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The Cayin C5 portable power house.

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by dsnuts, Aug 6, 2014.
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  1. Saoshyant
    Imagine if it could drive HE-6
  2. DiscoProJoe
    Hello fellow Cayin C5'ers,

    I see that some of you have been discussing which volume settings to use, recently. I thought I'd chime in with a few paragraphs from my newly-updated user guide for my illustrious EQ presets (on my Rockboxed iPod Classic)...to show you how I set the volume controls on the Cayin C5 in my setup.

    Click here to view it.

    With all the bass boosts and everything combined in my portable headphone system, these EQ presets can boost 40 Hz by up to 62 dB (and possibly more), while sounding crisp, clear, and detailed at the same time when choosing a suitable preset for the song that's playing.

    Here's those paragraphs from the "notes about the presets" section of the article:

    -- While you certainly can enjoy many of these EQ presets without an external amp, it is strongly recommended that you get a portable headphone amp that is non-DAC, has a good bass-boost switch, and a lot of power -- especially the Cayin C5. (A Rockboxed music player might not work well -- if at all -- with an external DAC/amp.) Without an amp, and without an external bass boost switch, you'll easily run out of volume gain on the bigger sub-bass increments. You also might get a lot of distortion if you try to play it loud.

    -- When using a portable amp while listening to music at medium or high volume (with DiscoProJoe's Rockbox EQ Presets), it's best to set the volume on the amp at maximum (and its volume-gain switch set to "high")...while controlling the volume from your music player. (The music should usually drown out the small hiss noise coming from the amp.) This enables you to set the volume on your music player a lot lower. The importance of this is to prevent the large sub-bass increments in the EQ presets from overpowering the pre-amp output on the music player, which could cause distortion.

    -- When listening to music at low volume with a portable amp, it's best to turn down the volume on the amp somewhat (or flip its volume-gain switch to "low")...while still controlling the volume from your music player. This should eliminate any audible hiss noise. And in the EQ presets at low volume, it may sound best to use one-equivalent heavier midbass category, three-equivalent brighter treble subcategories (and/or using the Rockbox treble feature to boost the treble), and the same sub-bass increment...than you'd normally use with the music cranked up.

    -- If you don’t have a good pair of headphones that’s designed to emphasize the sub-bass (such as the V-Moda M-100, which I’d very-highly recommend), then your headphones might not respond very well to these huge sub-bass enhancements. They may not put out much sound at those low pitches, they might sound distorted, or may even "bottom out" with the beat and go, "snap, krackle, pop" like Rice Krispies. Apple earbuds are one of the worst choices to use with these presets, so don’t even think about trying them!
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  3. DiscoProJoe
    Anyway, I also posted a short new 4-minute video on Vimeo, announcing this latest version and showing some of the updated screen menus on my iPod:

    (On the Vimeo page, click the tab under the video that says, "Read more," to view all the web links, etc. These links should be clickable.)

    There's also my original 43-minute video, detailing my EQ presets and portable headphone system:

    This video was made in June 2016 and showcases a previous version: Version 4.0.

    Now if you're in China, you also can watch this same 43-minute video on the Chinese video site YouKu by clicking here, and can view the 4-minute follow-up video at this link.

    (On YouKu, the description text underneath videos has only been showing up on smartphones...by touching a ">" tab on the screen. This text may not appear on PC web browsers at this time.)

    Anyway, I had a great time on my visit to the U.S. last year (in June 2017) while attending Head-Fi's New York Spring Meetup. (Click here for photos of the event, and of the table where I showed off the dual-listening setup of my portable headphone system with Version 4.1.)

    Everyone who had a chance to hear it was really impressed -- including Jude Mansilla!
  4. DiscoProJoe
    Oh, and I've got to mention something else on this Cayin C5 thread: it seems that some of you on here already have both a pair of V-Moda M-100s and and a Cayin C5 amp.

    Alluding to The Legend of Zelda, here's the way I see it: you've already got two of the three Triforces, and need to get your hands on the third Triforce to win the game!

    You've got the Triforce of Power (the Cayin C5) and the Triforce of Courage (the V-Moda M-100). But now, it's time to find the Triforce of Wisdom: a Rockboxed iPod Classic with DiscoProJoe's Rockbox EQ Presets! :gs1000smile:

    Seriously, you are so close to hearing what heaven truly sounds like; you are so close. If you want the "Missing Link,"...

    1. Look on Amazon or Taobao for an iPod Classic (6th or 7th Generation, 80GB/120GB/160GB). New or used; it doesn't matter.

    2. Go to the Rockboxed iPod Classic topic thread here on Head-Fi, or go to this page on the web, to learn how to install Rockbox firmware on it. (It's totally free and open source.)

    3. Follow the step-by-step instructions on my topic thread to install DiscoProJoe's Rockbox EQ Presets on your Rockboxed iPod, and learn how to use it. (Totally for free, as well.)

    4. Do a victory dance for having obtained all three Triforces, for winning the game, and for becoming the king (or queen)! :man_dancing:

    Man,...you guys are so close to having it all,...you are so close.... :sunglasses:
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  5. misteral201103
  6. ReaperZzZ
    Late to the party.. Just ordered a Cayin C5 in the thirst for moar powaah! Changing from an Oppo HA-2, despite this thing sounding lovely, my new Fostex Th900's are craving more juice when out and about :xf_eek:!!

