Did the Chinese have to slow down too? Cities in a smog, currency in flight, GDP in a flight, and the new silk road turned in the wrong direction… Not without fear I took in my hands the latest novelty from Celestial Empire – Cayin N5 portable audio player. She is definitely all right? The older model in the same series
With its design-illuminator, and to this day takes its rightful place on the pedestal of portable devices, mesmerizing “audiomaniacs” with exquisite sound. This time, the novelty is deprived of the design of former bumpy-vollient, but it looks like a portable retro cassette player from the time of Gorby-perestroika. You look at the device and you want to take out a cassette, and then stick a pencil and not to waste batteries, rewind the magnetic tape by hand, crunching the smelly plastic. Remember..
But never mind, let’s go back to the world where “spaceships prowl the big theater and the Chinese are giving short and long queues to all segments of the market. Today we will hear the audio player Cayin N5, and the verdict is not known in advance.
Thanks to XChesser Audio for providing a listening sample
Cayin N5 Audio Player
Built-in memory No
Support for memory cards 2 microSD slots
Supports DSD64/128, DSF, DFF, SACD-ISO, WAV, FLAC, APE, AIFF, ALAC, WMA, AAC, OGG, MP3, CUE, LRC
ACM AK4490EQ TSAP
Amplifier OPA1662 + AD712 + BUF634U
Ingenic JZ4760B processor
Maximum power 2 × 300 mW @ 32 Ohm
Screen 2.4″ IPS 400×360
Battery 4200 mAh, up to 9 hours
Headphone outputs 3.5 mm, balanced 2.5 mm TRRS, linear, coaxial
Case Material Aluminum
Appearance and package
The unit comes in a black cardboard box. Inside we find: the player itself, a silicone case, screen protectors, documents/instructions, a Coaxial digital output cable, and a USB 3 cable.0 to sync with the PC and connect to the power adapter. In general, “everything that the doctor prescribed” and from my own stash paid.
The device is very comfortable and compact. As we have already established, the whole device looks like a cassette player, but not the “coffin with the music” from the eighties, but quite an elegant device from the wild nineties. The player is quite thin, neat, assembly does not cause complaints, all clear, reliable, no backlashes, gaps and creaks. It is very palatable in your hand. Material – aluminum. The screen is quite high quality, with excellent color reproduction.
On the top of the front panel is the screen, underneath it all the navigation. Under your thumb there is a “spin wheel”, in the center of which there is a round “start/pause/confirm action” button. On the left you can fumble for three navigation buttons: “return to previous menu”, “forward”, and “back”. It seems the Chinese have just opened! And let’s screw it everywhere – steering wheel to the left, steering wheel to the right! And when we go straight? But never mind, the wheel here is not bad implemented.
On the top end are: balanced output 2.5 mm TRRS, headphone output 3.5 mm, combined 3.5 line/coaxial, and on/off button.
On the bottom end under the neat plastic cap: USB 3 connector.0 to sync with PC and connect to power adapter, two microSD card slots and a hole for emergency reset of the player.
On the left end of the device are the volume keys +/- , and the pause key. The right side is smooth and empty, like a polished parquet. All buttons are responsive to touch, the touch is soft and pleasant.
The player’s back cover is covered with a carbon-fiber sticker with a three-dimensional pattern, which bears a golden company logo. It looks nice.
The menu of the device is quite logical, understandable, beautiful, I have no complaints. Here we have five items: “categories”, “my library/folders”, “currently playing”, “playback settings” and “system settings”.
I want to praise once again the display and the interface. Themes are nice and bright, all items are understandable without too much trouble. When choosing a language in the interface is easy to find and American, but I music tracks better whisper in English.
And now turn it on and listen. Your exit, Your Majesty Sound!
For listening we used headphones: Ortofon e-q7, Etymotic ER-4S, Westone UM3X, Phonak Audeo pfe 112 with gray filters , Beyerdynamic dt 1350, Beyerdynamic dt 250/250, Hifiman HE-4.
Several times I tried to describe the sound of the device, then I erased everything, tried again, gave up, and finally, with the release of the new software, everything fell into place. Now we can say with confidence that the device deserves close attention.
So, I listened to N5 fluently this summer, in some places turning to the beginning of autumn. I liked the device, but some peak in the upper middle somewhat discouraged from “getting to know you better. And recently I asked to send an untested player for a second and more detailed tasting.
