June 2012 Issue - page 4

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June 2012 Issue
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page 6 (Digital Cables)
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After many happy years with my Naim CDI CD player, it has developed a fault where it will not read some discs and has problems skipping forward to other tracks. I can only imagine the worst, that the laser is going. So if it is not a fixable problem I can only assume it’s time to dig deep and find a replacement. My musical tastes are from the dance/electronica spectrum, you maybe familiar with bands like The Prodigy, Shpongle, Infected Mushroom, High Contrast, but I also like hip/hop such as Jurassic 5, Doctor DRE and Fort Minor. I just love the way the Naim musically engages me with this style of music, I think this is partly due to it’s rhythm and timing capabilities. If I could find something equally as good or better that would be great. My budget is around £1000, Naim CD5i2? Or maybe Rega Saturn?


I live in a large flat with high ceilings. The rest of my equipment is a Jungson JA88D Class A amplifier and Yamaha NS1000Ms speakers. These speakers sit on Atacama SL300 stands, shot filled. And the equipment rests on Russ Andrews Tortlyte stand, I use Kimber 4TC speaker cables and an interconnect which beat Kimber’s pure copper select series (can’t remember the name). Both pieces of equipment run from pure silver 14 awg mains cables (these again beat the top copper mains cables from Kimber). Any advice would be greatly received.

Many thanks,

Mark Skinner






Get the classic Naim sound from a Naim CD5 XS CD player, if your old Naim has died.


I would suggest you either have the CDI serviced or replace it with another Naim, like the CD512 you mention, or a CD5 XS perhaps? You will not easily get a CD player that is clearly better unless you spend big wonga, say for a Canor (with valves) or perhaps a Chord Electronics DAC64 second hand (if there are any!). Then of course you will need a transport, as yours is on its way out. It makes most sense to have it serviced Mark, and then perhaps use it as a transport with an external DAC, or sell it and get a new Naim. NK




I read your article on media players with great interest and agree media players have a lot of potential to create great music and perhaps will become the modern CD players of the future. But for those of us wanting to get the best out of the humble computer, all is not lost.


There are three ways I can see getting the best of computers for audio purposes.

1)      Build a dedicated system. You could pay someone to do this for you. It requires a lot of technical knowledge around system building, but will guarantee very good sounds.

2)      Use a Linux based system. Basically Windows is doing many functions that takes away from the sound quality, using Linux greatly reduces this.

3)      Use JPlay in full hibernation mode. This will allow Windows users to get their computer sounding like a dedicated high-end Transport system.


Over recent times I have learnt that the more you can get your computer to just function on the sound quality, the better it will perform. It goes back to the old mantra of “source first”, and in this case perhaps the DAC is not as critical as we used to think, perhaps it’s the quality of the signal going to the components that really matters.


I know people will argue “data is data” and yes, I agree, but its having less in the way of getting that data so it is managed without timing issues. The results are clearly evident in the listening.

John Cahill







Use JPlay to turn your PC into a digital transport, says John Cahill.



Thanks John. I suspect the ‘build it yourself’ route is still the best, if time consuming. My home built PCs have consistently been more reliable than the commercial PCs (and Macs) we run at Hi-Fi World. I am due to build a new one, but the world is changing and I am unsure building your own PC makes much sense nowadays. My local computer shop will assemble a computer to my spec at no extra charge, saving me the time, and they know what the best bits are as this is their business (they are Epsilon computers in London’s Tottenham Court Road, see


Computers are general purpose devices running a lot of background services, like anti-virus and content cataloging (e.g. Spotlight on Macs). There is a lot to disable, as a peep inside ‘msconfig’ on a PC (type this at the command terminal) reveals. Media players avoid all this complexity, as well as the horrors of long Cat 5 cables that really are not a clever idea when it comes to transmitting digital music signals. NK




I would like some advice. I’m thinking of changing my CD and amp. I would like something very smooth sounding for a budget of £600 for the pair. I recently upgraded my speakers so I want something to do them justice.

Many thanks ,

Chris Close





For a budget smoothie, get an NAD 326BEE amplifier.




The smoothest sound you will get for that price comes from NAD in the form of their 326BEE amplifier. An alternative is an Onkyo like the A9377. Both NAD and Onkyo produce good quality amplifiers having a smooth sound and good bass. I think it best if you then choose a matching CD player. NK


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