CDS3 Service and New Mechanism

My CDS3 started to play up (would only play a minute or so of a cd then would start skipping then would stop). So it went back to HQ for a repair and is now back about two weeks’ later.

I’ve noticed the mechanism has changed and so has the sound. It is more dynamic but also a bit less natural. Less analogue you might say. I’ve had it running on and off for about 24 hours now and the shoutyness is mellowing out.

Just wondered if any others have had similar experiences with their CDS3 after a repair/service.

Best etc.,

If yours is one of the older models then it will have had the vam1250 mechanism (I believe??) which has long been unavailable. The current replacement mechs - vam1202 - do apparently have a slightly different sound signature but I believe Naim test each one and only keep ones they feel are suitable. Several internal components will have been replaced at the same time so maybe some fresh small electronic components are also responsible for the change in sound.
My pre loved CDS3 (vam1250) came with a spare brand new 1202 mech well wrapped in a small Naim box, the previous owner had kind of ‘future proofed’ his investment…

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My CDS3 originally had a VAM1250 mechanism which started to refuse to play some CDs, so went back to Naim when 6-7 years old.

It came back with a new VAM1202 transport but Naim Service Dept had also replaced a huge number of tantalum capacitors (circa 30 if memory serves) and had upgraded the player’s firmware.

Despite having an “inferior” VAM1202 mechanism, the CDS3 was more musical than I could ever remember. All this powered by a 555PS.

It sounded wonderfully better from the very beginning but the sound did seem to relax and loosen up a bit in the first week or so.

Hope this helps, BF

I bought one of the earliest CDS3s in about 2004. It’s still going strong and sounding marvellous. Talking to my dealer confirmed that it is best to leave well alone unless it develops a fault so no service etc. Outstanding player and ultra reliable imho!


I loved mine when it was returned from a service which included a change of mechanism. It was good straight from the box and just got better as it warmed through. I’m hoping yours will do the same after another day or so.


Mine is a 2004 model and a couple of years ago the transport started to rattle and skip towards the end of the disc. Sent back to Salisbury via Cymbiosis, came back with new transport and replacement caps etc. Sounds superb.

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I sent mine in for a new mechanism 3-4 years ago, when the CDP starting rejecting more and more CDs. I was told that there was no sonic difference between the two mechanisms, and I didn’t have any other work done. I couldn’t hear a difference.

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I had my CDS3 refurbished including the new mechanism by Chris West 3 years ago and could not hear any sonic difference. I added a 555PS last year which improved the sound enormously. Hopefully it will provide years of enjoyment.

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