CDS3 vs Unitiserve + XPS2 + Ndac + DC1

I have both configuration in my system. Have you ever had experience of these two system and made comparison? Changing XPS to XPS DR could denaturalize the CDS3 sound that I love it so much?

To clarify are you talking of getting rid of the CDS3 and replacing it with a uniti/dac combo?

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no, I’m the owner of both system, and I would like to know if someone has compared these configuration and what is your opinion about it …

Everyones perception and taste will be different, and as much as I think its good to get an idea of opinion if you are considering a demo etc you actually have the equipment to see for yourself! I would strongly recommend letting your own ears decide. Presentation will be different I guess and thats very personal. The only thing that counts is your involvement with the music and you can actually do that test without any form of demo or cash outlay!!

Hi Steve, I’m already sure about my ideas but I would like to know other user perception …


Digging into the archive of the old forum will reveal a multitude of opinions with regard CD vs streaming etc etc. The only conclusion is that there’s no conclusion All I’ll say is that I have a CDS3 and continue to be thrilled by the music is plays particularly with a 555(DR) PSU and Superlumina IC.

Enjoy the music.




I did this comparison some (7?) years ago when I bought the Ndac/XPS. I found little difference in SQ overall, however when I changed the XPS to 555PS the streaming configuration proved to be better.

Me too, the CDS3 is my only source and will be for a while yet I think! I am only at the XPS DR level but I will try a 555DR at some point I guess! The full loom SL deserves to be pushed!


For what it’s worth, which is essentially nothing in the context of the ears of the OP:
We were ready to go CDS3. We’d listened to it on a number of occasions and a home demo was going to be little more than a formality. What prevented us from actually doing this was the avalanche of new introductions around the time span that we were getting ready to trade up from our CDX2/XPS2.

Long story short. I preferred the easy yet detailed and realistic presentation of the CDS3 but it seemed like a dead end which was short of the potential of the newer stuff. We ended up with HDX-SSD/DAC/555PS because it went further in detail retrieval and was more future proof.

We did only one dedicated back to back comparison, although we did a lot of separate listening to all. I wanted to proceed with the CDS3. My wife did not… She was right. There was no disputing the extra detail and communication coming from the DAC/XPS2 (we later put a 55PS on it). And it all turned out good in the end, because the implementation of the DAC in the NDS was breathtakingly good. A kind of spiritual successor to the CDS3 but way out in front. Right now, given its discontinued/used status, it’s among the best value for money sources you can buy anywhere.

Your ears may vary.

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in my opinion cds3 is better than combo unitiserve ndac+xps2 but I often use liquid music for convenience. Now I’m very interested by Tidal. I think that next step will be replace the xps2 with 555ps and then replace dac with nds. Is not simple find 555 ps in used market in Italy. I will not sell cds3 beacause I love it and the street price is less than his sound quality

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update … waiting for 555 ps delivery :slight_smile:

Will you try the 555 on the cds3 also and report your findings vs on your ‘modern digital’ combo?

yes, I think so, I will try on both configuration, someone knows if is possible connect dac and cds3 at the same time?

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I don’t believe you can, if you could it would almost certainly lead to damage!

update, I don’t know why but it seems that this is the result:
“unitiserve+dc1 cable+xps+ naim dac” VS “cds3+xps” CDS3 is better
“unitiserve+dc1 cable+555PS+ naim dac” VS “cds3+555PS” naim dac configuration is better.
like as if the dac exploit 555PS better than CDS3

Thanks for the update. This is interesting. Is your 555PS a DR version? I guess the new DR updates maybe favour the newer Naim components. They would have designed the DR around these vs legancy sources such as the CDS3. I am still loving my CDS3 however! It is probably due a service as its a 2005 model but then the music stops for me as its my only source!! Just need to time it with a holiday I guess!

hi Steve, is not a DR version … now I wait other experience about :slight_smile:

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