Cayin N3Pro DAP: Dual AK4493 and MQA with Vacuum Tube
Aug 13, 2020 at 11:20 PM Post #331 of 2,358

rbf1138

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I agree, could be a tricky one to review.
I think we are all expecting this to be a warm sounding device and probably more so than any other device out there at this price range. How to articulate that could be quite challenging and perhaps be a little more subjective than you would like, in that you may need to comment on the actual performance compared to your preconceived expectations.
That being said, you've done many great reviews, so shouldn't a problem for somebody with your talent!
I'm keen to hear your views on sound stage, layering, separation, frequency extension, etc

I’m still quite interested in the regular SE and balanced sound without the tubes. Essentially whether or not this could be the only dap I’d want to own or if it’s better off having it as an option amongst multiple daps.
 
Aug 14, 2020 at 3:44 AM Post #333 of 2,358

Mhog55

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I don't know, 500 bucks isn't quite what I'd consider entry level. The original N3 - sure. Looking over the original post, it
Looks like Cayin has put some effort into the single ended. 800mw@32 ohms seems like a good chunk of power for a portable dap to me. Color me interested. Competition for the Hiby R5 and Ibasso DX160.
 
Aug 14, 2020 at 4:26 AM Post #334 of 2,358

NewEve

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Sorry for the dead's horse beating but this "Never be the Same Again" in a Comic Sans MS-like font with a silver backplate on a black device… I mean… sorry but 🤦🏻

I'm glad Twister6 got it, glad it doesn't seem like an entry level DAP and glad it looks just as gorgeous as on all the other pictures… save the… you know it.

Something tells me that the N3 Pro might be a milestone in DAPs…
 
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Aug 14, 2020 at 5:34 AM Post #335 of 2,358

rbf1138

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@twister6 , could you please add PAW6k to comparison too as they are the same size and both are not andriod. thank you in advance, sir!

Same size, no Android and...only $700 difference in price. I really don’t think this would make any sense or be fair at all.
 
Aug 14, 2020 at 8:27 AM Post #336 of 2,358
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Sorry for the dead's horse beating but this "Never be the Same Again" in a Comic Sans MS-like font with a silver backplate on a black device… I mean… sorry but 🤦🏻

I'm glad Twister6 got it, glad it doesn't seem like an entry level DAP and glad it looks just as gorgeous as on all the other pictures… save the… you know it.

Something tells me that the N3 Pro might be a milestone in DAPs…

It's just a company slogan they used for many years, on all their packaging, daps, etc. Seems like Cayin, iBasso, Fiio, Shanling, etc. they all have a distinct slogan which I have a feeling probably sounds better in their native language while sometimes gets lost in English translation :wink:
 
Aug 14, 2020 at 8:49 AM Post #337 of 2,358

monsieurfromag3

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I think we are all expecting this to be a warm sounding device and probably more so than any other device out there at this price range. How to articulate that could be quite challenging and perhaps be a little more subjective than you would like, in that you may need to comment on the actual performance compared to your preconceived expectations.
I actually don’t expect it to sound warm.
My experience with a similar output stage in my Taga desktop unit is that solid state amplification balances out the tube tonality imparted at the pre-amp stage. The sound is incredibly full, meaty, but it is also detailed and nuanced in spite of the old, cheap DAC chip it uses. A good example of competent amplification transcending modest decoding.

On Triode mode it may sound more like we expect tubes to sound, but @Andykong described the Ultra-linear mode thusly some pages back:
When change to Ultra-linear mode, the transient will be enhanced and soundstage will open up. You can feel the space and dimension immediately and the music become lively, clean and energetic. This is good for instrumental, especially for music that requires a lot of punch, dynamics and control
Very different flavor from trad tubes methinks.
 
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Aug 14, 2020 at 9:12 AM Post #338 of 2,358

seanwee

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It's just a company slogan they used for many years, on all their packaging, daps, etc. Seems like Cayin, iBasso, Fiio, Shanling, etc. they all have a distinct slogan which I have a feeling probably sounds better in their native language while sometimes gets lost in English translation :wink:
Ah yes FiiO. Born for Music and Happy
 
Aug 14, 2020 at 11:19 AM Post #340 of 2,358

Cheaplad

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Hiby..... “Make Music More Musical“.

I wonder how much is the green, delicious, leather case in RMB.
 
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Aug 14, 2020 at 11:53 AM Post #341 of 2,358

jeffri

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Sorry for the dead's horse beating but this "Never be the Same Again" in a Comic Sans MS-like font with a silver backplate on a black device… I mean… sorry but 🤦🏻

I'm glad Twister6 got it, glad it doesn't seem like an entry level DAP and glad it looks just as gorgeous as on all the other pictures… save the… you know it.

Something tells me that the N3 Pro might be a milestone in DAPs…

Oh, I didn't notice that but now that I see it... dang. Facepalm for sure. 🤦‍♂️ As web developer, that font makes me cringe... lol
 
Aug 14, 2020 at 12:53 PM Post #342 of 2,358

Licht

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It has been 2yrs since I reviewed N8, which I had on loan for review, but looking at N8 interface pictures I see that N3Pro is a carbon copy. I think the touch display is probably the same 3.2" IPS as well. And instead of physical home button with led indicating sampling rate, N3pro has a touch home button which changes the color according to playback sampling rate as I indicated in pictures above. Been running burn in with ibasso load cable for the last 5hrs while on a charger, and DAP is cool, including the volume wheel.

Btw, N3pro is only $69 more than DX160. Sure, I can compare to DX160, DTR1, M5s/M6, AK25. But something to keep in mind, besides that pricing is no longer an indicator of "superiority" but rather what each manufacturers considers as worthy MSRP, there are so many other apples-to-oranges factors. 2 daps might have a big gap in pricing, while one is non-Android and other is Android. Is one better value than the other? Or if they have a different tonality due to solid state output vs vacuum tube output, how do you determine if one is better than the other when they are just different due to a difference in timbre and pair up synergy? Thus, comparison with N3pro is a bit tricky because there is no other DAP in the same price range with vacuum tubes.

But anyway, here are a few more pics:

cayin_n3pro-x05.jpg cayin_n3pro-x06.jpgcayin_n3pro-x07.jpg cayin_n3pro-x08.jpg

Looking forward to your full review!

I have a question. How long does N3Pro takes to start up?
To me, start up time (seconds) is very important since 10 sec on Hidizs AP80ProCP is no problem at all, but 45 sec on SA700 is really long to me and actually often get me away of start listening.
I know tube requires additional 15 secs or so to warm up, but it might be much faster than A&K including tube warm up?
 
Aug 14, 2020 at 11:57 PM Post #345 of 2,358
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Then it is a green, delicious, and expensive leather case. (relative to the affordable price of the N3Pro itself.)

RMB199 converted is $28 vs N3 Pro being priced at $479. While I have been critical of some of the Cayin's previous DAP cases, this one is actually very good, with a secure fit and a design similar to popular dignis cases. I personally think it is not that expensive, considering dignis cases usually cost 3x more.
 

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