Naim NA CDS CD player Review System
The CDS has been my primary digital source for the past month, augmenting the Theta Data transport driving a Theta Generation III, Bitwise Musik System Zero, Kinergetics KCD-55p, or PS Audio UltraLink. Interestingly, the Theta Data/Generation III combination with ST-type optical interface costs exactly the same as the CDS ($2800 for the Data, $4400 for the Gen.III unbalanced with ST-type interface, and $195 for an Aural Symphonics or AudioQuest ST-type cable). All comparisons with the Gen.III and UltraLink were via their unbalanced outputs. The processors also saw action with the $1695 Museatex CD Deck and coaxial connection.
The preamp was an Audio Research LS2 driving a Mark Levinson No.23.5 power amplifier via 20' runs of balanced or unbalanced AudioQuest Lapis. The interconnect between the CDS and the LS2 was a DIN-to-RCA cable made by The Chord Company. (The CDS's DIN audio output necessitated using this interconnect.) Loudspeakers were the Hales System Two Signatures, with and without the Muse Model 18 subwoofer. The Hales were connected to the No.23.5 via 8' bi-wired runs of AudioQuest Sterling/Midnight. AC power to the LS2 and other processors on hand for comparison was conditioned by a Tice Power Block and Titan. Naim specifically requested that the CDS not be connected to any power-line conditioning devices.Robert Harley