nDac, wich Drive?

Hello to all and best wishes for this new year.

Currently owner of the ndac/xps combo with a BS Vault2 as streamer, I would still like to keep a cd source.
This is my question… Yes but what ?
For the last 2 years that I have been enjoying HD streaming, I have relegated my valiant CD5 to the closet. But sometimes I would like to listen again to some albums that are not online and that I own.
Listening to the CD5, while very “honest” for its price, is far behind the NDac/XPS/BS trio. Regressing in terms of quality is not an option.

I know that the cd5xs would be the ideal partner for the nDac, but wouldn’t a cdx2.2 do better as a drive? Or is the difference between the two drives minor?

Another possibility, I have always preferred the CDS2 to other drives (CDS,CDS3,CdX…). CDS2/XPS would be my solution, but that would make boxes in addition to the nDac/XPS, and I don’t want that.

So my question would be: which drive (Naim or not) associated with the nDac/XPS could be as close as possible to the sound signature of the CDS2?

I searched the forum for answers but I found few feedbacks from nDac users with CDX2, comparison with CD5 XS, or other drives…

If you have an opinion or feedback on this subject, it would help me a lot and prevent me from taking my head, on the fact of making a mistake by choosing this or that source…

Thanks in advance.


It would seem to me that the overall “sound signature” is determined largely by the process of digital to analogue conversion/circuits, rather than the transport itself. In which case, any good quality transport** feeding the nDAC will give you what you are seeking.

** or for that matter, a CDP using its Digital output, thus bypassing its internal DAC.

And bearing in mind the well documented “lack of longevity and difficulty of repair” of certain CDPs………

I found surprising differences in performance feeding the Naim DAC with different transports. The bad news here is that most were good but didn’t reach that special place where the hairs on yours start to prickle and you feel you’re in the presence of real music making. I did manage to get there with a Meridian 200 though (connected via DC1 coaxial cable), so it is possible to do but without breaking the bank.

These days I mostly use a Uniti Core connected via BNC-BNC DC1.


The less risky is the Uniticore, if you want a Naim transport.
If you want a Naim cd transport with digital out, as Cd5xs2 or Cdx2.2, try to see before if there are still cd mechs available.
The Uniticore has a very good digital out apparently.

I don’t think earlier cdx2’s had a bnc out?

Interesting, must try our Meridian 200………


No, but you could send in an earlier CDX2 to Naim to be modified into a dedicated transport.

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Hi @Naimophile35. If you can find it on the old forum there was an extensive discussion of the SQ difference between CD5XS and CDX2 (with digital output) as transports into nDAC and some comparison with other Naim CD players. I think the consensus was that CDX2 sounded better than CD5XS as a transport but the difference was not huge. If you want Naim and it’s not your only source I’d be inclined to go for the CD5XS. I ran that with nDAC/XPSDR as my main source for several years and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not sure of the replacement mech position, though.

Richard Dane’s suggestion of Meridian 200 is worth following up too. I used one for years and my son still uses it. It’s still going strong after nearly 30 years which I guess is some testament to its build quality.


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