New CD Player

Over the last year my aging Cd3.5 had started really misbehaving, skipping, stopping etc and it was getting worse to the point of being practically unuseable. It finally got so bad that I took back from a friend my original cd player a Denon DCD1500, now some 30+ yrs old. It still worked well and surprisingly in tests against the cd3.5 it held its own.
Decided a replacement cd player was my choice, not that interested as yet in streaming. I spent some months researching suitable replacements until funds were available. Seeing that the Denon was performing well I also looked up the new Denon players and found the DCD2500-an SACD player. I have a number of hybrid cd’s in my collection so wondered if it would it be a suitable choice. Two reviews Hi-Fi news and Australian Hi-Fi were both very positive about both its cd and SACD performance.
We arranged an audition with a range of players including Naim cd5si- within a price range of £1k-£2.5k. The audition was with a Nait XS to match my own amplifier. We arrived and settled down to listen. The Naim cd5si was first as we were used to the Naim sound and so it would be a good introduction. All my wife and myself can say was that we were so disappointed in the sound -Naim is usually involving and detailed, this sounded harsh, unfocussed and no involvement, we rejected it straight away- it had been in the set up all morning and was the usual demo machine. Tried another player- Marantz ND8006 – sound was so much better so it was not the amp/speaker arrangement. Moving on we finally ended up with Music Fidelity M6 which better than all before, as it should be being the most expensive. Finally decided to try the Denon DCD2500 which was still boxed so we would be listening to a cold machine-plugged in, reaction from all of us was “wow”-it beat easily all players we had tried. Moved on to a SACD- Can-Soundtracks, jaw dropping would be the reaction, our auditioner stood behind us and agreed it sounded superb, detailed, involving and very musical. We had tried a range of cd’s - Public Service Broadcasting, Robbie Robertson, Robert Plant, Lazuli and each time the Denon was the better against the rest.
Choice was made-my wife agreed.
Back home, had it now a couple of months and no regrets. In fact it is getting better. It picks out far more details, we are hearing things not heard before, soundstage is much clearer and sharper, bass is more detailed and the drum sound is so much better that what the 3.5 produced. Listening to Peter Gabriel “So” track Don’t’ Give Up the clarity and detail of the playing of Tony Levin on bass was astounding. The reviews said it brings cd performance almost up to SACD and have to agree. We have already purchased a number of SACD’s to add to the collection.
It is large and weighs some 14kg. The specs are :- Advanced AL32 Processing + Ultra Precision 192kHz/32bit D/A Converter ,Twin transformers (one for digital the other analogue), minimal circuit paths, a custom draw and chassis to reduce vibrations and Playback of CD, Super Audio CD, DSD (2.8 MHz / 5.6 MHz) files and PCM files up to 192 kHz / 24 bits recorded on DVD R/RW. It also has a pure direct mode which cuts out unwanted outputs and shuts off the display.
Steve B


Sounds like to me that this machine was broken. A CD5Si is the complete opposite to this description above. In 2013 it won ‘product of the year’.

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Have to agree that the naim must have been faulty, and the dealer should have questioned it’s lack of quality sound. I run a 5si through an xs2 and it’s phenomenal, not as you described. Having said that, if the denon has hit the spot for you, who are we to say it’s wrong. Are you running the denon through a naim amp?

I certainly wouldn’t describe the sound of the CD5Si as harsh. The CD5XS which I bought in the end is more detailed, but neither are harsh.

Glad you found a player to your liking. Denon always made well built and very good sounding machines.

My 3.5 is still performing flawlessly but if it dies I will have to examine other makes as well. Personally, I always preferred it over the CD5Si and the CDX 2 with their more forward presentation.

Glad you were happy with how it ended up.

I do have to ask whether your Naim CD player could have been serviced?

