Which Naim CD player to get going?

So I’m looking into adding a Naim CD player to my setup but not sure where to start. It would be good if it also has digital out. Any recommendations? Sweet spot? It will be added to a 272/300DR system.


CDX2 ? Get a later one and it should have the switchable digital output.


Do you know which year that version with digital out was introduced?

The CD5xs also has a digital output.

It would be interesting to see whether the CD5xs or the CDX2 sound best via their analogue or their digital outputs through the NAC-N272.


I’m not sure, I suspect Richard will know. Out of interest why do you want a CD player ?

If you don’t want/need a digital out, then cd5si is a good start.

IIRC, the revised CDX2 arrived in late 2009.


I too often find it hit or miss with streaming on music I like. I think the problem lies somewhere in here… With a CD och Vinyl record a mastering engineer has said OK on a release and the process had this media as target. Taking a record mastered for CD and move it to the streaming domain means an automated process using different algorithms (Spotify has their own and Tidal another) and care needed in adjusting it to the LUFS for different platforms and devices and so forth. I want to get closer to the source and intention of those albums.

1 Like

Anyone know how the DAC in this CD is compared to the one in a 272? I have a cheap CD today using it as a transport and when connecting it to my 272 comparing to Tidal it just feels more relaxed and complete. More natural. I cannot be sure it’s placebo but very often this is my feeling.

Aren’t those for compressed format services ? If using Tidal or Qobuz at Red book and above quality then this shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

As I understand it there is normalisation (LUFS) and dBTP adjustments going on for everything moved from mastered for a CD to streaming since you have limited headroom to play with in that signal chain.

“Interestingly, Tidal has elected to use album normalization for all songs, even when they’re in a playlist”

For compressed formats, yes. Otherwise this shouldn’t be a concern. What Tidal subscription do you have ?

Why should it be for compressed formats only? LUFS and dBTP is a matter of headroom. Has nothing to do with compression? As a mastering engineer you need to in a best case master for CD and for Streaming because they have different limitations not related to compression. So with say 100k albums made for CD I’m sure they are not re-mastered for Streaming meaning the control of what you actually hear is in the hands of an AI algorithm. That’s why some tracks end up sounding crap, compression, FLAC or whatever.

Tidal HIFI.

I can see that but I don’t see why that should be different for a Red book CD or a 16/44.1 stream. The links you posted refer to streaming services (such as Spotify) that use compressed formats.

Might I suggest that if the OP can live without a digital output then take a look at a vintage CD3.5, at around 350-400 squids from the usual place.

Otherwise a CDX2.2 will certainly do the business, but they don’t turn up very often…


From what I have heard on the forum for what you are after, the CDX2.2 is the one to go for which will be the best quality with digital out. As @Richard.Dane says the CD5xs also has the digital out. Neither of these come up very often on auction sites.

Other than that from personal experience the CD5si for around £800 used is good but the CDS2 with XPS and CDS3 with XPS2 are both in a different league and cost around £1800 and £2800 respectively with power supplies which are required. These are the three CD players I have owned from Naim.

It depends if you want something for occasional listening or as your main source. And of course your budget.

A vintage CD3.5 as recommended by @suzywong would be rather nice and can be upgraded with a flatcap or hicap.

Budget, box count and quality are all important in making your decision.

The CDX2.2 would be a good bet from the sounds of what you want. You could be looking at £1800 to get one. The CD5xs go for around £1200.

I loved my CDS2 and now I have the CDS3 which is different again but superb. I think they are both amazing CD players.


I had, indeed still have, a CD5XS with digital output and used it that way with my 272/XPSDR. Comparing playing a CD in the player with ripping and then streaming the same CD, I consistently preferred the latter. As for CDX2 vs CD5XS used as transport, the former was better, when I compared them. However, the improvement was sufficiently marginal for me not to part with extra cash. YMMV.



I guess the question is did you compare the CDX2.2 with ripped CDs to the 272 XPSDR and which was better?

No. Just compared transports and both used with the 272 Dac (and before that with nDAC). I was a bit of a non-fan of the CDX2 when used with it’s own DAC. Many people really liked it, but it was considered something of a marmite player. I think Simon-in-Suffolk is/was a fan at least for some material.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.