player.


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Many thanks to Hungary Halibut, James_n, Bartman, PeakMan, Antonio1, Richard.Dane, et al for all their discussions and recommendations. With engineering background (not electronic), am appreciative of their design, test and operational experiences (OPEX) of Naim equipment, etc. Also, thanks for the earlier relevant thread.
The point at issue. Does external power supply improve sound quality from CD5XS even though it is providing digital signal output only? Before the recent removal of NAC202 and Flatcap XS from my system, I had felt (possibly wrongly) that this was a no-brainer: keep both power supplies of Flatcap XS connected, i.e. to NAC202 and CD5XS. I did not perform tests to confirm. Certainly, the quality of music from CD5XS /ND5SX2 is tonally much better than CD5XS. I use Spendor A6R speakers with 40cm separation from wall.
With the recent upgrade to NAC282, HiCap DR, and NAPSA, I found that HiCap DR can only be used to support one piece of equipment even though the NAIM website says:
HiCap DR Features - Two 24V power outputs
All-new Discrete Regulator (DR) configuration, delivering Naim Audio’s best-ever standards of stable, low-noise power
Bead-blasted, black-anodised aluminium chassis plus anti-vibration, resonance controlling feet

So now I have excellent power support to NAC282 and now the potential to provide two supplies to CD5XS where none may be needed for best results.
Interestingly, Community Members discuss 3 possibilities:

  1. Try one Flatcap power supply to CD5XS even though theory indicates little/no benefit (James-n - External PS only powers filter / final output stage so little point in adding external supply when using transport only mode); So far, appear no Members report improvement. Testing not easy in my lounge/setup.
  2. Retain Link plug on CD5XS; (James_n - Allows some wasted load on standard power supply but maybe this already reduced if Output Selector switch powers down analogue stages when set to S/PDIF out mode – Note: NAIM states CD5XS must be switched off before output selection switch is operated)
  3. Remove Link plug – Richard.Dane – May be small benefit as not using the analogue outputs as removes some load on standard power supply but maybe this already achieved if Output Selector switch already powers down these stages when set to S/PDIF out mode.
    I will try 2. and 3. as testing easy and 3. later where addition of Flatcap difficult under my setup with cabling and 8 units on shelving. At present my hearing is not well tuned into new upgrade and the equipment is running-in. But sounds good and v. different from earlier system. I have tried to summarise the work of the above Members – please let me know any mistakes.

Socket 4 does have 2 x 24v outputs. That’s different from being able to power 2 different units.

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