A Survey of Digital Audio Players Part 2 Cayin N6


Cayin N6 ($620)
Cayin may not be a household name 'round these parts, though I'm betting at least some of you have heard of them. Another of the large Chinese brands, they've been around since the 1990s (under various names for different markets) making all types of gear, though are probably best known for their CD players and tube amps/preamps. They have also done quite a bit of OEM and ODM work so you may well have experienced something they designed and/or built, even if it wasn't labeled as a Cayin device. One of the early dedicated headphone amps to receive mainstream attention was the Cayin HA-1A which got a very favorable Stereophile review back in 2006. Here's a Head-Fi thread dating back to 2005—some of the pics are broken but you get the idea.

Historically, Cayin hasn't seemed interested in pursuing the headphone market beyond the existing HA-1A, but that may be changing of late. Not long ago the firm dropped a well-received portable headamp called the C5 along with a DAP called N6, which is the focus of this page. With sculptured good looks, tons of features, and a price lower than many competitors, Cayin clearly has an ambitious product on their hands.

Worth noting: Cayin declined to send a review unit for this project. Not sure if it was just lost in translation or if they really were hesitant to go head to head with the competition. But a helpful distributor stepped in and sent over his personal stock, feeling confident the N6 would stack up well. Thanks mate!

External Design
No doubt about it, N6 is a unique looking player. The CNC milled aluminum frame is extremely well done; on par with the top-dog AK240 in most every aspect, which is impressive considering the price variation. The N6 has a very different approach though: while AK240 looks sleek like a stealth fighter, N6 has a more blocky, bulky appearance, its angled accents offsetting a somewhat blunt rectangular main shell. There's nothing subtle about this thing, though I guess the same could be said for the AK240 in its own way. Cayin chose real carbon fiber for the rear panel which I have to admit looks mighty nice, but at the same time could be seen as derivative. I feel like it was a misstep, though friends who try out my review loaner don't seem as bothered by it.

The main aesthetic focus is the circular "window" area which surrounds the (non-touch) LCD. At first I expected to have an actual round display—the black surround blends with the LCD when powered off so they can't be distinguished from one another unless the lighting is just right. That would have been quite the novelty. It also would have surely added complexity and expense with no real upside other than, "Hey, round screen, that's neat". The stylized up/down/left/right buttons have an interesting look; I thought they might end up being annoying to use but my fears were unfounded. The display is a 2.4" IPS panel with 400x360 resolution. It's reasonably crisp but has very good contrast, so it ends up looking a bit nicer than the display used by Pono.

One thing that isn't immediately noticeable is the small scroll wheel on the upper left side. It's a textured knob with a press-to-click function which acts as a redundant control option for those who might prefer it to the standard buttons. I find that it works surprisingly well assuming I hold the N6 with my left hand, thus placing my left thumb in the ideal spot. Personally I prefer holding stuff with my right hand, so I don't use the wheel so often. It's an interesting design which suffers from the lack of a "back" function—scrolling up or down to move through menus, and clicking to select works great, but sometimes I need to back up a step. The control wheel doesn't have that option so I end up going back to the main front panel controls. Still, a clever idea which does prove useful at times. Hardware buttons for power and volume up/down round out the control scheme for what ends up being a surprisingly successful design. As far as non-touchscreen controls go, this is one of the better implementations I've tried.

Among the field of DAPs here, N6 is on the larger side. I dare say it might be too large for some situations. If your intended use ideally calls for a really small player like the Sony A17 or a Sansa Clip+, you still might be able to swing an AK100 II...but the N6 (along with some others here) will probably cross the line into "too large".

Internal Design
Looking at the guts, the N6 has a lot going on. DAC section is based around a pair of Texas Instruments PCM1792A chips running in dual mono mode. A trio of temperature controlled crystal oscillators and a custom programmed CPLD (similar to an FPGA) tackle jitter, while a TI PGA2311 controls volume in handy 0.5dB steps. An onboard asynchronous USB receiver allows the N6 to act as 24/192 capable USB DAC in a desktop system—drivers can be found in the internal memory. As usual, the driver is only required for PC and not for Mac.

The headphone output is fairly stout at 220mW per channel, with a very low output impedance (well under 1 Ohm). This means the N6 can comfortably drive any IEMs you throw at it as well as many full-sized headphones, with the usual exceptions of course.

