General Information

The N7 is Cayin’s first attempt to use a discrete full-balanced circuit for DAC, LPF, and Headphone Amplifier in a DAP. It is also the first and only DAP that incorporates a 1-Bit “DSD” DAC in portable audio applications.
  • Discrete fully-balanced 1-Bit Resistor Network “DSD” DAC
  • Discrete fully-balanced Low Pass Filter with BJT driver
  • Discrete fully-balanced Headphone Amplifier with JFET input stage and BJT amplification.
  • FPGA/Audio Bridge to re-shape, de-jitter and transcode/oversample PCM to DSD512
  • Dual Amplification Mode (Choice of Class A/Class AB)
  • High Quality “unamplified” single-ended and balanced Line Out
  • Unique variable-voltage single-ended and balanced Pre Out
  • 4-ch resistor ladder electronic controlled analog volume from JRC
  • Decode DSD512 natively; support PCM up to 32bit/768kHzk; 16x MQA decoder
  • Headphone Outputs: 3.5mm Single Ended and 4.4mm Balanced
  • Shared Line and Pre Output: 3.5mm Single Ended and 4.4mm Balanced
  • Digital Interface: USB In, USB Out, Coaxial Output, I2S Output.
  • Snapdragon 665 CPU, 4G RAM, 64G Internal, 1xTF card (up to 1TB)
  • Android 12 with Google Play preinstalled, streaming ready
  • DTA bypass Android SRC, Hi-Res playback to all applications
  • Dual Band Wifi: 2.4G/5G.
  • 9000mAh Battery with a duration of 6 to 10 hours.
  • 5" TFT multi-point touch screen.
Suggested retail price: US$1,999

Latest reviews


New Head-Fier
Is Cayin's 1-bit experiments magic or a gimmick?
Pros: ∘ Significantly better sound quality than offered by dongles
∘ Myriad of inputs and outputs
∘ Discrete 1-bit DAC design
∘ Powerful & clean amplifier to drive most headphones
∘ Included leather case
Cons: ∘ Expensive
∘ Large size & heavy weight
∘ Knob could be a bit nicer
∘ Gets quite hot
∘ USB DAC mode has high latency
Cayin N7 Digital Audio Player Review


Cayin is back with their unique take on the DAP world with the N7! Previous iterations of Cayin DAPs have been equipped with uncommon hardware implementations such as R2R DACs and tube amps. This time around, the N7 features a fully balanced in-house discrete 1-bit digital-to-analog circuit, it’s the start of the 1-bit line-up, followed by the RU7 dongle (for which I first heard the technology). But at just under $2000, is the digital audio player really worth your money, or just a gimmick?

Link to buy Cayin N7

Disclaimer: This unit was purchased from MusicTeck at a discount in exchange for my honest review.



OS: Android 12
CPU: Snapdragon 665
Storage: 64GB internal + MicroSD slot
DAC: 1-bit Resistor DSD DAC
Power Output: 250mW/500mW @ 32 Ω
DSD Upsampling Modes: 64/128/256/512
THD+N: 0.004%
DNR: 110dB/112dB
SNR: 115dB/116dB
Channel Separation: 78dB/110dB
Battery: 3.8V 9000mAh
Display: 5” 1080p TFT touch screen
Headphone Outputs: 3.5mm/4.4mm
Line Out: 3.5mm/4.4mm
Digital Inputs/Outputs: USB, I²S
Weight: 385g/432g with case


  • USB-C charging cable
  • 2.5mm adapters
  • Pale-yellow Leather case
  • Screen protectors
  • Manual

Build Quality & Design:

The build quality of the Cayin N7 is overall quite good. The main construction is a one solid piece aluminum chassis. Media buttons feel sturdy and don’t wobble. The N7 is a very large device, don’t expect to fit this into any jeans pockets comfortably. The included pale-yellow leather case is nicely made with a gold heatsink design on the back. A royal blue color option can be purchased separately. Buttons become hard to feel in the thick case and due to the weight, I find myself pressing the buttons unintentionally just by picking up the device. My nitpicks with the N7’s build come down to the knob. The knob has very little resistance and soft segmented clicks that don’t have a premium feel at this price point.

