Comparing CDX2, CDS3 and Chord Blu MKii

I have recently upgraded from SN2, to 282/250DR/SCDR and loving it. My speakers are Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures, a sound I am familiar with and staying with at the moment.

My source is a regular Naim CD5, and I want to upgrade to a new CD player. I like CDs, not into streaming.

I have come close to buying a CDX2 and a CDS3 but it did not work out, would also get an XPSDR to go with it. Plenty 240Volt units available but no 110V US models.

I have read may great reviews of the Chord Blu MKii so that is an option. My questions are what Naim box would I need to use it in my system and how does its sound compare to the two Naim CD players I mentioned? Any/all opinions on this option are welcome.

Have you thought about a better DAC e.g. Chord Dave? I am assuming CD5 has digital out!

You’ll need a DAC with the Chord Blu Mkii sich as Chord Dave, as its a CD transport.

Alternatively get a decent DAC and alternative CD transport.

I have had the CDS2 with XPS2 for the 2nd time now. Had a CDS3 as well. Lovely CD players. The problem with Naim CD players is limited supply of laser mechanisms.

Alternative could be Rega Isis. They keep spare mechanisms. Cyrus Signature CDXT, and there are some on here with Luxman CD players which look good. If you’re buying an expensive CD player you want it to last and be able to get it repaired.

I love my CDS2 and if it dies I will get another.

On another point it should be easy enough to get the voltage converted to 110volts or use a step down transformer?

There is no digital out on the CD5

CDS2 and CDS3 are brilliant but far from new, which may put you off.

A CD transport like the excellent Audiolab into a good DAC ( Chord, old Naim nDAC or others) or a streamer with a good DAC would also be a great option, and perhaps one that you could be confident of still looking a good decision in 5-10 years.


CDS3 with either XPS or 555 is sublime. But laser availability for repair is a problem, shame because they’re such fantastic machines.


What are Naim the units in steps of quality that have a DAC I could use with the Chord Blu? I am not familiar with those lines at all.

The Chord blu mk2 was discontinued due to them running out of the Phillips pro cd mechanism. I would want to know if they still have enough mechanisms to service it……that applies to many Naim cd players as well.

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So any suggestions on an upgrade? Can’t afford the Naim reference CD player

I would take a listen at a Rega cd player……they make their own cd mechanism and keep 2 spare ones for each customer.


Vinyl was always my first choice medium and a CDP was bought when a lot of releases didn’t come on vinyl. I had various players - a couple of Technics machines that did a job but weren’t any great shakes, a Marantz CD63 KI Signature which was very good and is still used in a bedroom system (though the remote no longer works). Then I bought a CD5, then added a Flatcap 2 which improved things considerably. Then an olive CDX to which I added an XPS2. Another leap in performance. However swapping the CDX for CDS3 brought CD performance close to my vinyl set up for the first time. Obviously the issue over spare mechs is a worry. If that makes you reluctant then the Rega Isis is a great alternative.
Like you I’m not into streaming. I do use a Bluesound Node (N130) for non critical listening. I use it over WiFi which removes the complications of switches, clocks and cables.

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