Cayin N7
Cayin N7
Cayin N7

Cayin N7: 1-bit digital Hi-Res audio player

With the N7, Cayin introduces a comprehensive HiRes audio player for mobile music. Discrete DAC, LPF and headphone amplifier circuits and a fully balanced design ensure superior sound quality. In addition, balanced and unbalanced headphone outputs are provided.

Cayin N7

Highlights

After making a big splash last year with the N8ii, a tube-amped DAP, Cayin took a slightly different direction this year. The N7 is called the Master Quality Digital Audio Player and is aimed at the most demanding music lovers who expect exceptional sound quality even on the go. The core audio architecture is a pure 1-bit DSD DAC. The discrete circuit is all about digital signal processing and includes some interesting developments. In addition, this HiRes player offers additional features that enable versatile use in audiophile applications and installations.

Cayin N7

Fully Balanced System Design for Maximum Quality

The most important feature is the fully balanced circuit design. This complex approach is expensive, but opens up incredible possibilities for fine-tuning the sound. While a classic stereo circuit provides a left (L) and right (R) channel, a balanced circuit requires differential inputs and differential outputs. In this case, L+, L-, R+, R are required. Cayin uses this discrete circuitry for the first time for DAC, LPF and headphone amplifier in the N7. For the discrete low-pass filter, Cayin developers, after numerous tests, settled on a balanced Class A push-pull amplifier circuit based on dual bipolar transistors. The headphone amplifier itself is based on a 4-channel design with a low-noise JFET (Junction Gate Field Effect Transistor) as a differential input stage and a BJT (Bipolar Junction Transistor) as an amplifier and output stage. This allows you to reduce the level of interference to a minimum and achieve a new level of quality in audio signal processing and playback.

Decoding

The digital to analog converter can decode up to DSD512. PCM streams are received up to 32bit and 778kHz and converted internally to a DSD signal before the N7 passes the signal to the DAC circuitry. The 1-bit DSD DAC is also specially adapted to this DAP: here the converted analog signal is passed through a network of 128 high-precision thin-film resistors. The output signal is balanced across four channels for the best possible playback without interference. The power supply has also been newly designed specifically for the N7. Thus, the different sections of the audio circuit are powered independently of each other according to their voltage requirements. Another sound-enhancing feature is the N7’s aluminum frame. It serves as an antenna to provide stable streaming anytime via dual-band 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi.

Cayin N7

2 Amp Modes

Dual Amp Mode builds on the tried and tested: using a drop-down menu, users can switch between Class A and Class AB modes to tailor the sound to personal music preferences or different types of headphones. Class A amplification means a warm, rather mellow sound. All channels are amplified almost equally. The result is a detailed, pleasant sound. Ideal conditions for flawless reproduction of modern music with lots of detail. Class AB, on the other hand, provides more powerful sound and is probably the preferred choice for higher dynamic range requirements.

Inputs and Outputs

Primarily a digital audio player (DAP) such as the N7 is used by many headphone-equipped users as a portable music player. Cayin offers two headphone outputs for this purpose. One balanced with a 4.4mm jack and one unbalanced in a 3.5mm single-ended format. In addition, there are two more analog outputs. Thanks to them, DAP can also be integrated into fixed hi-fi systems. An analog resistor volume control from JRC is used to adjust the pre-out volume. It is controlled using a rotary knob made of fine brass. The second analog output is a linear output with a fixed voltage. It bypasses the DAP volume control. But that’s not all, as Cayin doesn’t skimp on digital interfaces either. In addition to I2S digital output, USB-C-Out and coaxial output built into the USB port provide versatile application options. Bluetooth version 5.0 is also available on board. In addition to common codecs, LDAC standards up to 96 kHz and UAT are also processed here. The latter supports sampling rates up to 192 kHz. As a Bluetooth transmitter, N7 is also capable of outputting audio and controlling output devices. Cayin also functions as a Bluetooth receiver and thus can be used as a wireless DAC.

Cayin N7

Superior Audio Quality with MQA and Streaming

MQA stands for “Master Quality Authenticated” and is an audio codec that is supported, among others, by the music streaming service TIDAL. The format is designed to compress music and ultimately play it back unchanged, as intended by the mastering studio. However, this only works when supported by a suitable decoder, such as the N7. With Android 12.0 OS pre-installed and access to the Google Play Store, content from other streaming services or music apps such as Qobuz or Apple Music can also be played through the N7. If necessary, Android system sample rate conversion (SRC) can be bypassed in all installed applications using DTA (Direct Transport Audio). To store local files, the Cayin N7 comes with 64GB of internal memory. To allow you to move larger music libraries, TransFlash memory cards up to 1 TB are supported. The HiBy-Cast DAP can also be controlled via smartphone.

Price : $1999