Cayin N30LE - DAP - Official Thread

The N30LE is one of Cayin’s 30th anniversary releases. It is a flagship, (very) limited edition, Digital Audio Player (DAP), with an extremely high-end specification and a dizzying array of features and options.

Two versions, and packages, of the N30LE exist, both ensconced in a very pretty, and solid-feeling, Titanium shell. The first is just the N30LE DAP itself (300 units, worldwide). The second, is a specially tuned version of the N30LE in combination with the Unique Melody Amber Pearl IEM (currently only available as part of this package, and limited to 99 units worldwide).

It combines unique, discrete, Class A and AB amplification options, in solid-state and KORG NuTube modes, with two tube timbres - “Classic” (SET-like, and very reminiscent of the original NuTube DAP, the Cayin N8, one of my all-time favorites) and a “Modern” setting which is closer to the N8ii or C9 (but somehow superior to both).

All these timbre options apply to the dedicated line-out connections, as well.

That’s paired with (pre-fire) AKM 4499EQ DACs (the very limited availability of which is part of the limited edition nature of the N30LE) in dual-mono balanced mode.

That’s all packaged up in a large, dense, but stylish chassis, and running on an octo-core SoC, 8GB of RAM, and as current a version (12) of Android (fully Google Play enabled) as you’ll find on a DAP - and equipped with full bypass of Androids ASRC for ALL players/clients.

Three gain settings, two power modes, and a “Hyper” mode, which pushes the Class A and Power Settings to the limits, with optimized class A biasing, round out the options.

Bluetooth source/receiver modes, USB-C and I2S input, built-in EQ (Cayin player) … for all relevant CODECs and formats are available.

Really … there is so much here it’s easier to just read the linked product page (above), and the feature/option highlights (below).

Too much to cover in an intro post … especially with a product, and company, that is really pushing the limits of innovation and creativity with such an offering, so use this thread as the place to discuss and explore this innovative, imposing, celebratory flagship DAP.

Feature/Build Highlights per Cayin

Feature/Build Highlights per Cayin:

Digital Decoding

  • Dual AK4499EQ, discontinued flagship 32-bit DAC chipset, mono mode, paralleled current outputs
  • Decode PCM up to 32bit/768kHz, DSD up to 1 Bit/22.6MHz (DSD512)
  • Solid 2x2 current to voltage I-V converter network as low noise high current output stage of AK4499EQ DACs.
  • Two extremely low-noise Femtosecond Crystal Oscillators to ensure high precision low jitter digital playback.
  • Comprehensive digital interface option: I2S (mini HDMI), USB Audio Input/output (USB-C), and S/PDIF Coaxial (Embedded USB-C)

Analog Amplification and Connectivity

  • Balanced tube amplification with matched paired KORG Nutube 6P1
  • Fully-discrete fully-balanced NPN/PNP Push-pull headphone amplifier supports dedicated 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced phone output
  • Triple Timber (Nutube Classic, Nutube Modern, Solid-state) from Gen3 vacuum tube audio circuit
  • Dual Amplifier Mode (Choice of Class A/Class AB)
  • Dual Output Mode: P (Standard) and P+ (High Power) mode
  • Hyper Mode: Combing Class A, P+, and numerous operation adjustments to deliver ultimate performance
  • Highly linear volume control through a pair of low noise, low distortion resistance ladder-based MUSES72320 stereo electronic volume
  • Desktop grade 3.5mm single-ended (2.1V, 1.6V, 1.0V) and 4.4mm balanced (4.2V, 3.2V, 2.0V) selectable output level Line Out
  • 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced Preamp output