User Experience:

The Cayin N7 is a pretty standard Android 12 experience. Upon powering on, you’re greeted with Cayin’s signature “Never Be The Same Again” (yes, in Comic Sans) and a nice wallpaper of the Cayin A-805. The Google Play Store is preinstalled, along with Cayin Music and Hiby Music. The UI is very smooth by DAP standards (no 120Hz phone screens we’ve gotten used to) and scanning music from the MicroSD or internal storage is quick. 17.6GB of music took 33 seconds to scan when I tested its speed. The dropdown menu has been customized to add some audio related device control such as gain settings, amplifier type, output switch, digital outputs, and quick access to the other audio settings (such as DSD modes and channel balance). After some use the DAP does get quite warm, especially while using it in Class A mode. When using the DAP as a DAC/Amp for a Windows PC, there’s quite a noticeable latency, making it unsuitable for gaming.


Sound Quality:

Now for the main reason we all buy expensive audio products: The Sound. Cayin’s 1-bit products seem to excel in a few areas; mainly in creating a wide soundstage and a natural tonality. I bought the N7 after really enjoying the RU7 dongle, however the two are a bit different in some areas. The N7 is a noticeably more technical sounding device and overall cleaner in its soundstage and separation. N7 steps it up a notch in terms of a realistic and immersive sounding playback. Vocals are sweeter on the N7, where they come off a bit flat on the RU7.

Another feature that the N7 shares with the RU7 is the ability to change which DSD mode your music is upsampled to. But unlike RU7’s quite noticeable sonic differences between DSD64 & DSD256, DSD modes on the N7 are significantly closer to each other in overall performance.

The overall tonality in my experience is mostly neutral. Not super bright like you’d hear from something like a FiiO BTR5 or super thick and lush like you’d hear from Cayin’s own RU6. I typically prefer to listen in Class A mode, which gives the sound a hint of more richness in the lower end frequencies and overall slightly thicker sound (at the cost of battery life). The N7 is just natural & laid back sounding with the exceptional technical ability you’d expect from such a high end mobile device.

Comparing the 3.5mm line-out to other DACs I had on hand, the N7 falls in between the RU7/other high end dongles and a medium-high end desktop DAC like Toppings D70 Pro Saber in terms of stage width and separation.

Power wise, N7’s 500mW balanced output is enough for nearly every headphone you throw at it. I’ve tested it with the 600Ω TGXEar Alpha and the rather insensitive Heddphone 2. While some benefits can be heard going to a full sized desktop setup, it’s hard to complain.

Battery Life:

Battery Life on the N7 can vary quite a bit. Expect an average of 7 to 10 hours depending on which modes you use. Class A mode uses much more power than Class AB. I’ve found Class AB to last around 25% longer. DSD512 mode doesn’t seem to drain any more battery than DSD64 mode. Charging the 9000mAh battery takes about 5 hours from 0 to 100%.

Who is this for?

There’s no denying DAPs are a niche within a niche, and an expensive one at that. Maybe you want to keep your music listening separate from your phone, without the distractions of social media. Perhaps you want to start a high quality local music collection. It’s possible you do most of your listening away from a desktop setup, but want as close of an audio experience as that on the go. Although you do pay a premium, if these conditions sound like they relate to you, a DAP may be a good option for you to consider. Cayin’s N7 strikes a fair balance of audio performance, features, build, and discrete hardware for the price and should 100% be considered if you find yourself in the market for such a device!

