Contrarian view on Naims entry-level gear

Browsing the topics it seems like the Nait 5 (s)i) and in particular the CD 5 (s)i) don’t get much credits overhere. Maybe I have a contrarian view on this combo!

I tried streaming and listened to a a XS2 / ND5x and it’s sounds real good, but I find the Nait/cd combination much more musical… and besides that:

  • Selecting an album on a phone or tablet is a whole other experience than putting a cd in the drawer.

  • A lot of my cd’s aren’t available on streaming-services.

  • Visiting second-hand record-stores on weekends is fun.

I like listening to music instead of a constant focus on sound quality, so I keep buying cheap cd’s and stick with my entry-level Naim gear. I wonder if there are others which are more than happy with it…


A Naim CD player and a NAIT, whether they be a CD3+NAIT3, CD5+NAIT5, CD5i+NAIT5i, CD5Si+NAIT5Si, or a combination of any of these, married up to a well matched pair of speakers, could be all you really need, and i’m sure that for many here, it’s where we started with Naim ownership.

I remember when the CD5i and NAIT5i were launched along with the Ariva speakers. I was in Montreal at the show and the system was just a blast to play all sorts of music, new and old. In the evenings I’d pop to the local music shops and buy a bunch of albums for the next days play. Great fun.


I’m with Richard here, I’ve owned and loved exactly these sorts of systems in multiple iterations over the years. Your main constraint is time and money in that sense, I certainly have very fond memories of my time owning NAIT 3 and 5’s as an example, and a CD5 was for me my first proper CD player which I had a lot of pleasure from.
If these sorts of systems suit your needs and listening preferences they’ll continue to serve you well for many more years to come.


I love my CD5. When I bought it from Tom Tom Audio, very second hand (as in old, not knackered) it trounced my Marantz CD6000 OSE. And also provided a great way to compare my NAIT 3 (fab), a demo 5si (better!) and some pre/power combo (awesome!!) I now forget.

Perhaps this is a bit of a rarified atmosphere - some folks have very high end kit. A lot came from humbler beginnings though, and it doesn’t take much for the nostalgia to come out about the entry level kit. I hope/expect we’ll see some of that on this thread :slight_smile:

(CD5 waves hello)


My trusty NAIT 5 from many years past…


One of the CD5 variants, can’t recall which at that time!
It’s a NAIT XS I think, was a while ago…


Whilst maybe not the best ‘hifi’, my CD3.5 produced the most engaging sounds I’ve ever heard from compact disc.

I should never have sold it really😖


Gosh I’m so with you on this one. If anything my days with the Nait5si got me into this so called hobby. Totally made me appreciate my love of music.


Great post, thank you :slight_smile:

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I bought my cd5si last April and the improvement was so good I started selling my recording equipment and other things to get the nait5si - which also sounded stunning (as well as the Audioquest cobalt DAC and beyerdynamic T5 V3 headphones). I am now listening to music like I did when a youngster and have not watched a film in my collection for almost a year…They were both ex-demo and coming out of lockdown had had very little play.

They are self-contained, so in themselves offer no upgrade path - which suits me fine as I can’t afford to get caught up in that process. If I win the lottery I would have to consider things at that point (doing it might be a help).

I don’t know anyone locally with the higher end Naim equipment so can’t directly compare - I assume each upgrade makes the differences people describe.

I have a 17 year old pair of Focal Cobalt 816’s which I now know outclassed my previous system by a loooong way - as good as I thought it sounded before. it seems they may have had 17 years of running in to be ready for now as they have never really been pushed to do what they can do. Everyone who I play music to is gobsmacked. I don’t currently feel the need (nor have the money) to upgrade the speakers.

The only thing I did do was loan a headphone amp from a dealer to check out if that made a difference as I was unexpectedly underwhelmed by what I was hearing - partly from transformer hum which was annoying in quiet pieces of music. The headphone amp made a big difference, no hum and the music really grabbed me in the different way that headphone listening does, so I paid for it today.

For the same 3 reasons as you I am very happy to stick with the system I have now and enjoy listening to it every day.


This is a very refreshing and important thread.

If you have a look at my profile, you can see the equipment which I currently own and it gives me no end of pleasurable listening. It’s nowhere near the quality (or cost) of some others on the forum, but it must be said that, generally speaking, there is very little “gear-snobbery” amongst the contributors. Of course, occasionally, some get a little bit carried away with hyperbolic language, but almost all are supportive and helpful.

Recently, I have tried out some streaming services and will continue to do so, but, when I hear something I really like, I tend to buy it second-hand, on-line, as I have no suitable shops nearby. Streaming, along with Radio Paradise, 6 Music, etc. are very useful in this regard.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, I will upgrde or add to my system, but I don’t expect to spend “lottery-money” and I will definitely use this forum for members’ advice - indeed, the ubiquitous HH was very heplful to me just a couple of months ago.

This is an entirely harmless, but intriguing hobby, with space for everyone!

Brian D.


My view is if you enjoy it, don’t worry about what others think.

When I play vinyl part of the enjoyment is definitely connected to the physical aspect of getting the album from the rack and putting it on. I never really got this with a CD, so prefer to play rips via the app, so I do that.


Occasionally some folk do allow their enthusiasm for better kit to over-reach their finances - with sometimes difficult consequences, but otherwise it is pretty harmless.

Unless you consider the cumulative greenhouse effect of all those transformers… :thinking: :thinking: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I had a CDX/282/250.2 system and decided to get a 2nd system for the bedroom. Nait5i & CD5i seemed the obvious choice so I bought it blind.
To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement. So much so, the main rig was replaced with CDS3/252/300 in order to restore balance to the universe.


Thanks for support! I’m glad I’m not alone…

I had a CD5i and it was the best among many players at the price that I heard at the time. Was happy with it for a decade. A friend’s Nait 5i, CD5i, P3, and Audio Physik Yaras have been a lot of fun for many years as well, for a very agreeable price.

  • It is, but putting a CD in a drawer is hardly a magical experience, and the sleeve notes are often so small as to be a struggle to read, whereas using a tablet to control a streamer allows larger viewing if wanted. And there are no CDs to damage, or put away in the wrong place and so be unable to find, and even with a personal store of thousands of recordings, storage space is virtually nothing…

  • Availability on online streaming services is irrelevant - you can rip your CDs, and keep the recording in perfect condition in a very small space.

  • If it is, and if you switch to streaming , there is nothing to stop you continuing to do that! Many people use CDs, bought both new and secondhand, as a source of music, simply ripping them instead of playing in a CD player.

Your first impression may be true for you in a comparison to those components, though whether the streamer was set up optimally might be a relevant question, while from what I have read some people find online streaming inferior compared to streaming from their own stored music files. And of course there are many different streamers, so whether you’d find all inferior to your CD player is another matter - I started streaming with an ND5XS, but then found better. After switching to streaming I’ve never looked back, finding nothing but benefit with it.

Is that an Arcam irdac I spot there?

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I don’t think your view is contrarian at all. I suspect there are many, many users of Naim gear found in the lower reaches of the hierarchy who thoroughly enjoy using their system, but don’t bother to post about it here. I often think that when the you no longer feel that upgrade itch, forget about the hifi and simply enjoy the music, that’s a very good place to be.



I have this evening been checking out a just returned and serviced Olive hicap. Node into Qutest in to Hicap/92/90 and playing through my A5’s.

Sublime (Miles and Nature Boy) and the Naim kit is all of 800 pounds worth against the usual in this room, 252/SCDR/Classic Nap 250 at approx 8 thousand pounds worth. I could live with the 800 pound sound and be happy.