Other Features

  • 470mF/5.5V ELDC (Electric Double-Layer Capacitor) ultra-capacitor as power reserve in the main power supply system.
  • Compartmented CNC Aluminum frame to improve heat dispersion, reduce internal interference and minimize vacuum tube microphonic
  • CNC machines TC21 Titanium alloy steel chassis for lightweight and robustness
  • Snapdragon 665 CPU with 8G DDR4 RAM running customized Android 12 with Google Player preinstalled
  • Storage capacity: 256 GB internal memory, one microSD card up to 1TB
  • DTA bypasses Android SRC, Hi-Res playback, and streaming to all applications
  • Multi-color smart glowing sampling rate indicator integrated below the gold-plated brass Volume control knob.
  • 6.0” 1080x2160 FHD+ Incell screen support double tap to wake and gestures
  • 12570mAh (3.8V, 48Wh) high-capacity polymer lithium-ion battery, support PD2.0 fast charging technology
  • 156mm x 89mm x 25mm, ~650g

Potential N30LE buyers should be aware of the situation below; not to prevent you from buying a unit - just to be aware of what the remedy is in the event you were unlucky enough to find a unit that has not been adjusted:

Some initial N30LE units exhibit a pronounced (audible over music) waterfall/white noise type hiss in Class A and Hyper modes when using the 4.4mm output in combination with some IEM/headphone/cable pairings*. Note that it doesn’t occur in other modes.

Cayin has a fix for this, which involves returning the unit under warranty and having the class-A bias point adjusted.

It can occur with different pairings with different units, as it is a tolerance/biasing issue. This means you may not experience it with your current pairings, but you could with the purchase of a new IEM or cable.

To address this, Cayin has extended the warranty for this issue to 5 years, and its applies to the unit, so it transfers to new owners.

Finally, ALL units purchased new from this point on should already have the bias adjustment, and Cayin have been shipping replacement units to those already affected (I expect to receive my re-biased unit next week).

*Out of over a dozen IEM/headphones tested, with various cables (including stock), I only have one that exhibits the issue - the Sennheiser IE600.


So I guess you aren’t leaving this hobby of ours quite yet. :blush:
I’m glad you are still with us. Thank you for this write up.


It’s not for lack of trying.

I’m not going to stop listening to music on headphones, but my intent was to pare things down to just having my HE-1, a DAC/source, and then maybe my HM-1 and a couple of dynamic/planar cans. And then not do the “hobby” part; just have it as a means to an end.

But … I have since sold my HE-1, as it wasn’t getting the play time to warrant keeping it (coupled with an unsolicited, 2x, offer to buy it). This is coupled with a used market that is so depressed/slow that it’s not worth the time or “loss” to sell any of the bigger stuff; so I may as well use it.

The N30LE came up before I decided to sell my HE-1, oddly enough. But now it may wind up being what I listen to the most (since I can take it with me on longer trips). Other than possibly exploring some other flagship IEMs, I’m not looking for more stuff though.


Random/Stream of consciousness/mental-dump from today …

All my listening time today, which was a mix of a couple of hours of focused, critical, listening-for-pleasure and about eight hours of listening while doing other things, was consumed with the N30LE.

I started with the IE600 (with an IEMatch 4.4mm for now, as that fixes the “hiss” issue until my replacement unit arrives, albeit with some emphasis in the bass region). The IE600 was an unexpectedly good listen driven off the W4, SP2000 and Apple’s 3.5mm dongle. And while the W4 may have the technical (objective) edge with the IE600, the N30LE is vastly more enjoyable.

Class A, Low Gain, P, Tube Classic.

HD660S2? That was next. Excepting via the HM-1, this might be the best I’ve heard the HD660S2. It’s certainly more enjoyable than from a Hugo2 or straight out of Chord’s DAVE. And that remains the case regardless of what mode I drive it in on the N30LE.

I think I settled on medium gain, Classic Tube, Hyper Mode (Class A, P+, with tweaks, effectively). It’s dynamic, punchy, and the stage is enormous.

I’m probably one of the few that thinks that, properly driven (which doesn’t mean tons of power), the HD660S2 is the overall most engaging and enjoyable HD6XX yet. The HD600 is a tad more neutral, but lacks too much on the bottom end. The HD650 fairs better there, but isn’t quite as lively and doesn’t stage nearly as well. The HD660S … well, that missed the mark on everything but resolution … good, but not better than its forebears.

Anyway, with the N30LE this is a real treat. I could easily listen to this combination forever and not feel like I was missing out. I’d know it wasn’t the technical equal of some other combinations, but honestly … I just don’t think I’d care.

