CDS3 and XPS

Hi everyone,

Just bought a CDS3 with XPS on eBay. Previously had a CDS2 and XPS some time ago but gave it up to make way for NDS and 555PS. Always wanted to buy a CDS2 and XPS again but this came up and got the great combo for £2670 including postage. So I am very excited at the prospect of my new purchase.

What can I expect compared to CDS2. I must say that I cannot wait to get it all set up. So now looking at 11 box system plus turntable. I have a spare Fraimlite shelf so am good to make alterations to the setup!


A little less forced than a CDS2 in my view. The CDS3 has a lovely natural feel to the sound. They are closer to each other than many claim but if you prefer olive to black you may prefer the ‘2. I love the ‘3 myself but use an LP12 for most of my listening. They are a good match.


Congratulations @Dan_M, I know you regretted selling your cds2, and I am sure you will get many happy smiles out of the cds3. I would be interested in your opinion of the differences. A cds3 would spoil the look of my all Olive system, but I’m hoping, as usual with Naim, that it’s an improvement.


Thanks @Graeme. I will see how it goes as I have excellent sources already with the NDS and 555PS and well specced LP12. Hopefully the CDS3 will fill the gap for what I was lacking. Maybe it’s because I’ve been using CDs for last 35 years or so that I don’t want to give up a CD player in my main system. Looking forward to getting things set up and warmed up!


Thanks @stuart.ashen. I found the CDS2 close to the LP12, so look forward to the CDS3. The CDS2 sounded very natural, perhaps more so than the NDS.

Will wait and see!


FYI, one alleged tweak to the CDS3 (and perhaps 2 for that matter) is to put a piece of opaque cloth over the perspex lid…only your ears can decide.

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I put a neoprene mouse mat over mine - works great !

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Well, very much looking forward to seeing how it sounds. I think I’ve got a very good deal and will be very interested to see how it compares to my current sources and previous ones. Thanks for the advice on cloth or something over the perspex. Will give it a try!

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Well, well, well. The CDS3 and XPS2 arrived today and I have just set it up. Initial impressions are I am really enjoying the music.

Sounds very different from the CDS2, more modern if that makes sense.

I must say I think I have got myself a bargain as they are both in excellent cosmetic condition and as yet no problems at all.

Will get the XPS2 serviced soon as it’s 16 years old and hasn’t had a service as far as I know.

Need to let it warm up for a few days and take it from there.


Trade the XPS and get a 555 power supply. Amazing upgrade, DR is a bonus.


It does to me. I did a side by side many years ago and the evolution in quality was apparent - albeit this is subjective to many.

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The CDS and XPS2 is warmed up a bit more now and sounds superb.

Will re-arrange Fraim at weekend so that I can check out how it sounds with the 555PS. With two 5 stack Fraims and the 555PS at the bottom it’s tricky to make changes without dismantling the power supply stack. Will move the 555PS from the bottom shelf up to the 3rd shelf so I can swap between powering the NDS and CDS3 and do a comparison.

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Would love to hear your impressions!

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I have now set up the CDS3 with the 555PS.

Listening to Pink Floyd Animals and it sounds more natural, a clearer presentation than the XPS2.

More textures, timbres, detail and focus.

It sounds very very good.


I guess difficult to be objective about the benefits the 555 brings to the party if the xps is overdue a service, albeit back in the day there was a fairly strong opinion on this forum that the 555ps did indeed provide a significant step up. I never quite got round to making that change. The cds3 I had was a great match for my lp12 and I really enjoyed its presentation.

Not sure what interconnects you are using but there are major improvements to be gained by switching out the lavender cable for the likes of hi-line (v delicate construction!); super lumina; chord sarum. Whatever you are using hope you really gel with the cds3 - a top quality sound source IMO.


But how is it’s musical timing, and does the music flow in as natural a way? For me it does not, i sold my 555PS and went back to the XPS2.


The XPS2 is warmer in style by comparison. It needs a service so the comparison isn’t entirely fair.

The 555PS sounds really really good. Natural sounding and clearer.

I agree on the clearer, more detailed. Personally those things are less imprtant than the way the music flows and communicates, and that’s where the XPS2 for me wins.

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I would describe the 555PS as having great dynamics, the XPS2 is smoother and warmer in comparison.

Can hear alot more with 555PS. More of everything.

A service will no doubt be first port of call on XPS2.

I don’t want to buy another 555PS at this stage. Funds do not permit so 555PS will go back on NDS.

I used to have both power supplies (non DR) for some years and both had their merits to my ears, and occasionally I would swap the XPS in for some weeks but always returned to the 555. Finally I sold the xps. I few years later my dealer loaned me DR versions of my 300, SC and 555 to try and to possibly evaluate if service was due. Of these the 555 stood out as the biggest upgrade, if this was due to that having a service need or just a DR effect, hard to tell but definitely an upgrade vs my then ~10 year old 555.

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