Newbie seeking your views

I’m new to the Forum and also new to Naim but have been a Hi-Fi ‘enthusiast’ and (to my mind) more importantly a music fanatic for a very long time. I am really looking to tap into your considerable knowledge with this post as I am driving myself crazy with endless episodes of self doubt and potential regret fuelled by complete uncertainty!

I have had a settled system for a long time now, that being the Cyrus DAC XP Signature, X-Power, CDXTSE, 2 PSX-R, Phono Signature, Rega RP6 and Dynaudio Focus 140s.

I am generally listening to records again these days but also have a sizeable CD collection that needs played!

This set up sounds excellent and importantly I have become accustomed and conditioned to the clarity, crispness and separation. The CD transport into DAC XP is outstanding.

The main issue has been reliability, in the grand scheme it’s probably not been too many repairs over the years but certainly more than I’d expect. I had cosmetic issues on new units, CD playing and ejection issues and a couple of different issues with the DAC XP with the most recent being a fault manifesting as a loud crackle on the digital inputs.

I have effectively lost both confidence and patience in the system. Lockdown hasn’t helped my mood and an inability to get the unit back to Cyrus for repair (£300 flat rate) has added to the frustration.

COVID lockdown has clearly had a massive impact on our ability to get into demo rooms etc. I have never bought anything without listening first but based on my experiences with my system coupled with the various reviews, descriptions, forums and awards I decided to be bold and arranged to offload my kit and replace with the Naim SuperNait 3 and the CD5Si which I have now ordered. I plan to keep the Cyrus Phono Signature (I like it a lot and it was a present) along with 1 PSX-R.

So, I got a loan of the CD5Si and have been playing CDs for a few days now through the analogue inputs (obvs) of the DACXP sig. I’ve been underwhelmed! Now I realise that it’s not into the Naim amp nor is it using the preferred DIN connection but I’m now seriously fearing that I’m potentially paying a fair bit for a downgrade.

I guess I’ve become accustomed to the pre/power and PSU set up and a very good quality DAC. I’m not sure I can even actually judge anything yet but I’m worried I’m making a bit of a mistake that I’ll later regret. I probably need to get it all in place, set up and use the appropriate interconnect options to get a better idea.

I totally understand that there is a Naim sound and a Cyrus sound, in actual fact the description of the Naim musicality should suit my love of various genres and live music. I guess I’m just looking for views on whether the SN3 will be able to live up to my previous set up, whether members think this is a sensible route to be taking or a backwards step?

Having read the forums I anticipate adding a HiCap DR to my new setup in the future, that is of course unless I’m encouraged to stick with the current system. Judging by threads on here it looks like this upgrade would be also be a positive enhancement.

As I say, I’m really keen to hear your views. I appreciate that better and worse is totally subjective and different is likely to describe the sound I’ll get but I guess fundamentally I’m asking is this a good move?

Not much help since I have never heard or owned any Cyrus equipment. It sounds like you have the Naim CD player and interconnect so plug it into the SN 3 and give it a listen. I have had a Naim CD and Streamer connected to my SN 2 and I love the sound. I replaced the CD player with a NAS and play the albums via the NDX 2 > SN 2 for the past few years. The NDX 2 has a XPS DR power supply and the SN 2 has a HiCap DR power supply as well. My four box system sounds fantastic, my system, my room, with my ears.

Give it try and let us know what you think!

Some members to have mixed systems, Naim with other brand products, but do not recall any discussion regarding a Naim/Cyrus combination.

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Thanks @seakayaker, great to hear that your set up works well for you, that’s ultimately what we are all looking for I guess.

The SN3 is on back order and could be a long wait apparently. I haven’t heard it in the flesh yet and would love to get a loan one or even the SN2 to satisfy my curiosity at this stage.