Atrium? Glorious. To be fair, I think the Atrium deserve that moniker when driven with anything with enough power. And overall, I prefer them (for enjoyment) over the Vérité. These were beguiling in either Tube (Classic) or Solid-State modes, in High Gain (they don’t need it, they just sounded better that way), and Class A or Hyper modes.

Class A vs. AB:

I should stop here and note that the difference between Class A and Class AB on the N30LE is affected PURELY by changing the bias level on the amplifier circuit. It’s NOT two different circuits, and the signal path is the same.

The audible difference is very small - to the point that, if you’re not pushing things deep into Class AB mode due to the power you’re asking the N30LE to deliver, you’re literally not able to tell (well, I’m not anyway). You need something like the LCD-5, LCD-4, Abyss or Susvara to draw enough power to make a clear distinction. And even then, Class AB sounds better than any mode on any other DAP I’ve tried*.

Tube Modes: Classic vs. Modern:

Classic mode is, without question, my preference.

Technicalities are somewhat better in “Modern” mode, and closer to the presentation of the N8ii or C9, and it is still an excellent listen, but “Classic” mode takes it for me. It’s thematically similar to the N8, with good “tube flavor” (it’s not the same as a big SET amp, but it’s the closest you’re getting in anything [trans]portable).

I loved the original N8. This is very similar to that, but better.

I didn’t care for the N8ii as, for me, it lost too much of the tube-flavor the N8 had, to be worth bothering with (it also looked a bit naff and didn’t seem nearly as nicely built). If you did like the N8ii or C9, then “Modern” tube mode is very close to those (again, I think it’s better, but tone and timbre are not really where the variances are).

Tube vs. Solid-State:

The N30LE’s solid-state mode is excellent. It’s technically more proficient than either tube mode, remains engaging and enjoyable, but loses that je ne sais quoi that makes the tube modes, for me, the reason to have this thing in the first place.

I DO think its solid-state mode edges out the competition, but that’s subjective - objectively there are a couple of units that pull ahead (including, oddly enough, the W4 dongle). BUT measurements are not the purpose here … and they’re well into “audibly transparent with any reasonable source material”.

Battery Life:

Right around 10 hours in Class A, low or medium gain, in Tube Classic mode. That’s from 100% charge down to the unit powering off. Not the best way to run such devices, especially with as warm as they get.

I have yet to try listening while the unit is charging.

And I was going to do a FLIR shot of the unit in both cases, but my old FLIR iPhone camera doesn’t work with my new iPhone (Lighting vs. USB) and my “proper” FLIR camera is boxed up and at the other house.

Other Stuff:

It’s a very pretty unit. Feels extremely substantial (i.e., heavy). And it’s large. I can get one hand around it, hold it securely, and properly operate it, but that does involve using the touch-screen volume control, as I cannot reach the dial with a one hand hold.

The Titanium shell …

Titanium is an interesting, and very cool, material. Light, very strong, and looks awesome … and I’d hate to think how heavy this thing would be in any decent grade of stainless steel.

But … it marks very easily.

Titanium watch owners (I have at least half a dozen such pieces in my collection) will be no stranger to this. And a standard pencil eraser works wonders for getting skin oils and other surface marks off the shell. Whereas your standard micro-fiber cloth will do very little but smudge them around.

The unit comes with two tempered-glass screen protectors. I’ve had to apply one to each unit (so two, total) now. They went on cleanly, with no fuss, and with no bubbles/gaps/dust.

The SD card slot is like a SIM-card slot on an iPhone. On the upside, this is MUCH more resilient and hardwearing than those double-click springy sockets you usually see. On the down side, you need a pusher/pin to open it.

Cayin include one; it’s pretty sturdy (doesn’t bend) … that’s housed in a thick, but supple, swing-out leather shell. VERY nice. But still a pain if you’re the type to switch cards a lot.

Speaking of which … it took about 11 minutes, but only 2% battery (with me keeping the screen on to monitor progress) to index a FULL 1TB microSDXC card containing about 11,000 tracks (FLAC, DSD, with mix of resolutions, but all at least Redbook).

