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Cayin N3 Hi-Res DAP with AKM4490 DAC

Cayin N3 Hi-Res DAP with AKM4490 DAC
  • Cayin N3 Hi-Res DAP with AKM4490 DAC
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Cayin N3 Hi-Res DAP with AKM4490 DAC

£149.99
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Customers Reviews

Average customers review
5 of 5 Stars! (7 customer reviews)

Haden Mills
Date Added: Friday 01 September, 2017
4 of 5 Stars!
Hugely versatile, great value DAP by highly-regarded Chinese hifi brand Cayin.

The key use cases for me are:

1. Put it in your pocket, use it as a portable digital audio player. Sounds good - crisp, clear, detailed; nice wide soundstage. Plenty...Read more of drive for IEMs and, with 3 gain settings, enough grunt to drive many headphones. Good battery life. Small and light. UI appears relatively mature and stable, backed by Cayin's unrivaled responsiveness to issues (e.g. firmware v2.1 was released within a couple of days when Cayin were made aware of a minor power management issue with v2.0). Power, Volume and Play / Stop, Forward and Back hardware buttons on the side. Bluetooth apt-X. Choice of digital filter settings. On the minus side, the UI is somewhat limited - no support for creating playlists or play queuing. The capacitive buttons aren't backlit and aren't the funnest to use. The UI animations could become somewhat annoying.

2. Transport for dedicated DAC / amp e.g. Chord Mojo. Works a treat with Cayin's short USB C to 3.5mm digital coaxial lead. Fantastic. Look no further for a small, light, cheap, reliable Mojo transport.

3. And here's the real kicker. As of firmware v2.0, the Cayin N3 has native support for HiBy Music Link which means you can install the (third-party) HiBy Music app on your choice of Android device and pair the two devices in Link mode via Bluetooth. Now your Android device is a remote control for your N3! Now you don't need to use the capacitive buttons or the limited UI and you can, get this, create playlists and store them on the N3! Shuffle your whole music collection! Note that you can't concurrently pair the N3 with a second Bluetooth device e.g. headphones. Nor is HiBy Music currently available for iOS.

There are further use cases:

4. Switch to Line Out mode and use to feed a pre-amp, an amp or powered speakers. This works well although, as a safety feature the N3 always reverts to the last headphone output setting on power-up; the max-output Line Out setting can't be made to persist. Also, purists may moan that in Line Out mode, output isn't direct from the DAC but is switched to a second, dedicated op-amp. Not a deal-breaker for me by any means.

5. Use paired with a Bluetooth device. I have been using mine with Flare Audio FLARES Pro earphones to great effect. Bluetooth implementation on the Cayin N3 is outstanding, with the preferred apt-X codec present and correct (you will need an apt-X-capable receiving device to take advantage of this). Range and stability are very good.

6. Use as a USB DAC from PC or Mac. Haven't tried this so can't comment. A Windows driver is currently required - maybe this will change with the Windows 10 Creators update.

In short - this is a Swiss Army knife of a device. Four-and-a-half stars from me - if the capacitive buttons were backlit I would give it 5. There are better-sounding DAPs and DAPs with more features (streaming; balanced output; switchable amp modules, multiple card support etc.) but the N3 does so many things really well and it's shortcomings are really minor that, for me, it really is hard-to-beat at this price point and I expect to be using mine on a daily basis for years to come. Thanks AMP3 for bringing this to the UK.
4 of 5 Stars!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Gareth Urukalo
Date Added: Friday 25 August, 2017
5 of 5 Stars!
Brilliant little DAP. Upgraded from my old iPod classic, sound is so much better although the buttons take a bit of getting used to.

Bluetooth connectivity is great, I have it connected to my amplifier via line out and I can sit on the sofa contr...Read moreolling it with my Android phone and tablet
5 of 5 Stars!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Bruno Antunes
Date Added: Friday 14 July, 2017
4 of 5 Stars!
Good sound output, battery like is OK. UI is a bit bad, and controls are iffy. There's a (beta) Android app shipping with firmware 2.00 on the Cayin website that allows your phone to control the player remotely via BT, but then your battery life gets...Read more a hit on both the player and the phone.

Overall, it plays every sound file I've thrown at it (including SACD ISOs) but is a bit marred by the UI and controls.
4 of 5 Stars!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Rev Counter
Date Added: Thursday 15 June, 2017
5 of 5 Stars!
This is my first Cayin product and bought to provide a smaller, quality digital feed for my Mojo. I have a Shanling M1 but it is a little too unwieldy to use in practice with the jog wheel and my Pioneer XDP-100R is too big to sit comfortably in the ...Read morepocket when travelling.

The Cayin N3 is ideal as a digital feed. Battery life has been remarkable so far and the sound quality is amazing for such a cheap player. It straps nicely to the Mojo (I have the leather case to help protect it) and the USB C to USB B cable is short enough to sit nicely in the pocket without putting strain on the connectors. The button layout is logical and easy to use, even with my fat fingers, and it has a logical and stable UI.

I am very pleased with the N3 so far and would recommend.
5 of 5 Stars!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Michael Kinson
Date Added: Thursday 15 June, 2017
5 of 5 Stars!
My first hi-rez music player and I am really impressed, fabulous sound and quite easy to put music on. The only thing i cannot work out how to use is playlists!!!. Otherwise very pleased with the player and with the supply and delivery.
5 of 5 Stars!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Bogdan Patrascan
Date Added: Thursday 04 May, 2017
4 of 5 Stars!
I have received my N3 pretty quickly and I have to say it looks and it sounds great. I have updated the firmware and even if it still has some small things to be fixed it is one of the greatest audio players I have heard. One issue though, the player...Read more display came with one dead pixel on the bottom of the screen. It might not be a big problem but somehow it is troubling me, so I still haven't decided if I will return it or live with it.
4 of 5 Stars!
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
michael gordon
Date Added: Wednesday 19 April, 2017
5 of 5 Stars!
I was introduced to the Cayin range a few years ago when looking for a new DAP i was pointed to the Cayin N5, this was a great DAP but after a few month broke and the supplier had no other stock so i took the opportunity to upgrade to the N6 again th...Read moreis was a very good player and i had this for over a year until i got a Mojo that is and started using my phone. This was fine but a good solution to me so i started looking for a small DAP, AMP3 where the stockists this time and the pre & after sales service has been great with questions answered quickly and i was kept informed with regards to stock.

I considered the Hidiz AP60 but reviews were not that great and was about to buy a Shanling M1 until i saw that Cayin were releasing a small DAP. So as im a fan i went with this and im so glad i did. The N3 to me is very close to the N5 sound wise, it can drive my Audeze Sine on the medium gain setting to a decent volume where i dont need to go into high gain. The bluetooth function works flawlessly connecting direct to me Onkyo BT H500 headphones as a bonus i can also stream music from my phone via bluetooth to wired headphones which sounds very good. Output to Mojo again works without issue.

As an added bonus the customer service from Cayin on head-fi is also second to none in my experience.

Have a look on head-fi there are much better and more knowledgeable people there that have reviewed this from a sound / audiophile perspective.

All i can say is that no one would be disappointed in purchasing this little cracker It has all the functionality you could ever need and for me and my usage is a Chord Poly killer.
5 of 5 Stars!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

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