Cayin N3Pro DAP: Dual AK4493 and MQA with Vacuum Tube
Oct 19, 2021 at 2:18 AM Post #2,251 of 2,274

seanwee

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Interesting - most impressions I read so far claimed the NuTubes are closer in tonality to solid state.
That is certainly true, but it mostly refers to the transients i think. Warmth ultimately depends on the implementation imo.
 
Oct 21, 2021 at 9:06 AM Post #2,252 of 2,274

Themilkman46290

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Can any one on this thread help me out, I am coming from the ibasso dx120, I will send it to have the balance out replaced, I was pretty sure about grabbing the dx160 but had read in a few review that it is not as neutral as my dx120
So naturally I am looking at this player, can anyone who has both tell me how they sound is between them through the 4.4 balanced

I know sound is subjective but I would prefer neutral, close to dry analytical.

But the idea of a tube amp with warm sound seems nice for a fatigue free listen
I have read through the thread but there doesn't seem to be many good explanation
 
Oct 21, 2021 at 10:23 AM Post #2,253 of 2,274

Gizka

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Can any one on this thread help me out, I am coming from the ibasso dx120, I will send it to have the balance out replaced, I was pretty sure about grabbing the dx160 but had read in a few review that it is not as neutral as my dx120
So naturally I am looking at this player, can anyone who has both tell me how they sound is between them through the 4.4 balanced

I know sound is subjective but I would prefer neutral, close to dry analytical.

But the idea of a tube amp with warm sound seems nice for a fatigue free listen
I have read through the thread but there doesn't seem to be many good explanation

Just in case you havent noticed, yet:
Pls be aware that 4.4 balanced is solid-state only. If you want tube sound you've to use the 3.5 single ended output.
 
Oct 21, 2021 at 10:57 AM Post #2,254 of 2,274

Themilkman46290

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Just in case you havent noticed, yet:
Pls be aware that 4.4 balanced is solid-state only. If you want tube sound you've to use the 3.5 single ended output.
Yes, I have understood this, I think that is cool, should be interesting
 
Oct 21, 2021 at 5:34 PM Post #2,255 of 2,274

Gilles De Rais

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Yes, I have understood this, I think that is cool, should be interesting
You should also note that there is a tremendous drop-off in output power from the 4.4. out put (800mw @ 32 ohm) to the 3.5 solid state (250mw @32 ohm) and still further to the 3.5 tube output (130mw @ 32ohm). This would have a significant impact on driving your planars, effectively making the 4.4.output the default...
 
Nov 1, 2021 at 7:22 AM Post #2,256 of 2,274

Mike C

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A few words about Cayin and this item (which I'm interested in).

I am impressed by Cayin products. I had a HA1A headphone amp which was very good for the price (and was improved with valve rolling, capacitor upgrades and hard wiring it to triode mode to remove the long wires to grid 2 which pick up noise).
I still have a CD100i cd player which was very decent and good value; with cap upgrades to the valve board, Tent clock mode and top quality valves it is amazing; in the £4000 class, and has impressed a very fussy friend.
I build quite a lot of valve gear; to just make something work isn't easy; to get good sound takes more effort; but to do so in a way suitable for volume production and at an affordable price takes a whole lot of doing, and Cayin do this very well and I appreciate this.

Now a tekky comment on the N3Pro. The valve is used as an output buffer using the cathode follower cct. This cct gets a degree of criticism, but I think this may be due to generally using ECC82 valve for high GM (gets output impedance low), but has low gain.
Even thought this cct has no gain, gain does have a benefit as the 'error' between input and output is roughly proportional to 1/gain; the higher the gain, the better. ECC81 can make a good cathode follower (I have 2 units with this).
Now pentodes, in pentode mode, make very good cathode followers (I use this),as the voltage gain is very high indeed. Ultralinear mode on the N3Pro is a flavour of pentode mode, which is why it works well - as many people here testify to; it is the favourite mode of the majority, I believe.
But I can understand that triode mode can work well to give a different flavour, perhaps not as accurate but pleasant all the same.

I'm close to ordering one.
 
