Questions on CD and Streaming

Forgive the questions - NAIM CD designations always confuse me…

What was a good, mid-range CD player that can still be serviced with new mech if needed? Am I correct in thinking CDX2 to be a good option (as an upgrade to my CD3.5 with FlatCap)?

Frustrated by the wait for a streamer. How does the original ND5 XS stack up with a SN3? Does it support any of the streaming services? It does I believe, have optical in, and a decent DAC with Burr Brown chip? I have been waiting for an ND5 XS2 or if funds allow and NDX2 (which I know is a big jump up, perhaps too soon), but patience…

Or, perhaps an nDAC with CD transport and/or streaming bridge? You’d get the Naim sound, no worries about mech replacement and whatever streaming services the bridge offered and should be at a reasonable price albeit at the expense of extra boxes.

Roger

The only Naim CD Players which can be serviced now is the CD5si and the CD555, none of which are considered mid-range. For a CD5XS, which is the one i would recommend , you will have to wait for Naim’s reply as when they can get a stock of VAM1202 mechs for replacement. CDX2 uses the same mech.

Interesting you mention nDAC Roger - that is where my journey started, but I realise that I really value the experience of playing the hundreds of CDs I own, reading the labels, reviewing the track names that frequently get ignored when things are streamed. All have been ripped losslessly, so I have the benefit of both mediums.

Thanks for the clarification on which mechs can be replaced. I saw a very tidy CDX2, hence the question. I will investigate the CD5XS now.

I would only get the ND5XS or the older NDX if you want to stream locally. If you want to use streaming services as Tidal or Qobuz i’d strongly suggest to get one of the newer ones.

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Can recommend the CD5XS OldNait

As a stand-alone unit it’s very good. However it can be improved further . I use mine as a transport adding the nDAC ( sounds absolutely wonderful) and then icing on the cake with nDAC into the XPS-2 power supply

Yes 2 additional boxes but it’s worth it

Bevo

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Whilst a good and simple to use introduction to streaming, the Mk1 ND5XS is limited for streaming online because although it can receive Tidal I understand it can’t be upgraded to receive more recent alternative streaming services like Qobuz. Also in my experience its internal DAC can be bettered at no greater cost.

This thread may be of interest:

As for viewing CD booklets etc, there is nothing to stop you doing the while also benefitting from some of the advantages of streaming your ripped music!

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I was reading a review on a retailer website suggesting the Qutest betters the NDX2’s DAC by a significant margin too. I have not had time to listen as yet, but the whole topic is a minefield, and very subjective.

If any help, I own a CD5, it is still going strong and is enjoyable to listen to through a XS3.

About 5 months ago I bought a mk1 Unitiqute (as a second system, also running the audio for our tv). I use it with bubble upnp (that would also work with a ND5 XS, or original NDX), setup of that is not tricky, but not plug and play, I would say it is achievable for anyone into their hifi with an hour or two to spare. I use the UQ1 for Qobuz and local streaming. The UQ1 sold me on streaming as a source, albeit in addition to CD and vinyl.

As a relatively cheap way to add streaming to my main hifi I bought a 2nd hand Hugo mk1 DAC, I plug my phone into it via USB, and use USB Audio Player Pro to get hi res digital into the DAC.

The Hugo is a better source than my CD5, and runs my vinyl setup really close, depending on mood/music etc.

From what I hear, I suspect I could better ND5 XS2 performance with a separate DAC and streamer, Chord Qutest/NDAC & Bluesound for example (others are available). The ND5 XS2 would fit nicer visually, and probably be simpler in use. I think an NDX2 is a bit of a different proposition, but also a higher price bracket.

I like buying physical media, not least as I suspect it puts more money into artist’s pockets than streaming. I cannot buy everything on vinyl, so will continue to buy CDs. I haven’t bought a significant number of hi res downloads as yet.

