OK, we know what you’re thinking: how much? At £2565, Naim’s DVD5 doesn’t just look expensive in the current DVD market: it looks positively insane. True, you won’t necessarily appreciate it if you’re a 28in CRT TV owner – but if you own a plasma, LCD or DLP TV, or a projector, then its picture-quality advantage will shine through. It also sounds rather good, but we’ll come to that in a moment.
The DVD5 is typically Naim: it’s simple and a little quirky. For example, the DVD-ROM mechanism can be a little recalcitrant in operation – taking its own sweet time to read discs and perform apparently mundane tasks such as ‘open’. It also lives up to the company’s reputation for its products needing extensive run-in: it needs at least a week or two from new, and after that should be left on standby.
On the Dolby
However, all is forgiven once it’s run in and you fire it up: the DVD5 sounds truly awesome, even with Dolby Digital 5.1. It boasts that classic Naim trait, driving hard into movie soundtracks with a forthright and almost gleeful directness: on occasion, you’d swear your amp has had an upgrade, so powerful and dynamic is the sound on offer.
The same character serves the DVD5 well with music, either of the stereo or multichannel DVD-Audio kind (the latter being a £215 option, included in the price above). This is a DVD player for which no audio apologies need be made; it’s even the equal of many a good CD player.
And even the picture rocks! Perhaps, with our hyper-critical hats on we might argue that the similarly priced Denon DVD-A1XVA offers more features – this player doesn’t have 720p/1080i scaling, for example, though an upgrade module is in the pipeline.
Yet the Naim’s DVI-transmitted 576p picture has excellent detail and a natural, convincing colour palette: we also like the handy provision of video calibration and test cards as part of the on-screen menus, enabling you to get your screen set up to suit the output.
We love the DVD5, despite its quirks. It’s a little different – and it’s far from cheap – but it’s also hugely capable. In the right system, it would be a fantastic buy and well worth the investment.