This was my first DAP review, any comments or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks for reading! :o2smile:


100+ Head-Fier
A DAP for All Seasons
Pros: Sound presentation, uniquely Cayin
Dedicated line-out/pre-out (shared) and headphones out
The latest and greatest hardware and software
Cons: Weak amp section at 500mW@32ohm, enough for IEMs but not full-size headphones
Short battery life, especially in Class A/High Gain/DSD512
Heat dissipation
Lack of accessories: 3.5mm-to-3.5mm, 4.4mm-to-4.4mm, 3.5mm-to-RCA, 4.4mm-to-XLR interconnects, instead of 2.5mm-to-3.5mm and 2.5mm-to-4.4mm adapters
Limited internal storage at 64GB
Disclaimer: I am not a professional reviewer, but rather an audio enthusiast sharing his passion with the world through sound put to words. I have a keen affinity for an organic, full-bodied sound with a hint of warmth. At times, I am equally longing for a clean, neutral, and somewhat analytical sound with bass boost and extended treble. I enjoy listening to Halie Loren and Fausto Mesolella out of the xDuoo TA26 x Sennheiser HD800S as much as Alan Walker and Tae Yeon on the Burson Audio Conductor 3x GT x Hifiman Susvara. My music genres span between Country and Trance; everything but the kitchen sink (Metal and Classical).

Special thank you and shout out to Andrew and Leo from Musicteck for recommending the Cayin N7 Digital Audio Player (DAP). One month in, I could not be much happier with this unit, and I am now looking to add the Cayin C9 into the mix for a complete setup. The whole process was a breeze right down to less than a week delivery to Auckland, New Zealand. In purchasing this unit, I have received a fractional discount in exchange for an honest review; all thoughts and opinions are of my own. Your mileage may vary.

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Hardware Specifications:
  • 1-bit Resistor Network DSD Decoding
  • Snapdragon 665 with 4GB RAM
  • 64 GB Internal Memory (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Android 12.0 with Google Play and Direct Transport Audio (DTA)
  • 2.4GHz/5GHz Dual Band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 (LDAC, UAT, AAC, SBC)
  • Analog: 3.5mm SE and 4.4mm BAL (Line Out / Pre-Out), 3.5mm SE and 4.4mm BAL (Phone Out)
  • Digital: USB-C (Audio In & Out, S/PDIF Output) and I2S (Mini-HDMI, Output)
  • 250mW@32ohm for 3.5mm SE and 500mW@32ohm for 4.4mm BAL
  • 3.8V, 9000 mAH Lithium battery for continuous playback of up to 10 hours (3.5mm SE) and 8.5 hours (4.4mm Balanced); using Class A and DSD512 will shorten these hours; fast charging from 20% to 80% in 2 hours.
  • Screen Resolution: 5” FHD (1080 x 1920) TFT
Audio Settings:
  • Amplifier Operation: Class A / AB
  • Output Specifications: DSD64/128/256/512
  • Gain Settings: Low, Medium, and High
What is in the Box:
  • Cayin N7 Digital Audio Player (DAP)
  • Cayin N7 Leather Case (Genuine and handmade with faux painted stitching)
  • 2.5mm (F)-to-3.5mm (M) adapter
  • 2.5mm (F)-to-4.4mm (M) adapter
  • USB C-to-USB C cable
  • Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Front and back)
  • User Manual
  • Hi-Res stickers
Photo 30-09-23, 15 27 56.jpg


Cayin N7 is a pure 1-bit Android-based Digital Audio Player (DAP), fully discrete and fully balanced design, which converts digital signal into analog signal by means of a resistor ladder network: 128 pieces of high precision, thin film resistors. Cayin N7 converts PCM files to DSD files (DSD64/128/256/512) in real time using a resistor ladder network instead of a chip-based topology for a smooth, natural sound presentation. Higher sampling rate, which extracts more audio information for a truer sound reproduction, requires increased storage usage and power consumption. Cayin N7 supports PCM (up to 32Bit/768kHz), DSD64/128/256/512, 16x MQA decoding, and Bluetooth 5.0 audio codec, including LDAC (up to 96kHz), UAT (up to 192kHz), AAC (up to 48kHz), and SBC (up to 48kHz). Cayin N7 offers Class A and Class AB amplification modes, as well as Low, Medium, and High Gain mode.