The N6 handles PCM signals up to 24/192 as well as DSD64 and DSD128 in both DSS and DSF formats. It also handled DSD albums in ISO form which is not all that common, and rather handy for those folks ripping SACDs with a PS3. When used as a USB DAC, it tops out at DSD64—a cap which I suspect is caused by driver limitations. Cayin doesn't specify which USB chipset they use, but if it's a solution from XMOS we may eventually see a driver update adding DSD128 capabilities.

The N6 does get somewhat warm to the touch during extended use. Not uncomfortably so, but enough to notice. The beefy metallic enclosure doubles as a nice heatsink and I'm not too worried about it. After many hours of use, it never got too hot for me to handle, though I could see it being somewhat less than pleasant in a pocket on a warm day.

User Interface
This area is often the downfall of the audiophile-oriented DAP. The good news? Cayin's user interface is what I'd call "adequate". Perhaps "inoffensive" is a better word. As in, not the greatest, but also not terrible by any means. I've certainly seen worse. The main home page is based around a circular concept which matches both the left handed scroll wheel and the round bezel design. But drill into the menu one step further and everything is just traditional top-down menus from there on out. Which is fine, but perhaps a little boring. It works well enough though; the structure makes sense, and most of the options we might need are present. I find it more intuitive than Fiio's design for the original X5, and definitely superior to the various Chinese DAPs I've used from lesser known firms (none of which made the cut for this roundup).

Cayin doesn't give us dedicated transport controls, instead relying on the hardware volume up/down buttons. Just press and hold briefly to skip forward or back. This means N6 can be controlled without looking or removing it from your pocket—which is not something Pono can match. Once the screen turns off (after a user adjustable time frame) only the power button will wake it again. This is great for protecting battery life against accidental button-mashing while the device is in a pocket, but also a little annoying during normal use. I suppose it's a fair trade-off but I'd like to maybe see an option added where other buttons can wake the display.

While the UI has all the typical options one might expect to find, there are a few interesting things worth a brief mention. Cayin lets us not only define the startup volume but also cap the maximum allowable level. I think this is clever for protecting our precious hearing. We also get high and low options for gain, and a choice between two digital filters: sharp and slow. I tend to prefer slow though I admit I can't easily tell the difference (which is often the case with selectable filters). There's also a 10-band EQ which works reasonably well. Cayin gives us some presents but I assume most people would use the user definable "custom" option. All in all it's a fairly strong feature set if not spectacular.

One thing worth mentioning is the fact that Cayin has released at least four firmware updates so far this year. And that's a good thing. Now, I'm not saying the N6 was majorly buggy from the start. That was the case with some of the early iBasso products (to name one example), but not the Cayin. However, there were a few minor issues that needed fixing, as well as some tweaks and features to be added. Cayin seems very interested in building their reputation in this segment and it shows in this area. The latest firmware is smoother, easier to use, and better looking than the last version, which itself was an improvement over the one before it. This is how it should be done.

The N6 is reasonably solid when it comes to audio connectivity. It has the usual headphone out and line-out jacks, plus third 1/8" jack for coaxial digital output (adapter included). As I mentioned earlier, it also acts as external DAC via its microUSB connection. I appreciate being able to charge over that same microUSB port rather than using some proprietary connection. The N6 does lack some of the other bonus features like Bluetooth and WiFi, which aren't truly necessary but can be useful nonetheless. The only other feature I would have maybe liked to see is balanced headphone drive, but I'll make do without it considering the amount of juice on tap here.

For storage, we get a single microSD slot and a paltry 8GB internal memory. That 8GB is better than nothing and useful for storing the user manual and the USB drivers. But I really consider 16GB a better starting point these days. And I would have liked support for full-size SD cards given the size of the N6 enclosure, or at least a second microSD slot as some competitors have. So the N6 is adequate here but could have been better.

Again, adequate is the word. I've been getting 7 or 8 hours of use depending on headphone choice and volume level. The player doesn't seem to care if I use CD rips or hi-res PCM or DSD—battery life is similar regardless, though driving big headphones at loud levels will drain it more quickly.

I was hoping the latest firmware would improve battery life—if it did, I can't say it's a big enough improvement to be obvious. There is currently a known bug related to battery performance. Once levels drop below roughly 20%, the player becomes unreliable with battery information. You'll supposedly have 20% which should translate to maybe an hour of life remaining...and then a few minutes later your battery might be dead completely. Cayin is aware of the problem so I expect a fix to show up in a future release. This is the largest bug I've seen with the N6 and as bugs go it's not all that terrible; just charge up on a regular basis and it shouldn't be a problem.

Sound Quality
From what I've written so far, the N6 probably sounds like a decent product if not really a standout choice. The design is interesting, fit/finish is excellent, and the price is reasonable considering what the competition charges. Then we come to sound quality; this is where it differentiates itself, and to be honest it caught me somewhat off guard. The N6 sounds VERY impressive. Not just "for the price" but impressive period. It's got a very natural, organic sound to it—slightly smooth but still quite detailed, it's nearly as easygoing as a Pono for the long term, yet also more dynamic and exciting. It has better detail retrieval and superior low frequency impact, making it more appealing for a wider variety of genres. I might choose Pono for poor recordings, and I still dig Pono in balanced mode for home use, but for most everything else I reach for the N6 without a second thought.

The essentially zero output impedance and selectable gain make the N6 an ideal choice for IEM use. Listeners are greeted by a completely black background even with very sensitive IEMs. And even those models with crazy impedance swings still maintain their character—output impedance is somewhere around 0.25 Ohms, meaning everything sounds as it should. The more I think about it, the more this makes complete sense, and I wonder why most DAPs aren't made the same way. Isn't a portable player most likely to be paired with IEMs in the first place? So why do so many have issues with output impedance and hiss? I'd even be fine with having limited current/voltage in exchange for perfect IEM compatibility. Thankfully Cayin is able to nail IEM performance. The N6 has become one of my favorites for my Noble, JH Audio, Westone, EarWerkz, and various other IEMs. I especially appreciate the volume scheme which is done in the analog domain but using the digital controller chip. This gives excellent channel matching and a very precise feel even at extremely low volumes.

Another impressive achievement? As good as it is with IEMs, the N6 also does a very respectable job with full-size headphones. I enjoy it with the Audeze LCD-2, HiFiMAN HE-500, and especially the AKG K812. Its amp section does give up some ground to quality desktop units, mainly when using higher impedance headphones like HD650. But I'd still call it enjoyable considering the size limitations. Using it as a USB DAC in my desktop rig, the N6 didn't fall too far behind the Resonessence Labs Concero HP which is a big achievement. The Concero is more insightful and does soundstage in a more convincing manner but we aren't talking night and day differences by any means.

I messed with adding portable amps to the setup using the line-out jack, and found that it generally wasn't all that necessary. The integrated amp sounds plenty good with most of the headphones and IEMs I would use in a portable scenario. Favorites of mine such as the Leckerton UHA-6S II sound different but not necessarily a whole lot better. Not enough, in my view, to justify the added bulk. For home use a powerful external amp would be appreciated when driving tougher loads, so I do enjoy having the line-out option available.

Overall, considering pure SQ only and not focusing on other aspects, I'd rank the N6 ahead of the HiFiMAN HM-802 with stock amp card. The 802 might appeal to those looking for a warmer experience, while most everyone else would probably choose the Cayin. When driving IEMs it roughly matches the 802 outfitted with the IEM amp card. Yet the N6 maintains the ability to use bigger headphones—the 802 needs to swap amp cards to really do justice in that case. Factor in the superior build and the slightly better UI, and I think Cayin handily trumps HiFiMAN in this particular case. Which is surprising as I really do enjoy the HM-802 quite a bit. The N6 approaches and nearly matches the Calyx M which as I've said is a spectacular sounding DAP. Don't let the price fool you—this one can run with the big boys in the segment.

Alexander Portnoy's picture

Great work, John.
This project will make a good basis upon which to judge the imminent release of Pioneer XDP-100R and the Geek Waves.

John Grandberg's picture
And yes, I suppose I could go on and on... I suspect next year will bring half a dozen (or more) significant releases. We'll see what happens and what I have time for.
ManiaC's picture

Questyle QP1R vs Luxury & Precision L5 Pro

John Grandberg's picture
the Questyle QP1R here and it's pretty great, certainly in the running for Wall of Fame. I tried the original L5 and it was terrible in build and UI, but the L5 Pro is all different so who knows.
Imusicman's picture

HiJohn, Ive read part 1 and part 2 with great interest and eagerly await part 3. Great review and exactly on point with this growing category. I have narrowed my choice for DAP down to the Questyle QP1R and Cayin N6 after discounting the Acoustic Research ARM2. Having spent time with both which would you recommend? Not sure if this swings it one way or the other but I have the opportunity to buy a demo N6 at £270

John Grandberg's picture
because I like them both. N6 has a significantly more powerful amp stage if you intend to use it with difficult full size cans. Some people might like its up/down/left/right control scheme better too. The Questyle can accommodate a far bigger library thanks to dual microSD slots. It also has slightly better battery life, is smaller, and has a more brilliant, detailed presentation - which may or may not be a good thing depending on your preferences. I'll go more into this in part 3 though.
Imusicman's picture

Thanks for getting back to me John. Much appreciated. There's definitely pros and cons to each player depending on what's important to the individual consumer. I have taken the plunge and ordered the QP1R which hopefully should be with me next week :-) Lets hope my leap of faith is rewarded as I haven't been able to find anyone local who is stocking it to give it a demo which is not ideal.

John Grandberg's picture
I'm listening to it right now, sounding quite nice with a 24/96 version of Paquito D'Rivera's Portraits of Cuba and the Noble Audio K10. It's not perfect - I'll get into the minor frustrations which you will no doubt notice on your own. But nothing I consider a dealbreaker. I do wish Questyle has better distribution though....
Imusicman's picture

Being a newbie to this hobby I am in the very early stages of my journey to find the holy grail of sonic perfection. I am starting from a relatively low base with my iPhone 5 so I am hopeful of larger gains initially but do expect less as my hardware base level improves and the differences become more subtle. If the QP1R fails to impress I will be looking to test out my suppliers returns policy or failing that stick it on eBay. Given the supply/demand situation I can see it selling PDQ so no drama either way.

silverarrows5's picture

Hi John,

How about the Marshall London Smartphone?

John Grandberg's picture
I'm just not sold on that one as being anything other than a lowish-spec phone with minor customization. I'd stick with the OnePlus or another more established phone if you don't want a dedicated DAP.
tony's picture

Well, this is just plain Brilliant. It's certainly the next thing I'll be concentrating on, I have a very good Main System and a equally useful Wireless Headphone System.

I travel extensively and would love a capable & portable "Source" device. I've seen your JA wandering around using an AK240 (I think) to carry his music to "Field" evaluate gear. I thought and still think his little device would give a useful result ( at least for my purposes and probably the vast World of Music lovers ).
A small LapTop is far to big but more affordable. How can a person get a Laptop's functionality in a portable ( shirt pocket ) package and how could a little device function properly with only a tiny screen? Plus, is there a little player offered by a supportive manufacturer?
So, it seems, you are working to reveal these things.

Philosophically, I think we music lovers strive to build our own "Music Hall Venues" to play the music we buy, own and enjoy!
These tiny Players take our personal Venue down to miniature sizes.

If JA's little AK240 is anything to go by, we are about to have our entire HighEnd music system in the "Palm of our Hands" ( except for our Box Speakers, of course ).
Now, if we can organize our music into little SD Memory Cards we might be able to have a Wallet with our entire collections.
This "Pipe Dream" has always seemed so "Distant Futuristic" in concept and nature but you seem to be revealing that it exists now.
I'm all Ears!
I'll be reading every word you have to say on this matter.

Tony in Michigan

ps. Thank You

Rillion's picture

Hi John,

It is great that you are doing this! Reviews like these of DAPs are to find. Even reviews of smartphones generally have very little intelligent commentary on sound quality if they mention it at all.

On the models that have so-so battery life, it would be nice if you could mention whether or not the device can continue running noise-free while charging. I have a 5V Anker battery pack that can add significant extra power.

John Grandberg's picture
I'll certainly check on this moving forward. I can confirm that the Consonance Suzanne works fine while charging in the dock, as do the AK devices, and also the Cayin. Obviously the OnePlus will (same as any phone) but I'll have to try it to confirm it doesn't add any detrimental noise or other issues. The only one I'm unsure about is the Pono so I'll give that a shot and report back.
Rillion's picture

Cool! Thanks!

echineko's picture

I was hoping to see it included, after you hinted it might be in Part 1. There's always part 3 I suppose, would be interesting to see it compared against the AK 240/380 as well :)

John Grandberg's picture
Sony took a while to send it my way, so I didn't have enough time to spend with it compared to these others. ZX2 is definitely in for part 3 though.
zeissiez's picture

Hi John,

I'm an expat based in China, over here I got the chance to audition various Chinese DAPs. To my surprise, many of them are actually very good sounding, and some of them more so than the A&K in sonic performance. I have heard the Cayin N6, Consonance, ibasso dx90, hm-901, Questyle QP1R, Lotoo Paw, Fiio X5 and many more. One brand that stood out is Luxury & Precision. Their L5, LP5 silver and gold edition are the best DAP I heard regardless of price. The entry level model L5 for example is clearly better than the N6 in sonic performance. Now the latest model L5 pro is said to be a much improved model over the previous 3 models. So I think it's good to include it in your reviews.

