comscore Cayin N3 Digital Audio Player Review: Audiophiles, listen up
Review

Cayin N3 Digital Audio Player Review: Audiophiles, listen up

Digital audio players might cater to a niche audience, but if you’re a part of that set, the Cayin N3 is perhaps the best option you can get without spending a small fortune.

cayin n3 main

4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Audio products tend to be either very affordable or very expensive, and I ve always believed that as you go higher, even a small improvement needs a big investment. Whether we re talking about headphones, speakers or digital audio players, the best products often cost a lot of money and are accessible only to the buyers with enough money to spare. Also Read - Nokia 5310 Review: A heavy bet on XpressMusic nostalgia

Also Read - DxOMark has received offers of money to review cameras on many occasions

But occasionally, a digital audio player comes along that defies the norms. Praised by users and experts alike, the Cayin N3 is a digital audio player that hopes to offer high-end audio at a price that is decidedly not so high-end. I ve reviewed the Rs 12,999 Cayin N3, and here s all you need to know about it.cayin n3 back Also Read - Xiaomi Redmi Y1 Review: Embracing the selfie

With looks so ordinary

Now, even within the digital audio space, there have been audio players that look fantastic. The original Apple iPod was a marvel of design, with many imitating it for years to come. The Astell & Kern AK Jr and Sony Walkman NW-A35 both have very distinct styling as well. However, Cayin is a Chinese manufacturer that, like another famous Chinese audio products maker called Fiio, started out as an OEM and later decided to brand and market its products itself.

Naturally, design isn t the company s strongest point, and that shows in the Cayin N3. The device is rather plain on all sides, with a small 2.4-inch non-touch screen with capacitive controls and physical buttons at the front and sides. The casing is brushed aluminium, with a leather-finish plastic panel at the back that looks rather odd against the otherwise tasteful metal. Despite its odd design and styling, the Cayin N3 is built rather well and feels solid. It s also incredibly compact and pocketable, so you won t face the portability problems that larger digital audio players typically come with.cayin n3 main 2

The bottom of the Cayin N3 has the 3.5mm socket to plug in headphones. There’s a USB type-C port for charging, data transfers and USB-OTG, but you can’t listen to music with USB Type-C headphones. This is among the first portable audio players to feature the type-C charging port, which helps in quickly charging the device as well as fast file transfers. The front has the navigation controls, while the sides have the power, volume, next, previous and play/pause buttons. The interface is unfortunately a bit clunky and the controls are difficult to use, which is the biggest flaw of the device.

The Cayin N3 is capable of a frequency response output ranging from 5-50,000Hz. Battery life is claimed to be around 12 hours on a full charge, and takes about two hours to charge provided you re using a 2A power adapter (which isn t included in the package). Worth noting is that the Cayin N3 does not have any in-built storage; an open microSD card slot on the right side of the device supports up to 256GB cards. While this certainly helps keep the cost of the Cayin N3 low and lets users slot in storage according to their own requirements, the option of internal storage would have been nice. You also get Bluetooth connectivity on the Cayin N3, letting you listen to your music without wires.cayin n3 bottom

Sonic superiority

The Cayin N3 not only works as a digital audio player, but can also serve as a DAC when connected to a PC, with support for a fairly comprehensive list of high-resolution and compressed audio formats, including MP3, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, DSD and more. The device also supports USB-OTG, so you can connect a USB drive with audio without needing a microSD storage card on the device. The player supports audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution with some formats, and 32-bit/384kHz with others. The amplification is slated to drive headphones with impedance ranging from 16-200 Ohms, which means that the N3 should comfortably drive even high-end headphones. ALSO READ: The Sennheiser HE 1 is Rs 45 lakhs worth of luxury personal audio, complete with theatrics and powerful sound

I tested the Cayin N3 using a handful of audio tracks in various formats, including compressed and high-resolution formats. I used a range of headphones with the Cayin N3, including the TekFusion Twinwoofers M2, Sony MDR-100ABN paired over Bluetooth and the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears. The focus tracks for the review were Astor Piazzolla s Suite Punta del Este in DFF format, and Michael Jackson s You Rock My World and Bonobo s Days to Come in FLAC.

Starting with Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla s classic composition which inspired the Twelve Monkeys theme, I was impressed with everything from the definition to the quality of the timbre. With multiple elements throughout the track and with a file format that leaves nothing to chance, the Cayin N3 admirably handles the audio. The sound improves vastly when you use better headphones, but doesn t fail to do justice with even affordable headphones. Of particular quality were the cello and bass instrumentals, with distinctly aggressive timbre that felt real and present.

With You Rock My World, the Cayin N3 showed that it can keep up with and accurately reproduce even exciting tracks. While treble and bass felt a bit too much on the TekFusion headphones, results were better with the more neutral-sounding Sennheiser headset. And while listening on the Bluetooth-powered Sony MDR-100ABN wasn t quite as capable as on the wired Momentum, the sonic differences were minor and forgivable. The same was noticeable with Days to Come, and it s clear that the Cayin N3 will serve your headphones without prejudice, highlighting the strengths (and weaknesses) of the headphones.cayin n3 side

Verdict

After my listening sessions, it s evident that the Cayin N3 is best used with capable headphones, and after spending Rs 12,999 on the audio player (what you d typically pay for a decent mid-range smartphone), you won t do it justice with cheap headphones. When combined with a decent headset such as the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear, the Cayin N3 produces the ideal results and real-world performance that you d expect for the price.

Additionally, wide format support and a compact form factor make this an ideal digital audio player for beginner audiophiles. While the interface isn t the best and the lack of internal storage may be bothersome to some, it s a good start into the world of high-resolution listening, and definitely worth a look if you re looking to invest in a dedicated high-resolution audio player.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: September 22, 2017 8:47 AM IST
  • Updated Date: September 22, 2017 1:44 PM IST



new arrivals in india

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Tecno Spark 6 Go
Tecno Spark 6 Go

8,499

Vivo V20 2021
Vivo V20 2021

24,990

Vivo Y20A
Vivo Y20A

11,490

Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G9 Power
Motorola Moto G9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G 5G
Motorola Moto G 5G

20,999

Vivo V20 Pro
Vivo V20 Pro

29,990

Xiaomi Mi 10T
Xiaomi Mi 10T

35,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9i
Xiaomi Redmi 9i

8,299

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

39,999

Infinix Hot 10
Infinix Hot 10

9,999

Vivo V20 SE
Vivo V20 SE

20,990

Vivo V20
Vivo V20

24,990

Micromax In 1b
Micromax In 1b

6,999

Micromax In Note 1
Micromax In Note 1

10,999

OnePlus 8T
OnePlus 8T

42,999

Samsung Galaxy F41
Samsung Galaxy F41

15,499

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

1,29,900

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Apple iPhone 12 Pro

1,19,900

Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Apple iPhone 12 Mini

69,900

Apple iPhone 12
Apple iPhone 12

79,900

Poco X3
Poco X3

16,999

Realme Narzo 20A
Realme Narzo 20A

8,499

Realme Narzo 20
Realme Narzo 20

10,499

Realme Narzo 20 Pro
Realme Narzo 20 Pro

13,999

Oppo F17
Oppo F17

16,990

Samsung Galaxy M51
Samsung Galaxy M51

22,999

Poco M2
Poco M2

10,999

Oppo F17 Pro
Oppo F17 Pro

22,990

Realme 7 Pro
Realme 7 Pro

19,999

Realme 7
Realme 7

14,999

Best Sellers