The Cayin music App is very nice. Only two caveats so far … the first being that it takes a few s seconds to load if you’ve not launched it since your last power cycle, and the second is that for the first few seconds of usage, you can sometimes get ahead of it, and cause it to hang, if you start rapidly scrolling in album view. Give it 5 seconds after the first album covers appear, and this is a non issue.

More to come … but so far …

EASILY my favorite DAP ever … and I’ll come up with something that ranks them, directly or relatively, in a subsequent post.

*There may be some rare flagship DAP, not available in the US, that I’ve not heard OF or listened TO, but otherwise I think I’ve heard ALL the flagship DAPs at this point.


@Torq … Hello, So I went to Can Jam yesterday. 1st one. It was GREAT!
Spent a ton of time chatting with Zach(we are from the same city) and listening to ZMF headphone that are mouth-watering!! Spent some time with Mike @Woo Audio and listened to the AW8…DAMN!! It sounds fantastic and is VERY tempting!!! Funny thing, they had a pair of Meze 99 classics hooked up to it. I would have expected at least the Elites or Lirics? But I could still get what the AW8 was bringing and it was nothing shy of AMAZING!!

I got word from a buddy that there was a N30 around…and I listened to for a bit, played with a couple settings…MY GOD!!! It’s insane! The sound, the options to alter/change the sound, the smooth delivery of detailed information…and the size!!! LOL! sensation piece! I now understand why everyone is NOT sending this back, but hanging on til the fixes are made.

This is truly game-changing AND seriously end game…for me at least.
I think I’m going to start selling everything, except my youngest, and nab one if possible. No need for ANYTHING else with this unit (Amp,Dac,tube etc) apparently it’s ALL in the unit and sounds other worldly!! BTW… I read your write up on it and, as usual, it was spot on! Looking forward to the follow up to that piece…hopefully with this magnificent “brick” by my side!!!


Zach and Bevin are wonderful. Half the conversations I’ve had with Zach (which often started with coming up with an early, or personalized, version of one of his models) have wound up as hour-long general audio chat.

Very fun.

Haven’t met a ZMF headphone I didn’t like yet … both in terms of sound and appearance (and I’ve been VERY lucky oh the appearance side of things). For sure, some I like more than others, and I have a special love for his bio-dynamic driver models.

Mike is a nice chap, also. Had a good few interactions/calls with him also. Not maybe so much general audio chit-chat as I’ve enjoyed with Zach. I wouldn’t be on my third Woo amp, otherwise (WA6 … which I still love, though the WA6SE is better, WA5LE MK2, and WA234MKII)

You DO mean the WA8 Eclipse, right? I have no idea what the AW8 is if not …

Totally different headphones.

I like the WA8 best with dynamic headphones. They fit the power delivery profile of tubes better than planars, in most cases. And the 99 are an easier listen, if not as resolving as the Maze planar options.

I’m still entirely enamored with mine.

Though today has shown up a few of things that mean that, short of Apple ceasing to make phones, I will NEVER buy an Android phone*.

I was playing with getting Roon setup on the phone properly and things got so out of whack that I honestly thought the thing had bricked itself. Android text-mode diagnostic-console level errors.

But, it recovered itself without my intervention.

And on the subject of Roon (the regular Android client, not Roon ARC) … while the N30LE has native Android SRC bypass for all applications … Roon sees it is running on Android and just does its own resampling to 48kHz. Now, that’s not terminal - Roon’s SRC is much better than the power-optimized Android native SRC, but it’s a bit annoying all the same.

*Full context: I used to own a mobile development studio. I’ve written native mobile Apps for iOS, Windows Mobile and Android (none of this “React Native” pseudo-SPA web-app-on-a-phone-shite). Android has been sub-standard, in my opinion, since the first time I used it. Moments of brilliance, wonderfully open, but not something I want to use on a daily basis except in a very limited capacity (on a DAP) and only then because its the only way to have a DAP run native streaming clients.

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Today’s N30LE time was spent exclusively with the LCD-5.

