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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. gLer
    Judging by many reports here (and partly from my own experience) the Cayin cable is not great. In my case I often get disconnections from my Macs during file copy or charging, but it's random. Just bought three good quality USB-C cables from Amazon so will give those a try. If you have issues, try swap out the cable.
    BogdanUK likes this.
  2. BogdanUK
    I had problems as well with the Cayin supplied cable and I have got a replacement from the seller but I still went to Amazon for a proper cable from Anker, first a PowerLine+ USB 3.0 to USB-C and then a PowerLine+ USB-C to USB-C as my gaming laptop had an unused USB-C port. With the Anker cables, everything works perfectly unlike the original Cayin cable.
  3. BroncoVA
    The Type-C cable to 3.5mm coaxial seemed very interesting at 20$ but international shipping at 50$...really?
    jms74 likes this.
  4. defguy
    The branded cable that came with my player only works as a charge cable, my pc wouldn't recognize the N3 at all. No problems at all with a different USB C to USB cable
  5. fourrobert13
    My PC would see the N3 and the files on it, but I was unable to modify or transfer files with the cable that came with the N3. I've ordered a new cable, but I think it's BS that I have to. This seems to be an issue, yet hasn't been addressed by Cayin. I'd like to be able to transfer via the cable vs. having to remove the card each time. Hopefully, my new cable will allow me to do this. This is really my only gripe about this DAP.
    valterfcarvalho likes this.
  6. jms74
    i would call this robbery or not trying to find the best deal for the customer.
  7. PapaThrust
    Cayin - what say you?

    That the cable may or may not work speaks of a problem you should fix.
    I suppose I hope that the slow charging is just a cable problem - but I am not so keen for some hardware trouble shooting mission just a few days into ownership.
    I just ordered another player as a gift for someone - and I don't feel so positive about it.
  8. Slater
    Keep in mind that unless Cayin specified a particular AMP rating on the included cable, that the speed of charging may not be FiiO's "problem" whatsoever.

    For example, the Apple power brick that comes with iPhones delivers a 1A charge. The CABLE, however, has been proven to be able to handle 1.8A of current. Apple doesn't specifically specify the AMP rating of the cable though; they only ensured that it is rated at the 1A current that the included power brick puts out. If I was to use the Apple iPhone cable on an aftermarket 2.8A brick (or 10W iPad brick, etc), I would have to place to blame Apple if the iPhone cable couldn't magically deliver all 2.8A to the phone - there's technically no "problem" with the Apple cable in that case, because the cable was never explicitly advertised to be rated at 2.8A or current.

    What IS a problem, as shown in the video I linked, is when a manufacturer flat out specifies that their cable is rated at "1A" or "2.1A", only to find out in testing that it really delivers 0.30A or 0.8A. THAT is a cable "problem".

    Make sense?
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
    groucho69 likes this.
  9. PapaThrust
    Yes It does make perfect sense.

    My issue - lies more in that Cayin, in effect, says their unit charges in about 2 hours at I think 1.5 amp rate, once you supply the charger. I have chargers and I am at a 6 hour charge time.
    Do they also mean I need to supply an additional cable? That makes little sense. Why even put a cable in the box? Surely not just for data transfer.
    As of yet I cannot say for certain it is the cable - Although you have provided ample intel to suspect I may have a Cayin cable only able to deliver maybe .5 amps.
    Have they been duped by their cable supplier?

    Sure I can go out and buy another cable and it would be the first time I've needed to after many years of purchasing portable players.

    I am hoping for a response from support.
  10. docholliday
    It wouldn't be a "bad" cable that causes slow charging. Maybe an improperly sized cable, but a "bad" cable would usually short or open, resulting in NO charge. USB cables are usually 24 or 25 gauge. That is well within the load carrying capacity of 2A. The average "nice quality" USB cable is capable of carrying at the least, 3-4A. A really thin, cheap USB "data" cable (the "slim" cable variety) I've seen as small as 28 gauge, which could limit the charge current (not to mention cause a voltage drop of around 1v), but even then, it would be capable of near 1.5A. The voltage drop of a 6ft USB thin, though, could limit the charge voltage from the 5v down to around 4v which can cause charging issues.

    The other issue I've seen is chargers that only go into a high current mode if either 1) the cable has a special drop resistor to indicate mode change or 2) expect a feedback signal from the device to indicate high current mode. These chargers limit to 500ma (the USB 2.0 spec) unless the conditions are right to kick higher.

    The specialized "charge" cables, like the Anker Powerline variety, are usually 20-22 guage, which allows for more current to flow, less resistance, and a higher voltage at the load end of the cable. Despite the consensus that the included cable is junk, I, myself have not had any issues charging my N3 with the included cable and a Anker 5-port IQ charger from < 20% battery to full in around 2 hours. I only use the included white cable when I on the road, as I have a series of 12x 10' lengths of the Anker Powerline+ cables at my desk, hooked to a series of Anker 4-port IQ chargers. However, it seems that most complaints about the included cable involve data transfer instead of charging. I would have no idea about that issue as I pull my card and transfer via a USB3.0 reader instead of through the device (20mb/s vs 110mb/s).
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
    groucho69 likes this.
  11. PapaThrust

    I have the Anker 5 IQ port - If you have no issues charging with that device and the supplied Cayin cable then I should ( reasonably) expect the same.
    Hopefully support will weigh in and advise my options
  12. Mshenay Contributor
    I've been charging my demo unit from my Laptop honestly,

    I've been listening over the last few days, thus far I'm impressed with it's size and power! I'm comparing it Volume matched to my RockBoxed HM601, and I've found it's actually got a little more headroom than my 601, plus it's smaller. Volume control is also more precise on the N3 as opposed to the old analog wheel I've got on my 601.

