Cayin C9: Dual Nutube, Fully discrete Fully Balanced Class A/AB Portable Headphone Amplifier
Feb 4, 2021 at 6:39 AM Post #751 of 2,877
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I and others appreciate the work your company is doing to satisfy the unsatisfiable ("eccentric" audiophiles like me) and drive the industry forward into new territory. After reading through your post, have you considered condensing your product lineup?

I realize the irony of that question, that it might entail niche products like the C9 are first on the chopping block, but from what you wrote it sounds like Cayin may be faced with the dilemma many of us are these days - to cover as many bases as possible to an acceptable standard, or choose to sacrifice in some areas to perform better in others. Perhaps there is no simple answer but an ongoing dialogue in which community feedback and sales play their part.

If you have the opportunity to check out our complete product line, you'll be amazed. On top of the Personal Audio items I listed, we have 15 CD players/Streamer/DAC and 37 integrated/Pre/Power amplifier products, all actively moving in our R&D, production line or inventory.

My feeling is the high-end transportable market is under-represented but this is a purely anecdotal and non data-driven opinon. Sometimes it takes the right product to come along and fire consumer imagination for demand to really take off. I wonder what Apple's Airpods Max will do for the high-end headphone market for instance? Cannibalize sales of genuinely high-end alternatives perhaps, or simply increase the overall size of the market as younger generations discover the joy of better sound for the first time.

Sorry I'm rambling here a little, but as a mere consumer in this industry its fascinating being given an insight into how audiophile manufacturers like yours decide which directions to persue. Much as I would love to see more high-priced transportable offerings, its easy to understand the economic realities that proven, more profitable product lines must be given precedence so the business can afford the luxury of occasionally releasing something with more niche appeal. Much like Mazda with the MX-5 perhaps.

The MX-5 is a very good example, I like that illustration, it explains the situation with a very simple example.

If we are looking at per product base, then you are certain correct that niche products such as N8 and C9 will not see the light of day, but then, it depends on how you utilize your resource. For example, we devoted a lot of resource to N8, but we have migrated the headphone amplifier implementation to A01 and T01 Audio Motherboard, and the Dual Timber system to N3Pro, including the skills involved to install vacuum tubes in a cramp DAP circuit board. Hopefully C9 will also create new product opportunities for Cayin.
 
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Feb 4, 2021 at 6:55 AM Post #752 of 2,877
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That was why I asked “how come Cayin did not allow a DC input for C9”. If the battery limitations was all that you said it was

Yes, I understand your statement about Cayin perceiving the market, but as a consumers, they always love to have options. Certainly it doesn’t hurt to have an outlet on the C9 chassis and as you said, by pass the battery filters for the supplying rails.

It wasn't in the design, we don't see the need. The C9 has achieved way beyond our initial product plan already, we didn't please everyone, and we couldn't.
 
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Feb 4, 2021 at 7:04 AM Post #753 of 2,877

ahossam

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Nope, you cannot plug in a charger for several days. The protection circuit of 18650 is more specific than 3.7V Lithium battery commonly used in DAP and 3C mobile devices.

Start with a low battery capacity (1 out of 4 LED), charge your C9 and playback in Class AB, and feed with a source that does not connect to a USB charger. you should be able to charge and playback 24 hours non-stop, Alex has tried similar setting already,

Okay this might sound silly, do I have to burn in each input/output, each timbre SS/tube, and each class AB/A?
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 7:06 AM Post #754 of 2,877

xand

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Okay this might sound silly, do I have to burn in each input/output, each timbre SS/tube, and each class AB/A?

I would guess... No for inputs, no for SS/tube (because even tube uses the SS system) maybe yes for AB/A... (The B bits probably aren't used when A is selected).

🤣
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 8:12 AM Post #756 of 2,877

Whitigir

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It wasn't in the design, we don't see the need. The C9 has achieved way beyond our initial product plan already, we didn't please everyone, and we couldn't.
Honestly, you don’t have to please everyone, just consumers, and consumers always love more options than less, right ? Just an idea. Hard to swallow that “limitations existed and acknowledged”, but no options to get further
Anyways, I get your point. Let’s see how this is going, and if I like it enough then I will look into further modifying for the LPSU
I would guess... No for inputs, no for SS/tube (because even tube uses the SS system) maybe yes for AB/A... (The B bits probably aren't used when A is selected).