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Audio Setup: Cayin N7 streaming Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless to Sennheiser IE900 via Marco Custom Cables Pink (copper and silver alloy).


At the mid-Fi level, the Cayin N7 presents the quintessence of the Cayin sound signature, striking a fine balance between detailed and organic sounding with a hint of warmth; natural and musical in its presentation while retaining excellent instrument separation, dynamic and engaging, airy and spacious. The cleanliness in the sound presentation is further accentuated by the Vantablack background, devoid of hissing and interference noises even with the most sensitive in-ear monitors (IEMs) in my collection, the Fiio FD7.

In theory, Class A amplification mode presents a smooth, full-bodied, and organic sound whereas Class AB presents a clean, neutral, and more detailed sound presentation. Scaling up to DSD512 further improves the sound quality by bringing a truer sound reproduction with the trade-off of increased storage usage and processing power (read: higher power consumption).

In reality, I have yet to realize any significant difference between Class A/AB and DSD64/128/256/512. The difference is so subtle, at least in my setup, that only keener ears than mine would have noticed. One month into its ownership, my unit is now configured to run Class A/High Gain/DSD512 on a short listening session, which quickly turns the unit into a handheld heater, and Class AB/High Gain/DSD64 on a longer listening session (i.e., a full day at the office).

In terms of technicalities, the Cayin N7 is able to effortlessly dissect a highly complex track and introduce its own flavour, not found on any other DAPs, for a more musical yet engaging sound presentation. Listening to complex K-Pop track, INVU by Tae Yeon, on the Cayin N7 is just as satisfying as a more laidback, all-time classic, Hotel California by The Eagles. It is truly a DAP for all genres at the mid-Fi level.

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A versatile DAP, the Cayin N7 offers incredible synergy when paired with neutral, clean sounding IEMs: Sennheiser IE900 and 64 Audio Tia Fourte. My unit, which consistently stays in High Gain, hovers between 25dB and 35dB to drive the Sennheiser IE900 and 64 Audio Tia Fourte, and up to 50dB on the Fatfreq Maestro Mini. Cayin N7 is also able to drive full-size headphones, such as the Focal Clear MG and Hifiman Arya SE, to listening volume, although at 500mW@32ohm, it does not sound as dynamic.

The following listening impressions are based on Hotel California by The Eagles, Sonatina improvvisata d’inizio estate by Fausto Mesolella feat. Ferdinando Ghidelli, and Main Titles (You’ve Been Called Back, Top Gun OST) by Lorne Balfe, Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga and Hans Zimmer.

Photo 3-10-23, 00 13 20.jpg

Cayin N7 x Sennheiser IE900

At the mid-Fi level, this pairing is a match made in heaven. I would not have it any other way. Paired with copper-silver alloy cables, Cayin N7 further amplifies the Sennheiser IE900’s sound signature: Bass impact and treble become more prominent and take the centre stage whereas the midrange and vocals take a step back, soundstage remains airy and spacious, details retrievals are retained.

This is my ideal combination for all music genres, including Trance, K-Pop, and Oldies, or when I simply want to have a quick listen without spending half an hour selecting my source and gears. In a Mad Max x Zombie Apocalypse situation, the Cayin N7 x Sennheiser IE900 would definitely be in my survival kit, along with a solar charging power bank and a hatchet.

Cayin N7 x 64 Audio Tia Fourte

Paired with 8-core, 5N OCC copper cables, Cayin N7 accentuates the 64 Audio Tia Fourte’s sound signature: Bass impact supersedes Sennheiser IE900 (as far as I can tell at the same listening volume), midrange, and vocals sound fuller and organic, treble remains sharp as ever devoid of any sibilance, soundstage is more spacious and the overall sound presentation is more detailed, revealing as compared to the Sennheiser IE900.

