You need to seek out a used CD5 if a kinder gentler sound is your goal.
Thanks, Muzikat. Indeed, I have posted on the Naim forum the same query that started this thread. Not many people seem to have heard the new CD5i yet. I have received two conflicting opinions (but hey, otherwise it wouldn't be high-end audio, right?).
One poster said: "I own a CD5i-2 and although I never heard the original CD5i, I know the CD5 well as a friend owns one. The CD5i sounds almost the same and is as refined as the CD5 bare. A CD5 with a flatcap or other PSU is definitely better."
Another poster wrote: ""If it were the CD5i I'd have said the CD5+FC since I preferred the more refined approach of the latter, but this new CD5i is really really good and I just think it might pip the CD5+FC in sound quality."
I am leaning toward a new unit (warranty and all that) -- dealers have both the original CD5i and new CD5i-2 available. Probably I'll just have to make a long road trip to hear for myself. Thanks, all.