Cayin N6ii, Unlimited Possibilities: a fully modularized smart DAP
Feb 2, 2021 at 3:59 AM Post #5,476 of 5,866
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
Posts
5,004
Likes
5,561
Thanks for your answer, @Andykong.

Yes, I had observed the requirement to have a headphone connected. Without one, the N6ii status bar would display a rate one big step lower. Saw this for both the A01 and T01.

Regarding MQA, it seems I still need to understand much more than I do now - IF MQA lends itself to being understood by the general public at all. Maybe the point is in ”full decoder“ versus ”renderer“.

Now, on a related note, I am left with these questions, dear @Andykong: What Settings are the correct ones for using the N6ii as a USB-DAC with Roon (on Windows in my case)? In particular, what Settings regarding the MQA capabilities? And what am I supposed to see when looking at the Signal Path during MQA playback from Tidal integrated within Roon? And even though I didn‘t use it yet, I would also like to know what Settings need to be dialed in in the original Tidal Windows app? When running the N6ii as a USB-DAC on Windows, it might also be interesting to look at the status display provided by the Cayin (Thesycon) driver; off-hand I‘d guess it would show 88.2 or 96 kHz when Roon runs as a first-unfold MQA Core.

Sorry, I am not a ROON user, and Cayin has not tested our product for ROON compatibility, nor submit our product to ROON for testing, we can't provide any guideline or suggestion regarding ROON usage.

I was under the impression that MQA will not output bitstream beyond 88.2/96 kHz over USB or S/PDIF, So your guess is a sensible prediction IMHO.
 
Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
http://en.cayin.cn/
Feb 2, 2021 at 4:10 AM Post #5,477 of 5,866

Taz777

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Posts
891
Likes
671
Location
United Kingdom
@Andykong - some pictures for MQA through TIDAL and UAPP apps on N6ii with E01 motherboard. Headphones were connected for all tests:

1. TIDAL app playing 'Politik' by Coldplay (apparently this should be 192kHz unfolded):
BO1pqFo.jpg


2. UAPP app on Nii playing the same song but a different quality one - should be 44.1kHz 16-bit I believe:
FZxx6jh.jpg


3. Same song as (1) being played on my LG V30+ Android phone via UAPP (I believe that this is correctly showing the unfolded rate):
8HNr40f.jpg


(2) can be ignored for now as it's a different quality of the same song, but note the final sample rate shown at the top of the screen.
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 4:27 AM Post #5,478 of 5,866

MarkParity

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 16, 2020
Posts
258
Likes
190
Location
UK
@Taz777 I'm not sure but my "guess" would be that the MQA code was provided to Cayin as some sort of set of library of functions. Cayin would possibly not know (or care) what a particular MQA stream would unfold to.

I would imagine that the exact details of the algorithms used are a very closely guarded secret too.

Perhaps your observations would be better directed at the MQA people themselves rather than at the middleman (Cayin)
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 8:42 AM Post #5,479 of 5,866

111MilesToGo

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Posts
241
Likes
138
Location
Germany
@Taz777: I am indeed inclined to support your feeling that there is something strange with MQA on the N6ii. As you observed, I see the same 352.8 or 384 kHz on the Android status bar for ANY MQA file played from the Tidal app. This holds for streamed and offlined tracks.

So I asked myself: Is there anything like a ”true“ sample rate of an MQA file? Nothing is seen on Android, and nothing in the Tidal app on Windows. However, running Roon with Tidal integration shows some information: The album info has two statements like ”FLAC 44.1 kHz, MQA 176.4 kHz“, and the Signal Path during playback repeats the same 176.4 twice, one in the file info, and one in the MQA authorization info. No matter how I set the MQA capabilities of the N6ii in Roon, the Android status bar ends up at 352.8 kHz in this case.

And yes, checking Coldplay‘s Politik reveals Tidal FLAC 48 kHz 24 bit, MQA 192 kHz and Authentication MQA Studio 192 kHz.

