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Naim CD player for my Naim pre+Power combo

 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 18
Registered: Feb-07
Hi Guys,

Planning to buy a good CD player for my existing system (Naim 122x, Naim 150x, Dynaudio Audience 72, and Rega P5 with Naim Stageline).

I took audition of CD5i and CD5x (with Flatcap) 2 months back and sort of decided for CD5x and FlatCap combo - mainly because of the upgrade path.

Now given that Naim is replacing them with S versions (Naim CD5XS and Flatcap 2XS) wondering how good would be they for my existing system given that I need to pay around 500 USD more (my budget is already stretched).

The main point is I don't see any utility for me of the digital output which I understand the major features in the S version.

Any suggestion/guidance would be appreciated.

Regards,
Sourav
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3736
Registered: Sep-04
Sourav,

This is an opportunity! The new XS versions are a bit better than the outgoing models, but they are not a paradigm shift in performance. The other thing to bear in mind is that aesthetically they look slightly different from your current set because their fronts are anodised aluminium (more like the Reference kit).

This means that you may find some ex-demo CD5X and CDX2 units which will save you some cash - well maybe not the ex-demo CDX2s! Both CD5x and CDX2 make loads of sense in your system.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 19
Registered: Feb-07
Frank,

Thanks for ur inputs.

Anyway, net-net, r u suggesting that instead of going for CD5XS and FlatcapXS, buying a ex-demo CD5X would make more sense (or even CDX2)?

Let me check with my dealer.

However, even if I add cost of new CD5XS and FlatcapXS (total 4350 USD), and compare it with brand new CDX2 price (5600 USD) not sure how good that would be. One of my basic intention for going for Flatcap is it would also power my pre-amp so even my phono sound would be also better sounding to some extent.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3738
Registered: Sep-04
Sourav,

I see where you're coming from.

It rather depends on how much an ex-demo CD5x costs doesn't it? :-) The most sense (in my view) is the CDX2 because I think it's a blindingly good CD player which is why I use one at home. Given what you said about budget earlier I'd have thought a new CDX2 wasn't on the cards, but that an ex-demo or 2nd hand CDX2 would most definitely be on the cards. Given how sturdy these players are, anything up to 4 years old is a safe bet. Try to get one younger than 4 years old to have the later VAM1202 mech. This is easy to identify since the magnetic puck does not have rubber feet and is MILES easier to use than the earlier device. The CDX2 would be an excellent addition to your system.

True, you'd have to keep saving for the Flatcap later, but then you'll be able to drive the Stageline and preamp independently from its two supplies which will give you extra benefits so the upgrade path remains sound.

On the other hand, the CD5x is a very sensible solution which allows you to buy the Flatcap earlier. In this case, you'd power the analogue section of the CD5x with one power supply in the flatcap and the preamp from the other supply. The Stageline would still be powered by the preamp, which isn't as good as the earlier option but a good one nonetheless.

Please tell me your P5 has the TTPSU. If it doesn't this has to be your first port of call for phono improvements. You can improve your phono performance immensely by this relatively inexpensive upgrade - much more important than powering the preamp better. The TT PSU is a disproportionately big upgrade on that deck.

So the best solution is - get a CDX2 and TTPSU. If the CDX2 is out of reach then CD5x and TT PSU. If money allows add Flatcap2x (or XS) and power either Stageline and preamp in first case or CD5x and preamp in second case.

But the TT PSU is a requirement if you don't have one already! :-)

Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 20
Registered: Feb-07
Frank,

Got ur point. What you essentially saying is given the price difference CDX2 would be better than CD5X+Flatcap

I also checked some other places on CDX2. It looks people have difference in opinion. Some people says CDX2 without XPS sounds very digital.

Anyway, I think I must audition it before taking any decision.

