Cayin N8 - DAP - Official Thread

I have not used the N8 with a full-sized set of cans yet, only IEMs. @andrew is debating on bringing the Sennheiser HD 820 for the CanJam flight so if that’s the case that will most likely be the first full-sized headphones.

I continued listening last night by following up with some Foo Fighters and spent a bunch of time playing between the Solid State and Vacuum Tube modes. I can tell that the majority of my listening this weekend will be done with the Vacuum Tubes. I’m bringing along the Solaris, Polaris, Io, Atlas Fibae 4 and A&K Billie Jeans for some IEM testing with it and I’ll be playing around with all the other goodies that’s packed into this beast.

I will say right away though that while the case Cayin adds is nice, I find that it hampers the ability to use the volume control as well as the selector as it fits a little too snug. I’ll give it some more time in the case and see how I feel about it but right now I definitely prefer it out of the case.


I love me some New Order and Joy Division. Highly recommend watching 24 Hour Party People and Control if you haven’t already. :slight_smile:


So…where are you staying…and what is your room number? :wink:

I put the case on to see how it fit. I took some pictures of it in the case for my upcoming review. I took the case off and put it back in the box and haven’t even thought about it since. It’s a clever design, and nicely made but it does, as you say, make operating the unit more challenging.

So my N8 has been living in a little micro-fiber sleeve/case.

Turns out that the intermittent “Why has the battery drained to zero?!” issue I was having with the N8 is due to that little micro-fiber case. The elastic closure was sitting on the power button and holding it in, basically turning it on and keeping it powered up.

Never happens if its on the desks even for days at a time.

I figure it was just the auto-shutdown not working 100% of the time, but it’s actually a much simpler explanation (and easily fixed now I know what it is).


“…and knowing is half the battle!”



I could post this equally either in this thread, or in the Vérité thread … but taking a break from the SR1a for a bit to indulge in yesterday’s arrival of the Ziricote Vérité …

… listening on the deck, in both balanced and single-ended (tube) mode, the N8/Vérité pairing is just divine (and especially so in tube mode).

Time to close the laptop and my eyes and see you on the other side!


N8 -> Vérité (Ziricote) … tube output, P+ (High2) mode … 75-volume … 13.2 hours with no breaks …


Your bladder is strong

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Maybe his secret is ‘Depends’…?

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I have the N6ii coming in the mail in the next few days and I’m wondering how close its sound will resemble the N8.

Since it’s a hands-free rig …

He uses the cover of “it is always raining in Seattle” to the people in the street below…



Hard to say.

While the DAC chip is the same, the N8 runs a pair of them in dual-mono configuration, isn’t built to have it’s audio-board swapped (which may, or may not, have sonic consequences), looks like it has different output stages, and obviously has the tube-output option of (which is a good bit of it’s charm for me).

And, of course, the software/firmware is completely different.

So while the law of diminishing returns is inescapable, and I’ve no doubt the N6ii is excellent technically, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have notable differences overall - with different people prioritizing and preferring different things there.


This will be a cross-post, but I’ve been using the Cayin N8 to drive the Rosson Audio RAD-0 for most of the afternoon, and it is doing a sterling job.

Using the single-ended tube output, with relatively bass-heavy music, and no breaks for several hours, in a 71℉ ambient environment, the N8 shows the following thermals:

Quite impressive, given these are 66mm planar cans.


had heard the Meze Empyrean(and others) with the N8 in tube mode at munich high end this may - what a wonderful experiance! - even if anyone knows that a short listen at a noisy show is no reference

this could really be a one-tool-solution for people with no space for speakers or no possibilty playing them in the neighboorhood- thinking of budget for a dac, pre-outs, amps, speakers…

instead of these stationary components, you could use 1 or 2 pairs(open and closed) of headphones and a set iems with the n8


As a bit of a diversion, as I contemplate further reductions in my headphone stable, I decided to pair up the Cayin N8 with the Audeze LCD-4.

If you’d asked me how that’d go, prior to listening, I’d probably have smirked a bit.

The LCD-4 are a bit too much for the N8 in tube-output mode, or single-ended solid-state mode, at least at my typical listening levels (85 dB average level, so ~105 dB peaks).

In solid-state balanced mode, on high-gain and P+ voltage output, they actually sound excellent. They’re still LCD-4’s … so the tonal response needs some EQ, but they’re doing WAY better than I would have expected.

This is where I wish the N8’s firmware could save multiple EQ profiles … but it can’t. It can store one, then turn it on, or off.

This creates a dilemma … as the RAD-0 are MUCH easier to drive (so you can also fully exploit the N8’s tube-mode) and don’t need the EQ, but the N8 can exploit the few, slight, technical advantages of the LCD-4 too … but then you’re fiddling with EQ that you can’t usefully pre-set …




How is the quality of the EQ in general? Say, if I would want a bit more subbass with bass-shy headphones or more upper treble for a warmer sounding headphone. Does it work without messing with the overall tonal balance?

I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking, as the point of EQ is to shift the tonal balance.

If you mean does having EQ enabled cause tonal issues just by itself, then no. Nor does it seem to impact overall quality.

But the N8’s EQ is a graphic-style EQ not a parametric one, so you have much less precise control over the EQ profile as a whole. Which means you’re always going to be affecting a broader range of frequencies than you might want to.

Effectively you’re adjusting peaks on the center frequency for each band (3 Hz, 62 Hz, 125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz, 4 kHz, 8 kHz and 16 kHz) and getting a slightly-curved-but-mostly-linear ratio roll-off down to the center frequencies of the bands on either side. This is more of an issue for the 500 Hz to 8 kHz bands. So, if you bring, say, the 4 kHz band up, you’ll affect frequencies from 2 kHz to 8 kHz as well.


Thanks! So if I would adjust a peak at 3 Hz, that would do what I want if I‘d need more subbass. And if I‘d need more „sparkle“ I‘d adjust the 16kHz for a few db. Of course I wouldn’t touch the mid frequencies :wink: