Discover the Cayin C9, the brand’s new portable headphone amplifier

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The Chinese brand Cayin started off the year by announcing the arrival on the market of the Cayin C9, its new headphone amplifier, scheduled for January 20, 2021. Implementing state-of-the-art Class A / AB dual-stage analog amplification, this portable headphone amplifier is designed to power all types of hi-fi headphones and in-ear headphones .

The Cayin C9 is a concentrate of state of the art technology housed in a solid metal casing.

Founded in 1993, Cayin quickly established itself as one of the world’s most accomplished manufacturers of tube hi-fi electronics. Renowned for the quality of its high-end equipment, ranging from CD players such as the Cayin 100 CD, to hi-fi amplifiers such as the Cayin CS-845A, but also portable DAPs such as the Cayin N8, the brand essential mission is to design devices delivering resolutely audiophile performance without compromise.

Cayin C9: hybrid technology and versatility

Launched in 2018, the Cayin N8 was considered a true revolution in the world of high fidelity digital audio players. Combining transistors and tubes thus letting the users choose their prefered sound signature, this audiophile player with an integrated DAC is a resounding success thanks to its excellent performance. The Chinese brand has therefore taken up this hybrid technology for its new portable headphone amplifier, the Cayin C9.

The Cayin C9 therefore inherits the tube / transistor design that has already tried and tested with the N8. This headphone amplifier features an unbalanced 3.5 mm mini jack input and output as well as a 4.4 mm mini-jack balanced input and output. On each side of the volume potentiometer, two selectors allow you to adjust the performance of the C9. In addition to the usual line output / pre-out and high / low gain modes, there is a selector allowing to choose the amplification class (A or AB) and the preamplification stage (tubes or transistors).

The Cayin C9 has an unbalanced 3.5mm mini-jack input and output and a 4.4mm mini-jack balanced input / output.

Cayin C9: high-end components

Inside the Cayin C9 headphone amplifier, there is a double amplification stage operating in pure class A or class AB capable of delivering up to 1200mW into 16 ohms via its 3.5 mm mini-jack output and 4100mW via the 4.4 mm balanced output. For high impedance headphones, the Cayin C9 has a power rating of 80mW into 300 ohms for the unbalanced output and 320mW for the balanced out. Designed to power both high-end in-ear monitors and demanding hi-fi headphones, the Cayin C9 has a frequency response ranging from 15Hz to 60kHz (+/- 0.5dB).

Thanks to the use of four Sony US18650VTC6 lithium batteries (3000mAh, 3.7V), the Cayin C9 has a battery life ranging from 15 hours in class AB and transistor mode to 5.5 hours in class A and tube mode.

The four lithium batteries developed by Sony allow the Cayin N9 to benefit from an autonomy of several hours, even in tube and class A amplification modes.

The Cayin C9 has two Korg Nutube tubes mounted on a spring suspension system. This new generation of DHT (Direct Heated Triode) tubes developed by Korg in Japan are specially designed to offer optimum performance during portable use, ensuring low heat release, superior efficiency and a flattened shape. Cayin also used two pairs of Toshiba JFET 2SK209 transistors for the C9 amplification.

Following the success of the Cayin N8, and given the performance announced, we might as well say that we are impatiently awaiting the C9.


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Amateur de disques vinyle et passionné d'obscurs sous-genres musicaux, mes préférences cinématographiques s'orientent vers les films d'horreur, des classiques Universal aux slashers et films fantastiques des années 80, ainsi que vers la période américaine d'Alfred Hitchcock. Côté matériel je privilégie une installation hi-fi épurée et sobre pour l'écoute de supports physiques et l'utilisation d'un ensemble DAC / écouteurs intra-auriculaires pour les plateformes de musique dématérialisée telles que Qobuz et Bandcamp.

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