John Grandberg's picture

Thanks for the perspective. I've only had a chance to mess with the original L5 and it seemed like a prototype (it was a production model though) - poor build, terrible UI, only decent sound. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on the new stuff as it certainly does look improved.

I agree that Chinese DAPs can sound excellent. The HiFi ET MA9 was one of my favorites on sound, but less so on reliability, battery, and UI. Reliability is a big one for me.

whyeme's picture

Please please review the xduoo x3 when you do part 3. It uses the CS4398 DAC chip and Texas Instruments amp chips and sells for only USD110 inclusive of free shipping. Perhaps it could be a budget DAP shootout to get more youth into this hobby.


Bennyboy's picture

It's not a question of age, but of income. Not all of us are loaded enough to drop a grand here there and everywhere on this stuff.

John Grandberg's picture

That makes sense. However - a company saying "we want to appeal to a younger demographic" is a lot more PC than "We want to appeal to poor people" or "people with less disposable info". So you'll almost always see it framed as a "youth" thing.

But I agree, some of these are steep, and I'm glad there are some good options to be had for lower prices.

Bennyboy's picture

Some of these new 'high end' players are just daylight robbery.

I recently bought the Fiio X1 - cost me 95 quid and sounds ACE.

ashutoshp's picture

Thank you for your efforts in scaling the growing landscape of media players. TBH, I have little interest in media players myself mostly from a convenience perspective. But your smartphone inclusion got my curiosity.
Do you think the audio limitations apparently inherent in the smartphone are a DAC or an amp issue? In other words, the DAC is fine but the amount of power it can output is the major limiting factor. The reason I ask is because the choices in amps or amps+DACs are similarly vast and I am confused as to what would work best, an amplifier via the headphone out, or a DAC+amp via USB OTG/Lightning CCK?
Moreover, it seems that (cheaper) DAC+amp 2-in-1s usually trade-off DAC quality for amplifier capacity or vice-versa. If the smartphone DAC is fine then I can go for a high quality headphone amp rather than stick with a compromise, which I feel I'm currently making anyways with a smartphone/tablet. FYI, I only listening to streamed music from TiDAL on an LG G3 and iPad Air. Thanks in advance.

detlev24's picture

IMO there is no definite answer to your question since it depends very much, on which headphones you use. Generally, I would say the amplification circuit around the DAC is the bottleneck of most devices.

Since your question is directed to John, it might be useful for him to know the type(s) of headphones you use and the budget you plan to spend on such a device, since (audible) trade-offs do not necessarily need to be made.

Best regards

John Grandberg's picture

I basically see the amp section of a phone as being the weakest link - on a better phone, the DAC is pretty decent. Not as good as the better dedicated DAPs but good enough to be enjoyable nonetheless. The amp portion, though, is limited in terms of drive (and often output impedance as well) so it becomes the biggest issue.

Having said that, the market seems to focus more towards combo units. So I might go that route anyway. I've had more luck finding good combo units than straight amp-only portables.

The upgrade path will depend on what headphones are being used, as well as your intentions for portability. If "on the go" listening is a must then something small like the Resonessence Labs Herus should do the trick. I also really like the Oppo HA-2. If home use is the goal, you could go for a desktop setup, which then opens things up a little more for separate components.

ashutoshp's picture

I have the Hifiman HE-400i (home use), Sony's XBA-H1 and Ety's HF3 (outside use). Of these, the Etys don't seem to scale with more power but the other two definitely do. the Hifimans are actually too much for the phone, but not for the iPad even though they seem to get limited sometimes.
I was looking at a portable set up not only because of my need for mobility but I can then use it for bedtime listening with the Hifimans. My budget is $300 . I like a fast, clear, hard-hitting sound. But I hate boomy bass or tizzy treble (eg, DT880....ouch). The Sony XBA-H1s are quite boomy in the bass when played through the HP out of my phone but not at home with my desktop DAC/amp set up. The XBA-H1 is also why I started researching amps or amps/DACs like the HA-2 or Alo's new Rx (amp only I think).

detlev24's picture

You can try the two FiiO E12 amplifiers and see, if they suite your needs.

