Thursday, June 23, 2005

Naim CD5x CD-player with Flatcap2x power supply

Source: HiFi+ issue 39

As a British reviewer, Jason Hector surprised in his review. He was actually quite critical towards Naim's latest offering. "In my opinion, and being blunt about it, the CD5x is not a stellar sonic performer", he stated in the middle of review. Although he recognized what the Flatcap2x brought into party - "After connecting the power supply the sound changes markedly and definitely for the better." - he went on describing whether the CD5x + Flatcap2x represent a good value. "The answer depends on your priorities ... could best be summed-up as well balanced and safe. Certainly, there are more colourful, dramatic and better sounding CD players available for this sort of money."

Later on he emphasized Naim's high residual value in second hand market etc., but the message was simple: "... the CD5x is not bad at anything but it is not spectacularly good at anything either. It is unquestionably an enjoyable player but it does not stand out in terms of absolute sound quality."

Viewpoint: Good for you, Jason. Recently I've noticed that French Haute Fidelite and British HiFi+ have both increased the number of critical reviews. What I've always stressed that one has to be educated how to read particular reviewer's articles in the context of editorial policy of a hifi magazine. What some people read as positive, can be interpreted quite negative in the context of reviewer's way of writing negative feedback.

As for Jason's feedback of "no-taste", let me repeat myself here. For me the greatest sin of a hifi component is mediocrity trap: that it does nothing glaringly bad, nothing particularly memorable. Such designs basically have nothing to say, and having nothing to say is not dependent on price. This is the case with most mainstream, high-end manufacturers today. I'm personally fine if a product commits a few minor, acts of omission if it somehow leaves an indelible impression on me - and connects me with the music emotionally.

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