All of that was using the balanced output and most of it on Tube Classic in Hyper mode and on Medium Gain. And most of it was using Roon to take advantage of their LCD-5 convolution filter (256K Linear).

This was a very impressive showing, and thoroughly enjoyable. Another case of running the battery down from full to empty, without much awareness of the passage of time.

However, this is one case where, as much as I like the Tube Classic mode (it is my favorite), I’m not sure that Solid State mode doesn’t work better with the LCD-5. Not that Tube Classic mode doesn’t sound fantastic here; it does.

In a totally unfair comparison … I will say that the HM-1, fed from the N30LE’s Line-Out, “monsters” the LCD-5 in a way that nothing else (except perhaps my big tube amp) manages.

N30LE → HM-1 → LCD-5 is clearly better than N30LE → LCD-5.

That might seem obvious, but it wasn’t the case with the HD600S2 where there are clear differences, but I didn’t have a definitive preference for one chain vs. the other.

This does not diminish the N30LE in my eyes (or ears) at all. Just a realization that there are limits, and very high-current, relative low-sensitivity, planar headphones might be it. And I would still, very happily, listen to the N30LE → LCD-5 combination all day.

Hell, I just did.

And compared to, say, the direct (balanced) output from an RME ADI-2 Pro FS BE (in high-power mode), or the direct output from a Chord DAVE … I preferred the LCD-5 via the N30LE.

Cool stuff.

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@Torq … Good Morning!
A couple questions and your opinion(s) regarding the Cayin N30LE.
You are a fellow owner of the Astell&Kern SP2000… does the N30 sound THAT much better? If so, how much better? 10% , 80% better? I know there are the NuTubes in the N30 which brings about a whole different sound, but is the difference THAT significant? I listened through half of a B52’s track on a pair of “bright” Meze Elites and the sound was super clear and detailed but still, I’m not exactly sure if I honestly had the time to really dig in to the “specialness” that the N30 provides. Now I will say that the various sound configurations is VERY attractive, plus the power and the 1TB microSD capability is great and needed, but I’m wondering if I currently own an SP200, could I or would it make sense to maybe get a Woo Audio WA8 to pair with this and get that same or maybe better level of “transportable” tube sound? I know this is all very subjective, but I feel like You are the person with the knowledge and experience in this hobby that could best answer these questions and shed a bit of light. I’m heavily considering everything with this N30 and it’s all in “1 box”, along with technology that will not be matched for some years to come. It truly feels “end game” and game changing in my POV. Your thoughts…

I thought you heard it at CanJam over the weekend and thought it was game-changing and end-game? And what you think is what should matter for your purposes.

But …

Yes, I think so, as long as you’re not just comparing the SP2000 to the N30LE’s low-gain solid-state output mode. In which case, while I still think the N30LE is usefully better, it’s really more incrementally so (much like the SP3000 vs. the SP2000).

It’s when you start taking advantage of the increased power, the high-bias Class A (“Hyper”) setting or the Tube modes, that the N30LE really comes into its own. And there it’s not just an incremental improvement, but a completely different ball game.

If you were only ever going to use efficient/sensitive (and probably middling-impedance) IEMs in solid-state mode, then the N30LE would be “better” but also something of a “waste”.

You can put a 1TB microSDXC card in the SP2000. I used one in mine. In fact, the SP2000 has an advantage on the storage front, as it not only supports the same 1TB cards as the N30LE, but then also has double the INTERNAL storage as well.


I mean, it wouldn’t for me, and I can’t say for you.

The WA8 has more tube-flavor, for sure - since it’s using traditional-style tubes - and it is cheaper. And that’s about where its plusses end in this comparison.

Everything else favors the N30LE except price (and only then because the SP2000 is 4 years old at this point, otherwise the N30LE would win on price, too).

Power is a wash (they trade places in which has the most power based on the impedance of what is being driven).

The WA8s slight extra tubey-ness comes at the cost of size, weight and convenience (you’ll need an adapter and proper cable to get proper grounded balanced output from the SP2000 to correctly feed the WA8), as well as much shorter battery life (4 hours vs. 10 or so) and the need to carry its dedicated charger with you.