I’m not sure how I might end up with streaming in my main system at this point. I hope my CD5 lasts forever, but it obviously will not! I do suspect I’ll eventually end up with a local and remote streaming solution, allowing me to continue to buy media. I would love a NDX2, but I’m just not at that level, so suspect a Bluesound and DAC (likely Chord or Naim) will be where I end up. If/as/when my CD5 fails, and assuming new mechs are not an option, I would consider a CD transport, or just stick to ripping and streaming locally.

A Mac mini, CD drive, and likely NAS once the Mac fills up, supports my local streaming needs, and runs bubble upnp server that I use to transcode to WAV. You could make do just with bubble upnp on your phone though.

All in the hope that my thought process, such as it is, helps your decision process :slight_smile:

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I really like your thought process and it is pretty close to my own. I’d really like to end up with the simplicity and elegance of a single NAIM box, but I’m coming to the conclusion that I may have to wait a while and in the interim, a Qutest with laptop / MacMini is probably the way forwards.

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Chord Qutest incoming. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread.

I will continue the search for an upgraded Naim CD playing solution, but in the interim, I will now have access to all my ripped CDs via Audirvana (not Studio!) and streaming via Apple Music.

How are you going to feed it? The Hugo takes USB, but the Qutest needs optical or BNC inputs. I know some of the early Mac minis had optical out (via the 3mm jack iirc), is that what you have?

The Qutest is on sale or return, so I’ll use the MacBook Pro for now - Qutest supports both optical and USB input. My MBP has Optical out. Very likely I’ll find a Mac mini if it all works out.

Connectivity (input): USB Type B (White): 44.1kHz to 768kHz – 16bit to 32bit

2x BNC Coax (Red): 44.1kHz – 384kHz – 16bit to 32bit

1x Dual data mode input (using both BNC coax inputs together): 44.1kHz to 768kHz – 16bit to 32bit

Optical (Green): 44.1kHz to 96kHz – 16bit to 24bit

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Ooh, did not realise it took USB too, nice :slight_smile:

Keep us posted, but I suspect, if it’s anything like as dramatic as the Hugo, you’ll like it!

it was a grown up product, aimed at XS level and beyond since upgradable (nDAC or separate psu) as much as CD5XS, CDX2, NDX, NDX2 etc.
Introduction to streaming as I recall was the uniti serie.
If one does only local or Tidal or Spoti I wouldn’t bother at all with recent streaming alternatives

I believe the Uniti range incorporated an amplifier, and that the ND5XS was Naim’s entry level streamer, at least for people with existing hifi systems simply moving from or adding to other sources like CD.

In a sense
Anyway nd5xs was conceived, priced and sound wise close to cd5xs. I used to have at the same time a cd5 (first model) and it was quite behind

I started this thread with a genuine wish to update my old Naim CD and potentially acquiring a pre-loved streamer as an interim to the arrival of new stock.

The whole process has been derailed slightly and after a suggestion by @badlyread and later @gthack , a single purchase has sent my musical journey full circle. Hopefully Naim streamers will become generally available again in the near future, but until that point I have acquired a Chord Qutest DAC to use with my Mac, streamed and ripped music and new SN3. I could not be more happy. The recommendation was an extremely good one and I am delighted. It is early days and it clearly the device has not burnt in, but the detail out of the box is astonishing.

I’m listening to a mix of purchased HighDef Music from Naim and Society of Sound (RIP) + a selection of ripped CDs, all via Audirvāna. The CDs in particular are a shock - sounds and instruments are present that I have never heard before (sorry dear old CD3.5). Equally, lossless albums from Apple Music are being rendered beautifully. As someone suggested, the bit rate is set in MIDI settings on the Mac and remain fixed for the duration of the play session (no exclusive mode) so some resampling is going on, but with sound this good I’m really not worried. It has bought new life to old music and when my new mark grant interconnects arrive, things will doubtless jump up further notches. Happy Days!

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Just wait till you hear a Dave,with Mscaler.