I have listened to the E12 on a HIFIMAN HE-500 (which needs more power than your HE-400i) and for such a small package, it sounded good at my listening levels and with the types of music, I listen (classical music, included). I switched "BASS: ON" but I did not use GAIN, since this made noise audible (you may not find it disturbing during playback, depending on the music genre) and with CROSSFEED, clarity suffered (the latter is useless, anyway - unless thoroughly matched to your headphones and music).

On the other hand, I do not recommend the E12 with IEM, since I had noise using UE TripleFi 10 but for a technical aspect, that was no surprise. For IEM, try the optimized E12A!

I think the HE-400i may sound great using an E12 and for IEM, the E12A could just do it.

detlev24's picture

If considering FiiO, also try the E12A on the HE-400i. Might need "GAIN: H" but depending on your taste, you could like it more.

An there is also a E12DIY around (with swappable op-amps, for different sound signatures), as alternative to the E12.^^

Long time listener's picture

I too would like to see a review of the two players above.

Also, just how well do these players compare to separates? For example, an iPod feeding an Algorhythm solo -R plus a Vorzuge Pure II amp? Do they come pretty close? Thanks

John Grandberg's picture

Both are to be included in part 3.

I personally think the better DAPs give up very little compared to separates. Obviously depends on the models in question... but the small improvement brought from lugging a big stack is typically not worth it (for me) compared to a quality DAP.

I might feel differently if I used the stack for home use with occasional portable listening. With big, difficult to drive cans, the dedicated amp could make a more significant difference.

zobel's picture

Been awhile since he has written anything. Thought he might offer a wrap-up on the last project. Hope he is feeling good.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Went to RMAF, I'll be posting the Big Sound 2015 wrap posts this week.
Broman's picture

I played with a OnePlusOne and thought it unexceptional compared to HTC One 9. The new phone I want to try is the LG V10 with ESS DAC. Thank you for including a phone in this survey. I go for long walks in cities and the less I carry the better.

John Grandberg's picture
I like the OnePlus One slightly better than the HTC One M8. Not sure about the latest HTC though. I already have an email in the LG about the V10, I've been keeping an eye on that since I first saw the ESS DAC (and headphone driver) being used. Not sure many big phone companies are actually willing to participate though, we'll see.
elfary's picture

If one take a look at gsmarena frequency plot of the OnePlusOne one can discern that output impedance it's headed to the 10 ohms range. (They measure with AKG headphones that have an impedance bump at the 50Hz).

Hence i was wondering what headphones have you used. I don't think balanced armatures earphones can play as nice on the OnePlus as they play on HTC, Apple or Samsung flagships.

In any case is nice to see smartphones tossed in since their ergonomy is killer.

Just my 0.02

John Grandberg's picture

I use a matched pair of resistors soldered to a Neutrik jack, rather than a headphone as dummy load. I'm fairly certain that my results are accurate for my particular OnePlus One. Can't speak for any silent revisions or manufacturing variability that could explain a different result, nor can I say GSM Arena didn't make some mistake somewhere. In my case I do enjoy IEMs with the OPO, with certain limitations of course. My UM Merlins (which drop into the single digit ohm range at some frequencies) are not a good match, but many other IEMs are.

It makes sense that performance would be on par with the top LG and Samsung models, as they tend to use very similar hardware.

I will say the HTC flagships seem to have the advantage driving full size headphones. More output voltage, more drive, more authority. I personally don't have much use for that but some people might.

elfary's picture

If i have to trust your measurements or gsmarena ones i'll go with yours i heartbeat. In gsmarena they so 't know very well what they are doing. An i know that on certain smartphones z changes from region to region (m8 had 9 ohms in the China market. In Europe it has just 1.

veggieboy2001's picture

This is a really comprehensive survey of DAPs...I'm looking forward to part 3. I'm currently researching a replacement for my Fiio X3 (1st gen) so this is timely indeed! Have you had any experience with Shanling? I've read some good things about both the M2 & M3 and I was hoping they were on your radar...there are so many people getting into the DAP game these days it's hard to keep up. Thanks for taking on this task...I'm excited to hear your final results!

Ranstedt's picture

Any idea when part 3 will be available?

I'm about to get my first great pair of headphones and would like a nice, not very expensive, DAP that has a very good price:quality ratio.