Cayin N7 x Fatfreq Maestro Mini

Fatfreq Maestro Mini is a coloured, midbass-oriented IEMs and possibly the second hard hitting bass cannon on the planet after the newer Scarlet Mini. Paired with copper-silver alloy cables, the Cayin N7 accentuates the bass impact while everything else, the midrange, vocals, treble are present but slightly recessed. The soundstage is narrow and intimate, and the details retrievals are not as top notch as the previous IEMs.

In comparison to the other DAP and DAC/AMP, the Cayin N7 does not sound as cold and analytical as the Fiio Q5s Tc and Fiio M11 Plus ESS, as smooth as the Astell&Kern SP2000T, and as warm and full-bodied as the iFi xDSD Gryphon.


Cayin N7 is standing at the crossroad of all the good things that I would like to hear in a DAP, striking a fine balance through its natural and musical sound presentation, uniquely Cayin. One year into my audiophile journey, I have come to place higher emphasis on synergies above all else, from the source to the cable and the gears, right down to the song genres. A DAP for all seasons. Cayin N7’s versatility makes for a good pairing with any IEMs playing any music genres, perfect for a quick and easy listening session. Personally, I am keeping the Cayin N7 at least for another year and am currently looking into possibly adding the Cayin C9 into the equation to obtain the most value-for-performance in this setup.


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Last edited:
Hi guys, this is my first-ever review here on Head-Fi. A novice audiophile, I am learning the sound terminology as I go along and have tried to describe my impression as accurately as possible. Please read it with a grain of salt. Thank you.
I'm stuck in between the Cayin N7 and the Kann Ultra. Which one do you think is the superior player in terms of sound. They are around the same price right now.


100+ Head-Fier
More than just a DAP
Pros: Build, performance, class A sound...
Cons: Size, weight, not exactly cheap...
The Cayin N7 has been sent to me on loan as part of a tour organized on Head-Fi. The only requests were that each participant ship on to the following participant after 14 days and that each participant posts their impressions on the device on Head-Fi no more than 14 days after shipping the device on to the next participant (or in my case, back to Cayin, as I am the last person on the EU tour).


TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Cayin N7

The official page for the Cayin N7 can be found here:

The thread on the device can be found here:

As always, this is a non-affiliate link, meaning that I do not receive anything in exchange for clicks or purchases made.



I don’t think Cayin need any introduction if you are someone who is contemplating a DAP that costs over 2000€. Cayin have been around for a while and are known for making high end Digital Audio Players, along with some very interesting desktop tube amplifiers and many other products.

If you don’t know anything about them and you landed on this review because you are looking for a DAP, then you might be asking why a portable music player costs so much? I know I would be!

The N7 offers a lot of technology in the DAP format, with things like 1-Bit Resistor Network DSD Decoding, dual A and AB amplifier modes, I2S connectivity, separate line and preamp outputs (both balanced and unbalanced), along with a lot of other things. Rather than me just list off a list of specifications, if you want to see all of them, just visit the page I linked above.

Why is all of this special? Well, a lot of them are not things commonly found in desktop solutions, never mind in a portable solution, so it definitely puts them in a league above many of the other contenders in the DAP game.

Does this make it a great DAP and worth the price tag it comes with? That is what I am going to address in this review, at least in my own opinion.


Build and Aesthetics…

You may have noticed that I skipped the presentation completely. That is because this review unit was shipped in a simple box to save on shipping costs, so I cannot comment on the way it is packaged or what the unboxing experience is like.

As far as build, the first and most obvious is size and weight. This is a large device. By large I mean that is is around the same dimensions as my smartphone but 3 times as thick. It is also a very heavy device, coming in at around 380 grams. It is not the heaviest (or largest) of Cayin DAPs but it is not something that I find comfortable in my pocket (I hate things in my pocket anyway) and it appeals to me more as a transportable, all-in-one, music player, than an actual portable (as in, carry on my person) device.