I don’t really want to let the Cyrus phono signature go, it’s top notch and I plan to get an RCA to DIN cable (tbd) to attempt to keep a degree of consistency with my current turntable set up. I had great intentions of routing it through the Aux input but that looks to be a different connection so I’ll just have to find another slot for it and put up with the nomenclature on the button annoying me!!!

Thanks for your reply

I used to own pre x plus psxr, into mono x’s. I sold those 4 and bought a nait xs. Then upgraded to an supernait 2. That should tell you all you need to know. It wasn’t a downgrade.

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Thanks @robert_h , that’s reassuring. It’s a bit counterintuitive for me at the moment but your comment definitely helps me get my head around going back to a one box integrated option after so many years away.

I went through seller’s remorse, I had what was once the top flight Cyrus system after all, but the nait could admirably hold its own. Supernait level is better.
I suggest you replace the dac xp and x power to start with, the CD player can swap out later, you might even get a streamer instead. You could get a dac to keep you going, £100 or so. Sn2 or 3 whatever you can find, the 2 is a cracker.
Definitely keep the phono stage, I have the same.

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Seller’s remorse :grinning: I feel your pain!

Unfortunately it’s a bit of an all or nothing with the CD, if the DAC XP goes so does the CDXTSE as it’s only a transport so would be redundant.

I suppose they recommend pulling off a plaster in one swift motion, it hurts more when you pull it incrementally!

The Cyrus transports are highly regarded, just add a dac. There are threads here about the original Naim dac for example, or look at eg chord qutest.

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Hi Decaljoe
I feel your frustrations I had similar Cyrus set to yours mine was built up with CD8SE 10x power amp I think 2 psxr 8 preamplifier. The cd8se was a thing possessed by some kind of demonic entity :skull_and_crossbones: :skull:3 brand new units all refused to play red book standard cds. Becoming deflated with cyrus was an understatement
I bought all units new from audio t Bolton

Damien the salesman suggested Naim is much better than cyrus and the knowledge of long term ownership.

Long story short they gave me nearly all my money back due to cd8se (cyrus sent a representative up to talk to us about faulty player and offered another one)

By this time I had lost all faith in cyrus sooo I’ve moved up naim ladder with nac 252 supercap dr nap 250 dr xps cds3 all on fraim.

New mechanism last year sounding superb however the weakness is now speakers just waiting for Doug brady to open. Need to discuss my options in my years with naim they are very expensive but desirable to have.

However, I feel you need to go high ish up to achieve the sonic bliss you and I seek.

I do slightly miss the surgical clarity cyrus offers

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Once your SN3 arrives and gets run in a bit, I think you’ll be impressed. I run an NDS thru an SN2, and it sounds superb. Even iradio is excellent. And I’ve had some pretty high-end kit in the past from other manufacturers.

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Thanks @omegaman, I think your last sentence pretty much sums it up for me. This is the potential trade off here, that description of ‘surgical clarity’ is undoubtedly (on reflection) what has kept me loyal to Cyrus through thick and thin.

I too had the CD8SE and 8VS combo and suffered similar issues, that should’ve been the red flag but I was enticed by the new slot loading mechanism at the time and traded up. I have become absolutely attuned to that crisp and clear sound hence the progression to the DACXP signature however intermittent issues remain. Some don’t require return and repair however I’m not sure it’s ideal to know that there’s certain discs in my collection that just won’t play and times when a pair of tweezers and some tissue paper is the only way to retrieve a stuck CD.

It seems I’m going to have to reconcile that there is a very different sound but there is more to a quality product than its sonic performance.

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The SN3 is an excellent amplifier, but I wouldn’t choose a CD5si to use with it. If you want to continue to play CDs you may be wise to keep the Cyrus or to get a better Naim CD player, such as a CDX2. Alternatively you could rip all your CDs and get an NDX2 network player.

I don’t think it’s that different.
Get a supernait 3 home when you can and try it out.

Thanks @hungryhalibut , what would be the inhibiting factors that would steer me away from the CD5Si?
I wanted to buy new and obviously that’s my only option in that category from Naim.