Actually the option u mentioned of using flatcap + ttpsu (which i dont have right now and surely have a plan to buy) option to just make the phono part better is really appealing. In that case I may just go for cd5i (you know I am not a huge cd listener - just want to have that separate media also available in my system ). That way CD5i also I liked. May be later on I would upgrade to CDX2 - cost wise it is 3 times than CD5i.

Regards,
Sourav
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 12972
Registered: Dec-04
Second the strong suggestion for the PSU on the P5. A must have to get the most from the table.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3743
Registered: Sep-04
Given your system, I'd strongly suggest the CD5x as a minimum, even without the external power supply. The CD5i is a good performer but it's not in the class of the CD5x. I appreciate that the CDX2 is another (big) step. My point was that the TTPSU is such a relatively low cost you could improve both vinyl and CD replay by going with a better CD player and the TT PSU.

If you don't have a TT PSU and vinyl replay is important to you, this is definitely the most effective upgrade of all the suggestions in my view. I ahve never sold a P5 without the TT PSU, purely on a direct A/B comparison. Everyone who hears the difference realises it's a no-brainer. Personally, the P5 in standard form is OK, but it sounds broken by comparison to its performance with the TT PSU. This is the easiest way to boost performance in your system significantly. May I ask what cartridge you're using because this is obviously going to have an impact too?

Which CD player you buy depends entirely on budget and listening priorities, but I still think CD5x is the natural partner, especially considering the ability of the speakers. They're very good and will show improvements at the source.

Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 21
Registered: Feb-07
Hi Frank,

Was just waiting for your reply.

Let me tell you what was the reason for me not to buy TTPSU initially. Though I'm currently in USA but I would be back to my country India eventually. Last year when I bought the P5, it was not very sure whether I wuld be moving back in 1 year or not. So I refrain from buying TTPSU for 110v and thought when I go back I would buy the TTPSU for 220v.

Now, at this point of time it looks like I would stay here for another 3-4 years. So surely buying TTPSU now for 110v make sense. And thanks to you and Nuck for reinforcing this point.

My cartridge is Exact2. It is awesome. Someway the 1st one got broken after 1 year. While replacing I could not think of anything lower than Exact2 even though it was costly (600 USD).

I got ur point on going for CD5x as a least . That's what I also felt while having the demo. My wife and me sort of concurred on the CD5x+Flatcap combo. Now CD5xs coming into the scene all these dilemma is there as the combo will now further cost 500 usd more.

Let me think. May be I wud go for a demo of CDX2 as a next step.

However, what is ur opinion on the popular saying (as I found from other forums) that CDX2 is more digitally sounding without XPS compared to CD5X+Flatcap2x ? This is the point I specially found in demo when CD5X+Flatcap2x combo was compared with CD5i.

Regards,
Sourav
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3751
Registered: Sep-04
I'm biassed. I love the CDX2. I think it dumps on the lower players from a great height, so much so that I own one. So of course, I would say that! :-)

It definitely is NOT digital sounding. If anything it's a bit over-enthusiastic and this is what most people complain about - that it can get a bit wild when the going really gets going. I don't find this myself, or perhaps I prefer that approach, but I don't think so since my other main source is a Michell which is anything but wild.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 22
Registered: Feb-07
Frank,

Thanks for sharing ur opinion. Let me audition it and will let you guys know my final decision.

Thanks a lot again.

Regards,
Sourav
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13000
Registered: Dec-04
Fun to read along, SM.

Frank, with a Mitchell table and a beige Volvo...

Wild man.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 23
Registered: Feb-07
Guys,

I'm getting a CDx2 2008 model (dealer's floor sample) at around 15% discount of the current CDX2 (USD 5600) price.

However, from Naim's site I see that they are saying that there are some new features in CDX2 2009 model as follows -
a) Redesigned 4-layer (rather than 2) motherboard giving better tracking and a greater copper area
b) New tray board
c) Switchable S/PDIF - either have analogue or digital, but only one at a time for no compromise. S/PDIF is disabled when using analogue output stage
d) Extra low-noise clock regulation
e) Infrared - takes modulated and demodulated
inputs

What do guys think ? Are these fatures really worth going for ?