🤣
you would have to burn in each circuits alone
Tube, SS, Class A, Class AB
Don’t have to burn in input, only burn in what you needed most, but basically you also should too, because it can convert balances to single and single to balanced
 
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Feb 4, 2021 at 8:28 AM Post #757 of 2,877
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Honestly, you don’t have to please everyone, just consumers, and consumers always love more options than less, right ? Just an idea. Anyways, I get your point. Let’s see how this is going, and if I like it enough then I will look into further modifying for the LPSU
...
you would have to burn in each circuits alone
Tube, SS, Class A, Class AB
Don’t have to burn in input, only burn in what you needed most, but basically you also should too, because it can convert balances to single and single to balanced

Vince, I think you just reinforced your own reply of "consumers love more options" with C9 giving you "Tube, SS, Class A, Class AB" options :wink: And on top of that you can use it as amplifier or pre-amp.
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 8:30 AM Post #758 of 2,877

Whitigir

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Vince, I think you just reinforced your own reply of "consumers love more options" with C9 giving you "Tube, SS, Class A, Class AB" options :wink: And on top of that you can use it as amplifier or pre-amp.
Yes, and I did (also the reasons why I bought into preorder before anything else ), though I don’t ask something unique and specific anyways. If the C9 is good, then who wouldn’t love the options to be running continuously off the wall ? And then taken on the go with batteries ? On top of that Cayin can even produce LPSU too
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 8:41 AM Post #759 of 2,877
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Okay this might sound silly, do I have to burn in each input/output, each timbre SS/tube, and each class AB/A?

Cayin has provided a fairly detail functional diagram, you can figure out the optimum burn in setting:

  • Input selection: that is a switching circuit, no need to burn in.
  • Timbre Circuit: You need to burn in Vacuum tube and Solid State (discrete components) separately
  • SE/BAL conversion: SE/SE, BAL/BAL is direct pass through, SE to BAL involve an inverted phase amplifier, so I suggest you only burn in SE input BAL output.
  • Primary Gain Control: Set to High Gain during burn in
  • Volume Control: Use Line in mode during burn in
  • Discrete Headphone Amplifier: Class A and Class AB are identical circuit at different operational mode, so there is no need to burn in Class A specifically, focus with Class AB is OK.
Summary: Set C9 to SE input, BAL output, high gain, Line input mode, and burn in Tube and SS timbre separately. :wink:

C9 Functional Framework.jpg
 
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Feb 4, 2021 at 8:58 AM Post #760 of 2,877

ahossam

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Cayin has provided a fairly detail functional diagram, you can figure out the optimum burn in setting:

  • Input selection: that is a switching circuit, no need to burn in.
  • Timbre Circuit: You need to burn in Vacuum tube and Solid State (discrete components) separately
  • SE/BAL conversion: SE/SE, BAL/BAL is direct pass through, SE to BAL involve an inverted phase amplifier, so I suggest you only burn in SE input BAL output.
  • Primary Gain Control: Set to High Gain during burn in
  • Volume Control: Use Line in mode during burn in
  • Discrete Headphone Amplifier: Class A and Class AB are identical circuit at different operational mode, so there is no need to burn in Class A specifically, focus with Class AB is OK.
Summary: Set C9 to SE input, BAL output, high gain, Line input mode, and burn in Tube and SS timbre separately. :wink:

C9 Functional Framework.jpg

Nice! Thank you.
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 10:46 AM Post #761 of 2,877
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I'm not at the point yet to share sound impressions since it is way too early, but a few people ping me with questions if I consider C9 to be portable or transportable.

As I mentioned before, I'm DAP/IEM guy, not into desktop setups or full size headphones. Not because I don't care about it, but I just prefer portable setup on the go for the convenience of it. I do have a few portable amps, but obviously C9 is not in the same category to be compared to its distant younger sibling C5 or any other pocket amps. Something like Broadway S (I only have single ended version since it is more IEM friendly) is definitely not a portable amp, but also not in a category where you will carry it around. It will be transportable to move from one desk to another without interrupting the playback since you are not plugged into the wall. Romi Audio BX2 is a portable amp, though in comparison to C9 it is only solid state and Class A, very powerful, almost too powerful for IEMs which is an overkill. But here is a thing, while it is shorter than C9, it also 10mm wider and a little thicker which puts it between portable and transportable. For my own personal preference, the width of the stack up is one of the deciding factors between portable and transportable because it makes it easier to grip. And for the reference, C9 footprint has the same width as DX300, just a little bit shorter.

cayin-c9-x01.jpg


And here are a few shots I just took. Sorry for the quality, I only use my phone and typically at night with lights on in the kitchen pictures look sharper. It is morning now and in a daylight pictures look "softer", but you get the idea :wink: Very solid build and smooth volume control. And as already mentioned, C9 offers Solid State and Tube timbre, Class A and AB so you can have SS Class A or SS Class AB and Tube Class A or Tube Class AB. You also have H/L gain. And can switch between AMP and Pre-AMP functionality where as AMP you are controlling the volume from C9, and as Pre-AMP the volume of C9 is fixed and you are controlling the input from your source (either if you have variable output Line Out like in R8/R6 2020 or LPGT, or double amping from headphone output).

cayin-c9-x02.jpg cayin-c9-x03.jpgcayin-c9-x04.jpg cayin-c9-x05.jpgcayin-c9-x06.jpg cayin-c9-x07.jpg

Battery unit is easy to slide in/out and secured with 2 screws, and if you are not carrying C9 around you can leave it without screws attached to make it easier for a battery replacement.

cayin-c9-x08.jpg
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 11:01 AM Post #762 of 2,877

bluestorm1992

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I'm not at the point yet to share sound impressions since it is way too early, but a few people ping me with questions if I consider C9 to be portable or transportable.

