Core vs CD player?

Quick question, really enjoying the Nova , but my 700+ cds are going to waste, so thinking of adding a core, sound wise how does it compare to a CD player as a main source? Thank you

You may realise this, but the Core will only copy and store CDs as a source for a streamer. It won’t play CDs in real time.

I don’t have any experience of the comparison you want to make.

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The Core makes ripping a large number of CDs relatively painless, bar a bit metadata editing of classical CDs which is easy in the app. Soundwise it’s very good via SPDif into a DAC (I liked the Belden 4794R cable for this) or streaming across a network as you will most likely do. It needs a hardwired connection to somewhere in your local network but the router will do for that, though some like to get fancy with switches and cables. I’m feeding my streamer wirelessly at the moment.

I was surprised how well a Rega DACr fed from the Core held up against a CDX2/555ps Though it didn’t beat it I found my self choosing the core over the CD more often than not.

Some prefer the melco feeding a streamer with a direct network cable but I’ve not tried this.

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There are other threads on this, but FWIW…

I use a CDS2 and NDX2/XPS2 into 52/SC/300DR.

I also had a Core in the system for a while to rip my CDs as aaback-up to take to Tasmania.

I and friends compared playing a decent CD on CDS2 to playing the rip and to various versions on Qobuz (mostly HR) and Tidal.

If the streamed version or the CD is poor, the difference can be dramatic. That applies to many version of many albums on streaming services, so pick carefully.

The difference between ripped CD via Core/NDX2/XPS2 and same CD via CDS2 was tiny or mythical.

If the source data is good, then any difference between these 3 options is much smaller than between NDX2 with and without XPS2 (or between naked NDX2 and an ND5XS2), and there is no consistent and material best/ worst ranking between the different data sources or processing choices. Where we got a consensus, it was marginally more likely to favour CDS2 over the ripped CD or the best available stream via NDX2/XPS2, but not to any significant degree - on another days, any of us might pick differently.

IIRC, the CDS2 spanked the CD2, CDI, CDX and CD5Si, and my old Marantz. I have never heard a CD555. I’d thus expect any of those (apart from the 555) to be clearly less pleasing than a rip of the same CD via Core/NDX2/XPS2.

In Tas, I compared Qobuz HR/ Tidal streams with ripped CDs into ND5XS2/82/HC/250. The results were the same - little or no difference and definitely no consistent & material winner. Rips were if anything marginally ahead of the direct stream on the small number of examples where i could tell which was which.

I hope it helps.


Core is Naim’s sleeper product. Hugely underrated IMO. As was the Unitiserve…
Feeding a decent streamer, you’ll have to spend buckets on a CD player to get close. Arguably, it can’t be beaten by a CD player at any price (?)


I have both Uniti Star and Core. I find it much easier and convenient to rip my CDs with Core. I tried to rip with Star but I found it to be a complicated and could be problematic (or perhaps it’s just a caveman in me).
But sometimes (very rarely) I found some unrippable CDs (probably just 5 out of my 900s CDs) and those CDs I can play with Star.
Sound quality between rips and direct CD play, I can’t tell the difference.

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Thank you all for you replying , will purchase Core

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Good choice, I love mine.

Why did you mostly choose the Core?
Because you didn’t have to get up and put a CD on?

I suppose , because ripped CD´s sound so much better than played in real time(IMO).

No idea, probably not convenience. I prefer physical media as a rule and usually vinyl. Even with streaming I tend to play whole albums.

Still use my hdx as a server - fine machine

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