The new Cayin N3 Pro features both a transistor and tube output stage. Handy if you’ve never been able to choose!
Tubes versus transistors, it will be an eternal discussion about what sounds ‘better’. And maybe you will never ever solve this yourself. In that case, the new Cayin N3 Pro comes in handy: you simply choose between transistor or tube sound, depending on your mood. And yes: we’re talking about a portable music player that also meets all modern requirements.
By the way, once you’ve selected the tube path, you can then choose between triode and ultra-linear mode of operation. It is impressive.
As far as tubes are concerned, Cayin has chosen a pair of JAN6418s. These are protected against vibrations and impacts by a silicone ‘holder’ and flexible circuit board.
On the modern, digital side you will find two Asahi Kasei AK4493DAC chips for the D/A conversion. The maximum quality they can deliver is 32 bit / 384 kHz and DSD256 native.
The DAC is followed by a fully symmetrical circuit that ultimately delivers the signal to 4.4 mm and 3.5 mm headphone outputs. In terms of power, a maximum of 800 mW at 32 Ohm is available.
Apart from the headphone outputs, two line outputs and an equal number of digital outputs are also available. Practical is the USB input, with which you can also use the Cayin N3 Pro as a USB-DAC. Finally, a nice detail is that you can see the soft glowing tubes at work via a little window. The Cayin N3 Pro costs €648, but until the end of this year you can buy it for an introductory price of €598.