I‘m currently flipping through the N6ii settings in Roon for MQA. Guess I have to do this systematically and take notes all along.

Unfortunately, my only other MQA-enabled device is an AudioQuest Dragonfly Red, but that doesn‘t help because of its 96 kHz limit.
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 9:07 AM Post #5,480 of 5,866

111MilesToGo

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Posts
241
Likes
138
Location
Germany
As an additional method of looking into what is happening inside the N6ii, I am using the ADB Android Debug Bridge from my Windows PC to the N6ii, then I do a ”dumpsys media.audio_flinger“ in the ADB shell. I hope to always find the correct active audio stream. The few steps to do this are given on the UAPP website.

For Tidal MQA playback in the Android Tidal app, I see 88.2 or 96 kHz, as expected for the Core first unfold. So any further unfolding is being done by ”something“ that operates after the point in the stack where the flinger gets its access.

But OMG, doing the ADB checks not only for Tidal, but also the various other apps I am using (Qobuz, Neutron, Cayin, HiBy), gives me some more headaches. Crying out loud! Of course, posting about these is better done separately... Just one issue: Running the Qobuz Android app, it seems I do only see PCM 16 bits all the time, both for streaming and offlined contents; the sample rates are always correct all the way up to 192 kHz. My subscription and my app settings are fine, I believe. Need to ask later...
 
Last edited:
Feb 2, 2021 at 10:03 AM Post #5,481 of 5,866

Taz777

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Posts
891
Likes
671
Location
United Kingdom
Good work, @111MilesToGo. At this moment in time we don't really know if it's an error or not. It's just good to know one way or the other. At some point in the next couple of weeks I'm getting a desktop DAC that is a full MQA decoder with a display so I'll be able to see what the unfolding shows, so I have a reference point.

I just want to reiterate, the N6ii is part of my lifestyle at the moment and an incredible bit of hardware. I wouldn't change it for anything else!
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 10:42 AM Post #5,482 of 5,866

TomKorn

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Posts
194
Likes
155
Firmware update

I can't update the firmware on my N6II. Neither OTA nor local. The device has a rather old version 1.xx installed and shows 2.2en available. When I start the update process, it does nothing. I downloaded the 2.2en, put it into the root folder and tried manual update. It started but the firmware is somehow still the old one.

Anyone have suggestions? Help deeply appreciated.
 
Feb 3, 2021 at 12:24 AM Post #5,483 of 5,866

111MilesToGo

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Posts
241
Likes
138
Location
Germany
Firmware update

I can't update the firmware on my N6II. Neither OTA nor local. The device has a rather old version 1.xx installed and shows 2.2en available. When I start the update process, it does nothing. I downloaded the 2.2en, put it into the root folder and tried manual update. It started but the firmware is somehow still the old one.

Anyone have suggestions? Help deeply appreciated.
I‘ll try to give a suggestion - no warranty implied! I faintly remember to have read that firmware updates can only be done step by step, one version after the other. They are incremental, not cumulative as e.g. Windows. So you have to manually download and install each version that came between your old one and today. I think all intallers are available on the Cayin website.

As I said - just a suggestion without warranty. Hope you will get @Andykong visit here soon.
 
Feb 3, 2021 at 1:29 AM Post #5,484 of 5,866

TomKorn

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Posts
194
Likes
155
I‘ll try to give a suggestion - no warranty implied! I faintly remember to have read that firmware updates can only be done step by step, one version after the other. They are incremental, not cumulative as e.g. Windows. So you have to manually download and install each version that came between your old one and today. I think all intallers are available on the Cayin website.

As I said - just a suggestion without warranty. Hope you will get @Andykong visit here soon.
Thank you for the suggestion. 😊👌
I did that now and it worked! Though I have to say if the system offers the newest version as OTA, then it should just work. I do hope Cayin will fix that along with some other bugs in the software in the future. As much as I love the sound of Cayin devices, their software and usability side is lacking in comparison with the competition.
 