If you want to stick with CD’s then I would look at a used CDX2 which would be a super match for a Supernait.

The CDX2 is still serviceable by Naim, they deliberately discontinued it early to ensure that they had adequate stocks of spares to see them into the future.

Serviceability and reliability is one of Naim’s strengths and as long as you are careful with your supply source you can be assured of many years of enjoyment even from an older product.

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The CD5si was the entry level player from Naim. I heard its predecessor, the CD5i along with the next couple of steps up at the time, the CD5x and the CDX2, though there has been another generation after that before most of the players were dropped from the range. The CD5i was lively but a bit crude, ideal for the entry level Nait 5i, which had a passive pre stage but the 5x was a more balanced player and proved to be my entry back into Naim. The 5xs that followed added a digital out to go with the Naim DAC. I eventually replaced the 5x with a used CDX2 from Tomtom audio, though I think their stock of used CD players is now somewhat depleted. Anyway the CDX2 proved to be a fine step up but very fussy about what it sat on, the 5x was preferable when I had a steel framed Target rack but the X2 really came into its own when on full Fraim though it was good on Fraim lite too. Isoblue would probably be the minimum. It did go well with a supernait on isoblue when I heard the combo in a dealership on that stand.
Naim’s effort now goes into their streamers but that means ripping your CDs. I did that a few years ago now with a Uniti Core, mainly to free up space for more vinyl, but even running from the Core via a (£40) Belden 4794R cable from Bluejeans into a Rega DAC, which I bought as a stop gap, the results were very enjoyable and I tended to leave the CDX2 alone when both were in my system. I jumped straight to Naim’s top streamer (ND555) when it came out so don’t have experience of the ND5xs2 and NDX2 but Naim usually get their hierarchy about right.

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As other have said above, the CD5si is an entry level player. It’s a good machine but not really good enough to use as your main source with a SN3. As you want to buy new, now may be the time to embrace streaming with a NDX2.

I’m not sure if you are aware, but the SN3 includes a very good MM phono stage. I use an Ortofon 2M Black on my Rega P8 and it’s excellent, so you may be able to lose your Cyrus phono stage and few up more funds towards your CD or streaming source. It means fewer boxes and wires, which is nice.

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Thanks DecalJoe
I feel you will have to go quite high up to achieve the same wow factor that Cyrus offers. I’ve always felt there is something missing especially with staging and clarity.

As I said previously speakers are the next and final upgrade. Many on here will point to streaming personally myself I don’t like it. I always prefer the physical contact with the system selecting album placing in player etc.

Streaming to me is very detached ( I’ll wait for the onslaught) my first foray into cd ownership was a Mission PCM400. Cyrus was part of mission then and produced some excellent hifi. The Cyrus 2 was my first amplifier so I stayed loyal British :uk::uk: brand and all.

I still have the PCM400 its about 38 years old now and was used 8 months ago when Naim cds3 went in for new mech etc. To be honest it still sounded good just lacking some fine clarity. It took about an hour to warm up but didn’t disgrace itself.
Cyrus does have brilliant clarity and staging the mcbus was a brilliant feature. It looked superb in the rack worth every penny. However it was a big issue regarding the servo evolution software that Cyrus produced for their slot loading mechanism.

I went on a factory tour few years ago to Cyrus, to be honest they are just an assembly plant sourcing all components and producing their end products.

Compared to Cyrus ,Naim was a real eye opener my tour guide was Mark Raggett very knowledgeable guy excellent tour. Gave a real behind the scenes look at the fine detail Naim goes to.

In the listening room at the time was 555 cd and 500 series amplifier 552 preamplifier all top end gear at the time. Then I had the wow factor in reality the price is way beyond most people.

My advice would be perhaps look at JE Sugden or Leema hifi. If I hadn’t gone so far up the naim ladder that’s where I would be looking, more so if you’re patriotic :uk:

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