Naim-Audio.com forum can give you many threads on this very subject. Consensus is Nait 5i is faster , more powerful. Nait 5, warmer and can be upgraded.
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The 5 is nice in that you can always upgrade the piece by using the "5" as either a preamp or amp.
I have the "5" and Im currently looking for a 202 preamp thereby using the 5 as an amp until Im ready to upgrade the amp.
Muzikat pretty much summed it up in terms of sonics. If you have no plans to upgrade , dont have vinyl, and prefer a more aggresive sound, go withthe 5i.
I do not have vinyl but I do prefer a warmer sound
so maybe the 5 would be better than the 5i for me.
I was hoping to get an all Naim system used off
audiogon as follows:
Nait 5 or 5i
Naim CD5, CD5i, or CD5X
Naim speakers (I see Allae used)
I am looking for a warm sound with lot's of pace
and involement. Imaging and razor detail is not
a priority at all. I am hearing that I need to
look for a used "Nait 5" and "Naim CD5" to have
the warmest sound. Speakers I have no idea on.
I want to get Naim to match the sonics throughout
the system and I see Allae used but I am also hearing
the Nait 5 would drive the Allae well.. Ideas on
the best Naim speakers to go with a CD5/Nait5 ??
Do a search on Audiogon right now and you'll find a couple of NEAT speakers. Not well know here in the US but they go together with Naim like PB and jelly :^)
They"re not know for the soundstage and imaging thing but they have a way that involves you into the music like no other speaker I know.
I'm running a pair right now. Click on my "system" to view
FYI: Before this system, I had a pair of Ref 3a decapos, Atmasphere s30, Ric Schultz Mod dac and his passive attenuators all cabled with analysis plus and have absolutely no regrets in selling it all for what I have now.