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This review first appeared in the February 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of Naim in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Naim - Ed.

Reviewer: Jochen Reinecke
Sources: Audiolab 8200CDQ, iPod Video 80GB with Pure i-20 dock, Marantz SA 7001 CD/SACD, Yamaha CD-S 1000, Pro-Ject Xpression III with Ortofon OM 30 Super
Amplification: Audiolab 8200CDQ, Funk LAP-2 and Dynavox TPR-2 preamps, Trends Audio TA-10.2 SE and Yarland FV-34C III integrateds, Myryad MXA 2150 power amp
Loudspeakers: Neat Momentum 4i, Quadral Rondo, Nubert nuBox 101 with AW 441 subwoofer, DIY transmission line with F120A widebander
Cables: Goldkabel Profi interconnect, Ortofon SPK 500 and Real Cable OFC 400 speaker cables
Review component retail: €1.298

Be honest. Would you, five years ago, have dreamt that it'd be anachronistic today to acquire a CD player which does only one thing, namely play CD and nothing else? Think of a deck whose internal converter isn't accessible to another component, whose spinning transport retrieves signal that's not output on Toslink or coax digital to feed an external DAC.

That Naim's CD5si even sports analog RCAs must be considered generous indeed. The house of green has always favored the good ol' five-pole DIN connector for its mechanical and electrical superiority. The business end of the CD5si thus does flaunt the DIN but also analog RCA outputs for the rest of us. And, Eureka!, there's a power IEC inlet with power mains switch. But that's it!

Before we cry finis, a step back. The CD5si is the entry-level model of Naim's four-strong CDP options and replaces the successful CD5i predecessor. This upgrade skips cosmetic corrections to focus on technical and mechanical advances. Wolfson's WM8706 converter chip has become a Burr/Brown PCM1793 with superior S/N ratio. Clock and filter sections were overhauled to lower out-of-band noise. To linearize the output the CD5si also increased the current delivery of its power supply and last but not least grabbed itself a brand-new transport section.

About which, if you've never had a Naim spinner before and like your scribe consider the reading of manuals for sissies, you might face the proverbial brick wall. With barely controlled excitement didst I tear into the shipping carton, unpeeled the machine from its styrofoam clamshell, leashed up the necessary wires, slipped it into the rack, hit 'on'... and blew blue smoke rings filled with a big question mark. How to open this drawer? Where was the open/close button?

No matter how I turned or pulled the 'door handle', no luck. Man up for the manual it was. Et voilà. Like one or the other record player before it, Naim secures its movable bits with a lock screw during transport. This obviously must be removed before the first use. Afterwards not unlike a washing machine's detergent loader, the CD transport rotates out on its hinge like butter. Apply disc, close. Noisy rattling response. The display coughs up 'err'. More manual manna and back to the shipping carton as instructed. There a tiny plastic sleeve protects a magnetic puck. That must sit atop the CD on the central spindle. Old dog, new trick. Good boy!