    For critical listening, I I've played Igor Levit — Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 - Aria with 30 Variations and So What by Miles Davis, each matched to a 74.2 dBs listening level.

    The sound though... isn't as impressive as I'd hoped. I played with the different filters, I found that with the Sharp filter there was better tactility better impact but it caused the sound stage to sound a bit disjointed. While with slow, you have a softer sound but a more cohesive image, super slow proved even softer... I eventually settled on slow, though even with the slow filter the timbre remains a bit cold and the sound lacks impact and sufficient body.

    How ever, the N3 is more dynamic and has a better detail retrieval, so while I wasn't impressed with the presentation of percussion or stringed instruments, the presentation for horns really caught my attention! Noise is another advantage the N3 has, it's much blacker than the HM 601 which has an audible hiss that's apparent during rests in the music, certainly the three adjustable gain positions help keep the noise down! While I don't own IEMs for those that do, the quieter and more precise volume control of N3 will certainly be appreciated!

    I've been listening to DaiQing Tana for about 2 hours now, with both players. For this track, the mix is already very thick, so the clarity of the N3 is doing a much better job with layering the different instruments. I prefer the vocal only intro with the HM 601, but as soon as the acoustic guitar enters the mix, it get's too thick and I'm no long able to really follow the big drum as well. For me that big drum really makes the track! An the N3 is resolving it more cleanly than the HM601, even with a thinner headphone the warmer thicker sound of the HM 601 is a poor compliment to this track. Again, both tracks volume matched, though at 79.1 dBs this time around.

    Little things like the Guitar pop out more on the N3, and the drum isn't drowning in all the mid range decay. Though, on the flip side the violin at the tracks end doesn't have quite the same beautiful timbre... but I'd prefer to enjoy the ENTIRE song rather than have a DAP that compliments only the beginning and ending parts of this particularly thick mix

    My listening thus far has also been with my Superlux HD 668B, with stock pads. Both of the amps were ran on High Gain. I frankly like to use entry level headphones with entry level sources. Since chances are customers buying a $150 DAP will most likely also be listening with a headphone priced similarly. How ever I do have a very organic sounding Nhoord Red V1 that does NOT like my Hm 601, so I intend to see how my impressions change as I move from entry to mid range level headphones. I imagine the blacker background and more apparent macro dynamics will really shine on the Nhoord Red
    Moodyone likes this.
  13. gLer
    Thanks for your review and insights, very interesting indeed. The one point I'll take you up on is the choice of headphones (and speakers for that matter). For me this is the number one most important part of the listening chain, and it's where the bulk of my budget goes. Yes source is important, but I'd rather spend most of my budget on a great set of headphones than on a high-end DAP. I currently have a set of B&W headphones (P5 Series 2 and P7), both of which are fairly well-regarded (the P7 more than the P5 obviously) and which cost several times more than the N3. I also have a pair of $10 Rock Zircon IEMs I just bought, and am quite impressed by what they can do (for the price - better than many $100 IEMs I've heard). I'm also in the market for higher-end headphones (like the Fostex TH-X00 for example) that I believe will take my listening to an even higher level - all with the N3 AND my desktop setup.

    So my point here is, why limit the quality I can get from the N3 by limiting my choice of headphones? You're not doing the N3 any favors by pairing it with lower-end headphones, no matter the reason. I've listened to a few of my friends' less impressive headphones with my N3, and in each case it sounds significantly worse than when I have my P7s on. Start with the best headphones you can buy, and match it with a good source (N3 etc.). Just my 0.02 :)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  14. Mshenay Contributor
    I can respect, however a good source and amp are equally important as a headphone. I can take my modest HD668B which by the way is a prenominal sounding headphone, and pair it with my Hifiman Hm901 n PicoPower an suddenly gain huge improvements to sound.

    I've not heard the B&W series headphones, an sadly my Zmf Eikon doesn't sound good from the N3 an neither does my HE4... an when I started this hobby in highschool I had a DT 880 and a Hm602. Because that's all I could afford! I saved up another 3 months after that to get my self a cmoyBB from JDS Labs after wards an used that set up for a year before I even considered getting any desktop gear.

    That and even in the price range of the P7 there's not going to be a huge step up from the HD668B, Superlux made a real giant killer with this bad boi, it's a lot like my old Dt 880, but without the comfort and durability

    I always worked up slowly, buying the best headphones amp and source I could.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  15. captblaze
    I am waiting delivery of an N3. my intent is to use it as a wireless transport for my mojo. will hiby link allow me to do that? I am tired of wait for poly to become available and until it is I figured this might be a temporary alternative. Am I correct in my planning, or is there no way I can make it happen. the chain would be N3 tethered to mojo with hiby link handling the control duties.

    last question... can I stream from my android device to mojo through the N3?
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