Best wishes

running it through Nait XS
was the 5si faulty- do not think so-just did not like the sound

as it was the mechanism that was failing then unlikley could be replaced as i believe Naim no longer have spares of that mechanism

Stephen, welcome to the forum. Great post

Same setup here and the CD5si is what got me in to Naim in the first place. I just blows the Arcam CD player I had before it out of the water. CD5si, Nait XS2 and PMC twenty5.22s sounds sweet to me.


When I sold my cd5si a couple of years ago…it was to a guy who had a cd3.5
He just couldn’t get over how much better the 5si was compared to his 3.5
So guess there was a problem with the demo unit…

Now the cd5i-2 … that was a player I didn’t like

On the other hand, I would never replace the magical 3.5 with any 5 player just to show you that it is a matter of personal taste an no absolutes, regardless of which one was selected as the product of the year or century.

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Not disagreeing with you there
It is all personal taste

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The Denon is a good machine…IMO

The dealer should have taken care to provide a demo with a healthy CD player…assuming the cd5si was broken.

Can’t lose a customer this way

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we just did not like the sound, why does that make the Naim player faulty. It was a personal decision.
Seens default position of some Naimees is that criticism has to mean the product was faulty which would imply that Naim reliabilty is not good-which for traditional naim products is not true.



Perhaps it should be noticed that the Denon is twice more expensive vs the Cd5i.



I am sorry.

I didn’t mean it that way.

I probably mis read a few earlier posts.

My error

Naim makes great sounding stuff and would not release it in the market otherwise.

Anyways the Denon CDP is a good choice.

Happy for you


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The worst demo I ever heard was on Naim equipment, sadly it was not the fault of Naim nor PMC who made the speakers rather it was that the dealer streamed the music and the Naim and PMC showed up every last fault in the material.

The friend who I had hoped was going to invest in the equipment was appalled.

Anyway Denon are a well regarded brand at the higher end and I hope that you have a great deal of pleasure out of it.

That’s not really fair - what some on this thread found surprising was that the 5si should be described as “harsh, unfocused”… which certainly goes against my own (limited) experience.
Anyway, you found the sound you liked, which is the most important thing. I must admit I found the sound of my CDX2 a bit forward before I added the PSU.

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As a Naim cd5si owner I can definitely say it does not sound harsh or uninvolving, it sounds beautifully transparent, not bright or harsh in any way, very dynamic and involving in my system, I like how on some cds you can hear all the instruments thru the songs doing their own thing, the treble is excellent, on the Eva Cassidy-Live at Blues Alley, it sounds like your there! An excellent recording, much better than the Nightbird album which has the Blues Alley traks on but its been remastered its ok by modern cd standards but it lacks the clarity of the original Blues alley. Another thing I like about the cd5si is its bass, it just comes in when its needed and gives many of my well recorded cds a live feel. I buy many cds from cd-japan,Blu-spec,shm etc., many sound amazing,and I had a Pioneer SACD player b4 but the naIm on these cds beats it! it often is down to the mastering even a early Decca-Karajan Holst The Planets 24bit remaster with rubidium clock cutting is an advance on the original,more clarity and wider noise floor, just like going from cd layer on hybrid SACD to sacd layer! however I thought my look was in when it was recently released as a SHM cd as well! but it was different mastering DSD and it does not sound anywhere near as good as the pcm version. I just love my cd5si! I rate denon gear and the SACD player is a good one and I have fond memories of the original Denon PMA250 amp,what a cracker! At present I use a Marantz PM6006UK and it is excellent,I replaced the naff adaptor mains lead with a Naim one and fitted AMR 13amp fuses in the amp and cd player,I use bare-wire Chord Clearway cable,I prefer the sound without plugs,its just a bit cleaner,but you need to re-do them every 6 months! My interconnect is the Qed Ref40 Silver plated with locking plugs,I use the cd player in phono only output selected and with display off for best sound,all this is on a Atacama metal rack with glass shelves {de-coupled} the speakers Mission LX2 are on wooden Hi-Fi Racks stands with the gel-pads by Atacama between speakers and stands and it sounds Awesome!

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