Naim CD vs Naim streamer sound quality

Listening to music from CD
on my Naim CD5 and then Flac files ripped from very same CDs (DB power ripper) through my Naim ND5XS
The CD player has a much better richer sound.
What do I need to do to get the same quality from streamed files ?

Naim Nap 160/Nac 72/Hicap/Linn Katans

If you have both the CD player and ND5XS connected at the same time then the Ground switch on the streamer needs setting to ‘floating’.

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Perhaps a NDX 2 with a 555 PS DR… :thinking:

Yes and it will better cd’s wrt sound quality

Thank you very much, lot of useful
Info there

Thanks and where can I find the ground switch mentioned

The ground switch is on the back right of the rear of the ND5 in between the RCA and DIN sockets.

At this point Lionel i’d get the basics in place. A wired Ethernet connection from the ND5XS to a basic switch, along with your NAS and a cable off to your router. Keep the NAS and switch away from the Hi-Fi if you can. Plug the ND5XS into the same power strip as the rest of your system – I wouldn’t bother with filtered power strips here. As Guinnless mentions, check the setting of the ground switch and also switch off any unused inputs on the ND5XS and ensure that the output is set to DIN only (if that’s the one you are using).

If after doing this you still prefer the sound of the CD5 over the ND5XS then fiddling about with switches and network cables is unlikely to change this. From experience, the CD5 has a more ‘characterful’ sound signature to that of the ND5XS and you may just find this works better to your ears in your system. I would see if you could loan something like a ND5XS2 to see if that provides more of what you are looking for or even pick up a used Naim DAC and use the ND5XS as a transport. A few options.


I ran a CD5 XS alongside a ND5 XS for a time both as a standalone CD player and a transport in to the ND5 XS.
They do perform differently, not necessarily a clear cut case of good vs better, just different and both with their own character and presentation.
Digital streamers tend to prefer a well thought through wired connection. You can achieve good results with a WiFi connection but a sufficient level of thought and investment relative to a wired setup applies also and comes with its own specific requirements.
Starting off with getting the connectivity sorted out is important, the equipment you use to connect the ND to the audio source, either local or Internet based, doesn’t need to be overly complex or exotic to have it performing well. An efficient NAS for local ripped playback (Synology or QNAP being good examples), some well made Ethernet cables, CAT6A is a good starting point, and a Layer 2 Ethernet Switch, will get you the basics in place and from there you can adapt specific parts to your tastes and budget.

If I can jump in here and ask fellow forum-ites a related question, without starting a new thread:

I would like to add a CD player to my system and would like to know anybody’s thoughts - not really of the “why do you need one? species - and views on what might be a decent one (as in it could equal or surpass the Zenith in SQ) to run alongside my Innuos Zenith Mk3?

Budget: up to £1.5K for s/h or new
I’d possibly prefer a transport only, but would consider an integrated CD player.

Currently it would be fed into a Nova & 250 combo, though I am contemplating swapping out the Nova for a dedicated pre, and a Chord DAC (Qutest or Hugo TT2) instead.

Speakers are Pro Ac D2R

I’ve recently demoed three players - Audiolab 6000CDT, Primare DD35 (both transports, of course) and a Hegel Mohican. All pretty good in their own way but all returned whilst I consider other options. Aaaaarrrhh.

Or do I just ditch the idea and buy a NDX2 to max my streaming potential (and also sell the Zenith MK3).

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Thanks eveyone very helpful advice, gives me a lot to go on

I have used a CD555 and ND555 both with 2x 555DR power supplies. Once properly set up and optimised its not even close. For me, the ND wins on all fronts in a very convincing way. I would never go back. I sold my CD555 a year ago and have never had a single regret. In my system, in my room, with my music and my ears I would say the CD555 is worth the money they sell for used vs the ND555 at retail. The ND is the best source I have heard to date.

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I would ignore any reference to ethernet cables affecting sound quality.


Have to ask, how did the Audiolab compare in performance to the DD35 ?

Vast difference in price, yet I am told the Audiolab punches way above it’s weight

Yes, huge price differences, and less so sound differences.
Pure value for money, the Audiolab wins, but I’d say the DD35 was a cut above both the Audiolab and the Hegel Mohican which I also had on demo.

That said, my reference comparison was ripped CDs on my Innuos Zenith MK3, and much as I wanted to buy a new CD transport, held its own against all the machines.

That’s what I’m still using, and will possibly also stave off a hankering for an NDX2, too.
The Innuos is the best CD enabling machine I’ve had, and I prefer it to the Chord Blu MKI + Chord QBD 76 DAC which used to be my favourite digital source. Now sold.

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