Regards,
Sourav
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3773
Registered: Sep-04
Sourav,

The new CDX-2 is a better player than the outgoing model. If you have the available, then I'd go for it, but if not, I would never be unhappy with the 2008 model, but I might try to get more than 15% off. Just don't expect more than 20%! :-)

So does this mean you've heard the difference between the CD5x and CDX2?

Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 24
Registered: Feb-07
Frank,

Didn't get a chance to do A, B comparison. Got a chance to hear CDX2 separately. I found it surely better. It may have little bit brightness but that to me brings the liveliness on the presentation.

As of now CDX-2 new is not available immediately. Wait time 3-4 weeks. However I'm ok with that. So finally decided for the 2009 model.

Regards,
Sourav
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3780
Registered: Sep-04
Mmm, well, in my opinion, the CDX2 (or CDX-2 depending on model year) is the best value for money CD player Naim makes. I think it's great. Let us know when it arrives. Don't forget it takes a good 100 hours to run in, so switch it on, put a CD in and put it on repeat for a week. Definitely don't listen to it for a few hours at least. It's quite brittle and a bit hard when brand new. After 10 hours of playing it starts to mellow a bit. After a day or so, it starts to fill out and then after a couple more days it should settle - it goes through this weird cycle of sounding great then harsh then great then harsh again. After that it settles into the groove and starts to really come together.

Don't get me wrong - it should sound better out of the box than anything you've got, but it won't really be anything like it's true engaging form until it's bedded in.

Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 25
Registered: Feb-07
Got the CDX-2 last week after waiting for a good long 8 weeks. Still sounding bit harsh. Played for around 6-8 hours till now. Still it has missing harmonics. Hopwfully it will be better

However, little disappointed with the sound quality when comparing with my Rega P5 + Exact2 + TT PSU combination. I think CDPs can never match the quality of good Vinyl setup.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 680
Registered: Jul-07
As Frank mentioned, stick a cd in it on repeat for a number of days before critically listening.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3491
Registered: May-05
Give it some time Sourav. It'll come into its own. Make sure you leave it powered up as well. Naim takes a while to really warm up when its cold.

Vinyl is vinyl, and CD is CD. To some ears, no CD player, no matter how good it is will ever get the heart of music right.

My opinion is don't hold CD up to vinyl standards, but don't hold vinyl up to CD standards either. Both have their own distinct strengths and weaknesses. Why choose when you can have both?
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3812
Registered: Sep-04
Sourav,

How's it sounding now? After two days it should sound very purposeful but the hard edge should have reduced somewhat. If it remains hard what's it sitting on?

Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sourav

Post Number: 26
Registered: Feb-07
Guys,

As you all suggested I left it with a CD in repeat mode for last 2-3 days.

Apparently there is surely improvement of sound (becoming more coherent). One of my criteria of judging sound quality of a system is how much it make me involved into the songs, allow me to enjoy the song. Now looks like this CD player surely has it based on what I'm hearing last few times (after around 60 hrs of continuous play). However, didn't get time to critically listen to the songs. Plan is to do that on weekend.

Sourav
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13608
Registered: Dec-04
Keep it playing, Sourav.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3499
Registered: May-05
"One of my criteria of judging sound quality of a system is how much it make me involved into the songs, allow me to enjoy the song."

That should be the first and most important thing. If it doesn't draw you in, there's no point, no matter how good everything else is.

Glad to hear its working out. Its an excellent CD player.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3822
Registered: Sep-04
60 hours is just scratching the surface with a new CDX-2. And yes, it will sound relatively uninvolving until it's run in and everything has coalesced into a ssingle driving whole. The run-in process for the CDX-2 is the most painful of the whole Naim range.

I am happy that it's beginning to happen but it should keep on improving quite substantially over the next 100 hours or so.
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