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Naim CD5 XS CD Player Review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Article Index
Naim CD5 XS CD Player Review
Listening Session


I know that many are saying the death knell for Redbook only disc players has been soundly struck. However, I may be in the minority who disagree. Recent releases by a variety of artists have reached into the millions, and the major labels have abandoned high resolution physical media like SACD and DVD-A. There are some, such as myself, that have a rather large collection of standard compact discs, and have no plan to discard them. Hence, a high quality Redbook player still has a market in my opinion. Naim has an outstanding reputation for digital, even while ignoring SACD, with their players enjoying quite a following. But even Naim has seen the need to look towards the future, with their DAC and HDX hard disk player recently hitting the market.

I would bet that Naim feels if they are going to continue to offer disc players, they are going to do it right, at least “right” according to Naim. That means a proprietary disc loading mechanism, cleanly laid out circuits, upgradeable power supplies and fairly priced to market. My sweet spot for a CD player is roughly $3000. I see no reason to spend more, unless you really must have a universal player, balanced outputs, digital inputs or bragging rights. I cannot deny I am bit biased in my review of the CD5 XS as I really adore my CD5x, its predecessor. However, Naim had that player on the market for six years, an eternity in today’s market. Circuit improvements and other tweaks don't necessarily mean sonic improvements. However, in this case, I believe the XS is a leap forward.

Front Slide view

One item that should be addressed is that along with the rest of the XS updates, is the Flatcap XS, but I have it on very good word that the update is strictly cosmetic, so the brushed aluminum faceplate matches the other components is the series. The circuitry is identical, and so is the connectivity. The Flatcap series can also drive additional components as well.

I want to be clear that the Naim does not attempt to divert from the overall fundamental character of the previous player, they just built on its strengths.  Naim offers a five year warranty on their disc players as well, which is on the generous side of things. For those readers who are in the market for a Redbook only player just over three grand (MSRP: $3150), with the ability to upgrade via the Flatcap external power supply, I seriously recommend an audition of the Naim CD5 XS.

  • Audio Outputs: Analogue via DIN & RCA.
  • Line Output Fixed: 2.1V rms at 1kHz
  • Digital Outputs: S/PDIF via 75Ω BNC
  • CD Formats: Red Book
  • Disc Compatibility: CD, CD-R
  • Physical Dimensions (mm): 432 x 301 x 70 (W x D x H)
  • Weight: 6kg
  • Color: Black
  • Finish: Anodised fascia, painted cover
Reviewers Associated Equipment System 1:
  • CD Player: Naim CD5x with Flatcap 2X
  • Preamp: Audio Research SP16
  • Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Perreaux Eloquence 150i.
  • Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3
  • Cables: Kimber/QED/Acoustic Zen (AC)/Transparent (AC)
  • Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Sound Anchors stands.

Reviewers Associated Equipment 2:

  • CD Player: Marantz 5003
  • Music Server: Squeezebox 3
  • DAC: CIA VDA-2 with XPS
  • Preamp: Belles Soloist 3
  • Amplifier: Revox A722
  • Speaker: Spendor S5e, Spendor S5R
  • Cables: Kimber/QED/Transparant/Shunyata(AC)/PS Audio(AC), Pangea Audio/Element/RS Cables
  • Accessories: Atacama Stands

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