As far as aesthetics go, the device arrived in a beautiful leather case, with a gold/brass coloured backplate in a grille style. The case closes magnetically and has a cut out for the dial at the top, along with a cutout for its (multiple) connectors at the bottom. The right side of the case has the buttons marked on the leather along with their logos, meaning you can clearly see what each button does.

I think the device looks great in the case, much nicer that it looks out of the case, although it is not a bad looking device without the protection. The front sports the 5” screen which takes up the majority of the real estate, with around 2cm at the bottom that has the multifunction touch screen button in the center. This touch button has a coloured ring that changes colours depending on the state of the device, which is a nice touch.

The sides are rounded black metal, making it comfortable to hold on to, even if it is a little slippy without the case. The left side has the micro SD card slot, while the right is home to the power, up, down and play buttons.

At the top of the N7 there is a nice gold coloured volume wheel that is well protected when wearing its leather jacket. Finally, the bottom is where we find the connection points. We get balanced pre/line out, unbalanced pre/line out, balanced headphone out, unbalanced headphone out, I2S, Coaxial and USB. This is quite a bit of connectivity as I said before.

While I am not really a fan of the size and weight of this device, holding it in your hand does portray the impression of having a quality device, with the leather case adding to that impression.



The N7 runs Android 12 on a Snapdragon 665 with 4GB of RAM. As this is an android device, coming with the Play Store installed, it will let you install most of the apps you could want/need. The 64GB internal space is not a huge amount but should be more than enough if you are wanting to use this for its intended purpose (as a music player) and are storing the local files on an external MicroSD card (accepts up to 1TB).

The system itself is pretty snappy (although I haven’t installed any apps other than those included and Tidal) and responds well to touches and navigation in general. Using the Cayin music app, it was also pretty quick to read my test SD card, reading almost 7.000 tracks in less than 5 minutes (which is better than on my phone for the same test).

I am not a huge fan of Android based DAPs as I prefer my music players to just be music players, but at least it responds well and is a rather recent version of Android (many players still use older versions), meaning it should be ok with app updates for quite some time.

As this is an Android based device, there isn’t much need to go into the details of how to use it. If you can use a modern Android phone, you can use the UI of the N7. Gesture navigation is activated by default but this can be turned to the classic three button set up if you prefer.

The included music playing apps are Hiby Music and Cayin’s own app, which is basically the Hiby app with their own skin on it. You can of course install any music player of your choice (and you can also download the Hiby app from the Play Store to your phone if you have never used it and want to try it out).

From the drop down menu at the top, you can quickly access the gain settings, the amplifier type, switch the output from line to pre, change the DSD output specification, choose the digital output and access the audio settings. You can edit what quick accesses you want in the drop down menu, as you would with any normal Android device.

The audio settings basically give you the same options as I just listed, along with the possibility of changing channel balance, setting a max volume, inverting the volume control direction and activating/deactivating MQA decoding.

A nice feature of the N7 is that Hiby Cast is also installed, meaning that you can use your phone to control the DAP remotely. This is something that comes in very handy when using the N7 connected to desk systems hooked up to speakers etc.

Volume is obviously controlled by the volume wheel but once you touch the wheel,the current level is displayed in numbers on the screen, with a + and - button to make single increments from the touch screen. While the numbers are displayed, you can also swipe the screen to increase or lower volume a lot quicker.

I could go on for a very long time about the functionality, after all, it is Android, but I think we should get on to the interesting part…



One of the things I like about reviewing sources is that I get to choose what IEMs and headphones I want to use, meaning that I get to spend more time than usual with my favourite sets instead of the IEMs or headphones I am reviewing.

Over the time I have had the N7 on my desk, I have mainly been using the Svanar, the IE600, the Quintet, the Talos, the Arya v2 & Stealth, the HE1000se (which I have been listening to a lot lately) and the HD6XX (as that is always a must for source reviews).