As much as I like the way the WA8 sounds, it’s too big and too much hassle for me to want to deal with it. There’s no way I’m ever going back to carrying a source + DAC + amp again … nor even a source/transport/DAC + amp.

I like the N30LE’s overall sound/performance, its flexibility, the dedicated line-outs (which still get to take advantage of the timbre options) enough to take it over any of the other available options, or combination of options.

This all makes a ton of sense and is where my head was/is regarding looking for a particular sound…a “better” sound…and in 1 device! I feel like the sound options are bountiful with the N30, providing me many different options to get the most out of the headphones I have. Btw… I would be driving fairly easy headphones - Sony Z1R, Meze 109 Pro, Meze Lircs. So the power is no worries for any of these. I’m hoping I could use the “Hyper” setting with any of these headphones with no worries? I do like the longer battery life… I feel like my SP2000 will get a solid 5 hours at best + I feel like it just is not giving me the proper amount of power when listening to the Meze Lirics or the ZR1’s. It’s better with the latter and really nice with the 109 Pro’s.

This is true. However, I was not able to listen long enough, didn’t use any of MY headphones and didn’t like the headphones I did use. Now what I did hear and was able to “decipher” from what setting(s) I listened to, sounded REALLY great! I understand that the DACs used in the N30 are AMAZING and out of production entirely… for now. All in all, for the fact that I do have easy to drive headphones, is this, in your opinion…overkill? A waste? Yes, the WA8 is cheaper but to your point, the low battery life, the sheer weight and size of it and the cable (roughly around $275-$300) It feels like it’s “too much” going on!! I guess @Torq , I’m feeling like this N30 could replace BOTH my SP2000 and My Kann Max, sound MUCH better and be much more flexible in terms of creating that" perfect synergy" with each of my headphones. I hope this all doesn’t sound dumb? I’m still pretty new in this all and definitely don’t have a TON of money to throw around randomly… I want to be smart about my next move and what I may purchase and have it make sense with all things considered…

No reason why not.

I’ve been using it with IEMs.

They’re the same DAC chips that are in the SP2000. Dual AKM4499EQ. Though Cayin’s I/V implementation is, I’m sure, different to the A&K.

No, since it’s not just about power or how easy the headphones are to drive. I just wouldn’t buy an N30LE if I already had an SP2000 and wasn’t going to use the Tube modes on the N30LE.

It probably can, but only you can answer that for sure - which is hard when you can’t get hold of a unit to test out properly.

I took a gamble by pre-ordering. However, it was somewhat informed* - and it was likely to be easily to sell, at little/no loss, if I didn’t like it - at least during the initial rush.

Bear in mind that if you’re counting on selling your SP2000 and/or KANN to get the N30LE, you’re probably not going to be very happy with how much they fetch (unless you bought them used). It’s looking like $1,200 is close to the top of the market for a flawless SP2000/complete package. And there’s not a lot of demand even then.

If it was me, I’d want to get all my headphones where I wanted them before I was dropping $5K on a DAP (or, to be honest, any other type of DAC/amp either). They are, ultimately, the limiting factor in all this.

I don’t think my DAC/amp combined cost more than my best headphone option until I’d reached the flagship headphones for several different manufacturers (Sennheiser, Audeze, Focal and ABYSS).

But that’s just me - and it wasn’t planned that way …

Something else to consider …

I cannot imagine that Cayin won’t do either an N8iii or a new unit that’s effectively an N8iii, using the triple-timbre setup from the N30LE, and probably most of the other options the N30LE has as well.

Yes, it’ll need a different DAC - but maybe that’s even better than the 4499EQ (don’t know what that would be right now … it’s not the 4499EXEQ as that’s basically the same thing just split into three ICs per channel instead of one).

And it may be larger (4499EQEX would probably require that), or heavier (not using Titanium would likely result in that), or have a smaller battery (to offset the two prior items).

But it’ll also probably be meaningfully less expensive (say $3,499 with a somewhat limited alternative in a different finish at $3,799 or so) and not a limited run.

