Decision time. CD5 XS 2 vs CDX2

Dear Forum Friends,

All our local HIFI shops in Melbourne are having sales on Naim equipment and before they are all gone I wish to dip my toes into the water. I own a Nait XS 2 Amplifier and am wondering on which CD player to purchase. I am after a new CD player whilst they are still available. I can afford the CDX2 though will I appreciate or hear the difference between these players through my Nait XS2 Amplifier.

If I do purchase the CDX2. I do plan to upgrade with a suitable auxiliary power supply. The same can be said if I am recommended to purchase the CD5 XS.

Over to my forum friends for your guidance.

Warm regards,

Paul from Oz.

The CDX2 is the more capable player but I found it more fussy about what it sat on whereas the ‘5x I had sounded good on my steel and MDF rack the ‘X2 made high piano notes ring unpleasantly, this was only cured when I replaced my rack with Fraim lite, which also improved the timing of the system. A full Fraim shelf under the ‘X2 improved it further though by then I had a 555ps on it. I’ve only heard the xs in store but it sounded closer to the 5x than the X2. If you are going climb the upgrade ladder and you have a sympathetic rack the CDX2 will go a long way, I still use mine on a full Fraim shelf but without the ps along with a 282/hicap/250. The 5x wasn’t completely out of its depth with this combo either but didn’t need the cosseting to perform well. If you don’t have the upgrade bug or the spare income to indulge it and your rack has a lot of steel in it or is a sideboard or some such the 5xs will be the better choice. If you can pander to the CDX2’s sensitivity it has a richer harmonic structure and a bit more boogie but it can loose the latter and become strident in the wrong environment.

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Dear Yeti,

You have included something that I had never considered. I have been employed as a metrologist and before that a Radio Technician on military aircraft. I have a mental mindset on striving for perfection if I can afford it and on the job. Please do not laugh at my setup, because it is far from perfect and is a compromise solution between available room, my wife’s needs and my wants. The TV cabinet/stereo cabinet is a flat pack from IKEA rated at 80 kg. The 50” Pioneer plasma sits in the middle and we use the speakers that came with the plasma and not incorporate our stereo speakers. The stereo speakers are purely for HIFI enjoyment.

The IKEA flatpack has eight pigeon holes of which two are taken up by my Marantz CD-85 CD player and our Naim Nait XS 2, 70 Watt amplifier. The plasma weighs 50 kg and you can see a small bow in the cabinet as it takes the weight of the TV.

Yeti, if in your reckoning that this is an unsuitable environment for a CDX2? Then I may take the safer path of the CD5 XS. The flat pack is made of solid laminated timber or maybe MDF with a veneer. I am unable to provide a link to the cabinet as it was purchased and assembled a very long time ago.

The music I listen to, is

  1. Dire Straits

  2. Pink Floyd

  3. Dianna Krall

  4. Bach

  5. Luciano Pavarotti

  6. Handel Oratorios

  7. 80’s rock

  8. Bob Dylan

Possibly the selection of music may assist in a CD player selection.

Kind regards,


P.S. I do intend to go down the line of power supply upgrades.

CD5 XS and nDAC - Perfect matches to the Nait XS. A no brainer really.
Just make sure that the CDP has been checked and revised by Salisbury.

Chag -


Dear Chag,

I am in Australia. I do not know if that would be possible to have the CDP checked out if it has been revised? I could possibly ask the dealer. What should I look for please?

Kind regards,


Paul, My answer is that it depends upon where you want to go. If you see yourself as having a NAC282, HC, NAP250 at some point in the future, go for the CDX2. If not head for the CD5 XS.

I’ve had both. I auditioned both with my then Nait XS. I lied to myself and told myself the CDX2 was better. It wasn’t. The CD5XS and Nait XS made the better system.

Now I have CD5XS, FCXS, NAC152XS and NAP155XS on Isoblue. It’s wonderful. It’s also not the kind of set we hear much about these days in NaimWorld. It was never the subject of forum hype. It was the logical development of Naim’s successful 5 series range that included CD5x, NAC122x and NAP150x. But imo CD5XS (FCXS when it suits you) and your Nait XS2 will deliver much of what the bigger Naim sets do for a lot less $$$$s.

Kind regards, Chris


Chris’s advice is spot on here. Remember also that as you plan to add the requisite power supply, bear in mind that the XPSDR for the CDX2 costs three or four times as much as the Flatcap XS for the CD5XS. Do you really want to spend £7,000 or so on a CD player?

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Dear Christopher,

I was able to find references to the model numbers in your first paragraph. Though had no luck with the third paragraph. I take the model references from your third paragraph are from older equipment going by the model numbers.