Feb 3, 2021 at 1:36 AM Post #5,485 of 5,866
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
Posts
5,004
Likes
5,561
Firmware update

I can't update the firmware on my N6II. Neither OTA nor local. The device has a rather old version 1.xx installed and shows 2.2en available. When I start the update process, it does nothing. I downloaded the 2.2en, put it into the root folder and tried manual update. It started but the firmware is somehow still the old one.

Anyone have suggestions? Help deeply appreciated.

Can you show me a photo of your N6ii info screen from Setting->System->About device?

OTA firmware update is incremental update, you can't upgrade from v1.xx to 2.2en directly, so not surprised that when you "start the update process, it does nothing".

You can upgrade from any firmware version to the latest version in one step with manual upgrade procedure. However, if your v1.xx firmware is a Chinese based version, then you cannot upgrade to firmware suffix with en, you can only upgrade to the latest Chinese version N6ii firmware v2.2 (download HERE).
 
Last edited:
Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
http://en.cayin.cn/
Feb 3, 2021 at 1:40 AM Post #5,486 of 5,866
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
Posts
5,004
Likes
5,561
Thank you for the suggestion. 😊👌
I did that now and it worked! Though I have to say if the system offers the newest version as OTA, then it should just work. I do hope Cayin will fix that along with some other bugs in the software in the future. As much as I love the sound of Cayin devices, their software and usability side is lacking in comparison with the competition.

I think you have get it wrong, this is NOT a bug, the OTA is designed to upgrade incrementally. We can reduce the upgrade package to 20% of the complete firmware with incremental upgrade, this is more effective to majority N6ii users.
 
Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
http://en.cayin.cn/
Feb 3, 2021 at 4:09 AM Post #5,487 of 5,866

111MilesToGo

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Posts
241
Likes
138
Location
Germany
Sorry, dear @Andykong, we can't let you get off the MQA hook yet. "We" means that I am trying to find answers to the same questions @Taz777 asked. Speaking only for myself, I easily admit that I don't understand MQA yet as much as one would like. It seems @MarkParity understands it better.

Now, I would like to come back to this question of mine:
Now, on a related note, I am left with these questions, dear @Andykong: What Settings are the correct ones for using the N6ii as a USB-DAC with Roon (on Windows in my case)? In particular, what Settings regarding the MQA capabilities? And what am I supposed to see when looking at the Signal Path during MQA playback from Tidal integrated within Roon?
@Andykong, your answers usually are truely helpful and comprehensive - great user service. But so very sorry, this one was a bit too short:
Sorry, I am not a ROON user, and Cayin has not tested our product for ROON compatibility, nor submit our product to ROON for testing, we can't provide any guideline or suggestion regarding ROON usage.

I was under the impression that MQA will not output bitstream beyond 88.2/96 kHz over USB or S/PDIF, So your guess is a sensible prediction IMHO.
I need to ask again. In fact, this question of mine actually is NOT about Roon, it is about how MQA is implemented in the N6ii. Roon is just a lens to look under the hood of the N6ii. There are two MQA settings in Roon for the output device in question:
(1) Determine what Roon shall do as a software: Enable MQA Core Decoder = Yes / No
I tend to set this to Yes, so Roon does the first unfold from 44.1 or 48 kHz to 88.2 or 96 kHz
(2) Determine what kind of MQA is implemented in the output device, i.e. the N6ii:
MQA Capabilities = No MQA Support / Decoder Only / Renderer Only / Decoder and Renderer
Thus my / our question is: What type of MQA device is the N6ii? And what should it do then when playing an MQA track?

We had received an answer from @MarkParity: "The N6ii is a renderer." But we do really need an official statement from Cayin as to that.
I think the difference comes from the fact that the Topping D90 is a full decoder, so better? Maybe? and the N6ii is a renderer.