*There’s no other flagship DAP of interest - and I’ve heard them all. I was done with my SP2000. And I loved the original N8 which the N30LE was supposed to be closer to, but improved across the board.

WOW! Thank you @Torq … That was so VERY helpful and gave me some serious insights and POV regarding my “dilemma”? I appreciate your time, energy and patience my friend! Thanks!

Another thought …

The original N8 is, characteristically at least, similar sounding the N30LE’s Classic Tube mode. It might be a much-lower-cost alternative (I saw one go for <$1,000, in nice condition), in a smaller package. It cannot run streaming clients, but it MIGHT be possible to use it as a DAC/amp and the SP2000 or KANN as a source via USB-C.

The N30LE was in my hands before this came up, but had it not been I might have tried the above, but using the new USB-C iPhone as the source/streamer, myself.

Now I’m spoiled of course, because the N30LE does outperform the N8 across the board, but if I’d done the above I’d never have known what I was missing …

Got notification that my re-biased replacement N30LE has arrived at my dealer (MusicTeck), so with a bit of luck I’ll have that in my hands either Saturday or Monday.

My plan is to do an advance-replacement, just in case the new unit either a) doesn’t resolve the hissing issue (doubt this will be the case) and b) to avoid winding up with a non-usable unit if any other issues crops up (e.g. a tube is dead, or something breaks in transit).

While I want this one fixed, it’s easy enough NOT to use the IE600 with it (was never my intention to) until I have a fully functional unit.

Will let you know how it goes …

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Advance-replacement arranged and on its way.

That’ll make it possible to compare pre and re-biased units side-by-side. Not expecting audible differences, but won’t upset me to be able to confirm it.


3 posts were merged into an existing topic: ZMF Vérité C - Closed-Back Dynamic Headphone - Official Thread

@Torq …3rd time HAS TO BE A CHARM here my friend!!! I REALLY hope it is and is settled once and for all. YOU have been through it with this N30!! I do think this will worker the best !! (Insert very optimistic face here)

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I keep coming back to the HD660S2 with the N30LE. I’ve spent plenty of time with other headphones and IEMs, and they all give an excellent showing with Cayin’s new baby. But the HD660S2 has some weird, addictive, synergy here.

How addictive? And how much synergy?

For listening engagement, emotion and pleasure, I would take the N30L3 → HD660S2 combination over the Susvara no matter what chain was driving it.

Don’t get the wrong idea here. The Susvara is far more resolving, has better tone and timbre than anything I can find to pair with the HD600S2 - or, indeed, a good number of flagship cans from other brands.

But … the Susvara is, well, just fucking boring.

For me, at least.

Once you get past the “wow” factor of its resolution, and come to terms with the naturalness of the timbre and tone … which, to be fair, tends to be a bit of a marvel for a few days … then there’s … well … just … that’s it.

I’m 100% convinced that all the amp-rolling gyrations Susvara owners go through isn’t really about “getting the best out of them”. No … based on multiple units, tried with every ultra-hyped/FoMO/FoTM amplifier pairing you can think of (and some you probably can’t, and if you could, you’d be talking new-house-prices), they remain impressive, technically, in several areas, but otherwise just utterly lacking in life, soul or emotion.

Again, for me.

Which makes me wonder … what would the Susvara sound like off the N30LE? If it can bring them to life, and inject some interest into them, that’d be quite intriguing … especially give the relative lack of power vs. everything else that gets hyped for them.

Guess I’m going to have to get them in for the umpteenth time to see …


I received my (replacement) re-biased N30LE this morning (serial number in the 29X range).

No sign of the hiss problem with the any of my IEMs/headphones cables, including the Sennheiser IE600 which was where the original problem lay.

Ran it for four hours straight, got the temperature up to 117F (Hyper Mode, Tube Classic, Low and Medium Gain) and no apparent thermal issues either (my first unit produced static and hiss on all outputs/modes when over 105F, my second and this one do not have any such issue).

Then I spent another four hours comparing it with my non-re-biased unit. I can hear no difference between the two units, so if there is one I can’t hear it even when listening intently and looking for differences.