Having turned the device on, I heard the sounds of “the otherworldly world” this time, too. What a hassle! The other day Cayin congratulated its fans on the coming Catholic Christmas and gave them a new version of the software – fw 3.0. The guys, who are in the know, helped me to get this gift, bypassing the overloaded brand-server, I upgraded, and N5 sounded like a living Vanessa Mae violin if you haven’t listened to Paganini !
At this point, everything fell into place. It sounded so linear and smooth, but still had the same emotional quality.
The pitch became smoother over the whole frequency range. And now, if there are any complaints, it is about some graininess and a slight simplification in some areas of the frequency range.
Let’s just say, the merits of the machine is huge, but there are problems. Let’s start with the mentioned simplification. The high frequencies area is a little bit muddy, smooth and simple. But not everywhere. If a “cymbal” beat sounds like “gsssssss” instead of “gsssss”, then the bells ring in silver crystal accurately, displaying the point touches of the triangle and the rest of the decorative iron – there are no problems as such. In general, it is possible to pick on me, but it is better to “understand and forgive”. And it’s even better to listen to music as a whole. Then there are fewer questions.
The problems in the lower register are also tentative. Here, for example, the beat is quite weighty, but somewhat soft, greasy or something like that. And the same “codpiece” sounds distinct. If the “brother bassist” starts fiddling with the fingerboard in search of the truth of the sound, then everything is also clear and without too many complaints.
And finally, in the middle. With a small grain in this “frequency”, everything sounds quite smooth, detailed, smooth, pleasant and very musical! The middle part without any peaks, lows or jams, shows a very good emotionality.
Now about the sound in general, without chipping into pieces. The device is musical. It’s a great demonstration of how instruments and sounds are positioned in the space. For example, I played Lene Lovich – “The Best” at bedtime, completely tired of “fishing for fleas” and studying the nuances of Cain Jr. sound.
By about the third track I forgot that I was studying the device and not just immersed in listening to music, but was surprised, how N5 transfers soft and loud sounds. I was just amazed at how he arranged the sounds in virtual space. What is it – was quite impressed how accurately he knows how to convey the atmosphere of the record “those years”! No, seriously, Lenka Lovich wasn’t just singing, she was pinching, breathing, even licked my earlobe a couple of times! And how emotionally she sang, mmmmm
Every removal and approach to the microphone was felt with every fiber of the soul. And when the “Hammond” came into play, you could feel the vibration of the keys with your whole body. What about Hammond, the whole atmosphere of the record is like in a time machine, it’s straight from there… And what a saxophone, God, what a saxophone – Bill Clinton will rest..
One more thing. There is a certain “three-dimensionality of space” in the pitch of this player. But this isn’t synthetic 3D cinema, this is THEATRE!!! It really is a theatrical performance, on stage, with beautiful decorations, and, most importantly, with actors, real people. All in all, the full program!
The tweeter is a little bit simplified, crumbly, but without fanaticism. Where they are needed they hit the target clearly and precisely. But there is no excessive ringing and other tinsel.
The midrange is very musical and detailed. Moreover, it is not deprived of not macro, not micro, there is everything. And it all perfectly harmonizes with each other. After updating the firmware to version 3.0 all the complaints went away. Nothing saws, everything is smooth and unobtrusive. How this frequency range sends an emotional message, we could tell for hours. But it is better to listen to everything yourself.
The bass is quite weighty, but the punch lacks clarity, precision and percussion. Otherwise all quite decent. The bass is very well worked out. In general, if you do not look for flaws, and listen to the music, everything is very good.
The device is very comfortable and very musical. It is compact, nice, enjoys the presence of two slots for memory cards, USB 3 connector.0, the ability to use the player as a sound card when connected to a PC, there’s also a balanced output, line, coaxial, in general, for all occasions.
Just a few tips for those who want to get this unit:
1. Allow three full charge/discharge cycles,
2. Make sure you upgrade to firmware version 3.0.
Cayin N5 will bring you a lot of pleasure from listening to your favorite music. The price in American online stores varies around 24000 Dollars. I think it’s quite humane with the sanctioned reality in the country and the world.
The original design, build quality and materials, good display, playback of almost all modern audio formats, the ability to use the player as an external sound card, price, and most importantly – the sound.
For very demanding audiophiles, perhaps the sound. For the rest, I have no complaints.