Naim CD5 XS review

The CD5 XS is one of the few players at this price-point that's a genuine rival to Cyrus's brilliant range of CD players Tested at £1950

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The CD5 XS is an excellent CD player, but it's up against some tough competition from Cyrus


  • +

    A musically enthralling performer

  • +

    fine build

  • +

    easy to upgrade

  • +

    nice to use


  • -

    Quality of the competition is sky-high

  • -

    no optical digital output

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There's a danger people will ignore this Naim in favour of one of Cyrus's superlative CD players. That would be a shame, as many of you will love the way it sounds.

The CD5 XS is the second rung of Naim's expansive CD player range. In our opinion it's the best-value player the company makes.

Physically, this couldn't be anything but a Naim machine: there's the manually operated swing-out drawer, basic display and simple design. But this is the first Naim CD player we've seen featuring a S/PDIF digital output.

Switchable digital output
No big thing, you might think. However, Naim has resisted fitting one before because the company felt it compromised sound quality. The engineers have now found a way round the problem by making the digital output switchable.

How does the CD5 XS sound? Given a couple of weeks of use, wonderful. This is an amazingly musical player that does most things so well that it's easy to ignore.

That's one of the biggest complements we can give. The music always takes centre stage, and that's how things should be.

Dissect the performance and you'll find strong dynamics and an attractive organic quality that allows music to flow convincingly. Tonally the CD5x is smooth and lacks nothing for solidity.

Plenty of scope for upgrades
Build quality is as good as we've come to expect from Naim, and there is plenty of upgrade potential, be it an outboard power supply or outboard DAC.

The CD5 XS is a great player for the cash, and is one of the few that have gained a full five-star rating since the arrival of Cyrus's brilliantly accomplished range of players. Take this Naim seriously.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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