Today we check out the $479 USD Cayin N3Pro portable player aka DAP, for the first time before the full review.
Disclaimer: This post is part of our First Look Sunday series, you can find all of the previous ones here. The Cayin N3Pro was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion.
Cayin does no longer need a introduction anymore as the Chinese brand has been covered many times on Headfonia already and because they can be found all over the web nowadays. If you’re still not sure about who Cayin is and what they stand for, check out one of our previous Cayin reviews.
The last Cayin DAP we reviewed was the N6ii which has the interchangeable motherboards. It’s a highly popular and successful DAP, which we also liked very much. You can find the N6ii review we did here:
We also did a full review of all of the available Cayin motherboards for this player, and you can find that article here:
The player we’re reviewing today is the Cayin N3Pro, let’s dive in!
The new CayinN3Pro is the companies updated entry level DAP. The original N3 was released back in April of 2017, so it was about time to update this player. The original N3 won many awards, so we’re expecting a lot from this new player. In this preview and in the full review, we’ll find out if Cayin can meet our expectations.
One of the unique features of the new N3Pro is the use of tubes. It’s not the first time we see this and Cayin’s flagship player, the N8, already used Korg Nutubes . To check out the full story of the use on tubes in that DAP, check our N8 review here:
This time Cayin didn’t use the Nutube technology, but they’re using actual miniature tubes.
At the end of this preview we’ll list all of the N3Pro’s technical specs, but let’s check out it’s main features.
The Cayin N3Pro uses dual AK AK4493EQ DAC chips. You can find out all about the 4493EQ here. We have seen the AK4493EQ being used in the Xduoo XD05Plus and other popular gear already, the chip isn’t new.
But here’s more, there’s tubes! The Cayin N3Pro features a dual Raytheon JAN 6418 tube, so not only do you get a 4.4mm balanced output, you also get a 3.5mm output with a tube flavor and Triode or Ultra-linear tube modes. There also are 2 digital outputs and two line-outs. Very impressive at this entry level!
The N3Pro of course features BT5.0 and it can be used as a (wireless) BT DAC and there’s the HiBy link remote via your phone. There also is a WiFi connection, but that can only be used for OTA and wireless music file transfers.
The battery used is a 4100mAh on, which in theory will give you 11h playback from the 3.5mm solid state output or 9h with the tube output and the balanced 4.4mm output.
Memory wise you can insert 1 micro SD card supporting up to 1TB or you can get your music via the OTG functionality via type-C (external HD).
Price & accessories
The new Cayin N3Pro will sell for $479 USD, so on the higher end for an entry level, or the lower end for mid-fi level. It’s a difficult place to be at with so many competitors around. In the full review we’ll find out if it can stand its ground.
In the box you will find:
– a user manual
– screen protectors (front has a pre-applied one)
– a USB-A to USB-C cable
-a silicone protective case
– two mini hi-res stickers
Our review sample also came with the gorgeous optional leather case and it’s gorgeous. The quality of this case is high, it’s almost identical to the Dignis one the new HiBy R8 DAP comes with. I fully recommend getting the optional leather case as the silicone one is rather awful looking. I unfortunately don’t have the price for the leather case at this time.
Design & Lay-out
The Cayin N3Pro is very simple in design but it’s a small and nice player, with a CNC-machined aluminum black housing.
The touch screen featured on the N3Pro measures 480×360 (3.2″ touch screen). It’s rather small but with the tube design I doubt there was another way, as the tubes are situated below the screen on the front. The N3Pro comes in at 195g which is quite normal and it measures only 115.2 x 63.5 x18.9 (mm).
On the front panel, as said, you have the touch screen, the tubes (they light up when in use) and the home button. The touch-sensitive “home button” has a small LED circle around it. The color displayed in this circle depends on the audio playback quality “in use”, there are 6 different colors available.
On the right side of the player you from top to bottom have the power/volume button, the previous, pause and next button. On the left side you only have the single micro-SD slot. The bottom from left to right has the USB-C connector, the 3.5mm output, 3.5mm headphone out and the dual function 4.4mm output. The top and back have no functions.
The review continues on the next page with “usability” and “Sound”.Click HERE or use the jump below