New CD player/Dac- Transport suggestions

My CDS3 requires a new laser mech and it appears that Naim cannot source a replacement. I am looking for a suitable replacement but am retired and cannot spend $15 K US for a comparable unit. I am considering Hegel, Rega, Bryston, Chord, Cyrus,Esoteric and Exposure. I have 1600 cds and have no interest in streaming. Can anyone suggest a good fit within an active Nac 52/250/NBL system? I am aware that the CDS/PS555 will be difficult to match without exceeding my budget. Any suggestions from the forum would be welcome.


If you could source a good used CDX2 with an XPS -2 it would be quite good . It has a different presentation to the cds3 but nevertheless sounds fine

Try and keep the Naim family going if you can. Do you have an XPS-2 that you were using with the cds3?

The CDX 2 has the same problem as CDS, no laser mech replacements. As a result, Naim has no solution at this point.

Oh I didn’t realise that MKL1. I thought the lasers were still available for the CDX2 I think they might be here in Australia and New Zealand. But certainly not for the CDS3

I’m currently running a CD5XS as a transport via the nDAC and XPS-2 and it’s a mighty fine combination. That is another way to go if you can find good used ones


Marantz make their own cd mechanisms, i would try something like a marantz sa ki ruby……about £4k in the UK. The ki indicates it was designed by the legendary ken ishiwata of Marantz, probably his last cd player….he had an attention to detail like Naim.


I’m like you MKL1 I’m dreading the day the CD5XS packs it in

The other solution you could think of ( and I have so with a secondary system) is to rip all your CDs into the Naim Core and purchase a good quality DAC. It would be quite a reasonable price alternative.

It works really well although of course one loses the physical aspect of placing the CD in the player which I kind of like

The Rega battleship would be close to the top of our list, both because of sound quality and Rega’s policy of retaining spares for every Rega Isis that they sell.

Best regards, BF

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How about an Audiolab 6000 transport into a Naim nDAC with an XPS?

I tried the Audiolab and the Cambridge CXC into my nDAC/XPS and they were both very good. Neither quite matched the Exposure 3010S2 CD player I usually use, but they are both available new and are inexpensive. I had a slight but definite preference for the Audiolab (which surprised me given all the negatives I’ve read about specific bits of kit from them).

And the nDAC, with an external PS, remains competitive with damn near anything on the market, and is frankly much better than most of the sterile and lifeless DACs on the market today.

If you have a 555PS a pre-loved CD555 is the obvious answer :grinning:


I would get a Ndac and use your power supply on it. Pick your transport from there. I know its been said many times before but the Meridians work really well with the Ndac.


And in the meantime, hang on to the CDS3 in the hope that some decent new mechs can be sourced.


They do not have vam 1202 mech anymore? Last year I serviced my CDS3 and they still have 1202 at that moment. But I had a new vam 1250 so they replaced that for me.

From what I understand the current Covid situation has made sourcing good quality replacement stock much more difficult than usual.

I am hopeful that new laser mechs can be sourced however no guarantees. That is why I am seeking alternatives to Naim. I prefer a one box solution but difficult to replicate sound of the CDS3/PS555 without spending a fortune. Keeping my fingers crossed that new mechs can be found. Any idea as to how many people are seeking them?


I have seen someone has the Acoustic Arts cd drive with the Ndac. They report it has a very Naim sound.

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