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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. DiscoProJoe
    Thanks for the tip; I'll be sure and mention this more often. I do mention it at least a few times in the original 43-minute video about my headphone system. Near the beginning I say, "...Sounds better than...the big car stereo I used to have a long time ago."

    In that video when talking about Madonna's "Holiday" song, I say, "Listening to it this way, you can turn this world around, and bring back all of those happy days...of going cruising in your car with the trunk thumpin' and the smooth groove kickin'!"

  2. Vicca Tito
    Have some rather strange question...
    I would like to go to desktop solution with Cayin C5 voicing, which is awesome, especially paired with MrSpeakers Primes and Mezze Classic cans. I find dealing with C5 kind of fuzzy, with fiddly volume control and battery charging. Would eventually Cayin HA-3 sound the same (or maybe even better) as C5?
  3. sup27606
    Sometime when we hear a new hifi product, we fall in love with it. Often times, that love is of short duration, and fades off as new products are experienced. The impact once felt on first listen hardly holds itself against newer, advanced and more expensive siblings. Not with the Cayin C5. It was lying around on my shelf and I was debating whether to sell it off, until I discovered that it synergies so much better with the Audeze EL-8 than my Jotunheim / Mimby combo, which is three times the price and two times more powerful than the C5. While there's no doubt that Jotunheim produces more detail, that warmth from C5 is what you want at the end of the day, when you are just enjoying the music. The 3D soundstage engulfs you like a blanket and you just don't want to take off the headphones from your ears. This is of course my subjective feeling and it may not be the same for everyone, but the point is, this little amp lingers in my collection despite having a full desktop setup and not much need of mobile solution. Isn't that something!

    My feeling is, this amp would benefit headphones that have an inherent capacity of good imaging like the planar magnetics and C5 will deliver competently in that area, bringing out the full potential of the headphones at play.
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    Shareknow, dhm78 and BadReligionPunk like this.
  4. movoblast
    Hey sup27606, I saw your old posts in the Audeze Sine thread which brought me here. Intriguing little amp. I was wondering if you could answer my questions about the cayin/audeze sine.
    I want to get the C5 and use it solely as a desktop unit. I plan to use it with my laptop at a desk (whether it be at home or at work), on the couch, or in bed, which is why I want the portability. I MAY attempt to use it once or twice when I'm somewhere without my laptop, but I doubt it. Therefore battery degradation isn't really an issue for me, as long as it can hold 30 mins to an hour of charge.

    Now CAN I use this solely as a desktop unit?--Will I be able to leave it plugged in to a charging source, and listen to my music from it at the same time without any effect on sound?
    I tried a search in this forum. Some posts have stated that there is distortion when you attempt to listen from it while it is charging. While some have said that the only problem would be the degradation in battery health, (which I wouldn't really mind).

    Are there any other amps that you would recommend for my intended purposes? Max budget is about $300. I was actually looking at the Ifi nano idsd black label, which runs $199. Doesn't seem like the power output is as good, but I think I've read that it is more compatible for desktop use? I've read that the bass from a schiit magni 3 is schiit. The intended purpose of the amp would be to boost the bass on my sines.

    I'll be pairing these with my Audeze sine or my Fidelio X2HR.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  5. misteral201103
    Pretty sure you cannot use the C5 while it's charging. Tried this on my first one and I think I damaged it. Was able to return, luckily. Unless someone posts that they definitely do this without issue, don't try it.
  6. sup27606
    Hi movoblast,
    I have never tried using it while charging, but from my limited knowledge in batteries, I know that you cannot use a battery at the same time when it is charging. This means, if you use the amp while it is charging, power will be drawn directly from the AC adapter potentially introducing all the issues with noisy power, like distortion and reduced resolution. I am not near my headphones, but I can do a test later and report back if there is any sonic difference in using it while charging. You can also PM Andykong of Cayin and ask him. If you plan to use the C5 predominantly as a desktop amp, you can invest in a linear power supply or IFI iPower, which would still be within $300 for the amp + power supply and take care of noise issues.

    If you want to harness the full potential of the C5, I would suggest getting a decent DAC as well, like the Modi multibit. I have compared the sound of C5 from a DAC to the one directly from the laptop sound card and there’s a clear difference.

    The IFI IDSD nano (from the tech specs) delivers 200-285W at 15-30 ohms, while the recommended power for Sine according to Audeze is 500mW - 1W at 20 ohms, so it may not be optimal. It’s bigger brother, the IDSD BL would be more suitable, but that’s beyond your max budget, although if you stretch it a bit further, used IDSDs regularly sell on head-fi for $350-375 and it comes with a superb DAC and clean power.

    You can get the magni 3 and Schiit Loki equalizer for bass boost, still within $300 ($99 + $150).
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  7. sup27606
    Here, Cayin recommends not using the amp while charging but claims it would be safe to do so. https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-cayin-c5-portable-power-house.729545/page-145
    I would recommend looking for a different solution for desktop use. I tried the Sine with Schiit Jotunheim, didn’t like the sound. Magni 3 might fare better, with the Loki equalizer. Also, please check the massdrop offerings, like Aune X7 or Alex Cavalli tube hybrid or Liquid Carbon amp. Some people suggested the Little Dot MkII for Sine.
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  8. misteral201103
    Hell, if we're suggesting other amps: xduoo XD 05 with a Burson V5i op-amp. Portable AND you can charge and use at the same time. Different to the c5 but fantastic.

    Edit: also well within your budget
  9. Andykong
    When we run in our product before shipping out, we frequently will use the arm while charging, so it is safe to do so. However this will certainly aged the battery faster if you do this continuously because the battery will operated under a higher then normal current capacity. Besides, C5 will produce a mild hum if you listen to it while charging and affect your listening experience. The hum is caused by the higher then normal current mentioned above, that's why we said it is technically safe but we don't recommend this practice.
    Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  10. Andykong
    HA-3 won't offer the same sound signature as C5, so try to arrange an audition in person before you go for that.

    Mrspeakers Prime? Do you mean Prime Dog? I have the Alpha Dog and among the Cayin headphone amplifiers, HA-1Amk2 is my favorite choice for Alpha Dog, but this is quite a bit more expensive then HA-3.
    Cayin Stay updated on Cayin at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  11. sup27606
    Thanks, that answers the question perfectly. I have one doubt though. I read somewhere that batteries cannot be used while charging, because current has to flow in the reverse direction, i.e from negative to positive terminal. If this is true, then when charging the battery, the amp has to be powered directly from the AC adapter bypassing the battery (my MacBook pro works this way). While I can certainly understand if the AC adapter is overworked in such scenario because it has to both power the amp and charge the battery, I am not sure why the battery will worn out faster since the battery won't be used at all. If Cayin uses a different type of battery technology, then may be that works differently.
  12. sup27606
    I would say, the C5 in conjunction with iPurifier2 when used with Audeze Sine creates even greater synergy. There is a noticeable difference in sound, the treble dependent notes like cymbals and violins become more prominent, soundstage opens up in both depths and span, and there is a greater sense of realism throughout. After removing the iPurifier2 from the audio chain, the sound appears lifeless and less defined. I am using iTunes in MacBook Pro with Reveal plugin turned on.
  13. Leo888
    May I know how do you use the iPurifier in the chain. Thanks.
  14. sup27606
    MacBook Pro --> iPurifier2 --> Hifime Sabre 9018 DAC --> C5
  15. Leo888
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