A little off track, my current system as it stands can produce a dB SPL of 102. I normally listen with Shelley out of the room at around 88 dB SPL and no louder. That gives me a headroom of 14 dB. Possibly for Jazz a little softer. So I think my amplifier is up to the task with 6 watts to spare. Speakers are 84 dB SPL.

With the equipment that you have listed in Paragraph one. Could you advise me on how much I should spend on speakers and this might be the killer for me. I am in the market for a sub-woofer. Though I do not wish to do a loud speaker replacement. Current speakers are a pair of Celestion SL6Si, 8 ohm 120 watts. At 84 dB SPL.

Purchasing a CDX2 is a stretch for the budget as I would also like to purchase the accompanying power supply at a later date. Though I believe you have mentioned the HiCap. I thought if I could get the source right. All the rest would follow. Though I do note that CDX2 was released in 2012. Which makes it 7 years old to date.

If I could get away with a CD5 XS and external power supply and have a happy homoginis system. I think I would have all boxes ticked. Then there is the search for some quality headphones so I can listen to music as Shelley watch’s Netflix.

Kind regards,


There used to be an Ikea bedside cabinet which was favoured as a rack for naim equipment if an extra shelf or two was added. Your unit might not be a dead loss for a CDX2 but it would take a home demo to tell.

The xs will be a better visual match and a safe bet with the Nait and Ikea unit.

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88 dB is in hearing damage territory.

Don’t use SPL and Watts for judging equipment. It’s all about how much you enjoy the music.

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I’m with Christopher M on this. I used to run an XS-based system (Nait XS, CD5XS, nDAC also on isoblue) and was delighted with the sound quality. It’s a nice visual match too. As far as I know, you don’t need to get the CD5XS “checked and revised by Naim”. It has a transformer-coupled digital output on the back. Use a BNC-BNC digital cable to connect to the DAC, make sure the output slider is on digital and you’re good to go. When the nDAC came out, one highly respected UK dealer did a comparison of the CD5XS/nDAC with the CDX2 and preferred the former. Another advantage of going this route is that you can upgrade in two steps which may help with the finances.

Also, you cannot use a HiCap on the CDX2 but you can with the CD5XS (and the Nait). However, I would advise caution before going down that route and that you audition first. Some seem to like the effect of a HiCap on XS series boxes, but I tried it and found it altered the sound character of the XS setup and I preferred them without.



Dear Roger and Christopher,

Could you please explain which Day I should use and what is isobblue please?

DAC and DAC-V1 appear to be my only choices. Though there appears to be a this item for sale as well, naim-dac-d-to-a-converter

Kind regards,


Google is our friend. I see Isoblue is HIFI shelving. I think I am stuck with our current IKEA setup as it supports the Plasma TV. Centerally located in the centre of the room. All the HIFI gear is in the eight pigeon holes as part of the IKEA TV stand. Two rows by four columns.

I/we do not have a dedicated music room. I suppose you would call it a media room for both TV and music.

Warm regards,


CD5 XS. Easier on the pocket and easier on the ear.


Regarding SPLs quoted, is that average or peak? And measured at the listening position or elsewhere?

Thank you every one. Well it looks like the CD5 XS has one the day.

With regards to my Nait XS Mk2 Amplifier, I leave this on all the time with mute selected. Would it advisable to do the same with the CD5 XS and possible DAC purchase?

If I do go down the road of a DAC used in conjunction with the CD5 XS. Is there still a requirement to fit an optional power supply? I would think that now that every thing is now digital. This would no longer be the case.

Should I always leave a CD in the draw to minimise dust on the laser head?

Are there any other precautions I should take please?

Kind regards,


Dear I.B.,

The 88 dB SPL was measured at the listening position on my iPhone 5SE. The speakers I use have an efficiency of 84 dB SPL. I think this equates to a power consumption of 2.5 watts. I may be mistaken as I did not think that this was excessive. I usually listen at lower volumes. Though when Shelley is not at home I do turn it up a little. This equates to about 9 o’clock on the volume dial.

Kind regards,


I think you will enjoy the CD5 XS > NAIT XS 2 quite a bit and would recommend you give it a listen without a PS for a couple of months. If you are not enjoying the sound or just curious you can ask the dealer to let you demo a PS. With a couple of months of listening under your belt you will be in a better position to judge if you like the new sound.

Good luck with your decision…


Thank you sea kayaker,

There are currently a lot of Naim products on sale as Naim is redistributing its dealership here in Australia. Nobody appears to know whom will be stocking the new Naim equipment. It is a matter of grab and go as it will not be repeated again. Everybody is in the dark for the moment.

My statement was with regard to connecting a DAC to the S/PDIF output on the CD5 XS. Digital to digital would not require an option upgrade of a Power Supply. Or so I think. If they are available at good price whether I should consider one or not.

Kind regards,


On the xs an external ps (flatcap or hicap) only powers the analog circuits so no need for one if using an external DAC.

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