naim cd5x - PRaT is a two-edged sword

if there is such thing called expedited learning then kc and i have the best of it in the last few months, trying out some really really esoteric stuff.

it is always fun doing a shootout in my system - the outcome will be known in practically seconds, due to the revealing nature of my system.

today, kc brought the following:

1) siltech G6 forbes lake (signature series), RM20,000

with a price tag like that, you would have expected that it would trash my stage III magnus (RM6,000) but it turned out to be a even contest. the siltech is even smoother and more refined than stage III, rendering minute details in a spectacular fashion. it is so classy and composed but alas, it is quite a slow cable compared to stage III. we suspect it is the network box (some sort of ferrite thingy) that causes all this slow speed.

both kc and i prefer the stage III magnus but our ears are opened by the superior refinement of the siltech forbes lake.

round 1 winner: stage III magnus

2) naim cd5x (RM10,000)

now, this is the most entertaining contest ever done in my listening hall. it is like pitting one hifi camp against another hifi camp.

pitting naim against the formidable meridian G08 is a suicidal act but we want to know how the new generation naim cdp actually fares.

playing naim cdp is akin to changing the drummer in a band, a drummer on steroid that is. the beat and rhythm of the naim makes every cd sounds like a pop cd! the drummer is always over eager and over enthusiastic member in the band, so much so the rhythmic foundation overrides the whole musical presentation. the drummer in naim cdp seems like drumming in isolation, totally out of sync with the rest of the band. the beat of the drum seems like in an auto-pilot mode, no matter what is the pace of the music!

this is fantastic for pop/rock music, we wouldn't be bothered with the out-of-sync drum but when you play female vocal audiophile type, that's where the naim sounded decidedly contrived. when we switched back to the meridian, ah, so nice and comfy. the drum effect slows down and follows the rest of the music in unison.

kc and i were so amused by this contrasting style of the two cdps.

the naim is suprisingly refined and elegant, tho' not to the exceptional standards set by the meridian. but it loses out to the meridian by a big margin in airiness, communication and emotioning.

the naim makes a singer sounds like she is a salaried worker, just wanting to get the job over and done with. but the meridian makes the singer such a wiling performer, belting the song with all her heart and soul.

this is a new generation naim for sure. it is much better than all the naim cdp i have heard in the past. for once, naim has class and refinement.

but seriously, the PRaT thing is a two-edged sword.

before shootout, kc had almost drawn out his cheque book and written a cheque to CMY but after the shootout, as usual, he was awaken.

round 2 winner: meridian G08

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

What makes a great system great? It's the organic and humance
presentation that draws you into the music even though the performer
is not one you are familiar or fond with.

Yep, hard to admit, but it's true! Leslie's setup now is so effortless
and poised! DAMN, Leslie, you owe it to the Meridian! This is by far
the best player and presentation that graced my setup!

I may have been overly euphoric with equipments that excel in certain
areas and overlooked the presentation as a whole. With stuff like
Siltech Forbes Lake and Meridian G08, it's all about the sum of the
presentation rather than parts of it.

If the setup is not transparent and balanced, forget about getting the
G08. Coz this is one heck of a balanced player, doing everything in
approriate balance yet never fail to embrace musicality as the
ultimate goal!

From top to bottom, nothing stands out but integrating seamlessly to
build up the flow of music and emotion. The bass is by far the most
organic and articulate I have heard, the top is extended with a
natural sense of weight and density.

The mid is the killer part of this player! Talk about presence and
emotional conveyance, I have never listened so deeply into my CDs.
This player has got the eerie capability of portraying the singer with
full bodied outline, anchoring vividly in front of you!

Everthing takes a lifelike presence in my room. 508.24 has got the
capability of giving the instruments individual space and dimension,
G08 surpasses this by giving the whole presentation the space and
dimension in a seamless organic canvas!

I can only say that Meridian is selling this at lesser price than the
player deserves! At sub 10K, I have not heard a player that came close
to it, and that's a huge gap!


Of course, if I strike lottery, then maybe a 808 lor.