Q4. What are advantages of an MQA Renderer?
  • An MQA Renderer can provide a low-cost or lightweight upgrade for playback of music encoded in MQA.
  • Some Class I USB devices can only receive 96 kHz audio. In these cases, a Renderer is able to take in the MQA Core and complete the unfolding up to 384 or even 768 kHz internally.
Its all here, but not necessary self explanatory.

http://bobtalks.co.uk/blog/science-mqa/mqa-playback/

As a side remark, I would really love to see those words decoder and renderer explained by MQA people themselves. Maybe I was too stupid or blind up to now, maybe that's hard to find...

Another point now is: Who should be able to supply the full and definitive answers as to what type of MQA device the N6ii is, and what capabilitites it should have? Should we expect to see all MQA tracks be unfolded to 352.8 or 384 kHz? Should the answer come from the Cayin software engineers?
I'm not sure but my "guess" would be that the MQA code was provided to Cayin as some sort of set of library of functions. Cayin would possibly not know (or care) what a particular MQA stream would unfold to.

I would imagine that the exact details of the algorithms used are a very closely guarded secret too.

Perhaps your observations would be better directed at the MQA people themselves rather than at the middleman (Cayin)
I am thinking about another possibility in addition to that: There are close collaborations between Cayin and HiBy, so possibly HiBy did the MQA implementation for Cayin? HiBy has MQA on their recent R8. My thought comes from reading the HiBy R8 thread here on Head-Fi, where people were happily observing MQA to unfold to 705.6 or 768 kHz on the R8 - just similar to what our N6ii does. If that were true then HiBy software engineers should provide a definitive answer to all this, not only the Cayin engineers. Thus I will be patient and wait for the questions to be forwarded to the most authoritative recipients and then trickle down again. @Andykong, please ...
 
Feb 3, 2021 at 4:28 AM Post #5,488 of 5,866
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
Posts
5,004
Likes
5,561
@111MilesToGo sorry, no comment, and I suggest you contact MQA for detail explanation of their encoding and decoding technologies. Even I have all the answer (which I don't), there is something called NDA that stop us from sharing the technical detail. Please be reminded that we are licensed to use the MQA technologies, we don't own MQA technologies.
 
Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
http://en.cayin.cn/
Feb 3, 2021 at 4:48 AM Post #5,489 of 5,866

111MilesToGo

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Posts
241
Likes
138
Location
Germany
@Andykong, too bad to experience such a road block from your side. All I am asking is:
Is the N6ii an MQA renderer only, decoder only, or renderer and decoder?
I am not asking about ANY technical details of MQA. I do perfectly understand that MQA is heavily guarded by their owners.
And of course I'll live with any answer that has been given or will be given in the future. Thanks a lot anyway.

As it has been said several times by several people here and by myself, the N6ii is a marvellous device - happy to own it and expand it by purchasing more and more modules. I have the A01, T01 and recently the E02, and I am contemplating to also get the E01 ...
 
Feb 3, 2021 at 4:59 AM Post #5,490 of 5,866
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
Posts
5,004
Likes
5,561
T
@Andykong, too bad to experience such a road block from your side. All I am asking is:
Is the N6ii an MQA renderer only, decoder only, or renderer and decoder?
I am not asking about ANY technical details of MQA. I do perfectly understand that MQA is heavily guarded by their owners.
And of course I'll live with any answer that has been given or will be given in the future. Thanks a lot anyway.

As it has been said several times by several people here and by myself, the N6ii is a marvellous device - happy to own it and expand it by purchasing more and more modules. I have the A01, T01 and recently the E02, and I am contemplating to also get the E01 ...

That I can answer, N6ii is a decoder, not a renderer.

But your posts involve way too much beyond this question. Your questions focused around three concepts: encoding (folded) sampling rate, mastering sampling rate and decoding sampling rate, these are indeed part of MQA proprietary technologies and we are not supposed to disclose the details without MQA consent.
 
Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
http://en.cayin.cn/

Users who are viewing this thread

Top