Product of the Year, Awards 2013. Features may be minimal but the CD5si is as musical as they come at this priceWrite your own review
- Dynamic, punchy and exciting sound
- Lots of detail
- Great with rhythms
- No digital outputs
- Unusually for a Naim product there is no upgrade path
Naim’s rapid flow of new streaming products makes it easy to forget that the company still makes CD players.
The Naim CD5si is arguably its best entry-level model to date. It’s a thorough reworking of the long-running CD5i – and to that end there’s a new transport.
The mechanism was chosen for improved consistency and longevity, and is still mounted in the company’s unusual swing-drawer arrangement.We like this manual system. It feels well engineered and nicer to use than the flimsy motorised trays than most other players tend to opt for.
Other changes include upgraded digital-to-analogue circuitry, a more accurate clock and better analogue filtering. All in all, that’s a lot of work for a mere update.
Naim CD5si review: sound quality
And even a short listen suggests the effort has paid off; this is a great sounding CD player. The CD5si sounds like an explosive ball of energy.
It attacks tunes such as Jay Z’s Run This Town with enthusiasm, delivering punch, power and exceptionally surefooted handling of rhythms. There’s plenty of detail on offer, and the ability to keep it all in place as the mix gets denser.
Switch to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and the CD5si responds with dynamic subtlety and a crisp rendition of leading edges. Musically it’s spot-on, conveying scale and authority as well as anything we’ve heard at this price level.
Some folk might prefer a more relaxed presentation, but for us the Naim’s highly charged enthusiasm is welcome.
Naim CD5si review: verdict
Features are minimal. The CD5si doesn’t have digital outputs or any means of being upgraded. For most companies a lack of upgrade path is normal; for Naim, it’s odd.
Still, when it comes to performance the CD5si can hold its own against tough competition from Audiolab and Cyrus.
It’s been a long time since anything has managed that.