    I'll be using a Samsung s8+ as the source as to be honest a lot of my listening is trawling through Tidal HiFi.. I'm eating up so much data per month on my mobile! Is the DAC in these reasonable enough? Or have I taken a poorly informed (on my behalf) route, given the calibre of the headphones?

    I'm excited regardless!!
  7. TidalWave
    Cayin C5 + Shanling M3s -- absolutely love the result! Shanling M3s is very detailed with great mids and highs and very tight low end, sounding a bit sterile with pretty low impact. I know it depends on headphones, and some headphones are tuned for a lot of bass, so maybe those sound fine with M3s. Tried playing with EQ and balanced output, did not help enough with my planar headphones. Added Cayin C5 in high gain mode and said "wow" out loud. Mids and highs are still very present, crisp, and detailed, but the low end is also nicely boosted (especially with bass boost on, which helps with some music genres, like for instance Perturbator's albums, but perhaps not all classical music), and overall impact is high. I understand now that some DAPs are not a great match for some amps, while others are just a [subjectively] perfect combination and complete each other. I’m so happy with my set up, I get excited to use it every time.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  8. gazzington
    Hey. What cable do I need to run this off my Samsung s8?
  9. CAN-DID

    Bumping this a bit - but would recommend the Onkyo DP-S1 - it is 20,000 yen on amazon japan (£130, $150) and although is a lesser unit than the DP-X1A, the difference is not as much as the price would suggest. It does feel like a cheap DAP in your hand, but the sound quality is great, and it has a future-proof compatibility with file formats. It also pairs amazingly with the C5, and has line out.
    skingg likes this.
  10. CAN-DID
    Just a plain 3.5m to 3.5m cable.
  11. Andykong
    A 62db bump on an EQ curve? Is this for real?
    Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  12. Andykong
    I wish it could, HE-6 is one of frequently used headphone and I sure don't mind to bring it out for a walk if C5 can handle it. :grin:
    Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  13. Andykong
    Samsung S8 has headphone output, so a short 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable should serve the purpose.

    Just a quick question? Does S9 has 3.5mm headphone output?
    Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  14. DiscoProJoe
    Absolutely, yes. Typically, in my portable headphone system, most songs need anywhere from a combined total of a 26 - 62 dB boost at 40 Hz (with all the bass boosts, EQ, etc). The amount of sub-bass boost that's needed varies greatly, depending on the song. (Also, most of my EQ presets actually reduce the sound at 64 - 500 Hz, in order to counteract all of the excessive midbass and lower midrange that all the bass boosts in the system would otherwise add.)

    My headphone system is meant to emulate the sound of a big car stereo, while sounding crisp, clear, and detailed at the same time.

    In a car stereo, there will be separate amplifiers running different types of speakers, and each amp will have its own high-pass or low-pass crossover to dedicate certain frequencies to those speakers. For many years, I had a pair of 12" (30 cm) subwoofers in the trunk of a car, with the subs housed inside a large, rear-firing, sealed box that had an internal volume of 1.75 cubic feet per subwoofer, filled halfway with pillow stuffing. The amplifier running them was a bigger and more powerful one, and had a "gain" setting that was turned up quite a bit. The front and rear speakers in the car, by contrast, had smaller amps running them, and with their gains set lower.

    Basically, if you like a lot of sub-bass, then you definitely can set up car stereos to naturally produce the sound you want, without needing any extreme EQ'ing or bass boosting. (But, of course, on the head unit in the front seat, you'll still need to adjust the treble, bass, and subwoofer gains to match each song.)

    Now, let's talk about headphones. With headphones, you are running full range (i.e., no separate amps with crossover modules) to only one pair of acoustic drivers inside the headphones. These drivers are tiny, and the earcups form a tiny enclosure space around the ears, compared to the boxes of speakers and subwoofers.

    So if you'd like a pair of headphones to sound like a big car stereo, then, um..........extreme EQ'ing and bass boosting is really the only way to go. (And in my EQ-preset app, you'll first choose a midbass category, then a treble subcategory, and finally, a sub-bass increment -- in order to match the song that's playing.)

    More than 3 years ago, I wrote an article called, "Why a $500 Enhancement for Your Portable Music Player is Awesomely Better Than Spending $5,000 to Upgrade a Car Stereo." You can view it at this link. Bear in mind that this was written before I had discovered Rockbox firmware for the iPod Classic, before creating the first version of my EQ-preset app, and before needing to upgrade my first portable headphone amp (the FiiO E12A) to a more powerful Cayin C5 as a result.

    So yes, this is totally for real, and it absolutely makes my day. :L3000:
  15. Andykong
    This is a very unique playback reference that I am not familiar with, glad you can achieve the sound you like. When Cayin fine tune the sound signature of our personal audio products, we use our two channel home audio system as reference. We know the soundstage will be scarified inevitably, but we tried our best to replicate the sound signature of our speaker amplifiers. While external electronic crossover is technical feasible in home audio system, most setup will rely on the crossover inside the speaker and even when we use monoblock or bi-amp setup, the speaker drivers will not be "driven" independent with different gain, that's why our products will hardly meet your preference when used as-is.

    To be honest, I was a bit puzzled when I read your EQ approach in the past, now that you explained you are trying to stimulate the sound effect of a heavily loaded automobile sound system, everything make sense immediately. I think this will apply to other readers as well.
    Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    DiscoProJoe likes this.
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