- Feb 21, 2007
This thread, and a corresponding post over in the amplification section, is to introduce some new gear from Cayin. I've been playing with both models for a while and will eventually have a full review over at InnerFidelity, but that could take a while so I wanted to get some discussion going sooner than later. In this thread I'll be talking about their new iDAC-6. I've been auditioning the review unit for a while now and I've got to say I'm very impressed with it (as well as the matching iHA-6 balanced headphone amp).
The iDAC-6 is a fully balanced DAC featuring a dual-mono pair of the relatively new AKM "Verita" DAC chips, along with 5 selectable digital filters, DSD via USB or coaxial (using DoP), defeatable volume control for preamp duties, and your choice of tube or solid state outputs. Pretty rich feature set, right? The chassis is small but dense, weighing in at roughly 8 pounds, and the look is a perfect match for the previously mentioned balanced headphone amp - though I'd say either piece could be used independently and still fit in just fine.
Cayin didn't tell me the price until recently, and I had assumed it would be in the $1,500 to $2,000 range based on a number of factors - not least of which was the exceptional build quality. When they finally advised the price would be $999 I got excited, as that ends up being lower than much of the competition. I'm thinking Yulong DA8 mkII, Matrix X-Sabre, NuPrime DAC10, and the stuff from Benchmark and Grace Design among others. The iDAC-6 is very competitive in this field and surpasses some of its peers in certain aspects.... but I'll cover more of that as the thread develops, and ultimately in my full review. For now I'll just say that this is a versatile DAC which offers several different takes on sound signature based on which options are chosen. And now for some glamour shots - some courtesy of Cayin and some from me (you can probably tell which is which).
The sources: SOtM sMS-1000SQ or Aurender X100L via USB
UPDATE - there's still a little time to sign up for the US Tour! Cayin is sending around the stack for qualified members to try out, asking for honest evaluation in return. See the thread about it HERE and don't wait, there's not much time left to grab a slot!
Speaking of evaluations, HERE is a link to my review of the DAC and amp at InnerFidelity. Do I like them? You'll have to read it and find out.