Nov 2, 2021 at 6:59 AM Post #2,257 of 2,274

seanwee

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A few words about Cayin and this item (which I'm interested in).

I am impressed by Cayin products. I had a HA1A headphone amp which was very good for the price (and was improved with valve rolling, capacitor upgrades and hard wiring it to triode mode to remove the long wires to grid 2 which pick up noise).
I still have a CD100i cd player which was very decent and good value; with cap upgrades to the valve board, Tent clock mode and top quality valves it is amazing; in the £4000 class, and has impressed a very fussy friend.
I build quite a lot of valve gear; to just make something work isn't easy; to get good sound takes more effort; but to do so in a way suitable for volume production and at an affordable price takes a whole lot of doing, and Cayin do this very well and I appreciate this.

Now a tekky comment on the N3Pro. The valve is used as an output buffer using the cathode follower cct. This cct gets a degree of criticism, but I think this may be due to generally using ECC82 valve for high GM (gets output impedance low), but has low gain.
Even thought this cct has no gain, gain does have a benefit as the 'error' between input and output is roughly proportional to 1/gain; the higher the gain, the better. ECC81 can make a good cathode follower (I have 2 units with this).
Now pentodes, in pentode mode, make very good cathode followers (I use this),as the voltage gain is very high indeed. Ultralinear mode on the N3Pro is a flavour of pentode mode, which is why it works well - as many people here testify to; it is the favourite mode of the majority, I believe.
But I can understand that triode mode can work well to give a different flavour, perhaps not as accurate but pleasant all the same.

I'm close to ordering one.
I prefer triode over ultralinear due to its more natural presentation. I don't like how the mids are pushed forward with ultralinear mode.
 
Nov 2, 2021 at 7:04 PM Post #2,258 of 2,274

Mike C

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I prefer triode over ultralinear due to its more natural presentation. I don't like how the mids are pushed forward with ultralinear mode.

A perfectly valid choice, sorry if I implied otherwise. In a normal gain circuit I also prefer triodes for the natural sound.
I look forward to trying all modes of the N3Pro when I get one.
 
Nov 16, 2021 at 6:08 AM Post #2,260 of 2,274

DBaldock9

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Hi, I bought an N3PRO a couple of days ago, and I realize that when I play files on 24/192 and on mqa the player ignores the EQ. this also happens in Line Out mode. It is updated to the latest firmware.

I believe that's a requirement of the MQA playback process (no modifications of the signal, in the digital domain).
For the Hi Rez files, it may just be that the processor in the N3-Pro doesn't have enough "horsepower".
 
Nov 16, 2021 at 2:19 PM Post #2,261 of 2,274

EduLayarS

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Creo que es un requisito del proceso de reproducción de MQA (sin modificaciones de la señal, en el dominio digital).
Para los archivos Hi Rez, es posible que el procesador del N3-Pro no tenga suficientes "caballos de fuerza".
That must be. I used to use an sr15 and could use the EQ except that the MQA status confirmation disappeared. I hope you can add that support that I use a lot for the correction of headphones.
 
Nov 16, 2021 at 3:02 PM Post #2,262 of 2,274

blotmouse

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That must be. I used to use an sr15 and could use the EQ except that the MQA status confirmation disappeared. I hope you can add that support that I use a lot for the correction of headphones.
It's up to the MQA spec to allow that, and really goes against the purpose of MQA. They don't want you messing with the EQ. It's EQ'd perfectly and should not be altered (from their perspective)
Better bet if you want to EQ is to move away from MQA as a format entirely.
 
Nov 16, 2021 at 3:25 PM Post #2,263 of 2,274

Sound Eq

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sold my sp2000, to buy a new flagship dap, and meanwhile i am using cayin n3pro, and the synergy between ier z1r on ultra linear mode is stellar way more enjoyable than my sp2000 and ier z1r. i am seriously now gonna wait for cayin n8ii
 
Nov 19, 2021 at 2:07 PM Post #2,264 of 2,274

emilsoft

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Looks like my fear has come true, the volume wheel has failed and rarely registers volume down.. This is after very little use overall.
 

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