Why no CD players with digital out?

As far as i can see, Naim only have one CD machine the CD5si but it has no digital out. Why is that? Wouldn’t have been too much effort and expense to add a decent digital out and made the product more flexible in the Naim line up. CDs are still going strong and so simple to use with millions of us still spinning the things.

Are there any CD machines that are still serviceable with a digital out that you’d recommend please?

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Naim found that when you add a digital output to a CD player it has an adverse affect on the performance. They did eventually work out a way to fit one in such a way as to keep performance via the analogue stages unaffected, you can find this on the CD5xs and last versions of the CDX2.

I had my CDX2 amended to digital out, it seemed logical to assume that by bypassing the DAC in the CDX2 into my Nova it would be a straighter signal . It is superb

But one CD5 had a digital out and I would love Naim to make a CD5 with a digital out only i. e a transport , the Audiolab 6000 CDT is appearing in many systems that were Naim only

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The Audiolab 6000CDT gets a lot of praise, if Naim hadn’t altered my CDX2 to digital out I would now own one. The 6000 CDT is very good value and seems like a once in a generation product in terms of sound per pound. I would refer you to Paul Rigby’s review when he gave it 10/10

If you have a look at ProJect’s top of the range (if you want to spend serious money ) .

My view is that Naim should make a CD transport


Seconded that Naim should make a CD transport given the uncertainties surrounding servicing of legacy models (like mine).

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Or adapt the Uniticore to play CDs in addition to ripping.

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According to Naim - ripping and then playing removes any jitter

Jitter even in the worst machines from supermarket (that old FUD) is many orders of magnitude below threshold of human hearing. Quality of audio is almost all down the quality of the analogue stage.

Thanks for the replies. Seems like most excellent Naim CD players are now destined as doorstops soon sadly. Options are rather limited on Naim CD front if digital out needed.

Thank you all.

I don’t think that is right at all.
Jitter is very important to get right and a lot of effort goes into getting this right.
You get manufacturers supplying just clocks to try and sort jitter out and after hearing what they do, i am happy to say that jitter does effect sound quality very much.

There will always be people selling stuff to a problem that doesn’t exist and so true of anxious audiophiles who want something to worry about and argue about. I’m getting more sceptical in my old age. Jitter the problem that seems insolubale after 40+ years of digital audio. If you can provide evidence of jitter being audible in average CD players I will happily put my hands up and agree with thee. Until then it’s just an opinion. Do you have any papers from published scientific audio engineering journals to back up the claims? Genuinely interested and not arguing with you.

There’s plenty written about Jitter and its effects out there that’s easily accessible online. It’s worth having a read through, if you’re curious.

Here’s fairly early one from 1990 to get you going, written by the estimable John Atkinson of Stereophile;


Hifi magazines who are paid for by manufacturers aren’t at all reliable. Of course they have a vested interest. Citing Bob Stuart is a dirty name in hifi circles. Jitter may have been an issue decades ago but there is no publishable stuff on this in a lonnnnnng time. Secondly this article doesn’t make any connection between lab results from the 80s and data on audible testing.

Oh dear…


Yes, CD5XS, which I can easily recommend since I own one.

CDX2.2 also has digital out.



Thank you. I’m drawn to the Cdx2.2 (very smart looking machine and build looks epic) but will check out your choice of CD5XS.

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As already been pointed out by Richard, plenty to read about on this, but you seem to know best so i will leave it as well. O dear. Lol

I posted this YouTube link in another thread - The first 10 minutes is relavent as it outlines the Naim view of CD players, digital audio, and streaming

(Watching this eventually cost me a lot of money :rofl: :sunglasses:)


Back in 1996 the lack of a digital output was the reason I didn’t buy a naim CD player. Have always been an “upgrader” :joy::joy:

Bought a Micromega Stage player and later added the matching DAC. Was a very compelling combo which was enjoyed by many and still in use as late as 2018. Now boxed and still pretty mint.

Took me until 2020 to rediscover naim :flushed:

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She’s a looker and no mistake!

However, I had to cut my coat according to my cloth.

Good luck, whichever path you choose.