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Cayin N3 Hi-Res DAP with AKM4490 DAC, apt-X Bluetooth, and Line, USB & Coax Out for $150

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by nmatheis, Jan 31, 2017.
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  1. jms74
    I bought this Cayin N3 in Europe, where its still not easy to find.. I'm from Portugal and bought it from a Spain online store.

    Now, i had this DAP for a week now, and its been a disappointment at most. Right on day one i found that this DAP sounded a bit "recessed" in the treble section and it sounds like a very thin membrane exists between me and the sound. It lacks sparkle a lot, and that makes it seen like everything is mostly muffed and it makes it sound not airy at all making it seem almost "unreal".

    I don't know if everything is ok with my Cayin N3 but i find listening to my Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 or even my OnePlus One much more enjoyable because theres no sparkle in the N3.
    I own a xDuoo xd-05 DAC&Amp and its known for being a bit sparkly maybe a bit in excess but although they share the same DAC chipset, i'm not even comparing with it, i'm comparing it mostly with my Galaxy DAP and my smartphones and tablets that the N3 was supposed to replace most of the time.
    Is there something wrong with my N3? It has good mids, good instrument separation, but it lacks sparkle and liveness and some sounds sound a bit distorted like snares and hi hats that sound kinda horrible.
    I want a DAP with a neutral sig thats more analytical and i didn't found that on the N3. Maybe my N3 is damaged? i don't know..


    Gear used with the N3:

    Sennheiser HD598SE, Macaw GT100, Vsonic VSD3s, XiaoMi Piston v2, XiaoMi Piston Hybrid, VJJB V1s, SoundMagic E10.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  2. hpnut
    I don't have the same experience with my N3, it just sounds great to me!? I also have the XD-05 and I don't find it sparkly at all, are you sure it is known for that? I use the XD-05 as an amp when using the AKG K712. When using IEM's the N3 is powering them. Can't say I hear a difference of recessed trebble either way.
     
  3. jms74
    When used as a DAC is a bit sparkly
     
  4. nmatheis Contributor
    @jms74 - I've got a OnePlus 3. It definitely has a more aggressive high end vs the N3, but the N3 takes the win for treble (and all other parts of the sonic spectrum) hands-down. It sounds to me like you want a brighter, analytical type DAP (which I personally don't like) instead of the slightly warmer than neutral sound of the N3. What you're describing is a dark sound, which I definitely wouldn't associate with the N3.

    Could be your N3 is bad. Could be personal preference. Not sure, but I can't relate to your experience. I'd say give it a good evaluation during the return period and if it doesn't meet your needs, return it and seek guidance in finding a brighter, more analytical DAP. Simple as that.

    Cheers!
     
  5. docholliday
    Have you tried setting your digital filter to "Short Delay Slow" or "Super Slow"? The snares and hat will sound much more realistic with those filters. They sound way too fake with the sharp ones. Don't use the SLOW one at all. I then add +1db or +2db at 8K and +2db at 16K and the sound is perfect with plenty of sparkle and air. If you want the low end to get a bit more life, change the 31Hz to +2db and the 63Hz to +2db.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
    hpnut, groucho69 and riffrafff like this.
  6. docholliday
    I use a set of Sony MDR-7506 as the only full-size headphones with mine and haven't had any issues with weak bass (unless the source file was mixed that way). With the UERR, I add +2db to 31Hz, +2db to 63Hz and it sounds about perfect for bass. Have you tried a different gain setting to see if it drives the MSR7 better (higher isn't always better)?
     
  7. Francisk
    N3 is not exactly a true and true analytical sounding DAP but it certainly is not a dark sounding DAP either. The high frequency is pretty detailed but I somehow find it not as detailed and refined if I were to compare it with my iBasso DX90 but in all fairness the DX90 is twice the price of the N3, but then again the DX90's features pale in comparison to the N3.

    I personally find that the treble region from 9kHz onwards sound a little unnatural and edgy when I compare it to my DX90, no matter which digital filters I set it to. I hope this can be fixed with a new firmware update. All my descriptions above is done without any EQ. Overall the N3 is a great sounding and truly feature packed for the price but I wish the treble region can be improved and if this can be done then the N3 will be a true winner even when compared to DAPs that cost twice as much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
    peskypesky likes this.
  8. riffrafff
    So, just to bring it to the forefront again...will replacement screen protectors for the N3 be forthcoming?
     
  9. abitdeef
    Exactly how I have mine set, and I've got plenty of sparkle, I wouldn't want it any hotter. The cymbals and snares sound 'off' with fast roll off. N3 isn't dark by any means.
     
    peskypesky likes this.
  10. docholliday
    You do realize that there's a slight bug in the firmware where changing the EQ or digital filters a few times while music is playing makes the EQ quit responding or the digital filters not change? I usually pause the track playing, change the filter, then restart the track to see differences. Even then, it'll occasionally not update (and seemingly revert to SHARP for the filters or no EQ if the EQ is affected). You'll have to reboot the device, change your settings, and then restart your track.

    I don't consider it a priority bug, as once you figure out your settings, you won't be changing these items very often. So for me, it was the first day or so that I was annoyed, but once I settled on Super Slow/Short Delay Slow and my EQ bump of +2/31Hz, +1/63Hz, +1/8KHz, and +2/16KHz, the bug was forgotten as I haven't had to touch my settings.
     
  11. mrazik
    I have N3 for about 3 weeks now and I like it for its sound, but I found hiss level to high for some of my IEMs. I can´t listen N3 combine with my EE Spartans for example. But hiss is not worst thing I found on N3. I have experienced, that when I pull player out of charger and than I let it on the table for few days, because I have an other player, so after those few days is battery dry to empty. Is that normal behavior? Do I something wrong with player? I never got similar feature with any other player befroe.
     
  12. docholliday
    My N3's been sitting on my desk off charge for 5 days now, almost 6 days. It was pulled off the charger and the library updated so it was showing 99%. I let the idle shutdown kick in on it's own (set to 30min). I just fired it up and it's at 98% so it's definitely not an internal draw issue. Do you have the Idle Shutdown enabled on yours?
     
    peskypesky likes this.
  13. mrazik
    I have to check. I hope it will be my fold and setup will change it. I really like N3 a lot and I will be not happy to have it faulty. Thank you.
     
  14. BogdanUK
    I have realized after a few tests that N3 can not drive the MSR7 as it should even in high gain, but with the CKS990 it sounds so good instead....so, for now, I have to use the CKS990 when mobile and the MSR7 when connected to my desktop PC. Even if I will buy the JVC or V-Mode it will not solve my problem without a portable amplifier which I do not want because it makes the whole bundle heavy and big. I added +3db to 31Hz and +6db to 63Hz and my ears are happy, even because the CKS990 are outputting a great clear bass and high volume. I do not like the muddy bass from genres like hip-hop or rave, but a clear deep bass for the 90s music I like to warm my soul.
     
  15. docholliday
    Glad you found a good fit. I've found that most AT phones aren't the best for bass, but rather excel at mids and highs. With those EQ settings, you might also consider a +1 or +2 at 250Hz to see if you get a bit more thump out of the drums in a lot of 90s stuff.
     
    BogdanUK likes this.
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