One of the things I have noticed with the N7 is that, while it is not the most powerful of devices (500mW @32 Ohms balanced), I didn’t find that it struggled with planars. With IEMs, I had absolutely no issues and a lot of the time found myself on low gain around the 50 mark or less (my listening levels are usually pretty low, so that is something to consider for context).

In general I found the sound to seem more spacious than on many other alternatives, making things have more openness to them and improving the presentation with IEMs, which I usually find quite lacking in the soundstage department.

My first hours with the N7 were using the Svanar in the AB amplifier mode. While they sounded good and had a nice presentation to them, I did not feel that they were anything amazing. Yes, better than many of the portable options I have tried but I didn’t find myself blown away by the result. I then switched to the class A mode and… wow! Things became much more alive and, well, just a lot better in general.

That additional space is present with the AB mode but when switched to A, that extra space seems to be fuller. Things have more life and I found myself thinking that this is probably one of the best pairing I have heard with the Svanar. Bass is nicely textured but in no way unnatural and the upper ranges just have that little bit of smoothness to them that reminds me of why I love these IEMs.

With the Quintet, I found that the difference between AB and A was not as apparent. Yes, there was a slight change but not to the point I experienced with the Svanar. In general I find the Quintet to sound good with the N7 but I don’t feel the experience changes much between some of my dongles and the DAP.

With the Hifiman planars, I again found that the pairing is very good, although I have to say that I personally preferred the HE1000se to the Arya for some reason. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like the Arya with the N7 but I just found the pairing with the HE1000se to be much more exciting, maybe due to them being easier to drive than the Arya. Again, that class A mode gave the HEKse something extra that makes them sound glorious to my ears.

The HD6XX is a set of headphones that I can love or hate, depending on the source, the music, my mood and the time of day. On the day that I spent the time pairing them with the N7, I was mostly listening to female vocals and Jazz, and I have to say that, with the class A mode, this is the best portable setup I have heard with them. We have all heard about the “infinite scaling” of the HD6 series but I don’t think it is scaling per se, just that it seems to click with certain sources and the N7 in A mode is one of them. Again, to my ears, on that day, with that music. I wouldn’t say they sounded amazing in AB mode (good yes, but not amazing) and I would still prefer a tube amp for them, but for a portable device, I have to say that the pairing is very good.

I did find that I would find myself choosing a higher gain with headphones and dropping the volume level a bit to compensate. This could be totally psychological but I just felt that it seemed clearer and more open with headphones.



The Cayin N7 is a DAP that offers a lot of performance in a “trans”portable package. It is not something that I would choose to carry in my pocket, nor take with me everywhere, but I do think it is something that gives you a great system that rivals a lot of desktop options in a format that you could easily take to the office or on vacation.

I find that the class A mode is fantastic, making most things sound alive and vibrant, offering a very enjoyable listening session no matter where you are. It has plenty of connectivity for it to be used in any number of systems, not just headphones. I could see this easily being the “brain” of someone's system, where they take it to the office and enjoy it all day, and then take it home in the evening or at weekends and hook it up to their main speaker systems etc.

Yes, the price is not exactly cheap, but if you compare it to many other things that you can pick up for the same price, it is on a level to compete, even with some desktop options as I said. If you were to build a desktop system with this level of connectivity and performance, you would be looking at a minimum of 500€ for the media player (if you were to use a phone that rivals this DAP), another 500€ to 1000€ (at least) for a DAC with this implementation and then another 1000€ or more for an amplifier, which may be more powerful but would not have the two AB and A modes you get here. So, with the N7, you get all of that in a “trans”portable package and for less money.

I can’t say that the AB mode is anything that I have fallen in love with. Yes, it sounds good, but not enough for me to think about running out and buying one. However, the class A mode is a different story. I find the A mode to be spectacular when you find the correct pairing.

The negative is that using it in class A does make the device run rather warm and the battery drop rather quickly but I guess everything has its price 😉

As with all of my reviews, this is also available in Spanish both on my blog ( and on YouTube (
One of the most honest and informative reviews on N7 that I have read - great job!


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