As I mentioned before, I'm DAP/IEM guy, not into desktop setups or full size headphones. Not because I don't care about it, but I just prefer portable setup on the go for the convenience of it. I do have a few portable amps, but obviously C9 is not in the same category to be compared to its distant younger sibling C5 or any other pocket amps. Something like Broadway S (I only have single ended version since it is more IEM friendly) is definitely not a portable amp, but also not in a category where you will carry it around. It will be transportable to move from one desk to another without interrupting the playback since you are not plugged into the wall. Romi Audio BX2 is a portable amp, though in comparison to C9 it is only solid state and Class A, very powerful, almost too powerful for IEMs which is an overkill. But here is a thing, while it is shorter than C9, it also 10mm wider and a little thicker which puts it between portable and transportable. For my own personal preference, the width of the stack up is one of the deciding factors between portable and transportable because it makes it easier to grip. And for the reference, C9 footprint has the same width as DX300, just a little bit shorter.

cayin-c9-x01.jpg

And here are a few shots I just took. Sorry for the quality, I only use my phone and typically at night with lights on in the kitchen pictures look sharper. It is morning now and in a daylight pictures look "softer", but you get the idea :wink: Very solid build and smooth volume control. And as already mentioned, C9 offers Solid State and Tube timbre, Class A and AB so you can have SS Class A or SS Class AB and Tube Class A or Tube Class AB. You also have H/L gain. And can switch between AMP and Pre-AMP functionality where as AMP you are controlling the volume from C9, and as Pre-AMP the volume of C9 is fixed and you are controlling the input from your source (either if you have variable output Line Out like in R8/R6 2020 or LPGT, or double amping from headphone output).

cayin-c9-x02.jpg cayin-c9-x03.jpgcayin-c9-x04.jpg cayin-c9-x05.jpgcayin-c9-x06.jpg cayin-c9-x07.jpg

Battery unit is easy to slide in/out and secured with 2 screws, and if you are not carrying C9 around you can leave it without screws attached to make it easier for a battery replacement.

cayin-c9-x08.jpg
Wish mine will arrive sooner!

Any early impression for its comparison with Broadway S? :)
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 11:08 AM Post #763 of 2,877

Nostoi

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I'm not at the point yet to share sound impressions since it is way too early, but a few people ping me with questions if I consider C9 to be portable or transportable.

As I mentioned before, I'm DAP/IEM guy, not into desktop setups or full size headphones. Not because I don't care about it, but I just prefer portable setup on the go for the convenience of it. I do have a few portable amps, but obviously C9 is not in the same category to be compared to its distant younger sibling C5 or any other pocket amps. Something like Broadway S (I only have single ended version since it is more IEM friendly) is definitely not a portable amp, but also not in a category where you will carry it around. It will be transportable to move from one desk to another without interrupting the playback since you are not plugged into the wall. Romi Audio BX2 is a portable amp, though in comparison to C9 it is only solid state and Class A, very powerful, almost too powerful for IEMs which is an overkill. But here is a thing, while it is shorter than C9, it also 10mm wider and a little thicker which puts it between portable and transportable. For my own personal preference, the width of the stack up is one of the deciding factors between portable and transportable because it makes it easier to grip. And for the reference, C9 footprint has the same width as DX300, just a little bit shorter.

cayin-c9-x01.jpg

And here are a few shots I just took. Sorry for the quality, I only use my phone and typically at night with lights on in the kitchen pictures look sharper. It is morning now and in a daylight pictures look "softer", but you get the idea :wink: Very solid build and smooth volume control. And as already mentioned, C9 offers Solid State and Tube timbre, Class A and AB so you can have SS Class A or SS Class AB and Tube Class A or Tube Class AB. You also have H/L gain. And can switch between AMP and Pre-AMP functionality where as AMP you are controlling the volume from C9, and as Pre-AMP the volume of C9 is fixed and you are controlling the input from your source (either if you have variable output Line Out like in R8/R6 2020 or LPGT, or double amping from headphone output).

cayin-c9-x02.jpg cayin-c9-x03.jpgcayin-c9-x04.jpg cayin-c9-x05.jpgcayin-c9-x06.jpg cayin-c9-x07.jpg

Battery unit is easy to slide in/out and secured with 2 screws, and if you are not carrying C9 around you can leave it without screws attached to make it easier for a battery replacement.

cayin-c9-x08.jpg
Cheers, very interesting. Any initial impressions on how the SS mode compares between the BX2 and the C9 would be super welcome.
 
Feb 4, 2021 at 12:01 PM Post #765 of 2,877

bluestorm1992

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