Cayin N7 DAP: a voyager of unexplored frontiers


One year after the release of the Cayin N8II DAP, considered to be one of the best in its category, the Asian specialist returns to the forefront with the new Cayin N7. Described as a “voyager of unexplored frontiers”, the Cayin N7 is the world’s first model to incorporate a fully passive 1-bit DAC with 32-bit/768kHz, MQA and DSD512 compatibility. The DAC is combined with discrete Class A or AB amplification, as well as Android 12 with WiFi.

What is the 1 bit DAC of the Cayin N7?

The real revolution brought by the Cayin N7 can be found at the heart of its digital-to-analog conversion circuit. Rather than simply using an AKM, ESS or Rohm DAC like previous models, the manufacturer has developed a fully passive symmetrical system composed of 128 resistors (4 x 32). Inherited from very high-end SACD players, it is the first time that this principle has been implemented in a DAP.

The Cayin N7 is the first model in the world to use a fully passive conversion circuit to preserve all the details of each recording.

The conversion stage of the Cayin N7 DAP works on 1 bit, ensuring an accurate conversion of DSD files, which are supported up to DSD512. MQA and PCM streams are played at a very high resolution of 32-bit/768kHz. The player converts these files into DSD in order to process them discretely with the 128 resistors. This unique mode of operation promises to preserve all the information in the signals and provide a more transparent and detailed sound. In addition, two 49.152MHz and 45.158MHz oscillators ensure proper data timing to maximize the accuracy of this conversion. A way to explore new frontiers as promised by the brand.

All digital streams played with the Cayin N7 are converted to DSD to ensure a passive conversion by the 128 resistors.

Why does the Cayin N7 use discrete amplification?

At the output of the conversion stage, the Cayin N7 digital audio player uses an amplification circuit that works exclusively with discrete components. This maximizes gain, eliminates negative current and optimizes the signal-to-noise ratio. This fully symmetrical 4 discrete channel stage consists of very low noise JFETs (Junction Field Effect Transistor) combined with a discrete BJT low pass filter. Like the Cayin N8ii, this amplifier can operate in class A or AB, depending on the user’s preferences.

The Cayin N7’s discrete amplification can operate in either class A or class AB to suit your listening preferences. The beautiful pouch shown in this picture comes with the player.

The volume control is analog and uses resistors to limit distortion and noise. This ensures the purest possible signal at the two headphone outputs: a balanced 4.4mm jack and an unbalanced 3.5mm mini-jack. The power reaches 250mW into 32 ohms (unbalanced) and 500mW into 32 ohms (balanced). Two other outputs, a 4.4mm jack and 3.5mm mini-jack, are also included. They can be configured as line level or as pre-outputs. In addition to powering headphones or earphones, the Cayin N7 can also be used as a source or preamplifier.

The Cayin N7 can effectively power headphones or earphones, but also be used as a network player or hi-fi pre-amp.

Cayin N7: a complete Android 12 system

Like most modern DAPs, the Cayin N7 uses an Android operating system. It has been customized to send audio streams directly to the conversion circuit. Thanks to the dual-band WiFi and the pre-installed Google Play Store, it is possible to download apps from the majority of streaming services such as Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, Deezer, etc.

For the best user-experience with the Android operating system, the Cayin N7 DAP incorporates a 64-bit Snapdragon 665 SoC processor combined with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, with the option to add a microSD card. This Cayin N7 player also has a bi-directional Bluetooth 5.0 controller. It is compatible with HD LDAC and UAT codecs to transmit and receive music wirelessly at up to 192kHz.

Cayin N7: 10 hours of autonomy

In terms of design, the Cayin N7 features the silhouette introduced with the Cayin N8ii in a more compact format with refined angles. The large 5″ touchscreen is still there and now has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The power supply of this player is ensured by a 9000 mAh battery offering up to 10 hours of playback with the unbalanced output.

The Cayin N7 DAP promises up to 10 hours of autonomy with its unbalanced output and 8h30 with the balanced output. Enough to enjoy music all day long.

Cayin N7: price & availability

Just unveiled, the new Cayin N7 DAP will soon be available at a price of $1,999. This very promising model bridge the gap between the Cayin N6 II T01 and the Cayin N8ii. It will directly rival the Astell&Kern A&ultima SP2000T and FiiO M17. While waiting for its release, you read our review of the Cayin N8ii and the comparison of the best DAPs of 2023.


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